Simple question, what is a Life Coach, but oh so many possible answers. The most basic answer is that a Life Coach is someone who helps people produce the change, progress or result they are after To condense it down to essentials: Life Coaching equals results. But how? Exactly what is a Life Coach? Are all Life Coaches the same in the way they approach their clients, or in how they produce results? Of course not. Every Coach is an individual, with an individual behavioral style and relationship style, and a unique knowledge and experience base. But most Coaches do have an archetypal coaching comfort zone.
There are five archetypal models for coaching. Most Coaches have one favored coaching style, kind of a default archetype where they feel most comfortable. But it’s sometimes necessary to step into a different style, at least for a little while, to be effective with a particular client. It’s useful to figure out what your natural style is, so you can intentionally get some practice with the others and recognize when you have to put on a different hat.
The Five Coaching Archetypes
1) The Consultant: The Consultant is a fount of information with two basic functions. First, he gives facts, interpretations and advice that the client doesn’t already know, and gives them in a way that the client can put into use. Second, he takes information the client does already know and turns it around or presents it in a new way that makes it useable.
2) The Guru: The Guru is an expert, often someone in the public eye. She exudes confidence and instills confidence in her clients. When she says “You can do it!”, her clients believe her. Her clients do what she says just because she says to do it.
3) The Friend: The Friend helps by using active listening and empathy. He is a shoulder to cry on, a friend to share successes with, and a sounding board for new ideas. He has no agenda of his own, and provides a supportive space for his client to explore options and figure things out.
4) The Strategist: The Strategist is there to plan with her client. She takes whatever information she gets, reads between the lines, and helps her client simplify, clarify, and put it all together to figure out what comes next. She also is a master motivator.
5) The Leader: The Leader provides tough love. He directs his clients to take action on whatever they need to do to get their goals. Then he makes sure they do it by providing accountability.
So, What Is A Life Coach, Really?
As a Life Coach, you are someone totally committed to getting your clients the results they want, whatever it takes. That total commitment sometimes means intentionally stepping out of your natural style and stepping into a different model, even if only for a little while. Awareness of your primary archetype makes that easier to do because it allows you to intentionally practice the others. Then when you need to, you’ll be ready.
What is a Life Coach? It’s you, whatever your primary coaching archetype, when you take a powerful stand for your client’s dreams, goals and desires so that they can achieve and fulfill their deepest outcomes and needs. It’s you, when your commitment to your client’s results is stronger than your commitment to your own comfortable archetype.
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JTS Advisors Strategy, Accountability, & Assessment Coach