International Coach Federation defines life coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”
I can offer you all kinds of textbook definitions but instead, let me give you an analogy.
Let’s say it’s your mission to become a Nephrologist. Say what? Yes, a Nephrologist. Don’t worry, until 5 minutes ago, I didn’t know what that was either. A Nephrologist is a kidney disease specialist. To achieve your goal, you might seek the help of the following professionals:
Counsellor: When asked why you’ve chosen to become a Nephrologist, you get very emotional. Your father died only a year ago from polycystic kidney disease. You’re still reeling from his death and if that’s not enough, you’ve also discovered that you inherited the genetic marker for the disease. Before you can move forward, you need to address underlying issues of grief and fear. The emotional wounds need attention and healing before you can move ahead.
Mentor: It may be helpful to seek out the wisdom of someone who has the experience you’re after. By finding a student already in training, for instance, you might learn what kind of time commitment is required and the pros and cons of studying for this particular career. A mentor can provide support from actual experience and help you navigate your path with greater insight.
Consultant: Someone who has expertise in this field would be invaluable in your search. By connecting with a practicing Nephrologist, you can further investigate the field and determine if this is the right choice for you.
Coach: Let me make it very clear that I do not possess any kind of knowledge about nephrology. But that’s exactly the point. My role is to support you as my client; the subject matter is irrelevant. Unlike other professionals, the Coach is not considered the expert. You are. My role is to motivate you, ask insightful questions, hold you accountable and give you objective support to help you find your way!