What Does a Life Coach Do?

“We need people to be able to share our weaknesses with—as well as our strengths—and without shame.” ¬†Caroline Myss

I have this inner struggle to explain, and maybe even justify, what it is I do as a life coach. That elevator speech that’s supposed to roll off your tongue and over yours lips never seemed quite right to me. On any given day it changed, and oftentimes, it was with an apologetic explanation that left me feeling like what I had to offer was ridiculous, unnecessary and unimportant. Naturally, it follows that if I felt that way, then down inside I thought what I was doing was irrelevant and not needed.

Why did I bother with this occupation that I sometimes feel is ridiculed and dismissed by so many people? The answer is simple—because I’ve seen the difference it has made in others’ lives. I’ve seen people engage in the world in new and meaningful ways. I’ve seen them tap into what was once unused energy and potential, and develop parts of themselves they never knew existed.

Having said that, I still continued to doubt that what I have to offer truly mattered and had value; then I saw this quote from Caroline Myss, and in an instant everything changed for me. She gave me a bona fide understanding of what I do and affirmed that it is very much needed.

For the most part, I believe we tend to relate to the world with the hopes that everyone sees only our strengths—even if we are not quite sure what they are at times. We want to be seen in a positive light and valued for who we are. We are seeking connection and acceptance. This is an honorable goal and one which we all hope to attain, but many times it is thwarted by our own disconnection and lack of acceptance of ourselves. We readily accept and honor our strengths because we see them as positive, while we shirk acceptance of our “so-called” weaknesses. Whenever we try to hide something about ourselves that we perceive as negative, we create shame. Shame is a weight we carry that keeps us from recognizing all that we are, and all that we have to offer. We are prone to view ourselves as a mix of positive and negative qualities. And hope that the negative qualities are not seen by the outside world.

Let’s look at our perceived positive and negative qualities in a different way. Think of a magnet… no matter what type of magnet, the opposite poles always attract. The opposing poles are drawn together and can be magnetized to form one cohesive magnet. When we view our opposing qualities in this manner, it becomes clear that making the connection we are seeking is acquired by accepting every aspect of ourselves and allowing them to form and unite as a whole; thereby, transforming the shame that arises when we remain disconnected.

Bridging the disconnection and magnetizing those parts of ourselves we oppose, is a necessary journey we all take. It’s an ongoing process that I have come to revere. I can only imagine the difference it would make in the lives of others, if they knew they had someone to share their weaknesses, as well as their strengths—and without shame. That’s what life coaching does, it gives you the experience of making that connection, and knowing that the acceptance you are seeking is not only possible, it’s necessary.