The Dirty Little Secret About Life Coaches
We call ourselves life coaches, executive coaches, peak performance coaches, business coaches, creative catalysts, and relationship coaches.
You see our Facebook posts that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside (or give you a kick you in the ass). You read our blogs or books, listen to us on podcasts, and watch us on television or web interviews.
You might think to yourself, “Wow! What an amazing life she has! He has his life together so well! Look at how happy she looks!”
Here’s our dirty little secret though…
We’re all fucked up.
We fail all the time. We lie sometimes. We occasionally overeat and overdrink. We cry. And then we cry some more.
Sometimes we are mean. Sometimes we get jealous. Sometimes we are selfish. Sometimes we lose our temper.
We swear. We fart. We poop. We burp.
Sometimes we feel stuck. Sometimes we feel hopeless. Sometimes we question whether running this business is worth all the stress and uncertainty. And sometimes we even get depressed.
You should see what goes on in our private Facebook groups. An outsider might say, how is this crazy person going to help me make more money or fix my relationship?
But the fact of the matter is we do. Otherwise no one would pay us.
No, life coaches aren’t superhuman. But they are extremely effective at what they do. Here are some of the reasons why.
1. We’re not afraid to ask for help
The difference I see between my coach friends and non-coach friends is that we are not afraid to ask for help.
Sometimes things overwhelm me and I send a stream of consciousness ranting email to several of my coach friends. Sometimes I call them on the phone. Or sometimes I post in one of our private Facebook groups.
My coach friends reach out to me all the time. We trade time on the phone together. We help each other on our product launches. We proofread important emails for each other.
And when we reach out we have no shame in “not being able to do this all on our own.”
Because we realize that it’s actually much stronger, wiser, and healthier to ask for help than to try and navigate this world all on our own.
2. We know our weaknesses and shadow traits
If someone calls themself a “guru” or claims to have “the secret to a perfect life” than run for the hills. They are lying to you.
We all have weaknesses and shadow traits.
I drink more than I should. Then I overeat when I drink. I’m poor at implementation and follow through. Sometimes I’m selfish. And I regularly waste too much time on the Internet.
But at least I know it and I’m working on it with the help of other people, systems, and programs.
We’re constantly gaining more and more self awareness whether it’s by being coached ourselves, taking a personality test, attending a workshop, or reading the latest book on psychology, willpower, or performance.
So ya, we’re messed up. But at least we know how and we’re working on it.
And most importantly, we accept it.
3. We have a huge toolbox of questions, tools, and exercises to help you get unstuck
If I was in a mentoring relationship with you, I would tell you what to do with your life based off of my experiences.
But when I’m in a coaching relationship with you, I create a safe space to work through your biggest challenges through the process of asking the right questions. And I have a lot.
- What would your best self do in this situation?
- What’s preventing you from __________?
- Who would you be if you didn’t care about the opinions of others?
- What do you need more of?
- What do you need less of?
- What sucks right now?
- Who first gave you that message?
- What would love ask you to do right now?
- How is that story serving you?
A good coach doesn’t tell you what to do. They simply ask the right questions to help you to tap into your inner greatness. We are experts at the process of changing behavior, which is way more valuable than giving advice.
And once our call wraps up, we will be on the phone the next week to make sure you did what you said you were going to do.
4. We are not your friend
We may be friendly, but we are not your friend. At least during our calls together.
We demand the best from you. We hold you accountable and challenge you every week to do more than you think you can do.
We make you feel uncomfortable. Sometimes we make you cry. Sometimes you might even hate us a little.
But for an hour at a time we put every ounce of our being into holding space for you, challenging your limiting beliefs, and pushing you to be your best self.
And who do you have in your life right now that does that for you?
5. We’ve gone through a lot
Most of us are coaches because life bitch slapped us somewhere along the way and took our life off of autopilot. Or we suffered great trauma and learned how to cope with it and now we want to share that gift with you.
I was overweight when I was young and got teased because of my weight.
I had extreme social anxiety, to the point of not being able to even talk to a woman.
I grew up with a great deal of fear, shame, and guilt from my super strict religious upbringing.
And in the course of one year, I lost my mom, I lost my corporate job, I lost my apartment, I lost all of my material possessions, I lost my girlfriend, and I lost much of my identity. Some of these were stripped away from me, some of them were a conscious choice on my part. But the fact of the matter is, I went through huge loss after huge loss.
I know many coaches who have suffered sexual trauma. Others left abusive relationships. Others beat eating disorders.
But we learned how to deal with the hurt, the pain, and the loss. We learned how to succeed despite our shortcomings. And we learned how to live in gratitude, contentment and happiness despite our life circumstances.
And why would we ever want to hide that gift from you?
Yes, every life coach that I know is messed up. We are flawed, we have issues, and sometimes we are ugly. Do you know why?
It’s because we are human.
Just. Like. You.