What’s a Life Coach?

"What the heck is a life coach," is one of the most common questions I get other than "Why don't we have any good snacks," and "Where are my socks?" (These questions are from my kids - if you ask me these things I will NOT have a good answer to give you, though I could make something up that will amuse us both). Answering a question about life coaching is something that I can answer -- though what you need from a life coach will totally depend on you and your situation.

People generally know what a psychologist is, or a therapist, or a witch doctor, or a plumber. These things are obvious. A baseball coach coaches baseball, and a football coach football, but how the heck do you coach LIFE? Usually, you'll go to a psychologist or a therapist if you have some sort of mental illness or trauma. They're trained for that sort of thing. It's like having a physical therapist versus a training coach if you've had a specific injury that needs addressing and healing.

A life coach, on the other hand, deals in optimization. You've got game, but you want to improve your cadence or your focus. In my practice, I view it as getting from OK to awesome. Often we have a sense that our lives could be better, that there's a future version of us that we're meant to be--if we could just figure out how to get from here to there.Life gets in the way of finding our best selves, though, in many ways. We don't make ourselves a priority, we don't have tools for self-examination, we don't hold ourselves accountable, or we're stuck in ways of thinking that we can't unbind ourselves from.

As a life coach, I create the sacred space for you to view yourself from a place of love and objectivity. I give you the tools to change your perspective on how you think about yourself and others. I kick your ass when you tell me you "didn't have time to do your homework."What this means in reality is that I help you pick apart the areas of your life where you are less than satisfied, air out places which are stale and unexamined, and help lead you toward the inner knowledge of who you really are.I do this by listening, asking questions, and giving you ways of working with your thoughts and problems so that you feel more excited about your life. Sometimes the changes are small, sometimes they're amazing. Even small progress can be life-changing.

You can hire a life coach on an ongoing basis to invest in yourself, or short-term to work through a specific issue. I've worked with a few coaches myself, and in each case have been surprised by how much better I felt afterwards. Even as a life coach who SUPPOSEDLY knew "all the things," it was amazing to me to personally experience how we miss things or let ourselves off the hook unless someone is there to point our shit out to us. One of them suggested that I do exactly the same kind of thing I did in a similar situation previously. Who knew?

Different life coaches will, of course, have different approaches and training. A good one though will help you figure out whether you'd benefit from working with them before they charge you. It's also important just to get a sense of whether you're a good match, because personalities vary.Regardless of who you pick, or how much time you invest, you deserve to have the best life you can. Don't just settle for "ok!"