Jim Gaffigan often jokes about religion in his stand up specials and says that nothing takes the air out of a room faster than a Jesus joke.
With all due respect Jim, I think I have found something even more powerful than Jesus (in a conversational sense, anyway).
“I’m a life coach.”
For some reason, those 4 words bring most of my conversations to a screeching halt. They’ve joined the ranks of sex, money, and religion in the realm of “things that can stop your convo on a dime.”
It took me a while, but I think I’ve figured out why the title of “life coach” has become so taboo:
No one really knows what a life coach is, what they do, or why the hell anyone would drop some hard earned cash on them.
Makes sense, I suppose. If I stepped out of my role and looked at the situation objectively, “life coach” is a pretty vague title that could confuse people as to what the job entails.
Today, I’ll do my best to iron out the details and help you understand the value that myself and many others bring to their clients. I’ll fill you in on what life coaching is, what it is not, and who can benefit from having one in your corner (spoiler alert: anyone who brings the right mojo to the exchange, but more on that later).
What a Life Coach Is
My role as a life coach, in its simplest form, is to provide three essential things:
- Perspective: We all have blind spots. There are things that we think we are aware of, but in reality we have no idea what we’re doing wrong or how to fix it. I help my clients see those blind spots for what they are and work to help them make them better.
- Radical Honesty: No one can keep it real quite like a coach can. I am the perfect amount of emotional distance from my clients so that I can support them as they grow, but call them on any bullshit they might come up with along the way. You may think that your girlfriend, your wife, or your mom can be honest with you, but since they love and adore you, they’re going to sugar coat stuff from time to time. Not me, pal.
- Accountability: A life coach’s job is to massage your mindset to enable growth and expansion, and one of the big keys to that is checking in and making sure you’re staying on top of your game. No matter how strong willed and badass you are, if you’re looking to make things happen on your own, you’re still going to take days off. You’re still going to let off the gas when it gets hard. You’re still going to put off doing that thing that you’ve been putting off for months. As a life coach, I’ll happily be in your ear making sure you’re conquering anything that you said you wanted to.
Alright, Now to Get Real About What a Life Coach Is
The attributes listed above are all accurate, without a sprinkle of bullshit in sight. You will get all three of those things from me, but that’s not what you’re paying me for.
You’re paying me to feel better about your life, your goals, and your aspirations.
That feeling is the result of me providing perspective to help you see that you’re on the right path.
That feeling comes from me keeping it real with you when no one else in your life can.
That feeling comes after days and weeks of seeing my bright and shiny face on your phone saying, “Hey man, make today count! Let’s get that [insert big, hairy task] done today. It’s the best thing you can do for yourself and your goals.”
The tasty cocktail of support and challenge that a life coach shakes up for you equates to that feeling that you’re looking for.
You’re not paying for tactics. You’re paying for happiness, fulfillment, and an excitement for life that you haven’t had before.
That’s what I can give you—if you’re willing to show up and do the work.
What a Life Coach Isn’t
You might think that with the title of “life coach” that I would have one of the following:
- A lot of life experience (i.e. be old)
- A degree in counseling
- A ton of wisdom that I’m ready to share
None of them have to be true in order for someone to be an effective life coach. Let’s break down these myths one by one.
Life experience. I belong to several Facebook groups that revolve around entrepreneurship and a conversation in one of them pretty much sparked this entire article. This particular feed of comments was dripping with opinions on the coaching field. The majority of the people that offered their thoughts felt that it wasn’t right that anyone tried to coach another human without having enough life experience to relate to their client.
To a certain extent, yes, experience is important. You shouldn’t be a fetus trying to help a grown adult. But being alive for a longer amount of time doesn’t guarantee wisdom. Knowledge and wisdom are found by those who pursue it, not by those who wait for it to be delivered. I’d listen to a 25 year old who has read, studied, and dedicated his life to learning about the human condition before I ever listened to a 50 year old who has gone through the motions their entire life.
Does a coach have to be a counselor? No, not at all. A coach and a therapist/counselor are similar in the fact that all of these roles hold space to help clients explore their thoughts and beliefs, but a coach differs in one significant way:
A counselor will help you work through the thought process that has you stuck, while a coach’s job is to point his or her client towards action steps that will help them get unstuck.
A Sage of Wisdom. I’m not the smartest man alive, nor would I ever pretend to be. As a coach, I don’t try to serve up knowledge from the hip. I assess my clients needs and try to give them perspective to shed light on what they may not see within themselves.
With that said, a good coach is always learning, becoming the best version of themselves so that they are able to serve their clients in a powerful way. From that continued practice, a quality coach does have some wise tricks up their sleeve.
But they don’t have to be the smartest person in the room to help you break down your barriers.
Now, Who Can Benefit From Life Coaching?
Short answer: Anyone.
Long answer: Anyone willing to leave their ego at the door, trust the process, and believe that their time and money is being well spent. You will always get what you look for.
If you’re looking for a reason to complain, you will find it.
If you are looking for the beauty in the world around you, you will find it.
If you’re looking to find someone to blame for your problems, you will find it.
So, if you walk into a working relationship with a life coach just waiting for it not to work out, guess what? It won’t.
Literally anyone can benefit from a coach.
“But I already have my shit together, Nick. I’m good.”
Think about this for a second: when Michael Jordan was at the top of his game, was there anyone else in the world that was a better basketball player than him? Hell. No. But even though he was the best in the biz, he still had coaches–aside from Phil Jackson–that were there to keep him at the top. He knew that their perspective, honesty, and accountability would keep him dunking from the free throw line, tongue out and everything.
Did he need a coach? Meh, probably not. But he saw the value in having someone who could raise his game to a higher level.
Hiring a life coach doesn’t have to mean that you don’t have your life together. It just means that you’re looking to create more with the time that you have here on earth.
Isn’t that what we all want anyway?
If you are looking to level up, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “I’M READY”.
We can hop on a complimentary coaching call that will show you the truth in the words you just read. There is incredible value in this process, and you can give it a test run for free.
I look forward to connecting with you.