Spiritual Coaching vs. Life Coaching

October 23, 2010

Recently I was invited to a networking meeting. This required me to contemplate exactly what it is that I do and how it is differentiated from Life Coaching. When I hung out my shingle a couple of years ago I had progressed through training that focused more on spiritual guidance and spiritual direction, however I felt that what I wanted to offer was more of a bridge between Spiritual Guidance and Life Coaching rather than either one. So I called myself a Spiritual Coach and developed a web site titled SoulClarity (www.soulclarity.com) During the past two-years I have worked with clients ranging from life coaches to a psychologist and I have gradually discerned the landscape that seems to unfold in Spiritual Coaching and how it differs from Life Coaching.

I believe quite a number of life coaches consider spirituality when they are coaching but I am not sure how many Life Coaches begin from a place of Soul (or Higher-Self, Psyche, Inner-being, Intuitive-self – whatever words meaningfully describe the inner nature.) And for some people the very word spirituality would get in the way because it suggests a higher power, a concept that is challenging for some. Most Life Coaches I know embrace the intuitive power of their clients to come up with creative solutions but this may or not be associated with spirituality in their minds.

My type of spiritual coaching begins with the premise, to use Jean Houston’s words, “You are more than you think you are and something in you knows it”*. It begins with the concept the inner journey of life must assume supremacy on life’s journey and spiritual coaching starts with seeking guidance from the Soul or Higher Self. Spiritual Coaching explores the experiences of life as opposed to focusing on specific outcomes. It is about finding meaning in those experiences as opposed to trying to change them. One of my clients remarked that once she found meaning in the experience it would create new outcomes. Spiritual Coaching looks at life as a journey of the soul and the spiritual coach as the midwife. It forces us to explore what is often uncomfortable territory of living in two worlds, one spiritual and one temporal and that is always a challenge. I’ll close with a lovely poem from Hafiz that I think summarizes the perfect outcome of Spiritual Coaching.

“What is this precious love and laughter

Budding in our hearts?

It is the glorious sound

of a soul waking up.”

* From A Mythic Life by Jean Houston