Life coaches seem to be all the rage right now, but what are they and why might you want one?
The personal development space has always been popular; I personally believe this is becaues we are divine beings, just hanging out on earth for a while, and naturally drawn to improving ourselves. We recognize that staying in our comfort zone doesn’t yield much benefit and can keep us feeling stuck for a long time. Sometimes getting “unstuck” requires gaining new perspectives for our minds.
In my personal life, I’ve been exposed to life coaching for almost 5 years now. I began by listening to some great podcasts that piqued my curiosity, and then eventually I joined a life coaching membership. Inside these group coaching sessions, I learned how to manage my own mind and create the results I wanted for my life all on my own. I was occasionally coached one-on-one in this membership, but mostly I learned from listening to others be coached. It was a totally revolutionary experience!
While there are thousands of different ways to be a life coach, the specific goal that I have as a coach is to show clients how their brain is creating their reality. This can be a hard pill to swallow at first. No one wants to take responsibility for the pain and discomfort they’re feeling! Because if we’re responsible for the pain (anxiety, frustration, resentment, or anger), then why can’t we make it stop?
The answer is that we can make it stop, although we might not always want to. But that’s a subject for another blog post!
Here are a few of the benefits of life coaching (and a few things to watch out for):
A life coach is not a therapist
There is a big difference between a licensed therapist or counselor and a life coach, although there is some overlap in how they operate. The former requires an advanced degree and state-certified license in order to practice therapy. The life coaching industry is not regulated, which means that anyone can call themselves a life coach and start practicing. Be wary of a life coach who claims to be able to work through trauma or other serious mental issues.
There are certain mental health conditions (specifically pathological diagnoses) that are better left to a licensed therapist. However, that doesn’t mean that life coaches can’t help people who’ve experienced trauma or mental illness. The general rule is, if you’re struggling to function on a day-to-day basis, then you probably need a therapist. If you can function, but you’re recognizing unhelpful thought patterns, a life coach can be a great tool to help you reach your full potential.
A life coach is not a best friend
A good life coach should also “hold space” for you. What does that mean? It means he or she should not offer advice, commiserate or empathize with your specific problems (or what you think are your problems). This is what a best friend is for. Life coaches are trained to have specific communication skills that help you see inside your own mind, instead of just believing all the stories you’ve been telling yourself.
This will likely be a new way for you to look at your life, and it can be frustrating at first. We usually vent to a family member or friend about our problems because we want them to say things that will make us feel better!
A good coach’s main goal isn’t to make you feel better. It’s to help you understand how and why you’re creating the results you have in your life. You get to decide what to do with that knowledge!
A life coach can help with any problem
Barring recent and severe trauma, like I mentioned earlier, a good life coach can help you through literally any problem in the world. Why? Because every “problem” is created and stored inside our minds. Don’t believe me?
Here’s an example of two scenarios where the facts are exactly the same, the only difference is the thoughts about it:
- You’re a stay-at-home mom and one day your husband comes home late. You’ve been waiting on him to serve dinner so the kids are cranky, the dinner is cold and you’re irritated. You immediately pick a fight when he walks in the door.
- You’re a stay-at-home mom and one day your husband comes home late. You’re thinking about your friend who just lost her husband and you’re worried that your husband may have been in an accident.
As soon as he walks in the door, you wrap him in a huge hug and tell him how glad you are to see him. You’re so grateful for this man you love and the life you’ve built together.
Isn’t that fascinating?? The exact same scenario, played out from a different perspective, can yield very different results, all thanks to the thoughts inside a brain. So if you’re having a hard time with something, analyzing your thoughts is the first step to becoming your best self.
A life coach can help you reach your personal goals
Do you have professional goals? Health goals? Goals for your relationships or spirituality? Helping clients with goal setting is one of my favorite parts of my job! There doesn’t have to be a problem for a coach to help you make progress on your self-development. You just have to have a goal.
So how does coaching work with career goals or creating strong relationships? The same way it helps with problems: by investigating your mind.
As soon as we set a goal, our brain goes to work trying to solve it, until we run into an obstacle. Then our mind creates all kinds of drama surrounding our goal, our worthiness, and so much more. Our brain likes to find all kinds of things that are going wrong with this goal and ruminate on how we’ll never accomplish it. This is where a life coach comes in!
Personal growth is just like physical growth – it can be uncomfortable. The best thing a life coach can do is help you become aware of any negative thoughts and create an action plan for when they return. Making positive changes in our life always starts with the brain. Always.
Take time to find the right life coach for you
A good life coach should offer you some kind of access to their coaching ahead of time, whether in the form of videos, a podcast or a discovery call. Especially if you’ll be making a financial investment, you want to be sure that the life coach you choose has a personality that works with yours.
That being said, you don’t necessarily want to choose a coach who’s similar to you. Sometimes I see reserved clients do really well with an outgoing and direct coach, and vice versa. Just make sure that you’re comfortable with the coach and you’re excited to work with them.
Do you need a specialized coach?
There are life coaches who specialize in certain topics, such as weight loss, relationships, parenting, business, illnesses and more. A professional life coach should have some sort of training or experience and most will have some topic that they consider themselves an expert in. However, most life coaches can help with a variety of topics!
I’ve created my own business to help stay-at-home moms start the business of their dreams, but I coach (mostly women) on any topic under the sun. I’ve talked to clients about struggles in their marriage, kids with pornography addictions, losing weight, anxiety over illnesses, setting and reaching goals of all kinds and so much more. I’ll soon be offering a course on how to start a business that will include logistical tips, as well as mindset shifts.
So in short, no – you don’t need a specialized life coach to help you with weight loss or arguing with your husband. But you will want to ensure that whatever you want coaching on falls within the scope of practice of the coach you’ve chosen.
How do I find the right coach?
Surprise: you found one! You can set up a free discovery call with me here where we’ll do a little coaching together and you can decide if we’re the right fit. You can also check out all of The Life Coach School’s certified coaches in their directory here. This is the certification program I’m going through and I highly recommend any coach who’s properly applied their training.
The next step, after hiring a life coach and showing up for the calls, is coming with an open mind. Remember how I said coaching, at least at first, can be uncomfortable? It can also be hard work. Doing the work yourself is essential to reaching your highest potential in all areas of your life.
A good coach will ask the right questions and will hold you accountable. He or she will be able to help you with the decision-making process, with setting realistic goals that also push you, and help with many more aspects of your life.
I truly believe that every human being needs access to a qualified life coach! This is how we become successful people, how we overcome low self-esteem, how we conquer anxiety disorders, how we become the best version of ourselves.
I can’t wait for you to experience the magic of life coaching! Schedule a call with me here.