Life Coaching for Veterans

Veterans get specific regarding what they need from their life coaches.

Veterans get specific regarding what they need from their life coaches.

According to an introductory article completed on his website, Rick Donovan believes there are several key components that all life coaches should strive for to engage actively and productively with their client.  A good coach fulfills several basic human needs, fundamentally to desire every human has to connect with someone who understands the individual at hand and their needs, particularly on a level where the client feels the coach relates due to own similarity to personal experiences.  This roots from a longing to feel understood.  The life coach also provides clients with the permission to change, which opens many new doors and possibilities to the client.  Finally, a life coach teaches the client the power of forgiveness, especially in regards to past mistakes from the client themselves.

A life coach matches their goals with the goals of their client, to the point where they become a collaborator, not just a guide.  They work alongside the client, working towards the same exact goals the client seeks.  During this process, they offer support through stressful situations and shed light on the client’s values, beliefs and further goals for the future; in essence, they help reestablish a balance to the life of a person who may have lost the perspective to do so on their own.  Support is at the very heart of life coaching, and, as a result, Donovan believes it is the very first benefits his clients often see come for their time together.

There is a delicate balance, Donovan argues.  Life coaches are honest, but not cruel; they will not shy away from topics that even family and friends may steer clear of.  They are motivational, but not peppy cheerleaders; they help their client envision a future and formulate practical and realistic steps on how to attain that way of life.

But Donovan is a particular type of life coach, specializing in a group of people who he feels are in particular need of life coaching—veterans returning from years of service.  Donovan feels he is especially qualified to provide life coaching in regards to veterans, as he is a veteran himself.  He once stood exactly where soldiers returning from combat do.  This, in Donovan’s opinion, allows him to personalize his sessions and help those returning for service.

All life coaches need to listen to their clients, with empathy and without judgment; focus must be paid to things the client is saying, as well as those things the client has left unsaid.  However, life coaching as a peer allows Donovan to help the client feel like what they’re saying is really resonating with him on a personal level—the words that the client shares, the personal experiences that they have struggled through.  Donovan’s shared experience with his clients allows the individual to feel like what they are saying truly matters and is actually important—relatable and understandable, at its very core.

Feeling as though someone is truly listening and relating to the situations the client is explaining allows individuals to actually hear themselves.  As a result, the life and the mind of the client comes into better focus.  Through Donovan’s practices, he allows the clients to talk themselves into knowing their mind and heart better, and, once this is achieved, he pushes them along and helps them find a balance, perspective and special meaning in life after service.

About Richard Battista