How To Become A Life Coach: Part two - What Is Life Coaching?Dec 08, 2022
This is a difficult one. Personally after 25 years in the business I have tried to rename myself something different because Life Coaching means something different to everyone.
In my book Life at Altitude I describe 5 levels of consciousness and how the awareness of these levels helps us to understand ourselves and the people we interact with. These levels have become so clear to me that almost everything falls into these categories. This understanding has helped me define for myself and my many students what life coaching is, and may help you decide what kind of life coach you want to be.
We can often understand things by comparing things to other things and being able to see the differences. I will lay out some of my definitions. This may help you decide if becoming a life coach is for you, and/or to be able to move through the levels with your clients at different times, this is a surprisingly important skill to be a good coach.
I will start at a lower level of consciousness and go up in levels. A lower level of consciousness is not less than, it just has a different feeling and result. Dont worry too much about the levels unless you want to look deeper into my philosophy.
Consultant (Level 2)
A consultant takes a known body of information and helps people integrate it and understand it. Every system needs consultants. A dental consultant teaches techniques, the business of dentistry, or technology. An engineering consultant brings the knowledge of engineering to a project. You can probably think of many examples.
Some coaches act as consultants, they have learned a certain system and then take it out to others and apply the knowledge and understanding they have to others. You can consult people with NLP, or tapping, or many of the other powerful modalities out there.
Teacher (Level 3)
In my lexicon a teacher is someone who has had some personal insight and teaches it to others. My book is teaching, this article is teaching. I could sit you down and teach it to you. I discovered something and I am sharing it with you.
There are many coaches that act as teachers, they are sharing what they have discovered with you, they are teaching it to you. This can be very valuable and I have learned a lot from teachers.
The pitfall at this level is that a teacher wants you to conform to their model, “if you are a hammer everything looks like a nail”, it is possible to get confused or judge yourself if your coach/teacher wants you to do it their way when it does not flow or work for you. To be a teacher requires a certain level of narcissism and self certainty. Be wary of coach/teachers who expect you to see it their way and cannot listen to you and adapt.
Coach (Level 4)
In my Life Coaching Academy, I teach Inquiry Method. I see inquiry as fundamental for all coaches. My definition of a Life Coach is someone who helps their client to understand themselves better. Whereas as a teacher I want you to understand me and my idea, as a coach I want you to understand you. What is it like to be you? What is behind that? What does it feel like? What are you thinking?
This method of coaching is shockingly powerful and empowering for the client. Instead of trying to change my client, in my process of understanding them they learn about themselves. They become the agent of their own change and I only facilitate it and encourage them.
It is extraordinarily simple, but challenging, to do this because my ego as a coach wants to teach and take credit rather than have the client be the hero.
It takes a lot of personal growth and humility to be able to be this kind of coach but the rewards and results are amazing. Learning to be curious, innocent and humble as a coach serves your client. Although it seems so simple it trulyis the most powerful way to help people and give them the deepest breakthroughs and insights that will serve them all their lives. I have taken even experienced coaches and taught them true inquiry and it has transformed their practices. Inquiry can be truly powerful in all your relationships, it is amazing how it can change the whole feel of any relationship and create more love and intimacy.
Mentor (level 5)
Coaching at level five can sometimes look like being a teacher or a coach. But masters who can coach at this level have something extra. It is like a connection with something higher, a deeper insight, moments of brilliance and insight. The things mentors say and do are exactly tailored to the person they are talking to. They understand this unique person so completely, either through coaching or intuition that somehow they know just what to say. Coaching at this level requires someone who has really cleared themselves out, there is a simplicity inside of them. A depth of, not knowledge, but wisdom, they are connected to something deeper and more profound and are able to share it, sometimes even just with their presence.
I believe many people have moments of this. In my experience as coaches we can cultivate it. The best way to do this is by practicing coaching at level 4. Spending time with people, from a place of innocence and curiosity, clearing your own mind, thoughts, ego and really making space for something larger than yourself to come in. This is very doable, with practice, and I have helped many people cultivate this super power.
Coaching at this level is truly a joy, there is so much love in it, and the feeling of a new insight or breakthrough is somehow deeply satisfying. If you decide that becoming a life coach is for you I hope you will aspire and manifest this capacity in yourself.
I don’t mean these distinctions to become dogma, they are not absolute, just a model for thinking about what life coaching is. They are also not static, I find myself moving through all these levels when I am working with people depending on what they need at the moment. But I have to say my favourite is expressing the level of mastery through mentorship. I feel so grateful to have found a career that brings me so much enjoyment and freedom.
More blogs to come in this series, look me up at Life Coaching Academy to learn more about becoming a life coach. – Kyle