Understanding Who Life Coaches Are… And Who They Are Not
The life coaching industry is growing at a rapid pace, making the demand for heart-centered, difference-making coaches higher than ever. Yet the term “life coach” still isn’t on everyone’s radar.
There are plenty of people who have no idea what a life coach does and just as many people who have the wrong idea about who life coaches are, how they’re educated, or what they do on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes the easiest way to understand what something is, is to explain what it’s not.
What Life Coaches Don’t Do
In order to truly understand who life coaches really are, we’ll explore three of the most common myths and misconceptions surrounding this career field.
1. Life coaches are not gurus.
Merriam-Webster defines “guru” as “a personal religious teacher and spiritual guide in Hinduism,” “a teacher and especially intellectual guide in matters of fundamental concern,” “one who is an acknowledged leader or chief proponent,” or “a person with knowledge or expertise.”
While life coaches do serve as personal guides to their clients, their teachings are not based in religion. Nor are they considered experts.
A coach’s job is not to give you all the answers as if they know everything that you should be or do in life. A really good life coach understands that there’s only one highest authority for your life – you! Only you know what lights you up. Only you know what causes you contraction, what gives you life and what you struggle with the most.
Life coaches are supposed to be really curious about you, all the while knowing that there’s a power inside you that’s actually breathing you. They understand that there’s an intelligence within you, and it’s their job to help you tap into and draw from that intelligence for the answers and guidance you seek.
In Western society, the word “guru” has a very negative connotation. Many people perceive gurus to be dishonest know-it-alls who will exploit their followers for personal gain. Life coaches are the furthest thing from that. They’re everyday people, just like you and me, who simply want to help others and make a positive impact on the world. They don’t profess to know everything, and in fact, often share their personal growth journeys with their clients.
The best life coaches don’t just tell their clients what to do or give advice. They use an evocative coaching approach, which involves a lot of listening, asking questions, reflection and empathy to help their clients become more in tune with themselves and discover what areas they want to focus on the most.
2. Life coaches are not therapists or counselors.
While there is a friendly, caring relationship between coaches and their clients, life coaches do not provide therapy or professional counseling. Therapy serves an entirely different purpose than life coaching, and it does have its benefits for some.
Therapists work with their clients to address past issues, often encouraging them to re-live painful periods from their past in order to determine where a particular phobia or emotional issue originated from. Their specially trained and certified to handle sensitive issues such as these. Unlike therapists, life coaches keep the attention and focus on where you are now and where you want to be.
Life coaches listen to what has worked well in your life and what you would love to have more of. They discuss your goals around health, relationships, vocation, and time and money freedom. They ask, “What would you love your life to be like?”
Life coaches help point out that there’s a gap between where you are and where you would love to be. Then, they help guide you in the direction of your dreams. A really good life coach will teach you a system of transformation to help you transform your goals and dreams into your results in a certain amount of time. In essence, a life coach’s job is to help you grow and live into your full potential.
3. A life coach is not who you go to for a quick fix.
Personal development and transformation is a journey, not a quick fix. What’s more, life coaching isn’t about treating one specific issue or need. Rather, it’s about nurturing your whole being and helping you to become your best self in all areas of your life.
A life coach helps you discover tools to help you notice the thoughts you’re thinking and how they may be restricting or empowering your ability to become the person you are choosing to be. They also help you discover what activities you’re engaged in that are in harmony with the life you want to live, and which ones are not.
Through various exercises, they help you become better tuned to your thoughts so you can identify what distracts or delays your progress and what habits (such as procrastination) may be slowing you down. Then, they give you simple and highly effective steps you can take to change your results. It’s important to note that the expectation is not that you need fixing – there’s nothing wrong with you. Life coaches are there to show you that there’s more life seeking to happen with you.
Who Life Coaches Are
A life coach recognizes that the life that’s breathing you is sacred. Their job is to help you unleash your inner power so that you can be, do, have and give whatever you desire. You may not yet have the awareness, but everything that’s required, you already have in you. The coach’s job is to help you discover that and pull it out in a very simple, systematic way so that your life transforms and you have the results you want.
For the most successful life coaches, coaching actually is a calling. It takes a special kind of person to fill the shoes of a successful life coach. First and foremost, successful life coaches are heart-centered and possess a deep desire to help others live lives they truly love living and they’ve learned a proven, reliable system of transformation they walk their clients through. The proven system means their clients actually get the results they dream of.
Interested in Becoming a Life Coach?
If life coaching sounds like something you’d like to explore as a career, and you’re interested in learning more about what coaches do and don’t do, check out my training video, The Five Most Common Myths About Life Coaching, for free!