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What do you think about life coaching?

By February 25, 2009 - 10:59am
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It seems we hear more and more about life coaching these days.

Life coaching is different from therapy. A life coach isn't necessarily there to help you figure out why you are the way you are (though I suppose some of that is going to happen along the way); they are there to help you figure

out, and then accomplish, the things in life that are important to you.

Often, the coach is in another city and you spend anywhere from $100 to $500 a month (depending on how often you speak with them and for how long) talking with them (the first session is often free, so you can work to find a coach you think is well-suited to you). They often are trained in multiple disciplines and are used to dealing with people in different stages of life.

I'm torn as to how I feel about the concept of life coaching. In some ways, it seems like it would be beneficial, especially to someone like me who works at home. I often feel that my goals are fuzzy and that I'm sort of floating through my days without enough deliberate thought or action. So the clarity and accountability would be welcome. On the other hand, it seems expensive -- and a bit self-indulgent, to be honest -- to consider hiring someone to help in areas where it feels like I should be able to conquer them on my own.

Anyone had experience with life coaching, or an opinion either way?

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EmpowHER Guest

Hi Diane

I work as a Life Coach and even though I know all the "tools" of coaching, it is not always easy to employ them for your own use. As susanc mentioned, a Life Coach may not do any more than an intelligent friend - however one of the benefits of a coach is that they are not personally involved in our lives and therefore have no vested interest in the outcome of any given scenario. Often when we ask family and friends for advice, the advice they give us is based on their experiences of us - what we have done in the past, what they think we're capable of, how our decisions will impact on them or others in the family or circle of friends. Friends and family can also just be sympathetic to our situation rather than offering assistance or they can even go so far as to belittle our goals and dreams. The other difference is that life coaching is not about giving advice, it is about asking the right questions to lead the coachee to make their own decisions and set their own path for the future. Empowering clients to work out who they want to be and where they want to go is just one of the roles of a Life Coach.

Another role is to challenge the coachee's limiting behaviours or characteristics, again something that a close friend or family member may be unable to do. I love my non coach friends dearly, but cannot think of one of them who would challenge why I hadn't made it to the gym this week as they are all in similar situations themselves - hard working, raising a family, etc and can therefore relate to all the excuses I come up with as to why I haven't been!

I have met many coaches who would not dream of selling themselves in the same way as a magic spot remover and who work with their clients (often in a pro bono set up) to create a future of possibility and direction.

All I would say is that it's a case of different strokes for different folks - life coaching works for some and not for others. If you're interested, give it a try, you'll soon find out if it's for you or not.

Best of luck.

March 29, 2009 - 8:02pm

Diane P, this is a great subject and one I can relate to. I completed a one year Wellness Coaching program last year and throughout the course we had to learn methodologies to bring a client into a framework of preassessment, assessment, monitoring and evaluation. We were presented with many coaching templates to use with each client. Life coaching when done by a formally trained coach will reflect knowledge in many aspects of coaching techniques. In my case, to be effective we were told the coach had to allow the client to take responsibility to any desired changes. While my training focused on health and wellness, the coaching techinques should be comparable. Many people develop their own coaching skills, we see that in many sports, but when dealing with human emotions and psychological aspects of personality, behavior, etc, formal methodology training is more effective as it allows the coach to discern and choose the best coaching strategy. Hope this helps.

March 2, 2009 - 9:53pm
EmpowHER Guest

Dear Diane,

My opinion of "life coaching" is that I highly believe in the process. Think of all the friends and family. How close are they to you. Now think of a "life coach." Who's more likely to offer greater direction? I feel that the life coach will.

My life experiences sent me searching through and through my family and friends. It wasn't until I went searching for others that I found out more of who I am or what I am. I should say that an expert "life coach" would be a great connection for those who search for themselves.

Additional life experience includes acting and writing. In both cases, there is no “one” individual who can furnish their life's worth / work without the direction of others. Wouldn't a life coach present itself similar to a great reader, you know for your screenplay, or a great director, for your emotions and actions? Hmm...

Good topic Diane.


Anonymous Writer

February 26, 2009 - 12:44pm
HERWriter Guide

I don't believe they can offer any more to a person that a sit down chat with a good friend who knows you well.

A life coach is simply someone who motivates you to reach your goals, who can compartmentalize components of our lives that either detract or motivate success and encourages follow through. In other words - the same thing an intelligent friend would do.

Of course, if you don't have an intelligent friend then a motivational coach could be a great tool. I'm not knocking these coaches - like any good guidance counselor, they can point someone in the right direction. But in the end, it's the person himself who needs to do the work. The life coach can only coach.

When you read the literature, it seems such cliched hype. "20 secrets your coach can spill!" "the 50 power questions you need to ask!" or "the 15 top tools for coaching". It's worse than a 3am infomercial for a diet pill that transforms a 300 lb woman into a 130 lbs sex bomb who somehow got 6-pack abs and went magically blonde.

Anyone who is rational, hard-working and can convey a message with authority and compassion can do what a life coach does. I know every "professional" life coach would disagree but that's my opinion of the industry. A life coach wouldn't work for me but they might for others.

I have a friend who sees a therapist at $100 an hour. Every time she asks me for advice and I give it to her (for free, I might add!) she replies "that's what my therapist says!"

I need to start charging my friends for our chats!

I took a writing class with a life coach who used to hand me motivational messages like "nothing can stop you from reaching your goals!" and "tomorrow is the today that will arrive sooner than you think!"

Then I'd bring them home and mix them in with old fortune cookie messages and I couldn't tell which was which...

February 25, 2009 - 12:51pm
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