Although the reasons for becoming a coach vary from person to person, it’s likely that your reasons reflect, in some way, your values – those basic, fundamental beliefs that guide our attitudes and actions. So in thinking about what draws you to becoming a life coach and to make sure a career in life coaching can be genuinely rewarding for you, it’s worth tuning into what matters most to you in life. My top three values, for example, are growth, freedom, and creativity — and they’ve proved paramount in why building a coaching practice is so rewarding for me. Here’s why:
- Growth: I’m a life-long learner. Not only do I enjoy stretching my mind and pursuing my personal development, I love being in the company of others who are similarly motivated. Most clients who come to coaching are similarly eager to grow and develop; the majority are hungry for change. And as a coach, it’s incredibly rewarding when you are able to help facilitate those desired shifts and help them in a long-lasting way. That personal growth occurs in both directions. When you’re coaching, you’re not only delivering a transformative service to a client, but you’re simultaneously accelerating your own development. Indeed, the client-coaching relationship often teaches you more about yourself than you ever imagined possible.
- Freedom: Another of my core values is freedom. I’ve always been happiest working for myself, structuring my days in ways that encourage my energy and productivity, and allowing me to incorporate necessary self-care. Indeed, many people become interested in becoming a coach for some, or all of, these reasons. With coaching, you can decide the hours you work, who you’ll work with, and the way you’ll work together. I see most of my London-based clients face-to-face; I use Zoom to meet virtually with those who live further afield. I reserve some portion of my week for ongoing learning through books, videos and podcasts; I also schedule in time to attend events where I can network to meet peers as well as potential clients. As a career, life coaching offers the potential for freedom which you’ll seldom find elsewhere.
- Creativity: Creativity also tops my list of values, and in life coaching, I’ve found a way to blend my personal aims and interests to build a diverse practice that both interests and inspires me. Throughout my professional life, I’ve pursued a variety of creative pursuits – journalism, illustration, and serial entrepreneurship, among them. I’m now a coach and facilitator and am also training as a psychotherapist. (Individuals with multiple passions are what writer and artist Emilie Wapnick calls “multi-potentialites” in her 2015 TED talk).
My “inner renaissance person” thrives on this multiplicity, and my resulting skill set informs both my 1-2-1 coaching business as well as my ability to extend my work into related directions. In my client sessions, I use my coach training, but I also use drawing, guided imagery, and somatic exercises gleaned both from my interest in art and from my therapy training. The journalist in me writes about topics that both interest me and extend my brand. And my events background allows me to create and run group workshops and to build online offerings.
To paraphrase Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, I’ve “joined the dots backwards” – and my trio of values continues to lead me forward in my coaching practice. What are your own values, and how might they serve you best as you begin your career as a coach?
Jennifer Pirtle helps women in midlife find their ‘thing’ – through 1-2-1 coaching, group online programs, workshops, and events. Find her at http://www.jenniferpirtle.com
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