Frequently Asked Question #1—What is a life coach?
To me, the main mission of a life coach is to assist the client in realizing his/her goals and aspirations. This role will take on different aspects based on the needs of the client: at times providing motivation, accountability, perspective, focus, awareness, structure, creativity, or play. The life coach holds a sacred space of attention and awareness for the client; a space where the client can safely and honestly hear what his/her heart most needs. It is a creative space where the coach and client will play and explore; working together to dissolve the limiting beliefs that are blocking the client, and devising strategies that empower the client to move in the direction of her/his true purpose.
The life coach is a tool for the client—much like a map, compass, or trail sign. The coach is not able to tell the client where to go or what to do, but can help the client recognize the direction to which s/he is aligned, and the path on which his/her heart sings.
Have you ever experienced working with a coach or mentor, maybe when you were learning a new sport or a new skill? I remember first learning to play baseball; I had to be taught the basics—to throw, catch, and bat. Throwing a ball is an awkward motion, and I needed a coach who first demonstrated the motion for me, then worked on refining and improving my movements until I developed my own personal delivery that felt natural. It’s much the same with hitting a golf ball, swimming, writing, dancing, singing, knitting… Or living.
Even an Olympic multi-gold medalist like Michael Phelps, or the number one golfer in the world, Tiger Woods, works with a coach. These coaches do not have the talent or ability that their clients do. But, that’s okay, because the purpose of these coaches is to help their clients optimize their natural abilities in order to reach their goals. Bob Bowman, Phelps’s coach, could never beat Michael in the pool, but he can focus Michael’s training and technique to produce the winning results Michael is after. Sean Foley, swing coach for Woods, helps Tiger develop and ingrain a swing that becomes comfortable, effective, and natural, so that it will stand up in pressure situations.
The life coach helps keep a balanced perspective of the client’s short-term and long-term goals. The coach notices when it’s time to work and time to play. Guards against overdoing as well as neglecting. Reminds the client to tune in to the heart and body, checking in to what feels good or bad, fun or forced. Encourages self-care, self-discipline, and self-compassion.
The life coach holds a belief in the client. The relationship is a space of respect and compassion; sharing an honest dialogue that examines the client’s strengths and weaknesses, limiting beliefs, fears, hopes, and dreams.
The life coach can be the client’s unwavering companion, accompanying the client along her/his most courageous journey: into the client’s heart, discovering, at the core, who the client is and who s/he truly wants to be.
It is a magical and rewarding experience. It is my calling, and I am honored and fulfilled by the work I do with my clients.