What is a Life Coach?

What exactly is life coaching?

Pull the two words a part and you’ve got “life” (queue dictionary.com) which is “the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism,reproduction, and the power of adaptation to environment through changes originating internally”…. (queue me and let’s call it all the stuff that separates man from mouse; dreams, desires, wishes, hopes, fears, values, purpose, emotions, etc) and “coaching” which is the act of training, preparing and instructing one or more people. Put the two words back together and you’ve got someone who trains, prepares and instructs someone on life. What life coaching really is, though, is so much more magical than just sticking two words together.

A life coach will help you identify what you want out of life and help you achieve it. Have you ever wanted things to be different in your life? Controlled change in your life vs. constantly living in the unexpected, unplanned realm of your life? Do you have an important goal you’d like to reach? Or goals you would like to define? Would you like more peace, clarity and happiness in your life? Would you like less uncertainty, stress, worry or pressure? Or are you looking for more fulfillment, better balance or a better way for navigating through your life? These are types of things that a life coach helps with. A life coach is like the ultimate cheerleader for YOUR life. The life coaching process really has little to do with the coach and has everything to do with the client. I know, I’ve mentioned this to people along the way and they instantly get a little scared. They squint their eyes at me and ask “really? All about me? Are you sure?” and it comes from a place of not really being sure they like the idea of complete focus on them. I can vouch from experiences of being coached myself that it isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. It doesn’t feel like a thousand spotlights shining directly down on you. It feels… energizing and refreshing to actually slow down and think about my own life for once!

When I started telling people that I want to become a life coach, most responded immediately with “I’ll be your first client!”. I know why they said this because I could hear the sound of relief in their voice -- it was more like they were saying “Yes, please give me all the answers on my life”. A life coach is not an answer book, or a nag, and we definitely aren’t psychics. A life coach is trained in a process that helps awaken the fullest, most balanced and most sustainable version of yourself. The training that I have had as a coach, through The Coaches Training Institute (CTI), has a four cornerstone approach to life coaching. I think it is worth sharing to deepen the understanding of what exactly a life coach is.

Cornerstone One: The client is naturally creative, resourceful and whole.

As a CTI trained coach, I believe that you already have all of the answers to your own life inside of you. One of the biggest struggles we will face in our lives is getting those answers out of our hearts. It’s easy to find the answers in our mind but often those answers are jaded with old tapes, preconceived ideas and fear of being judged. My role as a coach is to help you recognize how truly creative, resourceful and whole you are as a human being.

Cornerstone Two: Co-active coaching addresses the client’s life as a whole.

Hold up - what is “co-active coaching”? From thecoaches.com, co-active coaching is a combination of a deep connection and trusting relationship - “co” - and the realization of achieving one’s fullest self and goals - “active”. Within this model, the Coach and the Client address the client’s whole life. I am a firm believer that life cannot be compartmentalized. If something’s going on at work, you’re going to bring it home with you. If something’s going on at home, you’re going to bring it to work with you. If you’re consistently missing workouts, maybe it’s due to stress from a relationship. Every element of our lives is so deeply connected, so deeply in fact that sometimes it’s hard to see ourselves as a whole. My job as a coach is to remind you about your whole self.

Cornerstone Three: The agenda comes from the client.

This is the most beautiful part of coaching. As a coach, I have certain skills, traits, experiences and knowledge that I bring to the table. But the most important thing I can do for you, is hold your agenda. Whether we have all the specifics, or just a gut feel of what we want to get out of life, it is the coach’s job to keep the agenda, or the focus, on your life, your desires, your dreams and wishes. The agenda is not about me, or my opinion, or my answers; it is about drawing this out and then helping you get what you want out of life.

Cornerstone Four: The relationship is a designed alliance.

This means that as a Coach and Client partnership, we get to design how we work together. You, as the client, are in control of the relationship. This isn’t about me telling you what to do, or about me pushing a one-size-fits-all process on to you (who likes change being forced upon them???), it’s about designing the best way to work together so that the end outcome is you feeling more fulfilled, balanced and empowered to courageously navigate through your life.

Hey, like I said before, you have all the answers you need, and lucky for you, I’ve got the expertise to help bring that to the light. If anything I’ve shared in today’s blog post has piqued your interest, or if you think this is something you might be interested in, I’d love to have a quick (and free!) 30 minute sample session with you. You’ve taken the time to learn more about what a life coach does, now how about experiencing it first hand? Head on over to the Contact page or click here to shoot me a note and let me know you're interested. I hope to hear from you soon!