What it Means to Be a Life Coach
Coaching is an extremely rewarding profession on so many levels and it’s also one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Through this sequence of brand new short videos, I’m going to teach you the key fundamentals you need to know to get started as a coach and to create a fun and thriving coaching practice that’s in perfect alignment with who you are, what you value, and what you most want to contribute to others.
In this segment, I’m going to answer some of these questions and address some common misconceptions about what it means to be a life coach. Enjoy!
What does it mean to be a life coach?
When someone is first introduced to the term “professional life coach,” they typically have a lot of questions and often some misconceptions about what that means. Most of us are only accustomed to applying the word “coach” to professional sports teams or Olympic athletes, so at first glance it can be hard to understand what role a coach can play in our average, everyday lives.
In this segment, I’m going to answer some of these questions and address some common misconceptions about what it means to be a life coach, because in my 15 years of being a master coach, and almost ten years’ experience certifying coaches, I’ve seen men and women who had incredible coaching potential put the brakes on entering this field because of their unanswered questions and misconceptions. And I’ve also seen people who would benefit profoundly from having a life coach, pass on the opportunity to work with one because they just didn’t understand how valuable the process can be, and how transformational the experience has been for so many people.
So let’s dive right in and address some of the most common questions that people have about what it means to be a life coach.
It’s been said that in life, the only thing constant is change. As we move through the various phases of our lives, every one of us will encounter milestones, setbacks, opportunities, and challenges that require us to change our approach, modify our strategies, or shift our perspective. How we respond to the changes that life inevitably brings our way is the single most important factor in determining our level of happiness, enjoyment, and success.
How we respond to the changes that life brings our way is the single most important factor in determining our level of happiness, enjoyment, and success.
While there are many different styles of life coaching, at the basis of all of them is the intention to offer resources and support to guide people through transitional phases in their lives, and teach them how to use times of adversity as catalysts toward realizing even greater levels of fulfillment. Simply put, a life coach provides a sounding board, perspective and guidance to help their clients cooperate with, and thrive in the face of, life’s inevitable changes. Life coaching is about helping another person move from wherever they currently are to where they would like to be – whether it’s in relation to their finances, their career, their personal relationships, or even the degree of physical vitality they’re experiencing. Coaches help clients get clear on what they want to achieve in their lives and to move forward toward those desires.
Because the focus of the coaching relationship is on moving forward, not justifying, rationalizing or rehashing the past, people hire coaches at every stage of their lives – whether they’re making a career transition, starting a new business, re-evaluating choices, clarifying values, or simply seeking to create more harmony in their personal or professional relationships. People also hire coaches when they are looking for someone to guide them to realize personal goals as well, such as losing weight or adopting a healthier lifestyle.
So, a quick recap:
A Life Coach Can Help You:
• Get crystal clear about what you really want in key aspects of your life
• Uncover what’s holding you back from achieving your visions and dreams
• Support you in taking action steps to achieve your vision by holding you accountable
Now that we’ve talked about what it means to be a life coach and what the coaching process can provide, it’s also important to distinguish two things that a life coach is not:
1) A life coach is NOT a therapist; and
2) A life coach is not a friend!
Coaches focus solely on the future; on moving you from where you are now to where you want to be, whereas the role of a therapist is to help you deal with past issues and problems. Certainly a life coach may suggest new ideas or potential action steps for their clients to consider, but their primary role is to listen well; to ask questions that help their clients discover their own wisdom and their own path, and to support them in aligning their thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and actions with who and what they want to become. In other words, they are not “advice givers.”
Also, it’s important not to confuse the role of a life coach with that of a friend that we may seek out to “vent” about our problems. Coaches are professionals – not unlike physicians, attorneys, or psychologists – who are trained in a particular skillset which they utilize to empower clients to find solutions to the challenges they face. Which of these skills they apply is determined by each unique client and situation. In the same way, there will be times when a coach serves as a consultant and at other times a cheerleader; but no matter what role they take, it is always with the intention of helping clients to more clearly define their desires, recognize what’s holding them back, and move forward with greater momentum and confidence.
So, now that you have a better sense of what it means to be a life coach, the next short video installment will explore some of the powerful benefits that a working with a coach can help you to realize.
I’d love to hear your thoughts or questions on what we’ve discussed here, so please write to me in the comments below.
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