How to Fulfill Your Purpose as a Life Coach With the Power of Authenticity
A life coaching career can come with the pressure to be perfect. We’re expected to have all the answers, to never make mistakes, and to always have our lives together as “proof” that we’re qualified enough to coach others.
But the truth is, no one is perfect, and that includes us!
In fact, trying to be perfect can be detrimental to your success as a coach.
In this article, I want to share with you why you don’t have to be perfect to be a successful life coach and the power of authenticity in building a thriving coaching career.
The Pressure to be Perfect
When many of us start out as life coaches, we feel the pressure to be perfect. We might think that if we make a mistake or don’t have all the answers, our clients will lose faith in us… people won’t want to work with us… and other people will judge us.
In reality, many of us have preconceived notions of what (or who) a life coach is supposed to be that aren’t entirely accurate.
We imagine that all life coaches lead perfect lives, delivering flawless talks to huge crowds, living in beautiful homes with perfect partners… After all, if they’re qualified to teach others how to create extraordinary lives, shouldn’t their own perfect life be proof?
So, it’s no surprise that when most people think about helping people as a life coach, their inner critic starts whispering things like:
- “You can’t do that.”
- “You aren’t rich.”
- “You aren’t famous or successful.”
- “You don’t have a perfect relationship.”
- “You don’t have a lifestyle you really enjoy…”
- “How can you think about teaching other people to build their ideal lives if you aren’t doing it yourself? What a hypocrite!”
You Don’t Have to be Perfect to be a Successful Life Coach
The simple truth is this: You don’t have to be perfect to be a successful life coach.
In fact, your imperfections can make you a better coach!
To help you understand why, I’ve answered some of the most common questions I get from people who are thinking about becoming a life coach, but afraid that they don’t have what it takes…
“How can I teach people principles and concepts that I haven’t fully mastered for myself?”
Think of it this way…
If an architect hasn’t designed his own dream home yet, but he’s great at designing houses and he knows it, is he going to quit?
Or will he take the knowledge he has, which he KNOWS is useful and effective, and help other people create the homes of their dreams?
The same is true for life coaches. In fact, coaches who are authentic and honest can make an even greater impact on the lives of the people they teach.
“I’m not happy all the time, so that automatically disqualifies me from coaching others, right?”
Most life coaches aren’t happy all the time because, just like you and me, they’re human.
What makes a great coach is someone who recognizes that life always has its ups and downs and who has personal experience navigating life’s challenges.
Personal development and transformation are about growth, and growth happens through a full spectrum of experiences- just like plants grow on both rainy and sunny days.
As a coach, it’s your job to help your clients stay on the green growing edge of becoming – knowing that each one of us is far more powerful and contains more potential than we realize… not to be happy or make others happy at all times.
“But how do I know I’m good enough to teach others to become successful?”
Some of the most impactful coaches are those who are committed to their own personal development and growth and are willing to help others from where they are with what they have.
There are several key components to becoming a successful, difference-making life coach, and being perfect is not one of them. I know this from personal experience…
I’ve been exactly where you may be right now.
I’ve been afraid, unsure of myself and I’ve doubted whether or not I would succeed as a life coach.
But one thing I never doubted – not for one single second – was whether or not I wanted to answer my calling to help others create lives they absolutely love.
The Dangers of Trying to be Perfect
Not only is achieving perfection impossible…
But trying to be perfect can be harmful to you and your coaching business. It can lead to burnout, imposter syndrome, and a lack of connection with your clients.
Perfectionism can be harmful because:
- It prevents you from being true to yourself (your clients can sense that!)
- It creates distrust between you and the people you want to help
- It prevents you from taking action aligned with your dreams and goals
- It keeps you stuck trying to make up for your perceived imperfections (like constantly seeking out coaching training but avoiding work with clients because you don’t feel good enough)
- It sets unrealistic standards for you and the people you work with
- It uses all of your time and energy trying to maintain the illusion of a perfect life instead of doing more meaningful things (like building authentic relationships and fulfilling your calling in life)
If you wait for perfection, you’ll always be in a state of waiting.
Real transformation and success isn’t about how to live a perfect life. It’s about celebrating your wins, gaining the confidence to strive for more, and always aiming to exceed your best.
Successful people don’t wait until they become successful to start creating success. They become successful by taking action.
Embracing Imperfection: Tips for Being a More Authentic Coach
So, how can you stop trying to be perfect and instead learn to be a more authentic coach? Here are some tips:
- Embrace your imperfections. Don’t try to hide them or pretend they don’t exist. Instead, be open and honest about your struggles, your growth, and your story.
- Be vulnerable. When appropriate, share your own experiences with your clients. It can help build rapport and create trust when they know you aren’t there to judge them for their own struggles.
- Practice self-compassion. Remember that, like your clients, you’re human and that you’re still learning and growing. Actively practice a growth mindset.
- Focus on your clients. When you’re focused on helping your clients, you’re less likely to get caught up in your own insecurities. Be honest and transparent about how you can help them, and how you cannot, and share your values and beliefs as a coach.
Authenticity is a powerful way to connect with your clients. It helps them see that change is possible and that they’re not alone.
Embrace Your Imperfections and Fulfill Your Purpose as a Life Coach
You don’t have to be perfect to coach.
In fact, your imperfections, struggles, success, and unique story will make you an even more impactful coach for those you are called to help.
Don’t be perfect, be real.
If you also feel called to help others, I encourage you to move past your fears, step out of your comfort zone, and take a step in the direction of your dreams now.
You might have fears, reservations, and concerns about starting or expanding your coaching career… But consider this– Your calling to do more meaningful work in the world is greater than any fear or block that might be keeping you stuck right now, including your perfectionism.
If you could use a little confirmation that life coaching is more than a career and might just be a deep calling to a more purposeful life, click here to access our Spiritual Design Series. This 4-part video series is free to you and was created to speak to those of us who have a sense that helping others might be a unique part of our spiritual makeup. Is that you? Find out here.
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