What is a Life Coach?

Five things you should know about mentorship and change

A few years ago the word ‘coach’ meant baseball or soccer coach; or possibly it meant a tutor who was helping you study for an exam.

Now people may think that you mean a Life Coach. Life Coaches are everywhere! The Life Coach reflects a changing paradigm for how we understand personal transformation, accountability, innovation leadership, and in how you take control of your life. At Five Changes we don’t actually use the word Coach because we draw on a depth of expertise that is beyond the skill-set of most Life Coaches and we don’t want to be misleading. However coaching, mentoring, and leadership development is what we do.

What is a Life Coach?

1. A Different Focus: Possibilities for the Future.

For many people coaches have replaced psychotherapists as a resource for support and change. Therapy is good at resolving conflicts of the past, while coaching tends to focus on developing new possibilities for the future. This is a simplified view of both coaching and therapy, because the past and future are inextricably interconnected, but it does reflect an important distinction.

In fact we explain to our clients that they can’t change the future until they change the past; that it’s the future that is fixed, and that you can only change it by transforming your past. That means changing the mindset, emotional patterns, and limiting beliefs of the past before you can expect to get different results in the future. Fortunately Five Changes NLP has given us the skills to help our clients make those changes rapidly and decisively, so that they can turn their focus to building a new vision for what is possible, beyond anything they may have even been conceivable before making those internal changes.

2. More than Feeling Good: Everything Depends on Your Emotional State

Emotions change. Most people’s emotions are dependent on, and triggered by, random events and circumstances. Many people’s emotional landscape is unpredictable. Most life coaches, like most psychotherapists, have a limited understanding of how to master their emotions .. for themselves, let alone as something they can teach their clients. However, the best of them do.

Everything you experience in life, how you learn, change, and the results you achieve, is dependent on your emotional state. Learning to become a master of your emotional state is essential for achieving the results that reflect your true potential. Life Coaching is a way of leading you towards that mastery. As one of our own mentors says, “When I wake up in the morning I ask myself, how much pleasure can I allow myself to experience today?”

Pleasure, far from being frivolous or self-indulgent, is essential to living on purpose. The pleasure we take in everything we do determines how we do it, as well as the results we get from it.

3. Transformation and Mentorship

The term Mastery implies that you stand on your own two feet. It does not mean that your journey is over, because the work of living and learning is never done.

At different times we need different kinds of mentorship and support. The greatest leaders, entrepreneurs, healers, problem-solvers, and creative people all have mentors— different ones at different times. The more effective they are the more they surround themselves with people who can mentor, guide, and support them. They understand that when you are too close to a situation it’s impossible to see it clearly. They know that perspective is one of the things no one can get on their own.

4. The Leader of Your Own Life.

Many people we meet, clients and potential clients, have deep-seated issues about money and value. They believe, on an unconscious level, that money is in conflict with ‘spiritual’ values; or that “the love of money is the root of all evil;” or that money is how the ‘system’ oppresses people. It’s a bit like blaming oxygen for murder, just because murderers breathe it. Oxygen is not the real issue, neither is money.

People usually have difficulties with money because they are confused about their own intrinsic value, as well as the value of what they do in the world. They live, unconsciously, from a perspective of fear and scarcity. Unless they check it, it turns into a pervasive self-fulfilling prophecy that can only be broken when they finally make a clear decision to transform the old mindset that has them seeking value (or validation) outside themselves.

Another way of describing this is from the perspective of personal congruity. Congruity means that you are in agreement with yourself; that your conscious and unconscious mind are in agreement; that you do what you love, and love what you do. Money problems, like health problems, and relationship problems, are only symptoms of deeper level incongruities.

A good life coach will simultaneously help you address the symptoms, while helping you transform those deep level problems so that you learn to master the patterns that triggers the problems in the first place.

5. Power Over or Power With

Teaching is what others do to you, learning is what you do for yourself.

The new paradigm for change is not to follow blindly, but to learn by doing. It’s not by blindly accepting the authority or examples from the past, but to adapt, collaborate, and develop the kind of leadership skills that let you become the leader of your own life; not as a lone wolf ahead of the pack but as a participant at the center of a collaborative matrix of innovation and change.

Unlike other most old-school models for change – therapy, education, spiritual teaching, business development – the new model for mentoring and coaching exemplifies a partnership model based on mutual respect, power with and through, rather than power over; collaboration rather than authority, listening rather than dictating.

There is such an abundance of self-declared Life Coaches it’s hard to imagine where they all come from. Some are skilled, others are less so. Some are natural catalysts for change, others rely on a bag of tricks. Everyone can benefit from mentoring from a professional, but as in any market place, do your research, ask around. Above all, when considering a coach or a mentor, ask yourself if they are living the things you expect to learn from the. Ask yourself, are they teaching what they need to learn themselves, or are they teaching what they have truly embodied.