Life Coach – Now Officially (and wrongly) Defined

Big news this week. Merriam-Webster announced some of the 100 or so words it’s adding to it’s Collegiate Dictionary.

They include f-bomb, sexting and life coach.

The lack of a well-understood and widely accepted definition for life coach has both drawn me to using it, and repelled me.

I liked that when I started using the term back in 2003 most people hadn’t heard it before. I liked being able to explain it differently for different people–expand or minimize the definition based on whether it was real curiosity or simply a polite question.

Things are different now.

Life coaches have appeared on reality shows and TV dramas. I’ve been told that characters in novels now have fictional careers as life coaches.

The term has gained meaning.

I’ve noticed over the years, the response to “I’m a life coach” has changed substantially. Most people say, ohhhh, knowingly. and then I wonder what they think it means. Sometimes I ask, and have heard some of the most interesting definitions:

Life coaches give really good advice and help people make better decisions.

Life coaches hold people accountable so they can get things done.

Well, it’s like a wife. A life coach tells people what to do because they know best.

And now, Merriam-Webster’s definition:

An advisor who helps people make decisions, set and reach goals, or deal with problems.

And really, none of those are accurate. Not even the Merriam-Webster one. At least not for me.

Perhaps it’s time I change my title.

What I really do is help you navigate change, bring more ease and fun into your life. Are you a big dreamer who wants to become a big do-er? I’m your gal.

I help you change your brain so it works more smoothly, not running all those glitchy old patterns and habits from the past.

Not so big on the advice or traditional goal setting and rigid accountability. And definitely not about telling you what to do. You’re the expert on you, I just help you uncover and listen to your own best advice.

Photo Credit: The latest incarnation of my business cards (from Moo!). Life coach is making a far less prominent appearance these days.


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