Sometimes, at cocktail parties and wedding receptions and barbeques, when the “so, what do you do?” question comes from a stranger, I’ll simply say, “I’m a coach.”
Then they say, “oh, like a…like a….sports coach?”
Being someone who has played sports for a total of about five minutes in my lifetime, someone who significantly lowered my high school GPA by cutting PE regularly (out of a desire to avoid humiliation), being someone who knocked the ball out of the park in all the wrong sports (like tennis) the idea of moi, as sports coach, never ceases to amuse me.
Post chuckle, I explain, “No, a life coach…a leadership coach.”
I don’t like the term. For me, “coaching” implies instructing, yelling, arm-waving, and motivating — from the side of the field. Not a resonant metaphor for what I do.
If I were to create a picture for my work, it would look more like sitting down on the floor, crossed legged, across from my client (even though we are actually on the phone), and holding my hands cupped open in the space between us.
In that space we are going to create a welcoming home for their dreams, longings, and authentic self, and then we are going to slay the dragons that get in the way of them living a life that is a brilliant expression of that.
That’s what we do.
For me, coaching is not advising or instructing. I don’t have the content expertise to know about every client’s career field. I don’t know what you should do next — I don’t have those kinds of answers.
What I do have is this: I know what we look like and sound like when the authentic voice speaks. I know what it sounds like when we access inner wisdom. I have a bunch of tools and questions and tricks up my sleeve that can help you get away from the anxious, self-doubting chattering voice in your head and instead settle into a connection with inner wisdom. Inner wisdom is where the advising comes from.
I know how to ask questions or shine a little spotlight to surface where you might be stuck in a limiting belief that’s not true, or where you are just generally cheating yourself of the life you could have. I know how and when we get stopped by fear and what we can do about that.
I know how to help you remember what’s at the core of you, and to live it.
Secretly (so please don’t tell anyone), I don’t think of what I do as coaching. In my heart, I know it to be soul facilitation. Facilitating the emergence of soul. (If you don’t like the term soul, please substitute “essence” or “authentic self” or “the best of a person”— I mean all that too.)
That’s my covert agenda — making sure that what is most beautiful and unique and true in every person gets fully expressed in the world. I know, along the way, you got the message that that core, bare, effortless you in some way wasn’t good enough or couldn’t exactly be trusted or wasn’t right for this world. In fact it is just what this world needs, and I want you to live it, for the sake of your heart, and for the sake of our collective future.
And that is how I coach with love.