September 26, 2014

What nobody tells you about being a life coach (the dark… and the light).

I can find something to love about just about every person I meet.
(Well… OK. Almost.)
But when I meet someone who has devoted his or her life to “public service” — whether through teaching, healing, philanthropy, solving problems through entrepreneurship, counseling or mentoring — that person gets flagged as “Extra Fabulous Fo’ Sho.”
Life coaches absolutely fall into that category.
Because life coaches are essentially public servants.
Some coaches make tons of money through their chosen form of service. Which is great. Others make less, either by choice or… not. (Annnd that’s a whole ‘nother conversation.)
But just about every life coach I’ve ever met was called to the profession for one reason:
To alleviate suffering and help make people’s lives… better.
I think that’s freaking amazing.
Having worked as a life coach for nearly eight years, mentoring hundreds of newbie and seasoned coaches along the way, I think all y’all coaches will agree with me when I say:
You don’t really know what being a coach is going to “feel” like… until you’re doing it.
If you’re thinking about becoming a life coach, in the midst of your first certification program, or just starting out with your first wave of clients…
Here’s what nobody tells you about being a coach (the dark… and the light).

1. You will kiss a lot of frogs. Meaning, until you learn who your “ideal clients” are…. You’ll have clients who drain your energy. Not because they are "bad people." Just because, for whatever reason, they are unwilling or unable to be open enough to improve their own lives.
Sometimes, you will have to "fire" these clients or refer them to a mental heath specialist who can help. It's painful. It happens.
2. You will have clients who are amazing people and who are totally willing to take action… that you’re STILL not able to help. ‘Cause for some reason, you just don’t “click.”
One of the most important skills you have to learn as a coach is how to attract the right
clients and filter out the not-right ones. It can be hard, especially when you’re new and (possibly) slightly desperate for clients. But it’s essential.
3. There will be people who don't understand what life coaching is, and who will accuse you of being a "fraud" or a "fake therapist with no credentials" or who tell you that you have "no right" to do the work that you do — regardless of your track record of success. It sucks. Let them have their opinions. You will survive.
4. You will have "brilliant" ideas for coaching products, services, events and experiences that will be a total failure. You might be "established." You might be "sought after." You might be featured in the glossy pages of O: The Oprah Magazine. EVEN THEN, not everything you launch will be an instant success.
I've sold out $6,000-per-ticket retreats in two hours, but I've launched my fair share of clunkers, too. Your ego might sting. But you'll learn to shake it off, learn what you can, and keep creating.

5. You will have the rare privilege of hearing another human being tell you the truth. The truth that she (or he) hasn't been able to say out loud to anyone, ever before. You will change that person's life, just by being there… bearing witness as the truth comes out.
6. You will witness the miracle of transformation. Daily. You will see marriages, reborn… careers, rebooted… businesses, launched… bodies, reshaped with commitment and love. You will play an active role in that transformation. You will be somebody's miracle-worker.
7. You will be confronted with your own shortcomings. Daily. You will be continually called to step up, be brave(r) and reach for your highest potential — even when it's uncomfortable. You will be called to lead by example.
8. Somewhere, there will be a husband / wife / boyfriend / girlfriend who is thinking, "Thank GOD that [your name here] came into my sweetheart's life. She / He is happier and more confident than ever before."
I’m blessed to receive notes, flowers and emails from grateful partners and spouses who say, “I love the effect you’ve had on my partner.” It’s truly one of the greatest feelings on earth.
9. You have the coolest job on earth.
OK, I might be a bit biased. But c’mon. Everything you do, learn, write, teach and work on is about becoming the best version of yourself, and showing others how to do the same.
What could be cooler than that?
(Maybe being the lead singer of Green Day. But that’s IT.)
To life coaches everywhere, I commend you, I adore you, and I’m moved by the work that you do.
There are over 7 billion people on this earth, and while obviously not every single one of them is your “ideal client,” you create a positive ripple effect on the planet every time you help even ONE person to fall in love with their life.
Thank you for all that you do.
When it’s “easy” and when it’s not.
Coach on.

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