Some thoughts about being a life coach
Updated: Nov 15, 2019
It took me a while to proudly be able to say “I’m a life coach”.
It’s not because of the coaching itself—that I’m madly in love with. It's the stereotypes. The assumptions around it, and the people and “methods” that give the negative connotations with life coaching fuel. The message that you have to get up at 5am everyday, write affirmations, and drink a green juice before work in order to change your life... I call bullsh*it. Potentially helpful for some, yes. But bullsh*t.
It feels like many life coaches paint pictures of lives that feel just a little too perfect and unattainable. It's the carefully curated bits of vulnerability interspersed with emojis that I both respect deeply for the courage it took to share, and loath because I do not want to do that. I can't do that, because my life does not look like that —nor do I want it to. I do not wake up at 5am everyday. In fact, I'm lucky if I get up before 8am. I don't eat healthy meals all the time. My partner has to remind me to grocery shop because otherwise I'm content existing on hummus and crackers for days on end (and wine let’s be real). I don't start everyday with affirmations. Instead it's black coffee and emails in bed because I don't want to officially get out of my cozy cocoon yet. And I worked with a coach and saw what it was for myself, the stereotypes around it made me feel like I would have to become someone entirely different in order to “succeed”.
Why am I sharing all of this? Because now, thankfully, I know better. You do not need to become someone else to change your life. You do not need to have superhuman energy, workout habits, or constant instagrammable moments. What it actually takes is a willingness to accept yourself. All of yourself. It takes is a willingness to look your truth in the eye, the belief that change is possible, and courage to love yourself enough to take action on your dreams. That might include a killer morning routine full of affirmations and green juice, finally launching your business, or maybe a mindfulness practice you can do at a red light with three kids screaming in the back of the car. The process of coaching is about becoming more of you—the fullest version you’re ready for—not morphing into someone else.
Let me be clear, I am not writing this to hate on other coaches. Their techniques may work wonders for their clients, and it’s important that there’s a wide variety of coaching available so everyone can find something that resonates. But I do believe that this widespread notion that coaching is something that it’s not is making it feel inaccessible to people who might otherwise find a lot of value in it.
I'm writing this first as a coach, to carve out a slice in the coaching world for anyone who feels like they aren't “_______” enough (good, fit, put-together) to change their life. Who feels like they have to be in better shape, make more money, or have a better damn morning routine in order to take action on creating a life of purpose and creative freedom. If this is you, know that you are seen, you are valued, and the world needs your hummus addicted, snooze-button hitting, overwhelmed self to answer the call you have tugging at your gut. And when you do, know that there is room at the table for you exactly as you are.
I’m also writing this as a client, because coaching found me at a time when my life could have easily gone a direction that made me feel small, half-alive, and dim. I was hungry for this language that I didn’t yet know existed, and when I decided to learn more about becoming a coach, I found myself in that training classroom hearing words put to the thoughts and feelings that felt so true and familiar it was like coming home. The coaching journey has shifted my life from the inside out, and was a slow process of tuning in, challenging so many beliefs and assumptions I had made about myself, and perhaps for the first time taking my own needs seriously. It was less about me changing, and more about being seen and seeing myself for exactly who I am — including the parts of me that were kept hidden and quiet for so long.
I feel called to protect the sacred essence of what coaching is, because it pains me to think that someone might miss out who really craves it. Someone might look at what the industry has turned it into and feel like there’s no place for them. It also pains me to think that I wouldn’t have found it if someone didn’t protect and share it with me. This topic feels so important to me, because creating my life coaching business is that tug in my own gut, the same one that I coach others to explore for themselves. This beautiful way of engaging with the world and with each other is worth protecting because at its core, it’s about being fully human...the imperfect, incredible, powerful beings that we are. And there’s room for all of us.