“Life coaching is all about YOU and what you wish to achieve in your life. Your coach reminds you of your strengths, helps you to feel better about yourself and gives you valuable feedback on your thoughts and behavior to support you in moving forward. The focus is on positive change: stating this is where I am now, what do I want next?” -Definition of a Life Coach by Rachel Bamber
I feel this is one definition that best explains not only what life coaching is but what I can do for an individual. As an African American man who derives from a single parent household and poor economic background, I was able to go on and achieve a Master’s degree in Political Science, teach on the college level, travel throughout Latin America and become a published author. I was able to do this because of my own individual ability, and because I was fortunate enough to have various mentors and coaches throughout my life. From age 16 to my present age of 45, I always had a mentor or coach that helped guide my enthusiasm, motivations and actions for my goals. I’m certain that they did not see themselves as coaches at the time, but they certainly provided coaching services to me.
Many poor and working class African Americans are incredibly bright, gifted individuals that have the potential to achieve any dramatic professional goal. However, they lack coaching support to provide structure and encouragement that would allow them to embark and complete these goals. Even middle class African Americans achieving significant levels of economic success still may feel inept with their personal development.
This is where coaching comes in and makes the difference in terms of personal satisfactory outcomes. A life coach will be able to help clients to determine specific goals such as getting into college, graduate school, getting a promotion at work, or a fitness goal. The life coach and clients identify strategic steps to take and actions to perform in incremental steps that lead to the long term completion of goals. This may include finding out the application process for college or graduate school and following it to the letter. They may also devise a fitness regimen that would be most effective for the client to implement.
A valuable coach will never let you give up. A good coach will never let you quit. The coach is the cheerleader-like support system that provides the fanfare as well as extrapolates your already existing qualities that motivates you to achieve goals. Finally, a good coach can help you reduce or eliminate the negative internal self-talk (low self-esteem) that prevents so many of us from reaching our goals.
I can safely assert that no successful African American, rich or poor, made it without some form of a coach in their personal and professional lives. The self-made success story in America is a myth because in reality, is most of us have had assistance or support somewhere along the way.
The benefits of Life Coaching are immeasurable for the African American community, and the practice itself is ready to actualize and develop new talent for the greater American good.