Why Do I Need a Life Coach?


Why do I need a life coach?

Many people, if they’ve even heard of a life coach, ask why they would ever need one.  The image of a sports coach, yelling from the sidelines, seems kind of hokey when we imagine it in the context of life’s decisions.  But navigating these decisions on our own can be tricky; many people go through life never really fulfilling their true potential or discovering their passions.  The world is changing rapidly; frequently educators are reminded that many of the jobs their students will hold in the future do not even exist yet.  How can you know what you’re meant to do when you haven’t even heard of it?

Out of the mouths of babes…

My early career as a teacher began somewhat passively; I had watched both of my parents bring work home, and I swore I would never be a teacher.  In college, I majored in Spanish because I wanted an excuse to live in Spain for a year.  Even though I had planned a career in International Business, I realized shortly after graduation that it was not the career for me.  Faced with what I perceived to be few other prospects, I went back to school for a Masters in teaching.  My program offered a paid internship in a large urban district, and though I was daunted at first, I found I enjoyed the challenge.  Before I knew it, I had accepted a full-time job offer and ended up working three years there.  Still, I was unhappy.  Spending my career teaching in the inner city was not my dream.  I longed for more freedom, new places.  One day, a student I had kept after school for detention started asking me what I liked to do for fun.  I told him about all of the outdoor activities I enjoyed.  “So, like, why do you live here, Miss?  Why don’t you move to the country?”  I was taken aback.  “I don’t know,” I replied.  I had just received life coaching from a middle-schooler.

The “Aha” Moment

Many years later, after teaching in Colorado, taking time off to raise a family and returning to the world of education, I was hired as an Instructional Coach.  I was nervous:  did I have what it took to help other teachers?  I certainly didn’t have all the answers – I knew that much.  On the first day of training, the new coaches were introduced to the active listening technique.  It was as if fireworks were exploding inside me.  I thought, “YES! I can do this!  I GET IT!”  I flashed back to my sophomore year in high school, sitting in Mr. Schmidt’s homeroom.  “I’m going to call you Ann Landers from now on,” he said one morning.  He told me that he’d noticed that every day I was listening to a different person’s problems and stories.  Maybe I had been doing this all along without realizing it!

It was amazing to me how often I would meet with a teacher and offer little besides active listening, only to have the teacher say, “Thanks! I know just what I’m going to now – you helped me so much!”  All I had really done was to help the teacher discover her own solution to a problem – one that would be much more likely to be implemented than something I might have suggested that wasn’t really her style.

The Final Plunge

Still, after the grant for my coaching position ended, I wasn’t ready to jump into the abyss of starting my own business.  I went back to what I knew best – the classroom.  But I found, like many others before me, that when you are doing something other than what you are meant to do, life conspires to make it very uncomfortable.  Soon I was unable to ignore the nagging voice in my head that told me I needed to pursue my dream, which is to help you pursue yours.  Are you ready?

 

Why do I need a life coach?

Many people, if they’ve even heard of a life coach, ask why they would ever need one.  The image of a sports coach, yelling from the sidelines, seems kind of hokey when we imagine it in the context of life’s decisions.  But navigating these decisions on our own can be tricky; many people go through life never really fulfilling their true potential or discovering their passions.  The world is changing rapidly; frequently educators are reminded that many of the jobs their students will hold in the future do not even exist yet.  How can you know what you’re meant to do when you haven’t even heard of it?

Out of the mouths of babes…

My early career as a teacher began somewhat passively; I had watched both of my parents bring work home, and I swore I would never be a teacher.  In college, I majored in Spanish because I wanted an excuse to live in Spain for a year.  Even though I had planned a career in International Business, I realized shortly after graduation that it was not the career for me.  Faced with what I perceived to be few other prospects, I went back to school for a Masters in teaching.  My program offered a paid internship in a large urban district, and though I was daunted at first, I found I enjoyed the challenge.  Before I knew it, I had accepted a full-time job offer and ended up working three years there.  Still, I was unhappy.  Spending my career teaching in the inner city was not my dream.  I longed for more freedom, new places.  One day, a student I had kept after school for detention started asking me what I liked to do for fun.  I told him about all of the outdoor activities I enjoyed.  “So, like, why do you live here, Miss?  Why don’t you move to the country?”  I was taken aback.  “I don’t know,” I replied.  I had just received life coaching from a middle-schooler.

The “Aha” Moment

Many years later, after teaching in Colorado, taking time off to raise a family and returning to the world of education, I was hired as an Instructional Coach.  I was nervous:  did I have what it took to help other teachers?  I certainly didn’t have all the answers – I knew that much.  On the first day of training, the new coaches were introduced to the active listening technique.  It was as if fireworks were exploding inside me.  I thought, “YES! I can do this!  I GET IT!”  I flashed back to my sophomore year in high school, sitting in Mr. Schmidt’s homeroom.  “I’m going to call you Ann Landers from now on,” he said one morning.  He told me that he’d noticed that every day I was listening to a different person’s problems and stories.  Maybe I had been doing this all along without realizing it!

It was amazing to me how often I would meet with a teacher and offer little besides active listening, only to have the teacher say, “Thanks! I know just what I’m going to now – you helped me so much!”  All I had really done was to help the teacher discover her own solution to a problem – one that would be much more likely to be implemented than something I might have suggested that wasn’t really her style.

The Final Plunge

Still, after the grant for my coaching position ended, I wasn’t ready to jump into the abyss of starting my own business.  I went back to what I knew best – the classroom.  But I found, like many others before me, that when you are doing something other than what you are meant to do, life conspires to make it very uncomfortable.  Soon I was unable to ignore the nagging voice in my head that told me I needed to pursue my dream, which is to help you pursue yours.  Are you ready?

 

 

 

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