Confessions of a Life Coach – Part Two
Haven’t caught up on ‘Confessions of a Life Coach – Part One’ yet? That’s okay, you can read it here.
Let the truth-telling, bean-spilling, myth-busting outpour continue…
7. Sometimes we surprise ourselves with what comes out of our mouths.
Occasionally we have epiphanies live as we are talking to you in your sessions based on what you are feeling and sharing with us. For us it feels like a lot of little dots connecting all at once then spontaneously morphing themselves into a new idea or concept.
At times, when we feed our thought back to you, we fair-dinkum surprise ourselves at how amazing it sounds. This may appear odd or self-centred but it’s the truth. In that moment we feel like Beckham should be bending it like us rather than the other way around. If we were on our own and we had a mic, we’d drop it.
8. We haven’t always been a coach.
Coaching isn’t an old industry, so while many of us may have been unofficially coaching others before we realised it was a ‘thing’ and trained in it, most of us had another job first and/or are qualified in something different. I was a qualified and working social worker, counsellor and youth services manager before I became a coach. While studying in the past, I have also worked as a baker, a tutor, a professional dog walker and a barista. I’ve often giggled at the thought of putting all of those things together – it would be the workplace equivalent of a (in my case highly uncoordinated) one-woman band.
Through my role training wonderful people to be life coaches at the Beautiful You Coaching Academy, I have seen people coming into the industry that have been lawyers, event managers, yoga instructors, optometrists, massage therapists, retail assistants, nurses, project managers, school teachers, journalists, bloggers, accountants, designers…the list goes on.
There are many qualities that make a phenomenal coach but, believe it or not, a background in coaching is not necessarily one of them.
9. We can’t hide from our truth, but we wish we could at times and will if we can find a chance.
One of the most helpful yet utterly infuriating things as a coach is that it’s near impossible to hide from ourselves when we are getting in our own way or have something pop up that needs some emotional work and attention. We see what we are doing almost instantaneously and, because of our work, feel an immediate sense of accountability to do something about it. If we ever find ourselves in a position where how we are living our lives and what we are saying to our clients is not in alignment, it eats at us. Being hypocritical is like kryptonite to a coach.
Despite knowing in our heart that we need to address whatever it is and feeling a harsh twang of guilt for every moment that we don’t, we also like to think that because we are so skilled in the art of self-awareness, we can get away with ‘pushing on’ through the issue without acknowledging what it is longer than some other people do – like we have greater resilience, more capacity to emotionally disconnect or more stamina than the rest of the world.
It’s utter crap. All we truly are at best is more aware of the problem. Realistically, us playing the game of ‘I wonder how long I can push on feeling this way before I implode’ ends up being little more than a misled competition-for-one in the hope of reaching a PB. Not the helpful kind of PB where you run your fastest kilometre or save $5000 for a holiday in record time, but the kind that resembles getting the most rubbish you ever have into your kitchen bin before it overflows and you have to take it out. You know that challenge, the one where you find yourself trying to balance a used tissue in the small crevice between half an eggshell and the ball of cling wrap that preciously nestled your 500g of mince against its shiny plastic packing tray. The one where you feel like you’re an architectural genius for that moment when the tower of crud stands proudly against all odds, but ultimately you end up with last week’s mouldy bread, said tissue, both halves of the eggshell and tuna brine on the floor.
As a coach, it fells like that period of blissful ignorance between something internal happening and us realising that it’s happening has been stolen from us, and we therefore have to choose between the exhaustion that comes with addressing it immediately or the exhaustion that comes with the guilt of knowing we SHOULD be addressing it, but aren’t.
If we are really lucky, we find this saving grace in these situations: procrastination via alternate task. (Welcome to how this ‘Confessions of a Life Coach’ series started in the first place.)
Oh, and in case you were wondering, this is what the post-implosion end of my current PB in the ‘I wonder how long I can push on feeling this way before I implode’ game looked like:
(no filter, old iPhone and, ironically, wearing my favourite Dr. Seuss pyjamas which have “You’re off to great places! Today is your day!” written across the front)
10. You bring us what we need, too.
The number of times that coaches see the issues they are facing in their own lives mirrored back to them in the lives of their clients is uncanny. There are times when we hang up from a Skype call from you and, in our reflection, either shake our head in acknowledgment of how much we need to pay attention to the same words and questions that we just asked you, or frantically fumble for a notepad to journal out some thoughts.
You serve us and our lives in a truly remarkable and special way – and you are often none the wiser.
11. People try to get free coaching off us all the time. Sometimes we feel really used.
I know I’m not alone in having lost count of the number of times someone contacts me for the first time in a loooong while saying that they miss me, they are dying to know how I’m going and they would love to catch up for coffee, only to find that within minutes of my tush hitting the seat in the cafe and my almond latté order leaving my mouth, I’m being asked for business advice, or, in relation to the person’s personal situation: “what kinds of things do you think I should be thinking about?” Often I find myself leaving the catch up two hours, two lattés and a muffin later having been asked nothing at all about myself and my world.
This kind of thing breaks our hearts as coaches. Not because we don’t care or want to help (we really, really do!) but because we instantly feel that if not for the wish for support, you may not have invited us out at all. When you see us shuffling in our seats as you’re talking, it’s not because we aren’t listening, it’s because we are uncomfortably contemplating how we are going to respond to being asked to give something away for free that our treasured clients are parting with precious money for. We don’t want to do them a disservice.
It is never people reaching out for help that makes a coach feel sad; we love that – it is just those moments when we think people want to connect with our heart and our soul and instead find they are merely looking for our brain.
12. We have added a new tier to Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’.
It sits at the base below physiological needs like food, water, warmth and rest.
It is labelled ‘wi-fi.’
While we like to pretend that we don’t need it and deep down hate that we do, so much of our work and our ability to share our message is dependent on access to the internet. Watch us ask for the wi-fi code within seconds of entering a cafe and see us freak out when we are involuntarily stuck without internet access for more than 24 hours.
Sometimes we tell you that we are taking a sabbatical or going on a retreat to ‘FULLY’ disconnect from technology, but you’ll likely see us post 20 photos of said escape when we get back. #offline
Part three of this post is coming soon, but, in the meantime, if there is a thought you have had about coaches that you would like me to speak to, please pop it in the comments!
If you are a coach and you can relate to any of these confessions, please also sing out and let me know! A confession shared may not be a confession halved, but at least we’ll be side-by-side.
If you are still on the hunt for ‘Part One’, head here.