So you want to be a life coach? Is it a dream or a goal?
Your answer to this question will determine whether you will actually become a life coach or just think about being one.
For most people, life coaching is a dream. It’s an idea that has been brewing inside them for years. They’re sick and tired of their day job. They want to do something that has meaning. They want to help people. They want to make their own hours. They know they can do it because they’re the person in their circle of friends everyone comes to for advice. As you’re reading this, you can relate. Correct? Okay, then let’s switch from them to you. You’re interested in life coaching or at the very least curious about it. You see people around you becoming coaches and building their practice online. You see people posting their services on social media. You know you can do the same, if not better. But you have doubts and fears. So for you, becoming a life coach is just an idea. A dream. My goal is to nudge you from dream to goal. That’s where the life coaching journey begins. The distance isn’t as wide as you think. It really isn’t. There are two things keeping you behind the dream fence. Fear and lack of information. I’ll give you the information first. Then we’ll work on that fear thing.
What is life coaching?
Many are misinformed about what life coaching exactly is. Many believe you need a clinical background to become a life coach. Or that you have to have all your shit together. Both are completely false. Although I am a life coach, I am also a licensed therapist. In the thousands of sessions I’ve done in the last decade, I can count on one hand how many wanted treatment for a clinical issue. 98% of everyone I have ever coached wanted help with their relationships, dating, career transitions, break ups, all the stuff you have already been helping your friends and family with. You just haven’t been getting paid for it.
I started my coaching career as I was going through one of the toughest winters of my life, a divorce. Being in a place of rebuilding myself actually made me a more powerful coach. I was able to share my life learnings and revelations. I didn’t hide that I was struggling with my own “issues”. It humanized me and made me relatable. This produced more glue with my clients. My point is as a life coach it’s okay to be you. Many believe you have to present yourself a certain way or have a stack of life accomplishments. Maybe as a business coach you have to have had some success as a business person. But as a life coach, it’s completely different. Your value isn’t your accomplishments. It’s you and your story.
Here’s what life coaching is NOT.
Life coaching is NOT therapy.
Life coaching is NOT just giving advice.
Life coaching is NOT telling someone what to do.
Life coaching is NOT giving someone a magic life plan.
Life coaching is NOT about fixing anyone.
Here’s what’s life coaching is:
Life coaching is guiding, supporting, and creating a space for honest dialogue that will spark revelations. Then you help your client execute her revelations by doing what you can to make them accountable. Check-ins. Emails. The way you do that is up to you and your client.
Life coaching is a conversation + accountability. That’s it. Hopefully many conversations. But at the end of the day, that’s what it is.
Now let’s talk about your fears.
Fear will set in if you believe you’re responsible for someone’s life.
It’s easy to feel this way because your client is confiding in you. Because you are following someone’s story. But there is a difference between following someone’s story and being responsible for one. You are never responsible for someone’s journey. That is not what you signed up for. That is not your job. The football coach is not responsible for the player’s athletic career. He trains, guides, encourages, motivates, and makes him accountable.
Fear will set in if you don’t believe you have what it takes to help someone.
If you’ve gone through some shit in your life and have come out the other end wiser, you can help someone. Life coaching is about life struggles, and although we are all unique individuals with unique stories, we all struggle with the same things. Relationships. Break ups. Dating. Grieving. Career transitions. Getting our asses into the gym. If you’ve been through it, you can help someone. What if you haven’t? Then you can still help someone by helping them go through what they’re going through. Remember, it’s not about answers. It’s about creating a space and connection. If you’re a living breathing human and you have a story, you can create both.
Fear will set in if you believe you need to quit your day job to become a life coach.
You don’t need to quit your day job to become a life coach. As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t. Many people don’t pursuing coaching because they feel they’ll won’t have any security if they make that big leap. But there’s doesn’t have to be a big leap. It takes time to build a practice. So you start your coaching journey by doing it on the side. See it like a hobby. Start exploring the field. Join Facebook groups related to wellness and engage. Follow other life coaches to see what they’re doing. Take a life coaching course. Then one day, your hobby will be your full time job.
Okay, are you less afraid now? I hope so. If not, what are your fears? After reading all the information above, is that fear valid? Or is it something you’re creating in your head. By reframing what it means to be a life coach and walking through your fears, life coaching can be a goal. No longer just a dream.
I believe anyone can be a life coach. All you need is a passion to help others and a story. You have both. The rest is logistics. So if you’ve always wanted to be a life coach or you’ve become curious about it recently, now’s the time to act on your feeling.
Here’s the very first step.
John Kim is a writer, therapist and life coach living in Los Angeles.