When I was first counselling in the late 80s, the term counsellor was intimidating. It spoke of a “there’s something deeply flawed in me and probably no one can fix it” kind of mentality. Going to see a counsellor could be an admission of defeat. It could be shameful.
Unless, of course, your counsellor agreed with you and you could use their expert advice to win an argument.
To make things easier, I’d tell people to simply consider me their coach. This was long before the term “life coach” existed.
After all, pretty much everyone’s had coaches at school, at church, in Little League and what have you. The description seemed less harmful, more approachable if you will.
Coaching has now become a multi-billion dollar industry.
It covers every facet of human endeavour and then some. Despite many who are talented, informed and very effective at what they do—and I know plenty of good coaches—there has been a watering down of the term.
I found it didn’t fit me anymore in the current context of how I operate. To many, the term may seem to be the new “counsellor” of old. This is probably unfair, a result of its popularity.
Then again, I’m not coaching Little League.
I advise on business and productivity, marriages and relationships, parenting and aging, trauma and addiction, health and other matters of life, death and freedom.
Coaching hardly does what I do justice.
Also, at the least being coached implies I know the “right way”; that I have a system that works and if you follow it, you’ll score the win.
To some extent in shortened contexts this is true. I have a play book like any good teacher does. I know technique from trial and error. I have seen good and bad.
More often than not though, in the longer game the answers are in my clients. I explore and facilitate things. Sure, I call upon my training and experience and learning, but ultimately, my calling is as trusted advisor.
Having lived a faulted life—especially in my early years—I am incapable of judging others. We don’t need to get into how faulted here. I’ve seen deep shit, life and death, also great triumph.
Over the decades, regularly someone took the time to share some of their hard-earned lessons, often as payment in kind for something I’d done.
Indeed, I usually paid dearly for good advice.
I listened… and I am blessed with memory.
I can recite chapter and verse about various gems learned from books, courses, my father, priests, professors, friends, business people and other learned souls of both genders; moreover, often attributing a time and place for each pearl of wisdom gratefully gained.
Being a learner is my number one strength. I suppose some will say what I have is depth. I think you’d want that in an advisor.
We all get advice from time to time.
Advisor it is.