I like watching people succeed at their goals. I love being a part of that success. This is true in ministry, in my IT career, and in my personal life. As a children’s and youth pastor, I’m in a position to help young people learn more about themselves, what they want, and what they need to do to accomplish those things. However, I’m also there to serve as counsel and be a teacher of what’s appropriate and what’s not. Those latter responsibilities are very important and make up the bulk of my duties in that position. As a result, I do more directing and leading than “cheerleading.” Likewise in my IT career I’ve been a mentor, meaning I’ve helped folks learn what they needed to learn and basically point them in the right direction. Both of those positions are about directing folks.
A life coach doesn’t do these things. Instead, a life coach:
- Helps a person identify those areas of life they want to improve.
- Helps a person determine which areas are most important.
- Helps a person identify goals that will improve those areas.
- Helps a person determine next steps to move towards those goals.
- Encourages the person as they move towards those goals.
- Helps keep a person accountable by asking them about their progress.
This is a very different approach than being a teacher or a mentor. And this is very different from our traditional image of a coach. A life coach understands that the impetus for change must come from the person. A life coach also understands that a person is most likely to make changes and pursue goals which correspond with the areas that a particular person feels is most important. Also, a life coach guides a person to determine the path to proceed along, but the person being coached does the majority of the “heavy lifting.” This is because folks will tend to work on the steps they’ve developed. They have ownership. Also, we typically know what we have to do, we’re just uncertain about it. Either we don’t trust ourselves in the fact that we can come up with the solution or we don’t trust ourselves to implement the solution. This is where a life coach steps in. He or she helps one work out those concerns and feel more confident about the action and the ability to accomplish it.
I’m starting out small, working with a couple of guys at work. They’re young and they’re smart and they have big dreams. My friendship with them is such that if something isn’t working or seems odd, they don’t feel any hesitation to tell me. After all, they know that being a life coach is one of my dreams, and as my friends they want to help me just as much as I want to help them. I’m really looking forward to the growing and accomplishing and succeeding all three of us will be doing over the coming months.