Spiritual NLP Life Coach Certification
Are you interested in starting—or enhancing—a spiritual life coaching practice? If so, the spiritual side of NLP has some amazing methodologies available to help you have a thriving, rewarding practice. In this article: What Is a Spiritual Life Coach, Why Do Many People Love it, How Does Certification Help, What’s Special About NLP-Based Spiritual Coaching, and Links to More Articles in This Series.
What Is a Spiritual Life Coach?
- A spiritual life coach helps a client to be aware of his or her personal or professional goals, obstacles, and resources, including spiritual resources.
- A spiritual life coach helps a client discover ways that these inner resources can transform obstacles to foster change and help with achieving personal or professional goals.
- A spiritual life coach helps a client find the answers and resources within the client’s own experience. A coach is not a guru; so, a spiritual coach helps the client access his or her own spiritual resources.
- A spiritual life coach can help the client go beyond solving problems, evolving into a state that could be called Oneness, Presence, Beingness, Wholeness, or Awareness. It may be perceived as accessing a sense of “God” or universal consciousness, and/or as a journey of becoming ones true self, more and more fully.
- A spiritual life coach helps a client integrate spirituality with a well-functioning life. It isn’t just about sitting alone in a room in a spiritual state; it’s also about expressing this inner state through taking action in the world.
- A spiritual life coach may or may not teach spiritual beliefs. Depending on the methodology, beliefs aren’t necessary to experience a spiritual state of being.
OK, let’s take these one by one.
1. Helping a Client Be Aware of his or her Personal or Professional Goals, Obstacles, and (Spiritual) Resources
We’ve got three elements to deal with here: Goals, Obstacles, and Resources.
A life coach, with or without a spiritual emphasis, can help clients achieve a wide range of goals. For example:
- Feeling happier
- Feeling more relaxed
- Improving relationships
- Taking appropriate action
And on and on. And what are some of the obstacles that might be preventing a client from achieving one of these goals?
Let’s say the client wants to feel happier. For one client, the obstacle might be one thing, and for another client, it might be something else. For example:
- Shame, guilt, or embarrassment
Any of these might be the obstacle, or something else. A coach will help the client discover what it is.
And then we get to the resources. Deep, inner spiritual resources are really beyond description. We can use words to describe them, but these experiences can’t fully be conveyed in words.
Spiritual resources aren’t all the same. Some states that are considered “spiritual” can be described as “Beingness” or “Wholeness.” It’s a sense of being one’s own true inner essence.
Other spiritual experiences can be described as having a connection with something outside oneself, which could be called “God” or “universal love” or many other names.
2. Helping a client discover ways that these inner resources can transform obstacles to foster change and achieve goals.
Accessing a spiritual resource is already really wonderful. But how can this resource dissolve or transform what had been an obstacle? How can this help the client reach their goals?
This is a very important question. Some methodologies are certainly more effective at this than others.
This happens to be a strength of the Core Transformation process, which you can learn more about here.
3. Helping a client find the answers and resources within the client’s own experience.
“There is always a light within us that is free from all sorrow and grief, no matter how much we may be experiencing suffering.”
Here’s where spiritual coaching is very different from a guru-type approach to spirituality.
With many spiritual teachers, they are the ones who can access spiritual states, and their students tend to view them as the source of spirituality. Students hope that by spending time in the presence of a guru, some of the guru’s spirituality will rub off on them.
In contrast, a spiritual coach assists the client in accessing the client’s own spiritual states. The goal is for the client to learn to do this on their own, so that ultimately, they aren’t dependent upon their coach.
The success of this approach depends entirely upon the effectiveness of the methodology. You’ll want to be sure that the methodology you use is:
- Effective at accessing spiritual states
- Effective at transforming obstacles
- Reliable for a wide range of client issues and client styles
- Learnable in a step-by-step fashion, so the client can use it independently
4. Helping the client go beyond solving problems, evolving into a state that could be called Oneness, Presence, Beingness, Wholeness, or Awareness.
When clients first come in, they are probably oriented toward solving problems. This is a good place to start. Problems get our attention, and can be a doorway to personal and spiritual growth.
However, at some point, a spiritual coach can offer a client another way of thinking about change. Instead of moving away from problems, we are moving toward wholeness, peace, and oneness.
We don’t even need to start with a problem. We can notice when there’s any inner division in our consciousness, and use a gentle process that invites healing and spiritual being.
5. Helping a client integrate spirituality with a well-functioning life.
Some people get quite good at accessing a spiritual state when they are alone in a room, without experiencing any significant resolution in their ordinary lives. We could say they have developed a split in their consciousness: there’s the “spiritual” state and the “normal, everyday” state, and never the twain shall meet.
Even in this case, there can be some benefits to being able to access a meditative state. At least there is a time of relaxing and letting go, and allowing the nervous system to rest.
However, an optimal spiritual practice will integrate a spiritual way of being with ordinary life, and put “being” into action.
6. Teaching Spiritual Beliefs—Or Not?
“He knows the water best who has waded through it.”
Some spiritual approaches rely heavily on beliefs. The intention here is that when the client has enough understanding of spirituality, this will lead to a spiritual experience. We could call this a “belief first” approach.
Other approaches are the exact opposite. With these methods, a client is guided to a spiritual experience. From there, they may spontaneously have insights, or not. We could call this an “experience first” approach.
We have noticed a greater effectiveness with “experience first” approaches. What we find is that beliefs can, at least in some cases, actually make it more difficult to have a spiritual experience.
You may have heard the idea that “The Map Is Not The Territory.” This is an understanding that has been embraced by the field of NLP from the earliest days. It means that whatever we believe about reality is different from reality itself, just like the menu is different from the food: after all, we don’t eat the menu!
So any beliefs we have about spirituality are our inner maps, and they function as filters, restricting what we can notice. It’s easier to notice a spiritual level of experience if we don’t have a bunch of maps in the way.
And for this reason, we utilize “experience first” methodologies, with a bare minimum of conceptualizing before experiencing. In fact, it isn’t even necessary for a client to believe that the experience is spiritual. It just is what it is, and it doesn’t really matter what we call it.
Why Do So Many People Love Spiritual Life Coaching?
“If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path”
For many spiritual coaches, it’s more than just a way to make a living (although that’s important, too.) It’s a lifestyle.
Imagine the joy of helping someone access profound inner well-being that they didn’t even know existed. Imagine the look on a client’s face when they realize a problem has been solved—even if they hadn’t thought it was possible. Imagine the feeling in your heart, when you know you are making the world a better place by helping people improve their lives.
And not only that, imagine what it would be like to feel more relaxed, yet energized, after working than you did before! This doesn’t always happen, but often a spiritual coach does feel much better at the end of a session, because while we’re guiding others, guess what? We get to access these wonderful inner resources within ourselves, too! And not only is this good for us, it’s good for our clients as well. It makes us a better guide.
We can at least say this is true for the methods we use, and probably for some others, also.
And, of course, the methods we learn for helping others can also help us with our own personal issues. In fact, there are many outstanding life coaches (and also therapists) who first learned their transformational methods because they wanted change for themselves.
In our experience, doing personal transformation work on ourselves is one of the best ways to improve our skills in helping others.
How Does Certification Help a Spiritual Life Coach?
In most areas, spiritual life coaching is an unregulated profession. This means that no credentials are required to practice. (We can’t guarantee that this is true for you where you may be practicing. And for sure, there are laws and ethical considerations to be aware of in any location, even if there aren’t regulations specific to your type of practice.)
However, the public is becoming more and more savvy about choosing a coach who’s well-qualified. If you aren’t certified as a spiritual life coach, and someone else is, a potential client is more likely to choose the certified coach. They may want to know that their coach has been through an educational or training program, and has received a stamp of approval from a certifying body.
But What Does a Coaching Certificate Really Mean?
Spiritual Life Coaching Certification can mean one or more of several things:
• You have learned some information about coaching and taken a test
• You have learned some methods and skills that can help you be effective
• You have received peer-review and supervision to ensure your skills are at a high level
Knowledge-Based Coaching Certification. Some coaching certificates only certify that a person has learned some information and passed a test. This could well be very useful information, although the specific information that is taught can vary from one program to another.
However, coaching is a skill. It isn’t just about what you know. It’s about what you can do. It’s about how you interact with your clients, to bring out the best in them.
Some spiritual coaches with a knowledge-based coaching certificate will have effective skills, and others won’t. If you only get this type of certificate, this will be very limited in preparing you to work with real live clients. People with this type of certificate nearly always need additional training to be able to effectively help clients.
Skills-Based Coaching Certification. This type of program teaches skills. The better courses get the students to do exercises with each other, so that they are putting what they learn into action.
A skills-based program has more potential for preparing you to work with clients, with two caveats:
• Some methods are more effective than others. How well do the methods taught actually work with a wide range of real, live clients?
• Some students end up with better skills development than others. Some programs have higher standards, and others will let you pass even if you haven’t learned to be very effective. Of course, when you’re actually working with clients, it’s to your benefit to have really good skills, so you can help your clients and they will want to keep coming back, and send their friends.
Peer-Review and Supervision Coaching Certification. With this type of program, not only do they teach skills, and not only do you practice those skills, but you also receive feedback to refine your skills and get them really top-notch. These programs are committed to helping you become highly skilled and effective, so long as you are also putting in the effort.
This type of training is the best available for learning skills, so long as the methodology being taught is effective.
Of course, it’s useful to have both knowledge and skills, so a certification course that imparts both, with an excellent methodology and implementation, will serve you the best.
What’s Special About NLP-Based Spiritual Coaching
NLP, or Neuro-Linguistic Programming, is a field based on understanding how each of us creates our own personal experience. For example, several people may witness the same event, yet have totally different responses and conclusions about what happened.
Through understanding the inner structure of our experience, NLP has many very effective methods for changing this it. If, for example, someone is stuck in grief, or anger, or habitual behaviors, NLP offers ways to change these and other experiences.
The strength of NLP is that it offers step by step methods that actually work. So, when a Spiritual Coach is using the most effective methodologies from NLP, they have the potential to get excellent results and to have many satisfied clients.
A criticism that is sometimes made for some approaches to spirituality is that it’s too “fluffy”, with various platitudes that sound good, but there’s often a gap between a spiritual concept and a practical application of that concept. In other words, someone may know what to say to sound very spiritual, while lacking the means to actually live a spiritual life, much less help others do so.
NLP has the potential to bridge the gap between a sincere desire to live a spiritual life, and actually doing so. However, it does depend on how a person is applying NLP in a spiritual practice. NLP isn’t inherently spiritual or non-spiritual, either one. It’s all about how it’s used.
We’ll cover this in greater depth in Chapter 5.