What is a Life Coach?
A Life Coach is a professional who helps people access greater fulfillment and meaning in their lives. Life Coaches work with clients on both specific life goals like getting a new job, opening a business, buying a house, losing weight, improving a relationship, etc- and also on less defined goals like cultivating more spirituality, increasing self-love or self-trust, developing intimacy and vulnerability, improving self-confidence & courage, etc.
Very Well Mind states it beautifully here: "Many people seek out life coaches for guidance in navigating a significant life change, such as taking on a new career. In plenty of cases, however, people turn to life coaches simply for help in building a happier, more meaningful life."
Here are just a few of the indicators that working with a life coach could be helpful for you:
Life Coaching is primarily wild curiosity & the art of investigation.
Choosing the right Life Coach is extremely important. A powerful coach/client relationship can help you go further than you ever thought possible, accomplish your goals, realize your dreams, and experience more fulfillment, ease, and joy in your life.
#1 - CONSIDER CERTIFICATIONS
While there is currently no legal certification required to say that you are a Life Coach, there is a governing board called the International Coaching Federation (or ICF). The ICF makes sure that coaches have adequate education hours and client hours to offer you the highest level of coaching. I highly recommend choosing an ICF-certified coach. That being said, I have collaborated with amazing coaching who were not ICF certified. Trust yourself and your judgment.
For me, as a coach, ICF certification was important. In 2010, I graduated from IPEC, one of the most highly acclaimed coaching schools in the world. IPEC's coach training program exceeds all requirements set forth by the ICF.
#2 - INTERVIEW COACHES
Almost every single coach offers some kind of free consultation or free mini-session. I recommend scheduling several. While ICF coaches will all have similar education, each coach brings to the coaching relationship their own unique gifts, skills, and experience. Asking your coach what unique gifts they bring to the coaching relationship during your free consultation is a great idea. You can also ask them to describe their style of coaching, or outline the process they use to help clients reach their goals. Remember - you are interviewing someone for the position of GUIDE on your journey of life. If you were going to trust a guide to take you to the top of Everest - you'd ask a few questions. This is your one wild and precious life, be intentional about the people you surround yourself with.
Remember, each and every life coach is a good fit for some people and not a good fit for other people. No coach is a good fit for every single person. This is a good thing. There are many amazing coaches out there that are not a good fit for you. If a coach is not a good fit for you, it doesn't mean anything, so there is no need to feel weird about it.
#3 - TRUST YOUR GUT
This is the most important part of choosing a Life Coach. You have a thing inside of you - call it your knower, your intuition, your higher self - whatever language you use to name that thing doesn't matter. What does matter is that you learn to trust it. That thing has the answers for you (and only you), and it is there to guide you in your life. When choosing a coach, let your gut guide you.
#4 - DISAPPOINT WHOEVER YOU NEED TO
It is your job to disappoint whoever you need to in order to follow your inner knowing. That means that you might have to disappoint the coaches that you had a free consultation with. You might have to disappoint a partner or friend who had an opinion on who you should coach with. This is not only okay, it is a practice that you must become an expert at if you are going to live the life that you were born to live. You didn't come here to be a people pleaser, you came here to shine your light.
#5 - A NOTE ON BEING UNCOMFORTABLE VS. BEING UNCOMFORTABLE
There are two types of discomfort, one you should feel while working with a coach and one you should never feel while working with a coach. When you pay attention to how you feel in your body, you can recognize the two feelings and how they are different.
When you feel uncomfortable on the inside, in your chest - like a start exploding outwards - that is the good kind of discomfort. This discomfort is accompanied by clarity and a sense of openness in your heart. That means that you are growing, or that you are about to take an action step that is going to result in your growth and development as a human. This feeling is an indicator that you are on the right path and doing the right thing.
When you feel uncomfortable from the outside, like pressure pushing down on your shoulders, in on your chest, or squeezing your head, like you're in a vice or a meat grinder - this is the bad kind of discomfort. This discomfort is accompanied by confusion, fuzzy thoughts, trusting another person over yourself, or shoulding on yourself. This means that something is out of alignment - and it's an indicator that it is time to stop, step back from the situation, and spend some time alone so that you can assess the situation.
I mention this because it's of utmost importance to understand as you go through your journey of life, but also because it pertains to finding a coach. If you feel pressured during your coaching consultation- if you feel that type II uncomfortable, that is a sign that the coach is not a good fit for you, and I recommend that you continue to seek free consultations until you find a coach/client relationship that feels safe and uplifting.
There is a strange phenomenon that sometimes occurs in humans. We can get into a rut in our lives where we pseudo-thrive off of negativity. It seemingly feels good in the moment, but it actually leaves us haggard and undernourished. The unhealed pain-bodies that live inside of us demand more and more, and they nibble off every piece of gossip we gather. They feast at the news hour, and they dessert on TV shows filled with conflict and fear.
When we find ourselves in this place, it is a red flag that something needs to change. We all have access to an inner parent, and when we use this facility, we lead better lives. There is a part of our human nature that, like a child, seeks to over-indulge itself in sweets. I refer to this part of myself as my “small self”.
This is the self that wants to take the easy route, makes excuses, gets easily irritated, becomes angry, and then proceeds to make the greatest speech you’ll ever regret.
The phases of life where I’ve allowed this small self to be the leader have ended up being some of the darkest, unfulfilling phases of my life.
Finish reading this article on Medium...
I've always had an inner drive to be the best that I can be. My entire life I've worked with therapists and coaches to harness my strengths, overcome my fears, and dig deeper into the experience of life. I've realized over the years that most people don't operate this way. In fact, some people believe that there is something wrong with you if you see a therapist or a coach. That's just silly. The truth is that you get to do this (thing called life) ONE TIME. That's it, just one pass through this awe-inspiring, absolutely intense, wild ride. For me, my soul signed me up years ago for the full ride. I'm in.
For those of you who are still on the fence about being all-in on your life, I've outlined three signs that working with a Life Coach could positively impact your experience of life.
If any of these statements ring true for you, continue reading and let's explore how working with a Life Coach could transform the way you're experiencing life.
#1 - There is a gap between what you SAY to yourself and what you actually DO.
For example, you tell yourself that you're going to work out three times next week, but then you don't end up doing it. You tell yourself that you're going to stand up for yourself the next time you're in a situation with that person, but time and again you don't. You tell yourself that you are going to share your needs and desires with your partner, but another month goes by, and you haven't done it. This gap between your thoughts and your actions is not serving you. In fact, it's hurting you.
#2 - You think of your desires as unreasonable or "wishful thinking".
Now that marijuana is legal in 19 states, we can normalize the term pipe dream, right? The term pipe dream means an unattainable or fanciful hope or plan. Every one of us has dreams that are deep in our soul, things that we wish for, experiences that we desire to have, or a version of ourselves that we want to be. About 95% of us never share the details of these dreams with another person because they are so sacred and special to us, that we desire to protect them at all cost. Usually, we tame the dream, dial it down by about 60%, and then we might consider sharing it. The truth is that very few of us choose to bring that dream (even the dialed down version) out into the light, share it with others, and take action towards achieving it.
If, after an episode of daydreaming, you brain tells you something like, "you're crazy", "that will never happen", "that's a pipe dream", "yeah, right" or "you wish", I hate to break it to you (and excuse my language), but your brain is a little bitch. Those kinds of thoughts aren't helping you. In fact, they are hurting you.
#3 - You are always busy and you never have enough time in your life
Time is our most valuable commodity. It is the thing we can't make more of and can't get back, and yet, we treat it carelessly. For some reason, many of us adopt a belief that we can't control our own time, and we become a slave to spending time in ways that don't honor us or fulfill us. More and more in our fast-paced world we use our business and overwhelm as proof that we matter. How many times has "I've been really busy" been your response to the question, "How are you?". Do you often tell yourself that there is not enough time? How many times a day do you think, "I have to _________." How many of you have had the competition with your partner, Who is more tired tonight?
If time is controlling you (instead of you controlling your time) that is not serving you. In fact, that habit is hurting you.
The good news is that simply becoming aware of what's actually happening is the first step. The second step is deciding if you want to do something about it. If so, this is where a Life Coach could help. If you're interested in investigating how coaching could transform these three areas of your life (or any other areas you might be interested in transforming), please set up a free consultation with me. I'd love the opportunity to connect with you and talk about life and the experience of being human (this is my all-time favorite thing to talk about and explore with others!)
I offer a warm, inviting space so there is no need to feel anxious about setting up your consultation. I don't believe in high-pressure sales, so you don't have to worry about being pressured into purchasing anything during our consultation. I will share with you the information you need to make a decision about coaching with me, and then request that you take a few days after our consultation to decide if this is the right step for you.
You see, I like to create powerful partnerships in my life. This requires both people to be fully in. I am fully committed to helping my clients achieve their goals, and when a client is fully committed to the coaching partnership - well, guys, anything can happen. I've been doing this work since 2010, and it's been a knock-your-socks-off, curl-your-toes kind of ride.
Life Coaching sessions are exciting, they are boring, they are fun, and they are challenging.
Like any journey, the journey of life and the sections of your path that you walk with your coach will contain a vast array of emotions and experiences. There will be fun times and there will be challenging times. Some sessions will include huge epiphanies that are earth-shaking and life-changing, other sessions will feel almost boring as you plod along the path to your goal. Some sessions are filled with laughter and they are incredibly fun, as you begin to live into your entire being and play full-out in life. Other sessions can include processing things like sadness, grief, or shame and they can be challenging as you begin to set your burdens down and release the things that have been holding you back.
I think we sell ourselves short and set ourselves up for disappointment when we expect any particular experience to be all one certain way. The truth is that being a human is complicated and nuanced, and life is complicated and nuanced. The universe is filled with chaos that we can't control and it impacts our lives in ways we don't fully understand, and while I'm usually a pretty science-driven, analytical gal, the truth is that this is a magic in all of this that I can't explain. Life is both the mundane and the extraordinary - and that is what your sessions will be too.
While each coaching session is unique and each client is unique, the average coaching session looks like this:
Mindy Amita Aisling