“I need to interact with you in such a way that I create for you an opportunity to create for yourself another way of knowing and being and it needs to be distinct. ” ~Werner Erhard
A life coach is not an adviser, consultant, counselor, therapist, trainer, or teacher. This can be confusing because an athletic coach plays many of these roles at one time or another. And many experts who are really mentors, trainers, and teachers like to bill themselves as a coach because it taps into all the positive press coaches are getting these days. Therapists have started doing this as well even though they may have no coach training. They are hoping to skirt the negative feeling many have about going into therapy.
A life coach is different. If anyone offers you a prepackaged tool set that takes you to a predetermined goal line, they are not a life coach. If they start from a stance of diagnosis and deficits, they are not a life coach.
The life coach starts from “a position of not-knowing” and attempts to maintain that position throughout your relationship. By this, I do not mean they are ignorant or don’t know anything or have nothing to offer. A position of not-knowing, as Harlene Anderson defines it, is coming to an encounter without a predetermined agenda, without a predetermined sense of who you are or what you need.
Of course, a life coach has certain knowledge, expertise and skills to offer but these are not put in service of putting you in a box and working on your until you fit. A life coach commits his or her skills to supporting you in creating a clearing in which you can see and achieve your own goals and dreams.
A life coach is trained and committed to a dialog that opens and holds open a space for extraordinary things to happen. Your job in the coaching relationship is to define those things and do the work toward manifesting them. The coach’s job it to hold that space of possibility open and hold you accountable to your word.
What this means is: The coach does not do something to you or for you that makes your life work. There is no silver bullet. But if you are ready to do the hard work of creating possibility in your life, a life coach can offer powerful support to facilitate your having that happen.
Having the right life coach is like adding a turbocharger to your car. Same car, same engine, but a lot more juice when you need it.
Rodney Merrill, MPH, PhD
- Personal Life Coach
- Health Behavior Specialist
- Consulting Sport Hypnotist
- Master Hypnotist
- NLP Master Practitioner