Were You Born to Coach?

I didn’t know that I was born to be a coach.

Because I’d never heard of coaching.

My career plan was basically to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up by working. My BA in psychology qualified me to do very little. I knew I was interested and curious about people. But doing what?

And so I started “…on the road to find out…”to quote Cat Stevens.

Looking back, it’s obvious. All I ever did was guide people.

Coaching IS guiding and teaching and healing and leading. Coaching is facilitating deep and lasting change.

My first job was as a teacher of developmentally different children. But what I really did was break down the children’s tasks into tiny, tiny pieces, eliminate their distractions and teach them basic skills one tiny task at a time. I found the diamond within each child and connected to that. And each afternoon I worked with the parents of the children – helping them to teach their own children. I supervised students and volunteers who were placed in my classroom –teaching them what to do and how to do it. I was coaching, even though I didn’t call it that.

Loved the job, hated the pay so I quit seeking a salary I could live on.

I moved into the corporate world and was miserable. I didn’t realize it at the time but that was because I didn’t get to guide, teach, or find the diamond inside others. I ended up doing that anyway, with everyone I could, even if it wasn’t my job. I was busy encouraging my staff to be who they really were and not at all concerned about the job that they were supposed to be doing. I couldn’t NOT help people to see themselves.

But I didn’t realize that.

I was SO born to be a coach, even though the profession hadn’t been invented yet.

When I was at the height of my corporate misery – working in a toxic workplace with dysfunctional people in a company that wasn’t telling the truth about anything, surrounded by crazy people (I am not exaggerating) I thought that there was no way out. I didn’t know what kind of work I wanted to do. I thought that if I quit, I’d end up broke with no job or get another job just like the one I had, because now it was what I was qualified to do – design and develop policy.

And then one day a colleague gave me an article in Time Magazine.

It talked about the new profession of Life Coaching. I’d been obsessed with discovering what I wanted to do and getting this article was like providence…a God wink. I was being told that there WAS a career for me, but that I’d been seeking it too soon, before it was invented!

I couldn’t believe it when I read the article. I knew that Life Coaching was for me.

Life Coaching was guiding, teaching, healing and leading. It was everything that I liked and was good at, packaged in a job!

I was over the moon!

But you had to be self-employed.

You’d have to convince people that they needed your help when they had done without a coach before.

You’d have to be a trailblazer, a risk taker. And I was a big chicken.

So in true hero’s journey fashion, I didn’t answer the call. I didn’t become a Life Coach.

Or so I’ve always said.

But that’s not entirely true.

I’d named and claimed guiding, teaching, healing and leading as my thing!

I just didn’t call it coaching…….yet.

I decided to do this guiding work and started taking courses that would help me do it better – group counseling, graduate courses in education and counseling, everything that seemed like fun. I went on a learning extravaganza and so surrounded myself with people who were just like me. I began to believe what my soul already knew….that I was born to be a Coach.

And then, I reinvented my career. No longer a policy expert and corporate program developer I was back with people, helping, guiding, teaching and leading.

And I was determined that this work would be remunerated for what it was worth. I was no longer willing to get paid peanuts for doing work that was clearly more valuable than designing corporate policy.

I reinvented myself as a Career Consultant. I guided and taught employees who were being downsized. I finally felt that I was using all of me. Because I was helping people to see the diamond within and this was, helping them to heal…and healing me at the same time.

I still remember a buttoned-up corporate financial officer I worked with…..who was losing his job. That I could share what was real, his fear and vulnerability…that I could help him see his shining brilliance….was such a gift for me. I was SO grateful that I finally got to be my real self in my work.

And while I didn’t call myself a Life Coach, I was guiding, teaching, healing and leading.

It’s not the title that’s important, it’s the task.

So here’s the message that I want to share with you new Life Coaches.

Coaching IS guiding, teaching, healing and leading.
Coaching is facilitating deep and lasting change.
You don’t have to have a business to be a coach.
You don’t have to call yourself a coach to be a coach.
You don’t have to have a website or work on-line to be a coach.
You don’t have to get trained as a coach to be a coach.
You’re a coach if you guide, teach, heal and lead others.
Claim your calling.

Name it.

And don’t let anyone tell you that there is one way to do this.

Do it your way.

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