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How is a coach like a lighthouse? (+Video)

by Dr. Melanie Gallo

(Updated June 12, 2023)

One of my favorite ways to explain what I do as a behavioral health coach is to compare my work to a lighthouse. I like it because my coaching plays a similar role to a lighthouse in terms of what my role does and does not include.

The lighthouse is a stationary object. It doesn’t go anywhere, and it always does the same single thing: It illuminates. Of course, some lighthouses can transmit different signals that have different meanings. But in the end, it’s all about shining that light.

That light plays a lot of important roles for the boater trying to find his or her way to a destination – or to safety. The lighthouse signals entries to let the ship captains know where it’s safe to enter the harbor. Coaches do the same thing. We help you find the direction forward to your desired destination.

The lighthouse also signals obstacles and barriers. That’s an important role coaches play, especially because our perspective – much like that of the lighthouse – sometimes allows us to see things our clients can’t, or don’t want to.

Additionally, the lighthouse doesn’t tell you where you’re trying to go. That’s up to you to decide, but the lighthouse eliminates a lot of the barriers you’d face in getting there. That’s what coaches do. We help uncover the issues that prevent you from achieving your goals and give you strategies to clear these obstacles away.

The lighthouse is a temporary aid. You don’t need it the whole time you’re on the water. You need it when particular situations challenge you. That’s how it is with coaches. We’re not here forever, but we’re here when we can make the difference that gets you past a situation that would otherwise inhibit your success. Then, the ultimate goal is that you leave armed with the tools and techniques to continue on your own.

Finally, the lighthouse doesn’t serve itself. It only serves the boat captains. The success of the lighthouse is measured only by the number of boats that make it safely to their destinations – very much like the way coaches measure our success by the success of our clients. Because when it comes down to it, it’s all about you.

Both in my past work as a business psychology coach, and in my current work as a behavioral health coach, my function as a coach has always been the same. To help people better understand their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in order to experience more fulfilling lives. In this video from my time running my own practice, I shared more about how we as coaches serve as a lighthouse for clients, regardless of the coaching niche.

And if you are ready to get started on your journey, check out my Coach2GO digital coaching app!


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