If you are considering hiring a life coach, it is important to have clear expectations of what life coaching is – and is not – so that you can find the best coach for you.
It took me about 10 years of coaching, hundreds of hours of training, and thousands of client hours to embrace the term “life coach”.
I had some issues with this title. There are some mainstream preconceptions – myths even – about life coaching that I wanted to steer clear from.
What occurred to me recently was that I could embrace “Life Coach”, while debunking these myths head on. In fact, that would probably be much more useful for everyone.
Huh. Communicate directly rather than avoid and confuse? A novel concept!
This information is a long time coming, so let’s jump right in.
In no particular order, here are the 5 myths about hiring a life coach that I’m excited to finally debunk for you.
1. Life Coaches will tell you what to do. By definition coaching is an awareness-generating conversation. We aren’t advice-givers (though education can be a big useful component) but rather are trained to spot opportunities and ask questions so that more options become clear to you.
2. Life Coaches have perfect lives. Ah no. Not at all. Your coach is a human like you. A life full of ups and downs. They aren’t ahead of you in terms of having their stuff together. They might have more perspective from being a coach but they are on equal human footing with you – regardless of how they present themselves.
3. Life Coaches can give you discipline and willpower. Some will try. This is really important to consider when hiring a coach. If you want someone to instill more discipline in you, help you stick to your stated goals – make sure you hire this kind of coach. In my experience this is a fleeting fix – temporary at best that creates a dependency that ultimately isn’t helpful in the long run.
4. Life Coaches are going to make you feel better. Again some coaches will try. Newer coaches especially will rely on cheerleading and forced positivity to keep you feeling OK. This is another temporary fix born out of our cultural conditioning of fearing “bad” feelings. What I’ve found far more useful is understanding “feelings” as a whole. They will always change. They will forever shift up and down. It’s freeing to see that this is OK.
5. Life coaches are for people that are struggling. It runs the gamut. People hire coaches when they are feeling stuck and frustrated but also when they are in the midst of big changes and excited to make the most of them. Some pursue coaching as their own commitment to spiritual and personal development. There are good, strong coaches regardless of what category you fall in.
Just remember the coaching process is about you. Your clarity. Your awareness. Your growth and expansion in life. This is the most important thing to keep in mind as you look for the right coach for you to work with.
Here are a few resources for those ready to hire a life coach:
Life Coach Spotter – A directory and matching service that helps you find a life coach.
International Coach Federation – A free directory that lists all coaches who have committed to the rigorous certification process as laid out by the ICF.