We all sat around the table in the light-filled space in an industrial area of Byron Bay, waiting excitedly for the handlettering workshop to begin. The introductions commenced and, one by one, each person around the table shared her name and what she did for a living.
At least four glamorous 20-somethings in a row said, “I’m a life coach.”
I scoffed internally. ‘Life coach?’ I thought. ‘What do they know about life??’
I’ll be the first to admit that I had no clue what a life coach did at that stage, but I couldn’t imagine what experience someone in their early 20s would have gained in order to be in a position to coach. (*I have a different perspective on that now, but I’ll share that below).
Fast forward five years or so and I started noticing my friend, Natalie Roberts Mazzeo, posting photos on social media about study she was doing with the Beautiful You Coaching Academy.
I was intrigued. I didn’t immediately go and research the Academy or the course, but a seed had been planted. The Universe was beginning to conspire.
I listened to a couple of (non-BYCA) podcasts which were recordings of coaching sessions and was inspired listening to the conversations and transformations that occurred in an hour between a coach and client.
It wasn’t until after Natalie had graduated from her course that I began looking at the BYCA course online and it spoke to me. I felt like that course and the website was written for me.
When I first broached the topic with my beloved husband in my understated way, his response was as I expected.
“Life coach? Why do you want to be a life coach? Everyone’s a life coach.”
And so I buried the idea for a little while, but found myself returning to the BYCA website and re-reading the course outline. Regularly.
Months passed and whenever I found myself back on the BYCA website, I watched the notices that upcoming course rounds (they do three intakes per year) were ’sold out’ or partially sold out. I intuitively knew that I would be extremely disappointed if I missed out on another round and so I sent an email to Ben with the link to the course and listed all the reasons why I wanted to invest in the course.
His response was simply, “That looks totally you. You should definitely do it.”
And so I took the leap. That night, I enrolled in the May 2019 intake of the Beautiful You coaching course and took the first step towards becoming a life coach – a decision that really has changed my life. I graduated in November 2019 and was able to celebrate at the BYCA Inspiration Day in Melbourne.
So, what is a life coach?
If you’re not sure what a life coach is, you’re not alone. I have to admit that, even when I started my life coaching course, even I didn’t really know what a life coach did. Let me start with what a life coach is not.
A life coach isn’t a therapist or counsellor.
A counsellor/therapist/psychologist tends to focus on past events that have led you to this moment in your life, working through and processing experiences or trauma and helping you move through the associated emotions. For example, I have worked with a counsellor to support me through Sam’s journey with leukaemia and Nicholas’ death.
A life coach is future-focused. They help you move from where you are in your life to where you want to be.
There is absolutely a place for both a coach and a therapist as they have different focuses. However, if after initial discussions I felt as though a client would be better served by counselling rather than coaching services, I would discuss that as a priority before commencing any coaching. Through some of my past coaching sessions, clients have realised that there are areas of their past they’d like to discuss in depth with a therapist and have sought out a psychologist in addition to working with me on their goals.
Life coaching is goal and action oriented.
Just like a sporting coach works with a team on their goal and sets out action steps and strategy to achieve that goal, a life coach works with clients on clarifying their goals and working out the steps towards achieving those goals. Except with a life coach, it’s not a case of ‘winning’ or ‘losing’ – we want to help you create the life of your dreams.
In case you were wondering, a life coach isn’t going to tell you exactly what to do, and you’re the one who ultimately has to do the hard work (sorry).
Your coach will work with you to develop your own goals and actions, and help you achieve those goals through accountability and guidance. Along the way, we’ll also help you work through your self-limiting beliefs, fears and other obstacles you believe are standing in your way. That’s not to say it’s always easy – we want to lovingly challenge you to step up and embrace your best self, which can feel confronting at times.
Some of the goals that a client may want to work with a life coach on are:
- Increasing confidence
- Bringing more self-love and self-care into your life
- Rediscovering your creativity
- Improving relationships
- Changing careers or lifestyle
- Working on a special project, such as publishing a book or launching a podcast
How does life coaching work?
Life coaching would no doubt look a little different depending on the coach you choose to work with.
For my clients, we usually work on a 6-session or 12-session series together and our hour-long discussions are conducted over a video call using Zoom. The sessions occur every two weeks (so 6 sessions over twelve weeks, or twelve sessions over 6 months), ideally on the same day and time each fortnight.
Prior to working together, my clients will complete and share with me their pre-coaching questionnaire to reflect on what areas they want on.
In our first session together, we will work on clarifying the goals you want to work towards in our time together.
Over the course of our coaching series, we work through an action plan and work out what steps you’d like to take towards your big goal. You’ll also have homework to complete before our next session together, and I can lovingly hold you accountable for your progress. In between sessions you’ll have access to resources as required and, if you need any additional support, you can write me an email or send me a voice message on Voxer.
How do I know which coach is right for me?
I truly believe it’s important to find a coach that you align with. You will achieve so much more in your life coaching sessions if you feel safe and at ease with your coach.
Some coaches will have a general life focus, and others might have a more specific niche – such as a career coach, health and wellness coach, or a relationships coach. So if you have a specific goal in mind, you could start by looking for a coach who specialises in that area. You might also feel more comfortable with a coach who is in a similar life stage to you.
With access to social media and podcasts these days, you can really get a feel for someone’s vibe before you work with them. Go and follow your potential future coach on social media, engage with their posts and use your intuition to feel whether you have a connection.
What other factors are important to you – cost? convenience? availability? recommendations from your personal network? Do you want to meet in person, or are you happy chatting to a coach on a video call? Write a list of all the elements that you’d like to take into consideration.
Most coaches offer a complimentary discovery call so that you can have a no-obligation chat first before deciding, which is a great way to get to know them a little prior to making a commitment.
As well as being a life coach, I have also now been the recipient of life coaching through a few different coaches and I wholeheartedly believe in the power of investing in a coach. There is something incredible about having someone truly see and hear you, believe in you, cheer you on, empower you and keep you accountable to that big goal you’re aiming for.
It’s very powerful.
Sure, we could probably achieve those goals by ourselves… eventually… maybe. But it feels so much more rewarding to go on that journey with someone by your side and celebrate with you when you achieve that goal.
What I love about being a life coach
My lovely friend and fellow coaching graduate, Rowena, said she was looking back on photos of me on Instagram and feels like the light was restored in my eyes after I became a life coach.
Being a life coach and working with amazing women on their goals really does light me up – that is absolutely true.
I think sometimes as women we get lost under the plethora of roles we take on – being wives and mums, daughters, employees, CFO, bus driver, nurse, chef, “chief cook and bottle washer” (as my Mum used to say). I love bearing witness to the women I work with rediscovering who they truly are under all those roles and reconnecting to themselves again. I love seeing the light reappear in their eyes as they have clarity around who they are and realise all the amazing things they want to do (and can do) in the world.
It is an absolute joy to be a life coach.
As well as having graduated as a life coach with the Beautiful You Coaching Academy, I am proud to say that I’ve also recently completed the extra requirements to become a BYCA Certified Coach. (You can check out my profile over on their website here). My experience of studying with the Beautiful Coaching Academy has been nothing short of exceptional, the community is incredible and I’m so proud to be a BYCA coach.
If you feel called to work with me as your coach, I would really love to have the opportunity to chat about your big goals and dreams. You can find out more about my coaching offerings over here. Touch base with me today to arrange a complimentary discovery call.
PS. I promised I’d explain how my perspective has shifted since first meeting those young life coaches I mentioned up above. While life experience is definitely a bonus when being a life coach, you might feel more comfortable working with a coach who is in a similar life stage to you and better understands the context of your life. I know that as a 42 year old mother and wife, I’d feel less comfortable going to a coach who is a 20 year old single woman – but similarly a 20 year single woman might feel more at ease with a life coach that’s at a similar stage and understands the pressures on a woman her age. It’s all about the right fit between client and coach!