I’m a finalist for Emerging Coach Of The Year!
I am so incredibly honored to be a finalist in the Beautiful You Coaching Academy’s Emerging Coach Of The Year awards category. The work I do as a life coach is one of the highlights of my human experience, and I am so excited to celebrate and be celebrated in my accomplishments this way!
With this in mind, I often get asked something sort of like this: “What actually is a life coach? My sister-in-law is a life coach now…oh yeah, and my friend from work got laid off and he decided to become a coach too…I guess I don’t get it. Are you actually helpful? Do you even have an education? Do you all just talk about manifestation and money? Isn’t this harmful to people’s mental health?”
Now, typically folks are a bit less direct (and brutal, lol!) than this, but this is the gist, and I’d rather bring this elephant into the room and set her free. So let’s go!
What the hell is a life coach?
Beautiful You Coaching Academy (who trained me) helps us understand what a life coach truly does (or should do) with the following items:
– A life coach provides a safe and encouraging space for their clients to define how they would like to improve their life, creating goals that are positive, forward thinking and inspiring.
– A life coach assists their clients to break down those life-affirming goals into manageable steps to transition from where they are now, to where they want to be.
– A life coach honours the present position their client is in but also looks to the future, supporting people to explore their desires, feelings and what they want their life to feel and be like in a lasting way.
– A life coach deeply listens to people and asks challenging and thought-provoking questions so their clients can gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their life.
– A life coach provides accountability and lovingly challenges their clients to step outside their comfort zone or shift their perspective.
One of my favorite coaches to follow, Rich Litvin, puts it like this: “For most of human history it wasn’t called coaching, it was called leadership.” Mic drop. And we’re out. Ok, just kidding, but also, this does provide a really beautiful framework for what integral coaching is. Whether someone is a life coach, a mindset coach, an executive coach, etc. one of the key root through lines is leadership.
So then, what exactly is leadership? Warren Bennis puts it this way: “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”
I also find that leadership isn’t so much “telling” or “consulting,” but rather inspiring or spurring someone on. The CEO of a company doesn’t address their people and give them daily to-do lists, but rather leads with an inspiring vision, asking powerful questions, and inviting their people into a new way of thinking.
Additionally, effective and integral leaders typically live with high social intelligence, embodiment, and a toolkit of inner resources which allow them to mindfully make their way through the world. There is so much more we could say about leadership, but for this article, I want to draw our attention back to coaching.
If coaching is leadership, immediately we can begin to see the benefits of having a guide who has honed these skill sets. Someone who can effectively translate vision into reality, who has some level of mind/body mastery, and, what we haven’t talked about yet, a toolkit to help you break through your own inner blocks and step into possibility. How about a peek into mine?
A life coach’s toolkit
Depending on the education a life coach goes through, each one has their own set of tools they utilize to help their clients break through inner blocks and create a new story (i.e. bringing your goals, your vision to life!).
My coaching journey began at Beautiful You Coaching Academy (BYCA) because my own coach, Madison Morrigan, had studied there and I deeply respected the way she led me. Additionally, in researching BYCA I noticed how many heart-centered and integral coaches came from their program. In today’s world, there are MANY coaching certifications, programs, and courses, and it can be extremely difficult to decide where to get your certification (if you even want one). For my own journey, I wanted to set my foundations with that heart-centered approach and which had trained the people I admired most.
And that is exactly what BYCA provided me: an incredible foundation of coaching tools and knowledge, which resulted in taking on coaching clients upon graduation. It also spurred me on to keep learning, keep growing, and expand my knowledge even further. I am a firm believer that the best of the best in any field or artistry always keeps learning, and I desire to grow and serve my clients that way.
A few specific tools and distinctions integral and heart-centered life coaches have:
- Never underestimate the power of questions. They are the beginning of seeing the world in a whole new way, which can open up worlds for you, your journey, and your future.
Active and purposeful listening
- Can you see how many of these point to leadership? Do you know how powerful it is to find someone who can listen and see you in your true, authentic light?
Understanding the process of how humans change and evolve and how they experience a breakthrough from one model of the world to another
- Specifically at BYCA, we are taught an adapted version of the Transtheoretical Model of Intentional Behaviour Change. Additionally, in my studies with Hayley Carr, I was taught the “Anatomy of a Breakthrough” which is derived from the teachings of Neuro Linguistic Programing (NLP).
A beginners mind
– Heart-centered coaches are always ready to approach new experiences and challenges with a beginner’s mind—open to expansive learning opportunities at every turn.
A code of ethics
– A major dispute in the coaching world is its lack of regulation, however thanks to the International Coaching Federation (ICF), there is actually a higher standard of ethics and regulation than many folks realize. And whether you are certified by the International Coaching Federation or not (I am not, though BYCA is an ICF Approved Education Provider) I believe it is crucial for integral coaches to have a code of ethics.
Here is the ICF code of ethics. Within the BYCA education, we also agree to a code of ethics, and the additional Neuro Linguistic Programming studies I have undertaken hold something similar. An ecological question that seems relevant across the board and which is wonderful to keep in mind for each one of us day-to-day: Is this decision, belief, action good for me, others, and the planet? If all three are a ‘yes,’ then you should be good to go! 😉
Awareness of life coaching history
– The history of life coaching is fascinating and has a number of theoretical origins. I would encourage any newcomer life coach to think deeply about and study the history of the field to get even more context about the work and value of a life coach. Here’s a great resource to get you started!
These are just a few key elements that make up an integral coach. In addition, every coach brings their own unique flavor to their approach based on other studies, degrees, certifications, and life experiences they’ve had. For example, I bring my 8+ years of creative marketing experience, entrepreneurship experience, and most recently an education in Neuro-Linguistic Programming. I am also currently learning Reiki energy healing!
Some folks have transitioned from counseling to coaching, and they bring that experience into their coaching as well, or perhaps they were a doula, a financial advisor, a teacher, and so on. Each of these nuances craft a beautiful ecosystem of skilled leaders. This is where we start to see that beautiful expansion in the world of coaching: folks who specialize in emotional intelligence, business, finances, womb healing, embodiment, and so on.
You’ve mentioned NLP, what is that?
Great question! Neuro Linguistic Programming (or NLP) is a set of skills that reveal the kind of communication that matters most in our human experience: communication that occurs on the inside and out. To understand this a bit better, it’s easier to break it up into its three parts:
Neuro—which refers to the mind or brain—demonstrates how states of mind or body affect our behavior.
Linguistic—which refers to language—demonstrates how our mind and body states show up in our language and non-verbal communication.
And Programming—which refers to our habitual thoughts, feelings, reactions, beliefs, and traditions, and how those things give us the capacity to change our mind and body states.
Basically, Neuro Linguistic Programming is the study of all the inner communication happening within us humans. Communication goes much further between interactions between people but also includes the communication within our minds and bodies—between our mindsets, attitudes, and feelings.
That’s just the abridged version! You can learn more about the basics of NLP here or check out my NLP teacher Hayley Carr.
What can someone expect from working with a life coach:
When I work with clients, I begin our process with some type of goal or intention for our time together. Sometimes a client comes to a series with difficult situations hindering them from those goals, othertimes a client simply wants even more goodness in their life. Past client goals have looked like “be the most confident I’ve ever been” and “align my budget to my values” and “run my business with more ease and freedom.” The client may have one specific goal, or they might have two or three goals they want to work towards. During each session we discuss what is going well, where they are feeling stuck, and, utilizing coaching techniques, we navigate those sticky spaces together.
As we work through the sticky spaces, a session can hold major “aha” moments where the client experiences a breakthrough in what they thought was possible or how they view the world, while other times it can be more tactical as we establish action steps to support their vision. Each session is unique depending on the client and their needs for that session, but I also seek to keep an overarching perspective on where we are at in their coaching series to ensure we have positive closure to their intentions.
Here are a couple of client testimonials to showcase what this transformation can feel like from a client’s perspective. Keep in mind, that I work with clients on both personal and business growth, but every coach will have their own nuances and results:
“While coaching with Megan I cultivated empowering and reciprocal relationships with others, and learned to take up my rightful space while trusting others to do the same. These two goals helped me find my true self and take a deeper look at how I value relationships around me. During our time I really developed deeper communication with myself! Megan also had a beautiful style to our sessions. They started with mindfulness/meditation which allowed me to ground myself in the space, we then took time to go through each of my goals, but she also tailoring each session to support my needs at that time. I felt very welcome and accepted at every moment!” – Karen
“I was drawn to working with Megan because I liked her blend of spiritual (reclaiming, embodiment, creativity) and practical (business, goal setting, a bit of no-nonsense). I also felt like her services were very personal and like she would help me create my own unique goals. Lastly, I knew she would identify with my experience of starting a business. During our time together I launched my website, which felt really big/scary/necessary and I also came to a peaceful place with my body/body journey that feels really powerful. Really, our time together felt very personalized, powerful, supportive, and creative. Megan helped me fight through the nerves and doubt that comes with starting a business – and seeing myself as an entrepreneur. She also held a really thoughtful space for me to work through shyness and image questions (read: not being overwhelmed by thinking people don’t like me…and thinking I’m too fat to be happy/pretty/successful). In summary, Megan is consistent AF and I applaud that!” – Emma
How is life coaching different from therapy:
In my own experience, I believe coaching and therapy are beautiful complements to each other (and YES, I have worked with a number of clients who go to therapy and coach with me at the same time!).
Therapy has a focus on the past—processing, talking through, and making meaning of the past. Coaching on the other hand is more forward-focused—what do you want, and what patterns, beliefs, and stories are keeping you from getting there? Then, we remove them and bring those big dreams to life!
Early on in my healing journey, primarily through college, I found counseling to be extremely helpful as I made sense of my experience in childhood. After that, I placed more of my focus on working with coaches and practitioners outside of the traditional counseling field as they have felt more supportive for me and delivered the results I desire. It’s a win-win! Ultimately, you have to make the decision that is right for YOU and your unique individual experience. I believe no practitioner, counselor, nor coach should try and tell you what your unique healing journey needs to look like.
A life coach is someone who leads and inspires to help others create loving and intentional challenges and breakthroughs to achieve their goals. We use toolkits and practice in specific areas to bring holistic, ethical care and guidance to our clients. I am so grateful to have found such purpose and joy in life coaching, and I am honored to be a finalist in the Beautiful You Coaching Academy’s Emerging Coach Of The Year awards category.