I came across a really interesting article this morning written by a coach blasting other coaches about their way of selling their lifestyles and how they direct their clients.
On the one hand, I absolutely agree that coaches should be authentic and transparent, and on the other, I don't think it's any of his business to tell other coaches how to deal with their practices and clients. If those coaches are running their business from the beach and living out their dreams that happen to include lots of yoga and Paris, who is he to say that it's wrong?
I thought that it might be a good opportunity to tell you that my life is perfect. I don't spend my day at the beach, or even at the pool at my house (I keep thinking it might be fun, but the glare on my laptop would be dreadful!). I don't fly to Paris, I don't live on green smoothies (I do like them though!) and while I do yoga and go to the gym almost every day, I do not have a "yoga body," and I'm not interested in having one.
Because that is just not me, If it were. I can guarantee you that I would be sitting on the beach with my super toned yoga arms, laptop and a mojito right now.
I have a loving, brilliant, crazy husband and a wonderful step daughter. I have strong family connections, an amazing network of friends who are diverse, intelligent and interesting in their own rights, and I have the world's cutest dog. I'm fortunate enough to have traveled extensively. I own more books than I care to count. I have been privileged in my career to work with some remarkable people who inspire me. I've lived in three totally different countries, and despite all this, which IS "Instagram perfect" (if I could remember to take pictures of it all) it's about balance and I spend my days much like any other working person.
I get up, I work out, I make sure my home is cared for and my family looked after. Then I settle down at my desk for my work day which can last anything from four hours to 12, to create work with the intention of changing people's lives. Whether I'm writing, connecting with people, in coaching sessions, or even just putting together Facebook memes that make people think, this is what I love to do.
Is any of that day to day stuff interesting enough to share on social media? Doubt it. I don't think anyone wants to see pictures of me doing research or managing my website. It's really not very inspiring, and it's certainly not going to drive traffic to my website.
However, I'm good at what I do and I'm organized, and my experiences and my qualification in coaching has allowed me to create a life that MAKES ME HAPPY. Sure there are things that I'm still working on. I have goals and ambitions like anyone else. But they are mine. And that is what my "followers" do find inspiring.
The fact that my life is not "Instagram perfect" is completely irrelevant. And being that way does not make it more real, or more valid or more acceptable than a life that IS Instagram perfect. My life is not somehow morally superior because someone else sees it as more "real' than another.
However, I would call my life pretty perfect, because what the author of that article is forgetting, is that it's not up to us to decide what other people's lives and successes should look like. Our job, as coaches, is to help people define what they really want, then support them as they go out and make it happen. We don't get to decide or dictate what success is. Not for our clients, and certainly not for other coaches who's ideal audience is likely to be completely different to our own. If a client wants the lifestyle that they see a coach having, who are we to say "no, you can't have that because I don't think it's real." I call myself the "real life, life coach" because what I deal with is peoples individual realities. Their personal real. Whatever that is, whatever it looks like.
If you, as a coach, are telling your clients what their life should look like, you're not coaching. And if you have a coach that's trying to mold your life into their version of perfect. Run.
One of my own very deeply help values, is freedom from dictates on whom and what I should be. Therefore, I encourage my clients and my readers to question and challenge all social and internal "rules" in the same way. If my client's goal is to be a size two and live on the beach, and we discover that it will for whatever reason make them genuinely happy. Then that is what we are going to achieve. So I'd like to challenge what the author of this article is saying, which is essentially...
Your goals and lifestyle don't look "enlightened enough" to me to be real or worth pursuing.
Which in my opinion is none of his business.