As I do when I attempt any goal, I completed a lot of research before making a firm decision to become a Life Coach! I questioned coaches regarding the pro’s and cons of their choice, and what, if anything, they would have done differently in retrospect. They all mentioned establishing a fine line between coaching and counseling, and how important it is for the client to understand the difference as well. My favorite definition, however, is that a “Life Coach is who you seek out when you need help crossing a bridge, a Counselor is who you see when you want to jump off the bridge”.
I must admit I’ve received valuable input from both! When it came to work and relationships, I’ve wanted to jump off the bridge for many years. Although that mainly happened because I just fell into both without careful consideration, I still needed that counselor’s ear to vent about things I couldn’t control. For me, a counselor was my only reliable feedback. It was challenging to receive advice from family and friends, especially when they also had many problems of their own that they themselves couldn’t successfully navigate. I needed someone to tell me what I needed to hear, the truth. That can be challenging for friends and family as they don’t want to stick the knife any deeper into an existing wound. Frankly, oftentimes they just give bad, or even self-serving advice. It’s helpful to know if I am really the problem, or just in a dysfunctional situation. Sometimes being surrounded by crazy can be confusing and have you wondering if it’s you or them!
The coach came into play when I was tired of staying in that story, which was my life. It’s like that saying, “when the student is ready, the teacher will come”. Eventually I got tired of hearing myself speak the same life drama over and over again. (I also noticed that the one constant in all stress related challenges was me!). I was stuck in my story, and constantly repeating it kept me there. Once there was a mental shift I realized I needed to make an action plan. I was ready to move on to a Life Coach, and also wanted someone who had gone through the same challenges I had faced. For example, since I am divorced, I felt I would connect better with someone that had gone through a divorce as well. The counselor was a part of the past that wanted to leave behind, I now desired a fresh start. It was time to let go in order to grow, and to cross the bridge into my future.