What Even is a Coach?

I got used to the blank stares long ago. When I try to explain to people what I do as a coach, I’m oftentimes met with confusion or disbelief.

Over the past decade, the tides have turned and Millennials have caught wind of a growing market and opportunity— life coaching. What was once a title reserved for athletic coaches or Tony Robbins himself; ‘coach’ is a self-designated title that people like me give themselves.

There are quite a few title granting and recognizing institutions and organizations that offer coach training or credentials. While there are no formal higher-education academic programs or government agencies that directly oversee or regulate this industry, good coaches for the most part self-regulate. After all, it is our clients and patrons who bankroll our dreams that decide if we’re a worthy investment or not.

Our specialties are vast— coaches can focus on any topic, like financial, business, mindset, health, wellness, spirituality or lifestyle. Chances are, if you’ve ever met a coach, they have a specialty, or an area of focus they are particularly invested in.

Many of us choose the title coach over consultant because the word coach insinuates support, encouragement and challenge. Good coaches are forward moving, they are goal-oriented, they mentor, inspire, educate and assist and their clients. Whereas consultants are largely hired to fulfill one need, complete a job or role and move on— coaches only succeed if our impact survives and thrives beyond the services delivered.

This mission— to mentor, inspire, educate and assist, are not light tasks. Those of us who found ourselves in this line of work, often like artists, feel like our practice of helping others, defines who we are. For most coaches, there is no separation between their personal and professional lives— we are all in. The work we do for others is our life work and we are consistently improving, getting better and developing our skills and core offerings.

For me, I became a coach because I realized after college that the only thing I wanted to do was help others. I wanted to spend my time making life better for others; because in doing so, my own cup is filled. Plus, running my own online business from home and working with my clients online creates a lifestyle that is healthy and fulfilling to me. This lifestyle allows flexibility, travel and development in ways a traditional career could not.

Although being self-employed can at times be grueling, requiring upwards of 70+ of hours a week often for low pay, it is deeply satisfying. Coaches are living for the long-term. We’re in a disruptive industry that did not exist before the last decade. Coaches are transforming our online marketplace; turning personal services, like coaching, into a feasible transnational business. The thought of an economy where people pay other people for help is a comforting thought. I can imagine a world where we value each other’s contributions and more people can pursue their dreams.

Oftentimes, coaches do not hold higher-education credentials in topics they assist others with. It’s difficult to move away from the conventional wisdom that the only person who can help you is someone who is ordained with credentials. Going back to our mission— the job of a coach is not to diagnose, treat or cure. Our job is to get momentum going in our clients lives so they can live their best life.

I regularly refer clients out to licensed professionals who can go in depth on topics I cannot. Coaches are not always therapists; so I always encourage my clients to hire therapists they can work with regularly and long term. It is essential to have proper mental and medical health care. In a world where specialization is rampant; coaches help bridge the gap, tending to the entirety of a person, inspiring their clients into action. Often that means that our clients will surround themselves with supportive community and a team of professionals that are there to support them and all their needs.

Our love for coaching comes from a place of life experience or higher purpose. For me, I have struggled with weight my entire life. I’ve been up and down, went through more than most people my age have and along the way, I became obsessed with curating a lifestyle of wellness for my clients that would allow them peace and relief in their lives. When I’m able to positively impact someone’s life, it fulfills my purpose— and intrinsic, cellular experience that makes me relax, enjoy and bask in joy.

I am a adamant believer that our deepest wounds are the ones we’re meant to heal in others. Helping others helps me and this is something I have accepted and made peace with in my life. Although the path is not always simple and others will doubt it— I know it is right for me.

If you ask an artist why they are an artist— they feel similarly. They know its the work they’re meant to do and most of all— they love it.
I love what I do. I am proud to be a coach! It is a title I will not shy away from and will hold with pride and conviction in the work I do.

So what are you waiting for? Hire your own coach and get in on the fun.

Love,
Zach