Life coaches are people who are available for consultation and guidance. They are experts at assisting others in bringing about positive change in their lives or careers. They typically focus on work-life balance, personal health, time management, and stress reduction.
Effective coaching, on the other hand, includes an examination of daily habits, how we treat others, how we think about our work, and how we speak about ourselves and judge our actions. Perhaps that seems like a clumsy way to define friendship. A life coach may be kind, caring, and even friendly, but they are not a friend. They are experts who serve as your advocate and behavioral analyst for monetary gain. They don’t give any answers. They work to assist you in locating the answers on your own. They help you in getting the most out of yourself. As a result, they are unlikely to speak about themselves. Ever. They’ve been taught not to. Conversations with a life coach are neither newsworthy nor gossipy. You are the client when you hire one. Not the friend. They will ask the client about themselves, expect honesty, and work to hold the client accountable for their actions.
Some people imagine working with a life coach as a series of lunches where they get advice from a senior colleague or an old friend. The first rule of good life coaches? Life coaches do not provide guidance. They assist clients in taking a fresh look at their decision-making process. They dismantle motivation. They break down habits into their parts. Life coaching attempts to pose questions to the client, allowing them to connect to a future with new possibilities. The life coach does not guarantee that the client will succeed. They assist the client in seeing that they have the tools to make decisions without relying on the advice of others. They are not a friend, as any life coach will tell you. They might add, “Not a mentor.” I am not a therapist. Not a spiritual advisor. I’m not a teacher. They do, however, operate within the boundaries of these human relationships. When their clients speak about them, they use the same terminology we do when we talk about friends, mentors, therapists, spiritual guides, and teachers. In the comments section of most life coaches’ websites, there are examples of gratitude, devotion, appreciation, allegiance, and even love from clients. They make people think, they give advice, and they are compensated for it.
Being a life coach does not require you to have a license. There isn’t anything like that. Life coaching is also not heavily regulated at the federal or state levels. The field has no authoritative private or public oversight. There is no standard certification process. While certification programs exist, there is no agreed-upon curriculum from one program to the next, nor is there any traditional coaching technique that bridges the gaps between the various programs.
In many ways, becoming a life coach is as simple as declaring: “I’m a life coach.” That’s all it takes. So you could be forgiven for thinking of life coaching as an elaborate scam and those who practice it as flimflam men. However, as you will discover throughout the pages of this book, the opposite is true. While it is an amorphous field populated on the outskirts by a slew of free agents, it is an emerging profession that truly assists a hungry clientele. Its practitioners are sincere and passionate individuals.