There are a couple of different reasons people tend to enter coaching as a profession. For example, some people pursue the lifestyle of coaching, which is typically represented by a lot of freedom, meaningful work, money, and time spent working from a beach in southeast Asia. Now, people who pursue the lifestyle of coaching can certainly create a lot of professional success. But ultimately, if you only do it for the lifestyle, you are not bringing as much work as you can.
The other thing that brings people to coaching is coaching as a spiritual calling – the idea of helping people to achieve their dreams and to trust life more.
Many people are sheepish to admit they are attracted to coaching as a spiritual pursuit. But I am called to coaching as a spiritual pursuit, and over the years, I’ve found it important to understand the differences between these two coaching styles.
Here’s what I’ve found.
1. It’s Ambiguous & Undefined
In professional coaching, there is often a desire to control and define things clearly. But if your coaching is a spiritual pursuit, there’s an element of mystery that you don’t want to design out of your work.
If you are called spiritually to coaching, you probably don’t fully understand what you are being called into. There’s a sense of not quite being able to get your finger on exactly what you are doing, or that you’re being asked to do something you don’t quite understand. This is aligned with the spiritual part of you – there’s often confusion and uncertainty involved in many aspects of spiritual life.
2. It’s a Partnership
In professional coaching, you get smart, learn techniques, and then apply them. But if you’re pursuing coaching for spiritual reasons, you actually partner with something bigger than yourself in order to offer your gifts. You’re always in partnership with the spiritual, the divine, the enlightened mind, and god (however you best relate to the idea of something bigger than yourself) and as a result you are always doing your coaching in partnership with that thing.
3. It Requires Spiritual Development
If you are developing yourself as a professional coach, you’re generally focused on mindset, skillset, and abilities. But as a spiritual pursuit, coaching also includes the development of the non-self, the bigger self, and the transcendent self that becomes important.
This often means working in esoteric traditions, with spiritual teachers, etc. to fully realize the spiritual potential you possess through your coaching.
4. It’s Not an Excuse
Some people who use coaching as spiritual pursuit might use it as an excuse for lacking structure or skill development around things like sales and marketing.
But the two are not mutually exclusive.
You can have a deep spiritual perspective and be highly technically apt. You can also honor your spiritual flow and still show up to calls on time, send people invoices, and generally be on top of all the business aspects of your work.
The best coaches are those who can balance both, getting the most out of their productivity while still providing themselves with a container for spiritual exploration and freedom.
5. It Requires Trust
You may sometimes feel a tension between the things you should practically do in some situations and what you feel called to do spiritually.
Maybe there’s a client who can make you a lot of money, but spiritually, you realize it’s not the right fit. Or maybe it’s vice versa – you really want to work with a client,, but they don’t have the ability to pay your rates.
In these cases, learning to listen to your intuitive guidance is part of the spiritual path you must follow. You have to be able to weigh the practical and the spiritual, and allow your intuition to make the “right” choice for you at a given moment.
6. It Demands Humility
You’ve reached the ultimate expression of spiritual coaching when you no longer take credit for the ongoing successes experienced your clients. You do still take credit for them achieving success, because it helps you get more clients, and because it gives people something to point to as your success. But you are not actually doing coaching anymore. It’s naturally arising.
This is a humbling realization, and one that requires deep introspection to be able to release all of the emotions that come with it.
If you choose to step onto the path of coaching as a spiritual pursuit, it’s a life-changing experience.
As glamorous as the coaching lifestyle can sometimes seem, the novelty often wears off with time. But if you choose coaching as a spiritual pursuit, that’s endless.
It’s so amazing to experience, because you are truly on an endless pursuit.
You also bring a lot more to the world when you show up this way – you serve your clients more deeply and facilitate a much deeper transformation overall.