There aren’t many people who get to say that their job – the work that they do to make a living – is about making dreams come true.
That’s essentially what life coaches do.
They help clients become the best version of themselves so they can make their dreams a reality.
With each client who enrolls with them, life coaches have the amazing opportunity to create transformations that change lives. Literally.
This is fulfilling, rewarding work but it’s by no means easy!
There are many aspects to life coaching and a devoted, dedicated life coach must always stay open to exploring new coaching philosophies and techniques they can use to continue supporting their clients at the highest level.
Having said that, there are a number of timeless principles that every life coach must follow.
These unchanging principles work as foundational pillars for many of the best life coaches in the world. They are part of the secret sauce that help these coaches consistently create incredible results for their clients and build an amazing reputation.
Some – or all – of these principles may seem unusual but they’re powerful, they will help you deliver results for your clients and take your rightful place among the world’s best life coaches.
Unexpected Principle #1: Be Imperfect
One of the most powerful, transformational things you can do as a life coach is to create an authentic, meaningful connection with your clients.
The best way to do this is to be imperfect. To be vulnerable.
If you think your client can find comfort and support from your stories, be brave enough to share difficult experiences and mistakes you wish you could go back and change.
Being vulnerable builds trust and sharing imperfections gives your clients the permission to do the same.
This is the foundation of transformational life coaching.
If your clients don’t trust you enough to vulnerable and share their deepest, darkest secrets and mistakes, you simply cannot get to the root of their challenges to help them create lasting change in their lives.
Unexpected Principle #2: Be Unlikeable
Your job as a coach is to serve your clients and sometimes this involves saying some hard things.
You may have to gently point out the gaps in their knowledge or let them know they’re self-sabotaging and holding themselves back from doing the things that will get them what they want.
Saying these things may not earn you any popularity points but, sometimes, being unpopular is part of being a good coach.
Your entire focus, your actions, and your decisions must always be for the highest good of your clients.
If you are focused on being liked, you may edit or dilute your words and your input to keep your client feeling good about you.
This is not what a great life coach should do.
You are there for your client, not yourself.
So, be brave and risk being disliked in the moment.
Tell your clients what they need to know, not what they want to hear.
Unexpected Principle #3: Be Unsympathetic
This may come as a surprise but there is very little room for sympathy in life coaching. Sympathy can be defined as sharing another person’s feelings especially feelings like grief, sadness, and disappointment.
Let’s get something straight right away…
Sharing your clients’ feelings won’t help them. Coaching them will.
If you are emotionally immersed in everything your clients are going through, you are greatly diminishing your ability to help them in a powerful way.
Let your clients express their emotions when they need to, but do not allow yourself to be pulled into their experience to the extent that you lose sight of your purpose as a coach.
On an emotional level, you must stay close enough to give them support but far enough away to give them the insights, tools and techniques they need to work through their issues.
This is the best way to serve your clients and give them the high level support they deserve.
Unexpected Principle #4: Be Unattached
There are coaches who care. And then there are coaches who are too much.
Check in with yourself and make sure you are not too attached to your clients’ outcome.
Stay separate and unattached. Maintain a distance. This is the only way to help your clients get to their goals and live intentionally.
One of the most common mistakes many life coaches make is that they desire more for the client than the client desires for themselves.
It is never a good idea to race ahead of your client in this way.
Always stand beside them. Never ahead of them.
Your job as a life coach is to serve and support your clients. Not push them, force them or tell them what they should do.
This happens when you are too close, too connected and you want things for your clients more than they do.
I always say, “Give your client the dignity of their process.” Allow them the time and space to get through their journey.
Being a great life coach who creates remarkable transformations for people is about honoring the coaching process.
It’s not about being perfect, being liked or validated.
It’s not about you. It’s always about the client.
You can do your best work when you follow these practices and you are authentically you. Bring your whole self to every session and serve at your highest level every single time.
That’s when you’ll see the magic of life coaching transpire.