I’m Not a “Coach”…But I’m Committed to Supporting You

I’ve always felt wary about the word coach.

Don’t get me wrong; a lot of my friends and colleagues are coaches. There’s a diversity of coaching styles out there, from those that take a drill sergeant approach to getting results to those that offer gentle sounding boards to make you feel more at home in your heart, mind, body, and soul.

I can attest to the power of women being guided with care and compassion to access their power, purpose, joy…to step into the best version of themselves…to notice and correct their glaring blind spots. Coaches can be incredible resources when it comes to nurturing accountability, follow-through, and commitment to one’s most important ideals. Not to mention, unlike many of our well-intentioned friends, they generally operate from the kind of neutrality that is without sugar-coating. Which I, in particular, LOVE! Super-experienced coaches who’ve worked with lots of clients have the added benefit of being able to recognize patterns of self-sabotage and playing small—and to help you wise up when you’re doing either of those things.

Still, I will never be a coach.

As a former gymnast, I am reminded of the performance-driven aspect of coaching—and of the narrow ideals of excellence that many of us get shoehorned into when we are attempting to live the life of our dreams. This can be a losing battle if our eyes are focused on a glittering prize off in the distance, but all the while, we are disconnected from what truly makes us come alive.

I also associate coaching with the idea that there is a formula for success and that all we need to do is demonstrate fidelity to the formula in order to be happy or successful.

I totally disagree. I don’t think there is a formula for success. And I don’t think that even the time-honored experts have the answers. I truly believe that nobody—and I mean nobody—knows better than you what you need to be happy or successful.

I certainly don’t think I have all the answers, but recently, I’ve found myself engaging in casual conversations with women from all backgrounds, listening to them talk about their fondest dreams and their most secret fears. I don’t intentionally steer the subject around to these things, but given my passion for women’s stories, I’m not surprised that it’s where we organically end up. I like to think of myself as an advocate of every woman’s unique radiance, her messy brilliance, so listening is really, really easy for me to do.

At the end of these conversations, several women have said to me, “Wow, thank you so much! You really helped me. Have you considered being a coach?”

I’m a teacher, an author, and a speaker—but honestly, I’ve never wanted to be a coach. I’ve never thought of what I do as “coaching.” All I really do is show up, offer my presence, ask questions, and offer honest reflection to each incredible woman who comes my way.

But in fielding these inquiries, a light bulb went off in my head, and I thought, Oh, this is what women want and need!

It’s not like I show up with advice. I generally loathe advice. But I realize that what I actually do offer women is an opportunity for clarity…clarity that they already have, deep down.

I think of how my best friend, Michelle, offers me that clear mirror. When I’m in turmoil or I simply want to deepen my inquiry about something important, she’s able to hold space for my process. In this space, she reminds me of who I am and what I’m here for, and she helps me to see where I might be disconnecting from my intuitive wisdom. But she doesn’t give me answers or attempt to rein me in. She doesn’t tell me what to do. She simply helps me return to myself.

As women, I think it’s important that we do that for each other; we can bring each other back to clarity, and to ourselves.

I still feel pretty meh about coaching, but given the sheer number of women who’ve reached out to me with this request, I’ve decided to make myself available for something I call clarity calls.

For me, clarity is the deep, authentic wisdom that emerges when we are congruent with our values and intentions. It is the key to our personal power. Clarity will look different for everyone, because it is ultimately about developing an intimate relationship with ourselves—the kind that helps us to naturally recognize the patterns that govern our lives.

When women are not clear, we become victims to our lives. We get into the dangerous habit of constantly reacting to our external circumstances, which dims our light and decreases our effectiveness in the world.

From the past decade of working with my global community, I know that claiming your complexity and stories as a woman is instrumental to gaining clarity on who you are, what you value, and what makes you powerful. When we enter into a more self-accepting and shame-free relationship with ourselves—when we fully claim all of who we are rather than trying to change any of it, we experience the kind of clarity that truly fosters our excellence, not just generic “results.”

Believe me when I say that I know women already have the answers—not preconceived ideas of what they should do or trite directives toward positive thinking. Women are the key to their own bliss. Sometimes, they just need a push in the right direction. More than anything, a clear mirror. If you’re cool with doing away with the “coach” label and stepping into the infinite wisdom that is utterly without a script or formula, I’d love to be that person for you.

Hour-long clarity calls offer passionate, curious, committed women the opportunity to be completely real about what’s really going on in their lives—the kind of real that can be hard to share with even our closest friends and confidantes. Kelly will hold space for you with compassion, truthfulness, and nonjudgmental support—all the while reminding you of your true potential to step up, speak out, and shine in your life. For more information about clarity calls with Kelly, go HERE.

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About the Author | Kelly McNelis

Kelly McNelis is the founder of global community, Women for One, a speaker, coach, facilitator, and bestselling author of Your Messy Brilliance: 7 Tools for the Perfectly Imperfect Woman. With more than 25 years of experience as a nonprofit and small-business consultant, Kelly empowers generations of women around the world to build the relationships, community, and confidence they need to achieve their wildest dreams. She finds daily inspiration in spending time with her husband and children in her home outside of Seattle.

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