What is your purpose as a coach? Unfortunately this is not something that we can simply google to find the answer to. Everyone’s purpose, or ways how they coach is unique. It takes time to find out, although a good coach training programme and certification will help you work towards this.

Here’s a few ways how you can develop your understanding in relation to how you coach and identify how you show up in front of your clients:

1. Be conscious about your reflective and reflexive practice: Great coaches are both reflective and reflexive, i.e. they do not only reflect on what they have learnt but also focus on ways to implement those reflections. This allows them to engage in a process of continuous discovery and learning. Make a conscious effort to pause, focus your thinking, and develop insight into your coaching practice. Through this approach we become more in tune with how we coach, work and our purpose as a coach.

2. Go beyond the labels: try not to fall into the trap of using a label as your purpose in relation to your coaching practice, e.g. calling yourself a career coach, an executive coach or a life coach. Although this is useful (particularly from a marketing and branding point of view) it does not necessarily answer the question around how you coach. Saying that you’re a career coach tells more about the type of clients you work with rather than who you are. Instead notice how you coach, what usually happens in your coaching sessions and the feedback you have received from previous clients.

3. Tap into your values: acknowledge what is important to you and align your work with your values. By developing a coaching practice that is true to yourself and what matters to you, you’ll be able to understand even more deeply why you do what you do.

4. Note that you’ll feel fear: this is key particularly if you are on a coach training programme or starting out as a coach. For example, doing those first practice sessions can feel unnerving. It takes courage to move forward, embark in a process of discovery and not let setbacks rob us of our confidence. Instead of immediately working on pushing these moments away, note how you’re feeling and similar to the first point, be reflective and reflexive to understand what that fear might be telling you. On top of that try to visualise what’s important to you and your values. Ask yourself – is what I want to do in support of my values even though I might feel this fear? This is something that we also cover on our Diploma in Integrative Coaching – a concept borrowed from Acceptance Commitment Therapy; focusing on our actions being in service to our values, even though those actions might feel a bit daunting at first!

5. Explore your ikigai: you might have heard of this; unravelling that common ground between what you love, what you’re good at, what you can get paid for and what you need. Google ikigai if you haven’t come across this term. There’s plenty of resources that can help you with this concept of having direction and working towards your fulfilment in life, but also in finding your purpose as a coach.

Exploring your purpose is something that we also cover on the ICF Accredited Diploma in Integrative Coaching. It is one of the competencies that we explore in our training programme, and being able to work within these competencies is core to coaching certification.