Keynote speaker, Richard Harris is a life coach from London who enjoys speaking at universities, businesses and conferences. Richard aims to improve the lives of many by offering his life coaching abilities to clients that desire to achieve a goal. His website Richard Harris offers his services as well as an introduction to his coaching philosophy.
Richard answered some questions about his experience as a life coach.
What drew you to life coaching?
I realised one day that my energies have always been drawn to personal development and understanding consciousness. It occurred to me that even if I was retired, I would still be studying the philosophy of living well and drawing people into conversations about it. I realised that I could have this dream today if I chose a career like coaching. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made.
My initial idea was to coach corporations – I thought this because just like the wealthy Medieval patrons were royalty and the Church, today it was the big corporations. However, I spoke to a coach in the United States who suggests that if I wanted to learn about changing people’s behaviour, I should start with simple things one on one. This also turned out to be correct. I started coaching people one-to-one and loved it!
How did you develop your approach to life coaching?
When I started coaching I tried to keep to the framework of a variety of coaching called ‘co-active coaching’. This didn’t last very long. Instead, I found the sessions were much more fun if I drew from my own personal development experience and a few different disciplines from psychology. For example, I really like the ‘unconditional positive regard’ concept from Rogerian counselling, but then I like the Jungian methods for getting into the subconscious, and I also like some of the ideas behind the classic personal development works of the 20th century.
Added to this, my passion for health and fitness always showed me that the path to effective living and happiness often begins with great diet and a rigorous exercise plan.
I even throw in elements of Eastern philosophy and stage hypnotism. My coaching sessions, then, became a big mix of all the cool methods and insights that I learned over the years – all of which helped me somehow, or just seemed cool and fascinating or deeply true to me.
This is how I continue to develop my coaching practice now. If I find some type of psychology or philosophy that I just think is exciting, I go deep into it, and then find ways the insights can be applied to my clients.
What do you think sets your approach apart from others and makes it so successful with your clients?
I look at much of my competition, and I see a lot of coaches who don’t practice what they preach. I learned early on in life coaching that your messages land much better if you’re leading by example.
Since I started coaching, I have been so careful to put into practice the insights for living well that I explore with my clients.
Surprisingly, many other coaches can’t or won’t do this, so this gives me an edge. The cool side effect for this, is the pressure to lead from the front has made me a far better person generally. When you’re continually exploring what it means to live well, you are reminded daily about your commitment to being the best version of yourself.
I have studied personal development and the philosophy of living well since I was 18. I didn’t study for an exam or because I wanted to impress anyone, but rather out of a burning desire to understand how these things work. This body of knowledge is a massive asset to my coaching work.
How important is nurturing a client’s physical health vs their emotional well-being and motivation?
Physical well-being and emotional well-being are linked. You influence one through the other. For most people, the fastest way to feel happy and be energised is to eat healthy and get to the gym.
Often my clients are looking for some clever, deep psychological insight to fix their dissatisfaction with life, but the fastest way to fix it is to start looking after their bodies.
If you want to live well, looking after your body is non-negotiable. If you want to succeed to a high level, then you must take physical health to a meticulous level too.
In the West, we have a terrible track record for health. Obesity, diabetes and inflammation-related disorders are common and growing. If you’re able to keep a healthy body, you cultivate an advantage which is getting rarer by the day.
In terms of your corporate coaching, what do you believe makes your approach so effective when compared to others?
For corporate coaching, the advantage I have is that I’m looking where other trainers are not. Everyone seems content to do yet another Myers-Briggs or talking about management types. What I do is go into the corporate culture and change the things which really influence mood and performance – healthy food, exercise, the right supplements, creating green offices and meditation.
The research is clear, these elements improve productivity and creativity massively. The exciting thing about my corporate coaching work is that I feel this is new stuff, and there’s a real chance I’m influencing how businesses structure their days.
How can someone tell if they would benefit from life coaching?
I think everyone can benefit from a life coach. Every human on Earth is trying to achieve something or develop themselves somehow, and a coach will help you get there faster. The principles of living well, and of living poorly, are shared by all of us, and a good coach should make you aware of effective ways to live and inspire you to do better. This can benefit everyone.
The people who benefit the most from having a life coach are those who have a burning desire to grow already, an just need the tools and clarity to do it. These are my favourite type of clients. I enjoy coaching them so much because the growth is so forthright and fast and exciting.
Conversely, the people who are likely to benefit the least from life coaching are those who are corrupted by arrogance. If you believe you have all the answers already, you cannot possibly learn. Arrogance is one of the most limiting vices that can afflict a person. People with this mindset are unlikely to reach out for a coach to begin with, and even if they did, their pride and brittle thinking would limit growth dramatically.
What are some of the biggest life goals you’ve help your clients to achieve?
I have cured a few people from savage anxiety disorders. That felt good. I have helped my clients negotiate better salaries. I have helped people quit their day jobs to start successful companies – that always feels nice.
I have helped many get over their addictions like gambling or pornography or smoking. I have helped a lot of people lose weight and lead much more healthy lives.
The common denominator, though, is helping people to feel happy in their lives. When we are aligned to our life purpose and working hard towards meaningful goals, we glow with happiness.
Thanks to Richard for answering these questions. You can contact Richard at https://richardharriscoaching.com