not a coachThere has been a lot of talk lately about people abandoning the term “coach”. Life coach, business coach, health coach, career coach. I’m not sure if it’s just in the communities I’m involved in, or if it’s much bigger. But it’s fairly clear there is some unrest and dissatisfaction with how this term is used, how people are perceived and of course, how they wish to be perceived.

But what I find even more interesting is that people, in an attempt to avoid using this term, start to come up with all of these other alternative terms that make little or no sense to anyone outside of the coaching world.

Instead of coach we’ve started using terms like:

“I’m a life catalyst!”

“Your Shazamm specialist” (I’ve literally bumped into 4 people recently using a similar term – I don’t have a clue what it means, but I can only guess it’s a pop culture term I haven’t been exposed since I haven’t watched TV in 3+ years – I’m probably missing something super important)

Not to poke fun at anyone who has come up with a creative name, title, description of who they are.

But why can’t we just call it like it is?

If you’re a coach, great! Be the best coach you can be.

When I asked a group about alternative terms, this is what we came up with:

  • mentor
  • guru
  • teacher
  • advisor
  • strategist
  • consultant
  • leader
  • head lad
  • specialist
  • guide
  • life catalyst

If you went to life coaching school, what’s wrong with being a life coach. Unless of course, you don’t like coaching. But if you are coaching. If your offerings include me signing up for 6 months of ongoing coaching sessions,, or 4 weekly calls to work through a specific issue, then you are a coach, right? But, I digress.

I really wanted to talk about why I don’t call myself a coach.

One really big reason? I’ve never gone to coaching school. I don’t have a coaching certificate. I do on the other hand have credentials that label more other things, like, “advisor”, “trainer”, “preparer”, “consultant”.

But then I took a look at the webster definition of coach:

: a private teacher who gives someone lessons in a particular subject

I’m not a coach by the definition we usually use. . Nothing about the way I work is “coachy”. Yet, I do teach & give lessons on a particular topic. Oh, now I see how this gets so confusing.

Maybe I‘m just not a label kind of gal?

I’m not a huge fan of any of the terms we came up with either, but the one that I always come back to is Advisor. Not entirely sure why, but it fits the best when I think of the work I really do, and the way I love to help.

How did I decide? I asked myself these questions.

  • Do I love working with people in long term contracts?
  • Do I love watching people change their behavioral patterns over a period of 3, 6, 9, 12 months working with me?
  • Do I enjoy having calls booked in my calendar ongoing for several months?
  • Do I enjoy routine?
  • Do I enjoy talking on the phone?
  • Do I enjoy spontaneity?
  • Do I love working with action takers?
  • Do I love being around people who need me long term? Or short term?

When all is said and done, I love working with people who I get to know in deep heart felt conversation about something we have in common. I love being able to provide that person with a little insight into life that helps them feel less stuck than they were when we first met. I love being able to connect them to resources (people or things) that give them hope that they’re not alone.

I love that people don’t feel alone after they spend time with me. That they feel like they’ve made a friend in business and life. And that they don’t need to sign up for something that lasts months, years and beyond. I’m there to help them at the stage they’re at. I’m keen on empowering, not enabling. I’m there to offer my opinion, offer shared wisdom and advice based on things I know work.

I crave helping people save precious resources (time, money, life) so they can enjoy other things in life, like family and travel.

And that can often be done in a quick chat. An email, a facebook conversation, a phone call. We don’t need to commit to working together for 12 months – in my humble opinion.

And even though I need a coach in my life. And I think most people do. I’m not one. I won’t ever be one.

Oh, and one more reason? See that picture up above? I took that picture last week when I probably “should have been working”. I’d much rather be there, most days! And that means I’m often not near a phone or wifi & keeping regular scheduled appointments – let’s say it’s not easy calling from the nearest oak tree?  🙂

What do you call yourself? and why?

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