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What is life coaching?

Last week I announced that I had embarked on a new adventure and enrolled in the Martha Beck Life Coach Training Program. This week I want to give you my perspective on what exactly life coaching is, because had you asked me what life coaching was two years ago I’d have said, “Say what?”

So today, I’m taking the questions I imagine you might have about what it means to be a life coach. 🙂

(If I don’t answer all of your questions, please ask me in the comments!)

Here’s my take on when you might benefit from life coaching

Life coaching is for when…

  • You feel like some aspect of your life has become stuck or stagnant.
  • You need to make a big decision but your head keeps whirling in circles and you’re tired of not knowing what to do.
  • You feel a deep yearning for something more in your life but you aren’t quite sure what it is you’re yearning for.
  • You have a big, amazing dream but you fall flat on your face every time you reach for it.
  • You have a big, scary dream you’ve never dared to reach for at all.
  • You’re tired of feeling frantic and overwhelmed every day as you struggle to juggle a gazillion competing priorities and needs — none of which are yours.
  • You’re just plain old tired. (Trust me, I know!)

Working with a life coach is like hiring a personal trainer for your dreams.

Which isn’t to say that working with a life coach turns every aspect of your life into sparkles and roses — just like when working with a personal trainer there may be sweat and tears. But as a life coach my role is to support you gently but firmly as you dissolve the patterns and thinking that keep you stuck where you are and uncover the courage you’ll need to take big, scary leaps toward the life that you long for.

All of which brings me to an important caveat.

Life coaching is not therapy or a substitute for therapy.

Martha Beck likes to say that “a life coach is to a therapist as a personal trainer is to a doctor” — a doctor takes you from sick to well and a personal trainer helps you maximize your health and performance. As a coach, I can’t help you heal the psychological traumas of your past. I’m not qualified to do that kind of work and I won’t do you the disservice of pretending that I am.

However, with that said, if you’ve had trauma in your past and you’ve worked through it with a good therapist — if you’re already pretty well healed, then life coaching could absolutely help you put the last vestiges of that trauma behind you and take back control of your life.

Which brings me to the last question I want to address…

What does a life coach actually do?

This is a question that can’t really be answered because no two life coaches will do the same work, but what I can tell you is what I can do.

  • I listen with open ears and abundant compassion to your stories, your fears, your hopes, and your struggles.
  • I ask really good questions that dig deep into what’s got you frustrated and help you find the confidence you’ll need to take courageous action.
  • I use The Work of Byron Katie to help you investigate your stories about your life, your place in the world, what you do or don’t deserve, and what other people will think of you. Together we question these stories and discover what is true.
  • I help you reconnect with your physical body, your intuition, and your own innate wisdom so that you can navigate your world with all of the information granted to you by millions of years of evolution — Obviously, your rational-thinking brain is marvelous and important, too, but it evolved only a few tens of thousands of years ago! 🙂
  • I help you chart the course toward your right life and learn the tools that will get you there. And, when the road inevitably gets bumpy, we face those bumps together making it easy(er) for you to stay on track.

The cool thing about the Martha Beck tools, and part of what makes this skill so versatile, is that as a coach I’m not going to tell you how to go about achieving your dreams. I’m here to help facilitate a transformation that will leave you clear, confident, and ready to take the (often terrifying) leaps that really will get you to your dreams.

How you achieve your dreams is something we figure out together — not something I’m here to tell you how to do!

That’s a bit about me and what I can do with the tools I’m learning in the Martha Beck training program.

If you have a question I didn’t answer, I’d love to answer it for you in the comments.

If you read the above and feel like you could use this kind of support in any aspect of your life right now, please use my contact page to get in touch! I’d love to talk to you and see if my skills are a good match for your needs.

I’m working with people for free while I earn hours towards my certification and I work over the phone, so your location is never an issue. 🙂