A lot of people ask me what it means to be a Life Coach; what does a life coach actually coach? Life? Kind of.
First, I never set out with the intention to “coach people’s lives.” As a new mom still dealing with some post partum issues I was working with a great therapist and talking about how I still loved teaching, but I had a feeling that there was “something more” that I wanted to do in my lfe.
And that feeling – that burning desire, the voice in my head that would say “what would it look like to do ____”, and that yearning for more connection – specifically with women to be open and honest about the things in life that get in our way – that feeling is one of the many topics that I work with my clients on.
I started to understand what my passions were – an interest in the research of Dr. Brené Brown, facilitating conversations that matter, connecting with others, and the desire to serve. That sounds a lot like teaching, right? Definitely. The missing piece for me was doing all of these things with women in a place where they could speak safely and openly about vulnerability and the parts of their lives that felt tucked away.
In my experience; we tend to focus on things in our lives that are “wrong”, or that we want to improve. That means two things 1) we are spending very little time focusing on what is “right” in our lives, and 2) if there isn’t a fire to put out in a certain life area then it tends to be set aside – which looks like being stagnant, monotonous, generally unfulfilling, or what many of my clients describe as “going through the motions”.
I was feeling stagnant – I had a new baby and I felt like I had gifts that weren’t being used. My life wasn’t bad, but it didn’t “spark joy”. I entered my life-coaching program with the intention of being able to apply to be a Daring Way Facilitator (trained in the research and curriculum of Dr. Brené Brown) once I was certified. In that yearlong program I learned a whole lot about myself – sometimes you have to take everything out, examine it, let some things go, and reorganize in order for life to feel full.
Sound familiar? Marie Kondo has been transforming our lives with her Netflix hit “Tidying Up”. She says that by looking at our space and keeping only things that “spark joy” we can lives full of more joy and prosperity. We must visualize our ideal life and then take inspired action to get there. In our house my husband has been using “Kondo’ing” as a verb “I just Kondo’ed the shit out of that closet.” And it’s dramatically improved the way we feel at home.
Her KonMari Method says that we commit to tidying, tidy by category, thank and discard items, and keep and tidy only the things that “spark joy”. Life Coaching is like the KonMari method for your mental and emotional space. We must visualize our ideal lives, and take inspired action to create them. Coaching brings clarity, organization, simplicity, and joy into areas outside of our physical space – our relationships, career, parenthood, spirituality, hobbies, health and wellness.
As a life coach I help my clients (whom tend to be women) examine what vulnerability means – this looks like having the courage to sift through their lives. How fulfilling is their work? What is the most difficult part of motherhood? What is stopping them from making a change in how they communicate, or not communicate? How do they keep ending up feeling like they are “running on empty? Why is it so hard to say “no?” Why are they so hard on themselves?
I won’t create the agenda or goals; coaching is unlike consulting or mentoring in that way. Unlike therapy we won’t spend a lot of time in the past, perhaps only to let go of some things that are no longer of service or satisfaction. We won’t look at things as “issues” or “problems”, in our work together we will consider them opportunities.
As a coach my job is to ask the tough questions, recognize the patterns, identify the energy, track the goals, celebrate the wins, clear the blocks, keep accountability, and help my clients live a Wholehearted life.
Finally, coaching is not about giving clients the answers. I believe that we already have them; they may just be hiding underneath a pile of limiting beliefs, in between some assumptions, or behind an inner critic. Besides – I can’t tell you what “sparks joy” for you; only you can do that.