It used to be that “What the heck is a life coach,” was one of the most common questions I got 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). But these days the phrase “life coach” is so five years ago that everyone’s kind of forgotten why they should bother with us in the first place.
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!”
A Coach is Different Than a Therapist
You’ll definitely need a therapist instead of a coach if you have some sort of mental illness or trauma. They’re trained for that sort of thing. But you still might want a coach. Let’s go with a sports metaphor: if you’ve had a specific injury you’ll definitely want a specialist and perhaps a physical therapist. But you may still want a training coach to keep you motivated or help you focus on what you can do versus what you can’t.
Coaches have a different focus than therapists. Therapists are there to help you figure out and address the root of any issues that are keeping you from moving forward; coaches are here to help you run with the ball. We are not trained in how to process trauma or reset your nervous system, and we’re definitely not trained to deal with any situations that might require medication or hospitalization. We know a lot of stuff and can point you in the right direction to get the help you need, but good coaches know their limits and practice ethically.
Talking isn’t Everything
Maybe you’ve been to a therapist and feel like you’re just rehashing the same old stories, or digging for trauma that isn’t there. Therapists are great, and necessary, if you have mental health issues that need that need to be addressed or if you have not processed important events in your life. Sometimes, though, we don’t need to talk about the same old stuff. Often we need to get to a new head space or to work with the energy of a situation in modalities. Sound therapy, reiki, journaling, or visual narrative with tarot or oracle cards can help in ways that just talking can’t.
I especially love working with oracle decks since they’re a great way to bring questions and concerns into a more playful, metaphorical arena. It’s like looking in a mirror without thinking you look fat or that your hair is awful. We can see things and play around with possibilities. Even better, the cards can serve as inspiration and visual reminders of what we want more of in our lives.
Changing Limiting Beliefs
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. Often, we hold ourselves back by limiting beliefs we don’t even know we have. And sometimes they’re not even ours, just ones we’ve had passed down to us by other people! I can help you dig these out and dispel them.
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.
Sometimes you just feel like you’re not going anywhere in your life or that you can’t get past a certain obstacle You’re “stuck,” and you don’t know why or how. Or, you know what you need to do but it just seems too hard to do it. Yes, you can figure out some stuff by yourself, and you’ve read a gerbil lion self-help books. But where has that gotten you? Do you need someone to call you out on your own shit, or help you figure out why you’re not doing what you said you were going to do?
Even if you’re not feeling massively thwarted, often we have a sense that our lives could be better. It can feel like 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 and we live with a low-grade feeling of dissatisfaction. 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.
You need accountability and support, a trail guide with endless optimism and yummy trail mix (dark chocolate is a must). Solving problems and taking small but difficult steps is a lot easier hen you have someone on your side who’s there to keep you company and make the process less arduous (or even fun!).
Optimizing Your Life
If your car isn’t working optimally, you go to the mechanic. If you’re feeling sluggish, you go the doctor and maybe get some vitamins prescribed. There’s no reason to settle for “meh” in your life when you can work with someone who will help you improve it. And, the best thing is that I can teach you tools so you can do it for yourself.
You can work with a life coach on an ongoing basis or just short-term to work through a specific issue. Often when we’re trying to fix an area of our life, we’ve tossed around and around all the information and thoughts in our heads that it’s hard for us come to the issue with a fresh perspective. We have a tendency to be paralyzed by our own resistance or forget what’s worked for us in the past. When I worked with a coach once, they suggested that I do exactly the same kind of thing I did in a similar situation previously. Who knew?
Coaching is an Investment in Yourself
Many of us will go to a spa or get a massage to indulge our bodies, but what about our minds and spirit? It’s well worth investing a little time and money into revitalizing them, too. Working with someone even just occasionally can refresh and renew you. As a coach, I’m here to support and uplift you, not just kick your ass.
You probably buy yourself treats now and then like coffees or books, or clothes; but do these really change your life? Sometimes it’s worth splurging on yourself in a way that will give you a longer term payback. There are many different ways and price points of working, and I’m happy to figure out something that works for you. You’re worth it!