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What is a Life Coach, Anyway?

Have you ever asked yourself, “What in the world is a Life Coach, anyway?” I get asked this question all of the time.

Over the course of the month, I thought I would back up to the beginning to give you the history of coaching and how it actually became a profession.

The word “coach” first appeared around 1830 and began being used in conjunction with sports. The word “coaching” was borrowed from the “coach” or “stagecoach” which was a vehicle of transportation to get you from where you are to where you want to be.

In the 1970’s, Timothy Galloway wrote a book called The Inner Game of Tennis. The concept of the book was that the game of tennis could be mastered by focusing on your thoughts versus the physical game, itself. The book became a foundation for the development of coaching as we know it today, offering a new idea that success is more of an inner game than an outer game.

Coaching became an actual vocation in the 1990’s.

The latest trend in business is that if you have had a breakthrough in some area, you become a “coach”. I am thrilled that so many have the desire to help people shift but it’s been my experience that “coaching” has become the new buzz word with a misunderstanding about what real coaching is. Many people who call themselves “coaches” today are actually “mentors.”

True coaching comes from the perspective that:

  • the answers are inside of you because you are the expert on you
  • the answers are in the questions

Many years ago, I went to Le Cordon Bleu in Austin, Texas to be trained as a French chef. This was one of the exhilarating times of my life. My chef always told me, “Sharp is safe. Dull is dangerous.” Wow! What is we looked at our minds in the same way?

Where you are today is a direct result of what you have been thinking. If you want to go somewhere new, first you must think something new. Your mind is a powerful tool. Paying attention to your thoughts gives you the ability to decide what you will think instead of thinking what you think by default.

Focusing on your inner game impacts your outer game.

What Coaching is NOT

Before you look at what coaching is, take a look at what coaching is not, according to International Coach Federation:

  • Therapy: Therapy deals with healing pain, dysfunction and conflict within an individual or in relationships. The focus is often on resolving difficulties arising from the past that hamper an individual’s emotional functioning in the present, improving overall psychological functioning, and dealing with the present in more emotionally healthy ways. Coaching, on the other hand, supports personal and professional growth based on self-initiated change in pursuit of specific actionable outcomes. These outcomes are linked to personal or professional success. Coaching is future focused. While positive feelings/emotions may be a natural outcome of coaching, the primary focus is on creating actionable strategies for achieving specific goals in one’s work or personal life. The emphases in a coaching relationship are on action, accountability, and follow through.
  • Consulting: Individuals or organizations retain consultants for their expertise. While consulting approaches vary widely, the assumption is the consultant will diagnose problems and prescribe and, sometimes, implement solutions. With coaching, the assumption is that individuals or teams are capable of generating their own solutions, with the coach supplying supportive, discovery-based approaches and frameworks.
  • Mentoring: A mentor is an expert who provides wisdom and guidance based on his or her own experience. Mentoring may include advising, counseling and coaching. The coaching process does not include advising or counseling, and focuses instead on individuals or groups setting and reaching their own objectives.
  • Training: Training programs are based on objectives set out by the trainer or instructor. Though objectives are clarified in the coaching process, they are set by the individual or team being coached, with guidance provided by the coach. Training also assumes a linear learning path that coincides with an established curriculum. Coaching is less linear without a set curriculum.
  • Athletic Development: Though sports metaphors are often used, professional coaching is different from sports coaching. The athletic coach is often seen as an expert who guides and directs the behavior of individuals or teams based on his or her greater experience and knowledge. Professional coaches possess these qualities, but their experience and knowledge of the individual or team determines the direction. Additionally, professional coaching, unlike athletic development, does not focus on behaviors that are being executed poorly or incorrectly. Instead, the focus is on identifying opportunity for development based on individual strengths and capabilities.

So, What is True Coaching?

  • Coaching is not my advice or my opinion, but focuses on setting goals, creating outcomes and managing personal change.
  • Coaching is a collaborative partnership. Imagine a sacred space where you can feel heard, honored and valued; a safe, judgment-free zone to grow.
  • Coaching is progressive, dynamic and thought-provoking conversation. It brings clarity to where you currently are, precision to where the dream of your heart longs to take you, what’s standing in your way and builds a bridge between the gaps.
  • Coaching is about advancing your emotional intelligence, emotional responsibility, emotional resilience and conscious awareness. It is present and future focused.
  • Coaching brings a person’s potential and performance together to create results so that you can rock your life at a whole other level.
  • Coaching invites awareness and elicits client-generated solutions and outcomes.
  • Coaching comes from the perspective that you are a powerful chooser. It assumes that your current situation is the result of your mindset and that you chose your present mindset. The great news about this is that if you chose your current mindset but you do not like the results that you are getting then you can choose a new one.
  • Coaching delivers a chance to let go of old mental and emotional contracts that you have made with yourself and others and create new agreements. It challenges the old narrative that you have been telling yourself about the way things are so that you can re-script your story.
  • Coaching presents you with an opportunity to define who you are by just being instead of doing. When you define who you are by what you do then you have to keep on doing it in order to prove who you are. However, if you discover who you are at your core, then what you do becomes a result of who you are. This mind-shift alone will release stress and cause major transformation. It is exhausting trying to prove who you are by what you do. That is what keeps you feeling like you are on the hamster wheel, unable to stop the cycle of a monotonous existence. Coaching is an invitation to be a “human being” vs. a “human doing”. It is an opportunity to let go of who you “should” be and discover who you ARE at your core. Coaching presumes that you were created for more than an ordinary existence. Coaching helps you discover the extraordinary life of impact that you were created for.

Your next level will always become your ceiling. Where you are now was once something you were attaining to achieve. What you have currently been able to achieve will, at some point, become the ceiling that keeps you stuck where you are. By up-leveling your mindsets, you will be able to “raise the roof” on your self-belief ceiling and step up into your next level. It all begins with your mindsets.

Coaching gives you the ability to govern your life well. When you govern your life, you relinquish being the victim of your circumstances. You begin to rule your thoughts instead of being ruled by them. You stand in your queenly anointing and administrate the daily affairs.

Fear is a mindset. Faith is a mindset. Forgiveness is a mindset. Resentment is a mindset. Love is a mindset. Joy is a mindset.

Philippians 2:5 states, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” KJV

The meaning of “the mind” in Greek is “to think.”[2] Your job is to think like Christ thought. Further, it means that your inner perspective corresponds with your outer behavior.

What kind of mindset did Christ have? Christ was committed to the vision of his mission and purpose. He was committed to behaving in a way that corresponded with His inner beliefs about what He came to earth to do.

As a woman on her journey to The Rise, you now have an opportunity to do the same. Commit to the vision of your mission and purpose.

Hiring a Life Coach supports you in governing your life well so that you can show up in the world fearlessly and make a bigger impact. If you are ready to create a shift in your life, message me to book a strategy call! Let’s do this!