You’ve thought it. I’ve thought it. I think at some point most people who’ve heard of the term have thought this question. And I’ll be perfectly honest, my answer changes daily. But I recently spoke at a get together of really amazing women all going through a transition of some kind in their lives, and it really got me to thinking – how do I answer this question? So, here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
- Advice: I have to say the number one thing that people say when I tell them I’m a life coach is, “So what kind of advice do you give people?” Well, that’s the great thing… I actually don’t give advice. Think about how effective advice is in your own life. How many people tell you what you should do in any given situation? And how many times have you done what they said? Probably not too many times, right? So what would be the good in yet another person telling you how to live your life? Not much. A coach helps you come to the right action based on what you really want for yourself. That way, you can act knowing completely you’re doing what will make you happy and for the right reasons.
- Accountability: The number two thing people say to me? ”Oh, I need you because I need to be held accountable for things.” Well, a lot of coaches do play the role of accountability keeper. But that’s not for me. Rather, I want to help you figure out how to hold yourself accountable to the things you want to do. What’s holding you back? That’s what I want to know. I’m not interested in reprimanding clients for not doing their homework. I’d rather hear about what you learned about yourself by not doing it and how is that going to move you forward.
- Safe space without judgment: I think this is one of the most valuable things I offer clients. Think about it. During every client session, my sole purpose for being is to listen and help you reflect and learn — nothing else. My role is to be curious and ask questions about what’s important to you, where you want to go, who you want to be and how you’ll get there. To me, there’s nothing more personal or vulnerable than someone sharing this with you so I hold my client’s space in as safe an environment as possible. And that includes it being a judgment-free zone. You’re probably thinking, “Yeah, right. Everyone’s judgmental.” Not my job. What I want for my clients is nothing more for them to see what fulfillment and happiness is for them. Which brings me to my next point…
- Holding my belief in my clients as capable of reaching any goal: I believe this for every client. I believe that what they want is possible for them. And my job is to help them believe they are capable – because I know they are. You could give me every excuse in the book on why something’s not possible for you, but I know it is. Imagine having someone like that in your corner. No matter how many times you think your dream is crazy or you’re stuck where you’re at… there’s someone who believes you are capable of so much more if you want it.
- Want: It’s a funny word, isn’t it? I think so. I’ve struggled with this quite a bit myself. I think want has some negative connotations. But I’m not talking about a child wanting a toy from the store. I’m talking about what your heart, your gut, your intuition tells you you want. What is it? That’s what I help my clients uncover. I help them listen to their truest self – that person that’s buried under what society, friends and family have dictated is normal. Deep down inside, what is it that you need and want in your life to be fulfilled? Hint: it’s not just one thing.
That’s what I’ve come up with so far. Does that spark any ideas? What do you think a life coach does?