When I first heard about life coaching, the most persistent association I had to the word “coach” was Mr. Lawson, our elementary school gym teacher. He scared me. An ex-marine still sporting the jar-head haircut, whistle around his neck, he patrolled the halls bellowing orders. He called all the girls “toots,” which even at 8, I knew wasn’t a complement. Coach. Me? Ew- no.
Even after getting trained and certified as a Life & Career Coach, I still resisted the title. I wracked my brain for a better one: life midwife, supporter, partner, friend with life benefits, guide, trail master, Sherpa,… none of them had quite the right meaning.
Recently, I noticed that the word coach doesn’t feel quite so inaccurate. Obviously, I say it a lot more since my training days, but more importantly, as I practice coaching the way I imagine it can be, the less I care about the name.
Here are 5 Reasons I love what I do and no longer mind being called “coach” – – most of the time.
1. I meet great people. Interesting people with lifestyles, careers, histories, interests and desires, all fascinating to me. People I would never have met otherwise. And, most of them wouldn’t describe themselves the way I just did.
2. People (that are also clients) accomplish things they’ve always wanted like.
- Paint again after a creative block
- Find a career that matches their passion, skills & financial needs
- Finish a dissertation on hold for over 30 years
- Create a peaceful family life
- Quit smoking
- Create new satisfying & effective relationships with co-workers and superiors
3. And, they say things like this:
- “It makes a huge difference to talk to you – you’re the only person that isn’t going to judge anything that comes out of my mouth, judge the people I’m talking about or tell me what I should do. I can find the solutions better when you are listening and asking questions.”
- “The best money I ever spent!”
4. I get to be creative too! Finding new ways to apply the skills I gathered from my varied careers & interests, with clients, every day, is beyond satisfying.
5. Doing the other stuff, the “businessy” stuff that being a coach requires puts me in the same position as many of my clients; taking risks; practicing what I know will support me while I manage the unknown; dealing with inner criticism and worry. I have a chance to walk my talk. Every day.
6. I know I said there’d be 5, but this one is important. People vary and people can change. So each change, and the process of that change, varies for each person too. Clients let me parachute into their lives and help them figure this out. It’s the best.
Though I’m holding out for that day when a better name for what I do finds me (feel free to post your suggestions), I describe my career as a life, learning & career coach.
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