The Key Differences Between a Meditation Teacher and Meditation Coach

One of the common questions people ask is “What is meditation coaching? What’s the difference between a Meditation Coach and Teacher?”

These days people tend to use these titles interchangeably. Sometimes these roles are subtly different, other times, more vast. There are distinctions that exist between the two, which I discuss in this video. It’s essentially a personal choice what someone chooses to call themselves.

So what are the key differences between Meditation Coach & Meditation Teacher?

A meditation coach is typically someone that’s right there next to you as a guide–someone who’s walking the path with you. The coach knows what you need to do to thrive and can help you blaze a new trail for a life you want to create. A coach can also support you, give you feedback to hold you accountable.

Both a teacher and coach can facilitate and teach meditation. A meditation teacher may have a more structured approach, teaching from the background of a particular tradition or technique. For example, “zen meditation” or “yogic meditation.” A meditation coach may also teach a particular style, but will also be equipped in guiding meditations that are crafted individually for the client. This is because a coach will take into consideration the background and lifestyle needs of a client and create a meditation program that is suitable for their personal needs.

A meditation teacher tends to teach his/her approach to meditation without a thorough “intake” of their client’s background or lifestyle habits. This is because a teacher tends to teach within a group setting and cannot possibly take into account each individual’s constituent needs.

A meditation teacher’s role is akin to an expert or an authority. This tends to create a sense of hierarchy in the learning experience because the teacher is assumed to have a higher level of knowledge than the student. The teacher-student relationship tends to be more of a one-way exchange where the teacher is imparting his/her knowledge and information onto the student.

In a coaching role, the client is assumed to have access to their own answers. The coach holds a space for him/her to get in touch with their own answers. This means the client also co-leads their process discovery with a coach.

A meditation coach guides you toward your own truth and spiritual wisdom. They help you develop a daily practice, as well as hold you accountable to your life goals and intentions. This is a two-way dynamic exchange that is co-directed by both parties.

A teacher, on the other hand, is assumed to have knowledge of the subject of meditation and directs the process of learning. The student tends to look to the teacher for knowledge about meditation and development. The teacher structures the learning process for the student and answers the questions a student may have.

A meditation coach combines the practice of coaching and meditation. This may include a brief guided meditation at the beginning of a session so that the client becomes accustomed to meditating on their own. When a client is present at the beginning of a session, they are more receptive to going deeper into their coaching process and accessing their intuition. A meditation coach can also facilitate a guided meditation with powerful coaching questions, leading a client readily towards their own answers and insights.

You can choose either of these roles and relationships. There is no right or wrong way to learn meditation. It’s simply a matter of personal preference, and how you want to engage in the learning and development process.

meditation teacher coach

To break it down, here are the benefits of both roles.

Benefits of Learning Meditation Coaching

  • A coach and client are fully engaged and there is a two-way exchange.
  • A coach guides you and notices patterns as well as offers feedback.
  • When you enter the coaching process and receive powerful questions, you can determine what is most important to you and your life goals.
  • A meditation coach knows how to integrate meditation teaching, or meditation guidance, together with coaching.
  • A meditation coach intuitively offers guidance for a meditation practice that you both agree suits you and your lifestyle. 

Benefits of Learning Meditation Teaching

  • The teacher is considered the expert or authority.
  • The teacher leads the way and ensures that you learn the information he/she provides.
  • A teacher passes along knowledge and provides a formal education or process.
  • During the teaching process, you are given a meditation technique or style to learn by the teacher.
  • The information is by nature a one-way relationship from teacher to student.

Some of these distinctions are subtle. It’s important to use your own judgment and inner guidance when choosing a title that is right for you. It’s also OK to use these titles interchangeably at times.

The more traditional model of teacher-student role may at times lead to students giving over their own spiritual power and knowledge to the teacher. A true teacher guides a student towards their own wisdom and doesn’t try to entrap them as a lifetime follower or student. The key to being a teacher or coach is in truly empowering the people you work with to be free. 

When people develop their meditation practice, deeper emotions, thoughts and wounds can come to the surface. This is why it’s helpful to have a guide or teacher to help you process your spiritual realizations. Meditation is healing. As you unearth deeper truths, a teacher or coach can hold the space for growth and development.

I personally call myself a Meditation Coach because I like to work alongside my clients. It’s important for me to act as a peer to people that I work with, rather than be seen as authority or expert. The title of “coach” is more casual and allows there to be an equitable sense of empowerment for both individuals. I also like to work with helping people achieve their own goals and aspirations. This is a key distinction for being a Meditation Coach.

If you’d like to learn how to become a meditation coach or teacher, I invite you to learn about our LIBERATE Meditation Coach training that begins September 2, 2019. It’s an enriching certification program that will equip you to become a meditation coach and/or teacher.

Thanks for your interest in sharing meditation. I hope this article clarified some of the distinctions. If you shared meditation, what would you want to refer to yourself as, Meditation Teacher or Coach? Which title most resonates for you and why?

Namaste,

Sura

About the Author: Sura
Sura

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