I am not a life coach

20 Feb I am not a life coach

Just wanted to clear something up: I am not a life coach. Well, I am a life coach, but I’m not just a life coach.

I more like to consider myself a change-agent, enabling individuals and systems to create their own, positive growth. Essentially, I facilitate conversations and learning opportunities for people interested in creating their own, positive evolution. I do this by teaching people how to (1) think about how they think, (2) get clear about what they want, and (3) dance.

I realize some of those words look/sound strange: change-agent, enabling, evolution. But much of this learning is about incorporating new language. These words resonate the most with me – more so than “life coach”, which activates a weird (implied negative) feeling in my body (threat response?), most probably because when I first started hearing of life coaches (c. 2005) I subscribed to the common view point that it was probably all a whole bunch of hooey.

But it’s not. Will you trust me?

It wasn’t until I experienced my first coaching sessions with Deb Giffen, Executive Director of Education at Wharton Business School, and also a Master of Applied Positive Psychology. It was at a time when I said goodbye to my therapist, and decided to try a new paradigm. And am I glad I did, because I experienced something so powerful: my dreams starting to come true.  Deb, who is still my coach, said, “Of course your dreams are coming true, Louis – you are making that happen!”

With an eye on the future (not the past), a good coach helps us continually gain clarity around our visions, gain insights into how we may be holding ourselves back, and strategies to take forward movement (with their accountability). A good coach helps us create new habits, new brain wiring, and new recharged ways of being in line with what we want (not what we don’t want – we’re good enough with that).

A good coach comes with the questions (not answers) and some of the tools that can help us help ourselves. It’s the only way.

I am a good coach. I help individuals as a life coach, I help executives as an executive coach, and I help organizations as a systems coach – facilitating positive growth across a group. I love those projects.

Right now, I’m working on a dream-come true project, really, a community-wide change initiative in Cleveland, Ohio – helping people learn to think differently. It’s called Social-Emotional Leadership: How communities change. I developed this framework for my Masters thesis at Penn, used my own family for some action learning and research, presented it at several conferences, including the inaugural meeting of the International Positive Psychology Association in 2009, and am now living it writ-large across the city of Cleveland.


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