There is some degree of confusion today as to what a life coach does. Do I instruct, do I train – what is that I do as a life coach? I thought the best way to go about it would be to tackle the 5 most common reactions that I as life coach get when I tell someone that “I am a Life Coach”.
- “Oh, you are a Life Coach? – What a nice profession – simply give “Gyaan (Advice)” to others and get paid for it!” – This a typical response I get. Sad but true!
A life coach does not give “gyaan “or advice. Coaching is not instructional. It is about exploring various options. In life coaching, clients explore the possible actions along with the probable outcomes of these actions to move forward with the most practical action plan to accomplish their goals. A coach enables a client to tap into the client’s gyaan to come up with implementable solutions to achieve their dreams. Let us confirm today that life coaching does not involve solely instructing a client on how to solve a problem. It has multiple elements of strategy, accountability, inspiration, motivation and out of box thinking.
- “ So you are like a shrink”
A life coach is not a mental health professional who offers services to improve the mental condition or treat mental illness – depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or an anxiety disorder. A life coach does not dive deeply into the past. Life Coaching is forward-looking. It’s more about what is your next step to resolve a problem statement. Listening is a key skill for life coaches and hence can be easily confused with shrinks – Let us confirm today that they are not! Life coaches undergo intensive training & certifications so that they are well aware of their boundaries and the requirements of a coaching presence.
- “So, how is your consultancy business doing”
A consultant is a specialist in a particular field and offers expert advice – management, law, marketing, finance, education, advertising – the list is endless. A life coach may or may not be an expert in your professional field but is an expert in life coaching. A life coach helps you bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be – it could be any field. Life Coaches also have specialized niches where they love to operate depending on their experience and passion – weight loss coaching, executive coaching, relationship coaching, wellness coaching etc. Let us confirm that coaching is not consultancy!
- “At such a young age you are a life coach – are you saying that you know everything about life and have experienced all situations?”
When one is a Life Coach, it does not imply that he/she is above everyone else. He/She has mastered the process of life coaching. Life Coaches also have coaches themselves. A 50-year-old patient consults a 30-year-old doctor, as the doctor is an expert in medicine. The 30-year-old doctor will not have experienced a heart attack but treats heart patients. Similarly, a life coach may not have experienced your situation and yet can coach you. In coaching all the focus is on what the client is experiencing and not what the coach has experienced – Let us confirm that coaching focuses on the client’s experience!
- “Are you saying life coaching is like magic?”
Life Coaching journey is that of transformation where you leave behind or learn to deal with challenges that typically stop you from success. Coaching is action-oriented and a life coach creates accountability (does not blame you!) for your actions. A coach facilitates inner dialogue for you to navigate through your concerns. Life Coaching is as successful as the client wishes it to be – Let us confirm while coaching does not involve any magic pill, some clients after all the work do feel the process was magical!
To summarize – see the illustration below: