Who am I to call myself a life coach?

Thought processes that all new Life Coaches and helping practitioners are likely to go through, even more so as we transition from an educational system based on creating a standardised work-force to independent professionals geared to responding to the reality of today and ready to step into the future through self-instruction and independent critical thought.

-Who am I to coach someone?

-What makes me even dare to think that I can coach anyone when I have not sorted myself out yet?

-Who am I to call myself a Life Coach when my own life is far from perfect?

You may believe that you are the only one having such doubts, but you are definitely not alone in this. Almost all new life coaches will have these doubts surface as they go through their studies and preparation in setting up a business or a life coaching practice. In fact, if you were to look at your study and career path, you will realise that these are part and parcel of the human journey, every time you start something new, these doubts rise.

Everyone has doubts about something. Everyone struggles, until the confidence has been built up through competence that has been built up through practice and application. Everything seems tough until it becomes easy through study and application and we develop a comfort level through the process of familiarity of practice.

“Who do you think you are? You don’t have a university degree, you’ll mess up. People will laugh when you fall flat on your face. You’re going to fail. You need at least five years to even think of getting set up. What are you thinking about? Just continue doing whatever and get along.”

Does any of it sound familiar?

This inner critic is always talking down at us and by default, talking us out of what we set our minds to do. Pay attention to this self-talk, it tends to use the word “you” often. However, just as easily, when we set our mind to it, we can learn to tap into the empowering voice that makes us focus on what we want and encourages us to go ahead and achieve it.

Therefore, questioning who you are to coach other people is a normal part of the process. It means that you care about doing the job well, it is rooted in the fact that you have underlying values regarding helping others and want to give your best. Being concerned about your abilities is a sign of integrity. There is more to the coaching arena than simple certifications and qualifications, both personally and professionally; there is expertise, proficiency and competency.

Who would you rather work with? A Coach who holds those very valid concerns, has had life experience to corroborate their studies and works at themselves and their craft or someone who thinks they’ve arrived just because they completed a course or two at a hefty price tag and are more interested in setting up a business than in understanding you and guiding you through your situation?

Ignorance and brash overconfidence is foolish and dangerous just as perfectionism and underrating yourself won’t help you make a dent in the so called “helping” professions.

Like anything else, the right balance creates harmony.

Who am I to call myself a life coach?

Let us have a look at some of the requirements for being a Life Coach.

  1. You are a human being, and an imperfect one, a fallible one. The only time you will have it all sorted out and perfect is when your heartbeat monitor flatlines. All human beings, even the most successful ones, including life coaches, happen to have problems. This is a fact of life.
  2. You have the qualifications required to be a life coach. This means that you have pursued excellent courses of study in the topic from one or various organisations in a responsible manner. Not cursory study, just to grab and print off a certificate at the end but true, focused, dedicated study in understanding the concepts and principles behind it all, so you may truly help yourself and others. By the way, this never ends. Continuing Professional Development is key to being a good coach.
  3. You have the competencies required to coach. This includes expertise, mastery and proficiency at your craft and will only come through practice, practice and more practice. There are no short cuts!
  4. You have had some interesting life experiences and are on a path of self-develpment, growth, evolution, improvement… in an active manner.
  5. You are in tune with yourself and are living an examined and aware life instead of drifting with the current.
  6. You are actively working at resolving your own issues, instead of skimming over them or sweeping them under the carpet. You are a solution seeker, rather than a complaint maker. You own your problems and brainstorm creative solutions and execute them.
  7. You are progressing on the path of your own life-goals, moving forward, delving into the limiting beliefs and conditioning holding you back.

As you go through the above, you will realise that you meet most, if not all, of these requirements. You have studied/are studying the courses related to your area of interest, and are investing time into practice with your peers and others to hone your skills. These courses, workshops, trainings, seminars etc. are helping you self-reflect and examine your own life and understand yourself better, bringing more light to the life experiences that have forged you; you are perhaps letting go of some deep rooted limitations and beliefs, substituting them with more empowering ones. You are developing more mettle and character as you grow in maturity and take full responsibility for your life, choices and decisions. This in turn, gives you the tools to go and help others expand their own points of view and grow.

Review them well with reference to your own life and now ask yourself this question instead:

Who am I not to be a Life Coach?