Spiritual coaching is a relatively recent addition to the assortment of the multiple life-coaching sub-specialities, and is one that is getting close to the edge of what this type of work can do for a person. To understand what this kind of coaching can offer, let’s consider the differences between therapy, life-coaching and a spiritual path.
Both therapy (any) and life-coaching aim to offer help for the life in our everyday, common reality to become easier, more joyful, more fulfilled. Their purpose is the increase of our happiness in this world of constant change.
Whether it is a therapy or coaching that is most suitable for us will depend on how “out of sorts” we have become. Therapy usually works slower (but not always) and looks into the historic reasons of our situation (also not always!) Life-coaching traditionally focuses on our goals, on the direction we wish to move in life.
The ultimate purpose of a spiritual path is awakening, or enlightenment. To try to move in that direction consciously doesn’t mean to simply add a new dish into the menu of the restaurant that we have been eating in since our childhood. It is more like leaving that whole restaurant behind, something that is often done within and not necessarily in an apparent manner. To really go on such a path is to begin to travel a road that is diverging from the one most people are on.
Most often we only begin considering the “narrow road” when the life as we all know it stops satisfying us, when a hunch arises that there is something else. No matter how well off we may be financially, how amazing our family is, how great the physical form, none of that feels enough anymore. A desire to learn about life “as it really is” grows stronger, no matter that people around us might consider it to be anything from mildly weird to intensely upsetting. If we stay with our questions consistently, then gradually (usually gradually) we will turn onto a path of deep self-discovery and increasing awareness.
Spiritual coaching can serve as a bridge between the “regular” life and a spiritual path. The key to that bridge lies in our authenticity and integrity. The goal of this type of coaching is to support us in the process of the gradual change towards life in connection with our true nature, our soul, our heart. The words may differ, but they all point to the same “place” – our inner truth.
In other words, a spiritual coach will be helping you to find your “true you,” but without necessarily using any religious or spiritual terminology, or any particular rituals. It is of course also true that the perception of the field of spirituality having a special language and some sort of strange customs comes from a limited experience. There is a great variety of spiritual paths, individual and collective, and not all of them use forms that differ from what we can observe in our “normal” life.
It is important to realise that neither a coach, nor a spiritual teacher can give us the answers that would satisfy us deeply, that would quench that thirst for the truth in us. That has to come from within. A teacher, or a coach can only help us open, help us learn to hear that “small voice” that is always sounding within and which we do not hear in all the noise of the world.
Even the best ever spiritual teacher is only a guide through the darkness of our confusion, only a more experienced brother or sister who is willing to share what they have learned. Just as an art teacher cannot make us an artist, in the same way a spiritual guide cannot “give” us the knowledge that is waiting to be discovered in ourselves. It is for us to find it, they can only help us with the direction of our search.
Read more here
Questions and Answers
I am still unsure whether it is coaching or therapy that would help me the most. Can you help me understand that?
Do you find it easy enough to go about your daily errands, or does it feel that you have to drag yourself even through the most usual events that seem to be not stressful for anybody else but you? Are you able to feel that, on the whole, life is ok without using alcohol, or drugs, or any other behaviour that you yourself realise is not good for you? Or do you constantly return in your mind to some distressing events of the past and feel very upset, not matter how long ago that happened?
In many cases the boundary between life-coaching and therapy is hard to define, in part because there are so many types of therapy around. I can only give a very general advice here – from a position of a coach.
One can argue that our openness to help, to healing, to guidance is quite often the biggest contributor to whatever good result we are able to achieve when being with that helper, and that depends on us trusting them, feeling safe and secure in their presence. This is of course not a hundred per cent rule, we don’t necessarily like all of our doctors, for example. But in the area of mental and emotional help this works in the majority of cases. So look for a person you feel you can trust, whether they are a coach or a therapist. A honest professional will direct you elsewhere if they find that your concerns fall outside their expertise, but first you have to ask someone.
I can’t decide if I need help of a spiritual coach or to look for a spiritual teacher. How can I understand where I am on that?
Helping with that understanding is the work of a spiritual coach 🙂
How would the coach know which direction I need to move in my life? I can’t seem to figure it out, so why would anyone else know?
The direction in which you need to go is only known to you. That knowledge is already there, it is possible that you are not aware of it, but it IS there. The coach’s function is to facilitate your hearing/feeling/perception of your truth, not to impose any of coach’s own ideas or beliefs on you.
What are your qualifications as of a spiritual coach?
My spiritual path lies in the domain of Sufism. I have been travelling that road for the last 20+ years, primarily under the umbrella of a branch of the Chishti lineage. I was given an empowerment of a “teacher” and a “healer” by my teacher in 2016. I have since been teaching on the individual as well as on a group level. Independently from that, I studied and received a variety of qualifications in life-coaching, systemic NLP and a number of therapies. Some of those are coincidentally a part of the work that is done within my Sufi stream, including the “inner parts” work and the body-oriented practice.
If your path is Sufism, does that mean that to work with you on my spiritual goals I have to be a Muslim? What if I don’t believe in God?
No, you don’t have to belong to any specific religion or have any particular beliefs. You can read more about the understanding of Sufism I partake in, here I only want to say that Sufism is about experience and not beliefs.
How do I know that you can help me?
You don’t. I recommend that you trust your feelings and not your mind when you read what I say on these pages. If you find that you feel some “draw,” a slight pull, as if deeper into what you are reading, if you feel light and not tense or heavy, then perhaps it is a “yes.” You can “let it sit” for a few days and see if the idea comes back to you.
We can also meet (have a free of charge 20min session on Zoom) and you can do the same inner search afterwards.