Ep78: What Life Coaching Is Not

Sep 20, 2021

What does it truly mean to be a life coach? What misconceptions have you heard before from clients or fellow coaches on what life coaching really is?

Heather gets to share something that she is very passionate about – life coaching. She shares what life coaching is not in this episode and gives great points on what life coaching truly looks like. She will also share great analogies you can relate to as a life coach. If you are wondering about what life coaching is and want to get a glimpse of how it works, then this episode is for you.

Make sure you listen to the rest of the episode for Heather’s exclusive invitation for you to join an amazing group of like-minded individuals and intuitive coaches!

Soul Stirring Quotes


“Life coaching is one of the biggest mechanisms we have right now that is helping move humanity forward in terms of restoring human beings to the truth of who they are.”

“Life coaches, whether we recognize it or not, really own a powerful place in society and position in people’s lives.”

“You as a coach are, in fact, digging around into the psyche of the human being.”

“You have a deep responsibility to your clients, your communities, your culture and to your world to become the highest qualified and professionally-trained coach that you can be in the world.”

“Life coaching is the study, the application, and the mastery of a specific set of skills.”

“Coaching is not teaching someone something that you know.”

“Qualified life coaches are able to work with anyone on any type of problem.”

“A life coach doesn’t have to personally understand or have experienced the problem in order to be able to guide your client toward change.”

“What works for you might not work for your clients. It’s important to honor the difference that you have between yourself and your clients.”

“People want a neutral sounding board, somebody who possesses the ability to mirror back what they are saying, what they are thinking and listen deeply.”

“Advice giving is all about the person giving it and almost nothing to do with the betterment of the individual that is actually hearing it.”

“Each coach has their own unique way of coaching and has their own unique way of using the skills.”

“Life coaching is partnering with a client to facilitate individual transformation that enables them to overcome obstacles and maximize their potential.”


Episode Timecodes:

  • 0:27 Heather gives her thoughts on life coaching and why she wants to talk about what it’s not in this episode.

  • 1:24 Heather gives a trigger warning and shares her passion for life coaching.

  • 2:37 Heather shares what she learned as a classically trained mental health counselor.

  • 3:42 Heather shares her thoughts on how people take the true power of coaching and the importance of what coaching is all about.

  • 5:04 What Coaching is NOT #1: Teaching a person something that you have personally learned.

  • 7:06 What Coaching is NOT #2: Helping a person through a similar problem that you have also struggled with.

  • 10:23 What Coaching is NOT #3: Giving advice to a person.

  • 12:17 What is life coaching?

  • 14:34 What your clients can expect when they work with you as a coach and what you can truly do as a coach.

  • 16:34 Heather talks about Atmana and her loving words for you in your journey as a coach.

  • 17:40 Heather’s exclusive invitation for you to join the Atmana Coach Collective Facebook group, link below!

Links Mentioned:

Check Mark E. Young’s (Professor Emeritus) Book Learning the Art of Helping: Building Blocks and Techniques here

Check out the The International Coaching Federation here

Join The Atmana Intuitive Coach Collective Facebook Group HERE

Join the next Live Your Purpose, Launch Your Practice Workshop here

Connect with Heather

Email: hello@heatheraliceshea.com

Timezone: America/New_York

Website: heatheraliceshea.com


The Atmana Intuitive Coach Collective

Join The Atmana Intuitive Coach Collective Facebook Group here: 


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Episode Transcript:

Welcome to the everyday intuitive podcast. I’m your host, Heather Alice Shea intuitive life coach trainer status quo, shaker and founder of Atmana Coaching Academy. Listen in each week to break up with your comfort zone claim your self confidence and radically embrace your role as an intuitive healer mentor and sought after coach let’s get within and get after it.

Today. I want to talk about what life coaching is not. This is a hairy subject to tease apart because coaching is a deregulated industry. So unlike therapists, doctors, Hair stylists, electricians, and pretty much every other type of professional out there, coaching doesn’t have any type of governmental regulatory oversight.

And because of that, it can be a little opaque or unclear. On what life coaching actually is. So I wanted to do an episode on not so much what it is. I think sometimes the best way to understand complicated or nuanced concepts is to first get clear on what it isn’t. And so that is what we are gonna cover.

In this episode. Now I am going to give you a little bit of a trigger warning because I’m gonna get sassy with respect to the content that I’m about to disseminate here. Because of course, I am very, very passionate about life coaching. I’m passionate about training life coaches. I am passionate about this.

My heart, my body, my soul, my mind is firmly squarely planted in the world of coaching. And so I am very passionate about my profession as a coach. I think that life coaching is really. One of the biggest mechanisms we have right now that is helping move humanity forward in terms of restoring human beings to the truth of who they are.

And so please forgive me if I bring a little bit too much of the heat as we talk about this, if I sound a little snarky. Or, you know, a little bit too heavy handed on the indictments that I deliver, please know that it comes from a good place. It, it truly just comes from a place of understanding that life coaches, whether we know it or not, or recognize it or not really own a powerful place in society and position in people’s lives.

So. You may or may not know that I am a classically trained mental health counselor. I am not licensed, but I do have all of the bona fee days that go into becoming a master’s level clinician trained counselor and what I learned in my counseling career. And also while in graduate school is that life coaching skills and your basic skills that a psychotherapist, you know, a master’s degree or even a clinical psychologist use.

To help people excavate, you know, their wants their wishes, their desires, their unwanted behaviors, their dysfunctional relationships, et cetera, the same skills that, uh, therapists use their basic skills that they use and life coaching skills have a 90% similarity. And this isn’t just me saying this.

Professor emeritus, Mark E. Young from the university of central Florida wrote a skills book for helping professionals. And in that book, he says that of course, let your life coaching skills and psychotherapeutic skills out there. Entry level point, have that 90% map on. So why am I mentioning that? While talking about the context of what coaching, isn’t the reason why I’m mentioning that is because I don’t think people really take seriously the power of coaching.

I don’t think people really understand that whether you know, it or not, you as a coach are in fact, you know, digging around into the psyche of a human being and the most complicated thing in the infinite and known and unknown. Thus far for humanity is the human mind, the human soul, the human psyche. We really have absolutely no idea what we’re doing.

It is certainly a mystery to us and. I think it is really important for us to own that and understand that we have a deep responsibility to our clients and to our communities and to our culture and to our world to become the highest qualified and professionally trained coaches that we can be in the world.

We actually have that responsibility, right. Just like any other professional. So. I think it’s important to establish what coaching isn’t so that we can begin to really claim that space of what I consider to be actually a quite prestigious place in our communities and in our lives. So I’m gonna go over three things that coaching is not so that we can hopefully gain a better understanding of what coaching actually.

So the first thing that coaching is not is teaching a person, something that you have personally learned. That is not what coaching is coaching isn’t. I have learned this thing. I’m going to teach you how to learn this thing. That is not coaching when you are a qualified coach, when you possess the skills.

Okay. Life coaching is the mastery. It is the study. The application and the mastery of a specific set of skills, just like a general contractor learns how to use specific tools in a specific way to build a house, according to specific architectural plans. Okay. That is a skill. They can read those architectural plans and they can build any style of house.

They’re not beholden to build houses that only they live in. They can build any kind of house. Why? Because they possess the skills required to perform that job. And it’s the same thing with coaching. Coaching is not, I learned how to do this thing. And so I’m gonna teach you how to do this thing too.

That’s not what it is. It’s I possess a specific skillset that allows me to help other people overcome the obstacles they need to overcome and gain the insights they need to gain in order to learn the things that they want to learn. I sit beside them and I help them do the inner excavation work necessary to help them move toward that goal that they want to accomplish to learn whatever it is they wanna learn.

Right. So again, it’s coaching is not. Teaching someone, something that, you know, so what is teaching someone something, you know, what would we call a person who teaches someone, something they know? Well, we would call them a teacher. right. That’s what we have. We have math teachers, what, they know math. They teach people how to do math.

So if you’re teaching someone something, you know, and you don’t possess the 33 coaching skills that are required for you to call yourself a coach, then you’re not a coach. You’re a teacher. Which is a great thing to be as well, but let’s be very, very clear that just teaching somebody knowledge you have is not coaching.

The second is helping a person through a similar problem that you have also struggled with. That is not coaching. That’s called mentorship. So mentors. Help people go through similar situations that they themselves have gone through. They don’t possess coaching skills. They have no idea what active listening is.

You know, they don’t know what reflecting feelings are. They couldn’t define an open question. If you paid them money, they don’t understand how to resolve discrepancies. From the coaching perspective. They’re not necessarily paying attention to body language consciously. They, you know, may or may not be using intuitive skills, even if they are doing these things, they’re not doing it from a perspective of being a professional change agent.

In other words, they’re not employing those skills in a way that would allow them to create pinpointed efficacious change that moves a person toward a desired goal that they want to overcome. So an analogy here would be, Hey, I might know how to do certain things to build a house. I might know how to do ’em.

I might have picked up how to learn how to do it. Right. But that doesn’t make me a qualified general contractor just because I’ve helped a couple of friends of mine, or I personally had to learn how to renovate my own house because for whatever reason I decided to do that does not make me qualified.

To help you build yours. And it’s the same with coaching. So qualified life coaches are able to work with anyone on any type of problem. They don’t have to personally understand or have experience the problem in order to be able to guide their client toward change. Why? Because they possess the skills that map directly onto the human psyche.

Right. Remember we were talking about how coaching skills and therapy. It’s 90% map. Because you possess those skills and they work with anyone. So I’m not operating from a place you aren’t operating from a place of, Hey, I went through the same thing. Let me show you how I did it. Another reason why that’s really important to highlight is because what worked for me.

Might not work for you and what worked for you might not work for your clients. We’re all different. Okay. So, you know, it’s really important to remember that just because a certain strategy or a tactic or a mindset shift worked in your life. That’s not gonna work for everybody. And so it’s important to honor the difference that we have between ourselves and our clients and not really have this kind of codependent enmeshment, where we think that just because we learned how to overcome something that that’s gonna work for everyone, it’s actually a quite arrogant and egocentric way to approach the work.

Of course, I understand. People don’t mean it that way, you know, we do it innocently, but now, you know, better so you can do better. So I have never had a drug addiction, but I could work with someone with a drug addiction because I understand , you know, the skills that would be necessary to help a person move toward a goal.

Right. As long as I’m not operating as a therapist, as long as I am operating within ethics and best practices as a. I can work with anyone who has a myriad of problems because of the skillset I possess. I don’t have to have personal experience in all of it. Right. And then the third is just good, old fashioned advice giving.

So here’s what I think you should do, right? Coaching is I am here to help you discover within yourself what you already know to be true, and then guide you along a path that helps you discover what you wanna do about it. And then we make goals and we move you toward. I’m here to help you discover what’s out of alignment.

What’s in alignment. What you actually want behind what you think it is you want, and then partner with you in a profound way to help you get there, right? To be your cheerleader, a champion, somebody who doesn’t judge you, somebody who gives you a sounding board. It’s not advice. Advice. Here is what I would like to see you do.

Advice is cheap. They can get it from their neighbor. Why would a person pay you for your advice? Why would a person care? What you personally think about them? that’s not what people want. What they want is a neutral sounding board. Somebody who possesses the ability to properly reflect to the person to mirror.

To the person, what they are saying, what they are thinking to listen deeply, like to use that intuitive ability to help them dive deeper into theirselves far deeper than they could do if they were just sitting there spinning their wheels with this problem. Okay. So advice is very superficial. It’s very cheap.

It’s very, here’s what I want to see you do, because this is what I think you would do. So in other words, advice giving is all. The person giving it and almost nothing to do with the betterment of the individual that is actually hearing it. So that is the three main key points of what coaching is not. It is not teaching somebody something, you know, it is not helping a person through a problem.

That you have similarly been through and it is not advice giving live coaching is when you employ the art and science of a specific set of skills. And I am going to link in the show notes to the international coach Federation. They have an excellent guideline on what coaching skills actually look like here in op man, we teach 33, including our intuitive.

So it is the mastery of those skills. It is understanding what each of those skills are, how they function, why you use them. And then from there, the art of coaching is how you personally like to apply them. Everybody that is a coach has their own unique way of coaching has their own unique way of using this skills.

It’s kind of think of it like music, right? You crescendo at a certain time and everybody, you know, you could have. 10 people play, you know, one of Mozart’s sonatas, but they would all kind of have, even though it’s the same. A distinct feel to it. Why? Because of the artist who is creating that piece of music in the way that only they can, and it’s the same with coaching, the skills might be the same, but every single coach employs those skills differently.

And that is what makes you a unique, fantastic irreplaceable category of one, one of a kind intuitive coach. I know you have it in you. That is what you are born to do. So we trust the art and science of those skills, the science. Here’s the mechanics of the skill, just like the mechanics of a hammer.

here’s the mechanics of active listening. Just like here’s the mechanics of a skill saw in building a house. Here’s the mechanics of reflecting feelings and why we do it and how we do it. And when you would employ it and when you wouldn’t just like, we would say, here’s, you know, I don’t even know why am I using home building analogies?

I’ve never built a house in my life. You get the idea, right? So I wanna go over really quick and I’m gonna do a separate episode on this, on what coaching actually is, but here is a quick definition of what coaching is. Life coaching is partnering with a client to facilitate individual transformation.

That enables them to overcome obstacles and maximize their potential. That is what coaching is. It’s, it’s a partnership with your client where you give them the best of what you have to give in terms of your skillset. You help that person transform. Facilitate that transformation. So your client is at a, they wanna get to Z.

Your coaching is B through Y it’s the, how they get there. And that enables them to one overcome obstacles and then two maximize their potential. So you help them get less of what they don’t want. And more of what they do now as a coach, of course, you are gonna bring to bear your personal experiences. Of course, in into session, you are going to be talking about things that you have learned and absolutely your clients might ask you, well, what do you think I should do?

And you can look at them and go, Hey. I don’t know what you should do, but this is what’s on top of mind for me. Here’s what I’m observing. You’re certainly going to bring your full self into this session with your clients, as you interact with them via the skills that you’re using using, you know, the care and the concern, the genuine feelings that you have for them, right.

As coaches, we care about our clients deeply. So it isn’t that you aren’t gonna teach ’em things you’ve learned. And it’s not that. Not gonna help. ’em overcome struggles that they have, that you have also struggled with, but you’re not relying on those factors to invoke the change process. You’re relying on the actual skills that are coaching in order to do it.

And then the flavor. That is added to the session. Is your personal lived experience, your thoughts, your feelings, your congruence, your authenticity in the coaching session. So I think it’s really important to give yourself permission to show up. You know, here’s what I know. Here’s what I’ve learned.

Here’s what I’ve experienced. Here’s what worked for me. Here’s what didn’t, here’s what’s worked for past clients. Here’s what hasn’t. Of course, all of that can be in the session, but that is not coaching. Okay. That is not coaching. Anybody can give a person that that’s, whether they’re a life coach or not.

And because coaching is a deregulated industry, everybody who is, you know, the dog catcher can say, I’m a life coach, right? Because you don’t have to have a certification or any type of education under your belt in order to call yourself one. Again at Atmana we are all about helping you become a professional, intuitive life coach.

I consider coaching to be of course, on the same standard and par with very highly skilled professionals, because this is a highly skilled profession. And I’m really seeking to, you know, bring awareness to that. So I want you to feel really proud if you’re a life coach right now, I want you to feel really proud of the work that you’re doing in the world, because you’re performing a beautiful service, right.

It’s actually really hard to change it. It’s not easy. Right. And so. You are really giving people an opportunity to do that in a way that works for them. And especially if you’re an intuitive coach, you are on the cutting edge, the Vanguard of the assault. My love you are out there holding space for humanity in a way.

That I don’t even think we can put into words. Okay. So I see you, I salute you get out there, always be working on your art, always be working on the science of the skills and just know that, you know, you are really here and you have what it takes to help people transform their lives in the way that they are called to.

And if you would like to join our mighty little community of intuitive coaches who are doing exactly that in their lives and their businesses. I lovingly invite you to join the app. Intuitive coach collective. It is a Facebook group over 5,000 members, strong all over the world who are claiming their intuitive abilities, using them for a mighty force for good in the world.

This is light work at its finest, and we would love to have you join us if you do not have a community or would just like to be around people of like mind who are up to positive, amazing big things in the world. So you can check the link. In the show notes, or you can just go to Facebook and type in intuitive coach collective or Atmana intuitive coach collective.

And I will see you there. And of course we always have freebees and all kinds of fun trainings in the Facebook group to help you further your career and hone and own your intuitive skills as the one of a kind intuitive coach that you are until next time together, we rise. That is a wrap for today’s show.

Thank you from the bottom of my feels for showing up today in your power and in your willingness to let your intuitive self lead. And if you are still working your way to your first 50 to 100 K in your coaching practice, I have two incredible free resources to help you fast pass. This process, the first is to join our free and fun Facebook group.

The Atmana intuitive coach collective, where myself and our M instructors do free trainings every week. To help you turn your obstacles into opportunities with each and every step you take. So that you can begin to achieve success on your own terms and finally make the money that you know, you deserve. So if you’re interested in joining our group, just pop onto Facebook and you can search bar atmana, intuitive coach collective, and we will pop up or you can check our show notes.

For a link. And the second resource is a V I P ticket to our next upcoming five day workshop experience. Live your purpose, launch your practice, where you are going to learn four keys to claiming your intuitive confidence. Calling in clients with authenticity and integrity. And then you’re gonna create your very first or one of many signature programs that help you sell your services with ease and grace.

That also helps you go. Hi ticket. So head on over to Heatheraliceshea.com/intuitive coach launch to get your V I P ticket, or you can check the show notes where you can get your hot little hands on a link to both the Facebook group and the five day workshop until next time I see you. I love you together.We rise.