This is a question I get asked often, and it makes me giggle because I used to ask the same exact question!
True story…. several years ago I was at the dentist for a routine checkup. I had to use the restroom. As I was walking down the hall to the facilities I stumbled upon a really cool advertisement for a life coach. I remember thinking to myself “what the heck is a life coach?” I was curious, so I took down some information and decided to do some investigating. I learned that a life coach can help people get unstuck in certain areas of their life, and at the time that’s exactly what I needed. I was desperately trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grow up. I was definitely intrigued by this life coach thing, but I didn’t do anything about it. I just left it there, no action taken.
Fast forward a couple years after that dentist appointment. I was doing some research and poking around on a local wellness center's website, and there she was again – the same life coach in the advertisement from a few years back. I got goosebumps (a sure sign I’m on to something interesting). I knew I had to pay attention and take action this time, because I was still stuck.... and I don’t believe in coincidences. I called to get more info, and I liked what I heard. At this point I had completed breast cancer treatment, and I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Now I really wasn’t happy in my career, even more so then before. I was dabbling in so many different things just trying to figure out what brought me joy. I wanted a career I felt passionate about, something that felt meaningful for me. I felt very lost, and very much like a failure.
Long story short (too late), I took the plunge and invested in a 3-month coaching program. It was a life changing experience. During those 3 months I started to experience many shifts in my thinking, and in my behavior. Some amazing things started to happen. I began to feel incredible freedom. I started to identify with what brought me happiness simply by paying attention to me. I learned to reconnect with my body, never knowing I had disconnected from it. I started to notice things that felt good physically, and began to explore them. Truth is, our physical body sends us clues all the time once we learn to pay attention to it. My corporate career came to an end, but in a good way, and on good terms. My experience working with a life coach set the wheels in motion. It became crystal clear what I wanted and needed to do. I was going to be a life coach. I signed up for the Martha Beck Life Coach Training Program, a 9-month intensive program where I learned some of the most powerful coaching tools, met the most incredible people, and continued doing a ton of work on myself. One thing I learned that is so important, and it just happens to be one of the program’s core values, is “live it to give it”. What does that mean? Well, to me it means that personal growth and development is huge. Tackling my own demons, identifying my painful stories, and working on me is absolutely critical if I'm going to be of service in this field.
So, back to the original question – what the heck is a life coach? Here’s the deal - as a life coach I help mentally healthy people make positive changes that bring more joy and satisfaction to their life. Together we work on making things better. How? Well, this is done by exploring thought patterns that cause suffering, reconnecting with the body, and developing baby steps to reach goals. Powerful questions are asked to help uncover negative belief patterns and find the answers that are already within. In other words, I’ve learned some really cool coaching tools that help pick apart the crap that keeps people stuck. How do I know this works? I have experienced it firsthand. I have worked with a lot of incredible coaches, I have used the tools on myself, and I have witnessed incredible transformations with my very own clients. It's a beautiful thing!
The reason I decided to become a coach was to share what I have learned, and help people the way it helped me. The areas I am passionate about are the ones I have struggled with the most – navigating life after breast cancer, permanent weight loss (i.e. no fad diets), and learning to love my body (that’s a blog for another day, but you can read more about it here).
Now, it is important to note that life coaching is not therapy. The best analogy I’ve heard is one from Martha Beck: “A Life Coach is to a therapist what a personal trainer is to a doctor”. So....you can think of a life coach like a personal trainer for your soul. Working with a life coach can help you see your true potential. It can also help you learn to identify and unload what no longer serves you. The ultimate goal is to make life better! The beautiful part is you already have everything you need, I simply shine the light to help you find it (that gives me goosebumps!).
Coaching is my calling, I know this now. It’s funny too, because I have always been a coach of sorts. I always wanted to help people. I have a degree in Sociology. Back in college I was always the girl who was in the bathroom listening to someone’s sob story. I’m the friend people call when they need to talk. I’m the person total strangers feel comfortable telling their life story to. I consider this an honor and a privilege, and now I get to make it my career. I may have taken several detours get to here, but there were valuable lessons along the way. On this journey I learned how to follow my heart again. And now I know that even when we take a wrong turn, our heart will always lead us back to our path. xoxo