Dr. Kimberly Riley
What do we do then? How about a mentor relationship? We may be stuck in a repetitive cycle trying to figure out what to do to get out of it. Just a simple suggestion from a trusted person would help, but we feel all alone. Maybe after reading this article, you will be able to look around you or know where to find someone to coach or mentor you from the level you are at currently to something higher.
What is a Life Coach?
The term life coach is probably one that you have heard of, but may not know the definition of. A “life coach” is defined by Mirriam Webster Dictionary as “an adviser who helps people make decisions, set and reach goals, or deal with problems.” You might have a few people in your life that you look to for guidance, but would you consider them a life coach?
A life coach may need to be someone who is intentionally filling that role in your life. They could be paid or not, but there should be some kind of mutual agreement that they are going to be guiding you in specific areas, helping you set and meet goals, and deal with your identified problems. A therapist may provide you with these things too when you are clear that the reasons you are seeing them are to work on those areas of your life.
What is a Mentor?
We are all pretty familiar with what a mentor is, it is even possible that you have once been a mentor yourself. A mentor is defined as “a trusted counselor or guide” and a “tutor or coach” in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The first association that most of us have with mentorship involves the idea of adults interacting with youth in some way or another in different settings.
Mentorship spans beyond the adult to child relationship though, because adults need mentors, too. A mentor is similar to a life coach, but the definition of a mentor includes a keyword; trust. A mentor is someone that you really trust to guide or counsel you.
From a spiritual perspective, some people may see God as a mentor because he is a trusted counselor and friend who guides you through every aspect of your life. Mentors seem to be intimate life coaches. Everyone can benefit from intimate relationships to help us move from position in life to another.
When Would a Life Coach Be Helpful?
Finding a new job
A life coach can help you work through the reasons you may want to leave a current job for a new one and then search for a job based on those reasons. A life coach may help you find current job openings in your field, update your resume, get your profile updates on employment sites, and conduct mock interviews with you to get you ready for the real thing. A life coach will coach you through the job hunt and help you be successful.
Going to college
A life coach assisting you through your decision to go to college for the first time or going back to college is helpful because they have some of the information or know how to get the information that you may not have yet. They might have access to scholarships you can apply for, lists of universities that have high acceptance rates or what schools that have a lower acceptance rate are looking for so that you can increase your chances of getting in.
Life coaches can even give you a career assessment so that you can decide what career you would like to pursue and which school will best fit what you would like to do professionally. With a life coach on your side, you can lessen your stress and worries around picking the right school and impact your future in a positive way.
Starting a workout routine or changing your eating habits
If you want to set a goal for yourself in the area of exercise, a life coach can help you get started. A life coach may help you determine the reasons for the change or increase in physical activity.
Sometimes people are not clear, even in their own mind, about why they want to start working out. Some people have a weight loss goal that has been set by their doctor while others are looking for a change in their physical appearance or health.When a person is looking for a change in their overall medical health, they may change their eating habits for the purpose of lowering their blood sugar or blood pressure.
A life coach can help a person stay focused on their goal and the reasons it exists as well as encourage them to not give up. A life coach may even help someone get connected with a personal trainer and then work with them as a team to get that person closer to their desired outcome.
People who are experiencing symptoms related to food sensitivities or allergies sometimes want to try eating differently through an elimination diet. The life coach can go through the transition with the person by showing them how to find recipes and local cooking classes if needed because they understand the support that a person needs to make such a big change in their life.
Life coaches can use their knowledge to help you get ahead of any roadblocks so that they don’t stop your growth and you can feel good about completing your goal for a healthier life. The life coach may continue coaching you after you complete your goal so that you know that maintaining whatever lifestyle you have created takes work to maintain.
When Would a Mentor Be Helpful?
When you are working through a relationship
A mentor, because they are a trusted counselor, can help you through a relationship situation. Earlier it was mentioned that Christians sometimes will refer to God as a “counselor”. When working through a tough relationship situation, God may be your heavenly counselor and guide you in the direction of a wonderful earthly mentor.Your mentor might end up being in your immediate circle already, so you may just have to approach them and explain what you are looking for. If your mentor is someone who knows you already, they may have some great insight into why you are struggling within your relationships.
Your mentor will carry you in a very different way than a life coach would, since a life coach is working towards a specific outcome, but a mentor is there to help support you via their understanding of the situation. A mentor may give personal examples of when they have had to work through some tough relationships as a way to join and gain your trust so that they can be most effective in your life.
You just need a listening ear
Mentors are great listeners and they learn about the people they are mentoring through their stories. You have close friends and family, but you want a neutral voice with which to talk things through, so you deeply share with your mentor and they respond in a loving and caring way. People find peace in the freedom to talk openly with a trusted person.
It is an added gift that their mentor is able to lead you through several different scenarios and then bring it all back together so that you can become self-aware. You can continue talking through your challenges with your mentor and even growing to the place of talking things through with other people in your life by using the skills you have learned.
What If I Need More?
Sometimes more than a mentor or life coach is needed, or maybe you need more coaching or tools than what you are already getting. A counselor may be a helpful step in order to take your life to the next level because they are trained to help in various ways that are different from those of a life coach or mentor.
Although a counselor will do many of the same things, they have theories that help them guide you in areas where you may be stuck. If you are at that point in your journey, there are many counselors here at Seattle Christian Counseling who can help you in the area of growth or even help you simply pick out a mentor or life coach who can walk with you through the things you are hoping to accomplish.
“Graduation Day!”, Courtesy of Vasily Koloda, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Assistance”, Courtesy of NESA by Makers, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Fitness Buddies”, Courtesy of Luis Quintero, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Directions”, Courtesy of Jamie Templeton, Unsplash.com, CC0 License
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