Have you ever met someone and when they told you they were a life coach, you were just frozen with curiousity and part not sure you want to get into it but just replied a smile on your face, “Oh, how interesting.”
Until a few years ago, I had only known 2 people who changed careers to become life coaches. Both were people who were balls of chaos. One was a recovering alcoholic who was living the program – so EVERYTHING was all about One Day at A Time (and I am NOT putting that down in any way whatsoever but it was extreme) and there always seemed to be drama surrounding her. The other was a women who was one walking disaster after another. She was living on a friend’s couch earning her NLP certification. I remember it clearly because I had no idea what NLP meant but when I heard “Life Coach” my judgemental side came out like “Girl, you need to get your act together before you can start telling people how to live THEIR life.” So as you can see my initial impressions of Life Coaches was not a positive one.
Life Coaches always seemed unnecessary to me. We all just figure it out, right? I really had no idea what a “life coach” does but even the name can seem a bit extravagant. Is this just something that people with too much time and too much money in their hands embraced? I had always envisioned a person being paid to shout “You can do it!” cheering you on in the background.
I can admit when I am wrong and let me tell you this. My initial thoughts and judgements about Life Coaches were completely WRONG. Now I am older, wiser, and more informed.
For the most part you can figure it out on your own learning from mistakes and making changes to avoid those mistakes from happening again….but what can a little direction and focus hurt?
Through my involvement in the community I have met several wonderful women who are Life Coaches. I decided to learn more of what it is all about and find out if it does REALLY make a difference.
Firstly, let me tell you one thing: Life Coaches will not tell you how to live your life.
Instead they will:
- Get YOU thinking about what YOU want for your life – pushing aside what you think is expected of you or what other people want you to be.
- Focus on what YOU want. Your hopes and dreams. From this your own personal goals can be set by YOU.
- Guide YOU in the right direction of achieving your goals whether they are personal or professional.
When I first spoke with a life coach I expected to tell them my problems and I had hoped they were going to tell me that I was awesome and here’s what I can do to be more awesome. Instead they asked questions. When I gave my answer – then it would be followed with another question such as “Why?” forcing me to think about why I wanted a particular thing. It was then followed by other questions – all aimed at getting me to REALLY think. Was it going to change my life? How will it make my life better? How will it make me a better person. There were a lot of awkward silences but it did get me thinking about what I really wanted in my life. No one was telling me how to live my life. “You need to do this….You need to do that….” I was faced with some tough questions that only I could answer.
You see, it is easy to say one thing. For example: “I want to have stronger relationships with my family and friends.” If that is all you do (just say it) it is likely that you still will not have stronger relationships with your family and friends. But if you start thinking about it, write it out and analyse – you are more likely to make a change.
Why? How will that make my life better? How did these relationships deteriorate? Or Why haven’t these relationships grown? Is that something that is achievable? How is that achievable? What is keeping me from having strong relationships now? What am I waiting for to improve these relationships? The list of questions can go on. But these are the sort of questions you are asked.
From this you can move forward, set goals, and start working towards what you want. The life coach is there to support you. Get you from where you are to where you want to be. Sometimes it may turn out that something you have always thought you wanted isn’t really what you want at all. A Life Coach will help you recognise that. These are the things you would have never known until you talked, thought, and wrote it out.
Having someone there to listen to you, guide you, support you is not a bad thing. As I mentioned before, a life coach won’t tell you what to do, but they can give options or suggestions that line up with what your goals are. One of the things I really appreciate about a life coach is that no matter how BIG your aspirations may be (you know the dreams we may keep to ourselves because our friends and family will laugh and call you ridiculous), a life coach will look you straight in the face and with a quiet confidence and belief in you ask How are you going to do it? Nothing seems to be too ridiculous for them. It’s all positivity, what you put out is what you get back, keep out negative thoughts, push forward and achieve your goals. It’s good stuff.
At the end of the day it is your life. If you unsuccessfully tried to make changes in your life, perhaps speaking with a life coach would be the next step to take. We all need someone to talk to. Sure we have our friends but sometimes our friends won’t be completely honest with us – not because they don’t mean to be but because they are our friends. On top of that they have their own stuff going on. They can not focus on your life. If you’re married, your spouse is there. It is a running joke in our house about the “Hopes and Dreams” talk. You know what I am talking about. Sometimes it is welcomed and other times my spouse is rolling his eyes letting me know it is not a good time. The time spent with a Life Coach is completely spent focusing on you and your issues. A life coach will hold YOU accountable for the actions that YOU say you are going to take.
What type of people go to Life Coaches? All sorts. Not just those with too much time and money on their hands – as I once thought. Everyone has their own reasons for going but it could be to make professional progress or to make changes in their personal life. Whatever is going on in your life, from “I want to open a new business” to “I just had a baby and am struggling to cope as a stay at home mother” to dealing with confidence – a life coach can help with any area of your life.
Is it worth it? Some people may think Life Coaching is expensive. And to be honest, it can be. And here comes the cliche: You have to invest in yourself.
My experience is that I was in a rut…..for 2 years. I had a lot going on which included a new promotion for my husband, a new baby to add to the fold of two little ones under 5, health issues (Bell’s Palsy) and running a women’s social group. This was in addition to my normal household duties. Does this sound familiar? When you’re a mom, life just goes into superdrive.
Whilst I was busy, busy, busy I felt like I was not moving forward. I felt stagnant and not present. Sure there were areas of my life that were moving forward but overall I felt like I was just living on autopilot. My mind was full of things that I wanted to do butwas unsure if I REALLY wanted to do them, plus I had no time. There were areas where I knew I had to make changes. I knew what I had to do, sort of. I tend to be a fickle person. My ideas are always changing. I just needed direction. After speaking with a life coach, I felt that some of my thoughts were validated – which is what we all need, isn’t it? Also there were areas where I was able to look at it from a different perspective. Lining up what is truly important to me. So is it worth it? YES.
What did I get from it? I was able to set goals and objectives for myself. To be honest some of those goals have taken longer to accomplish than I initially anticipated but overall I am less stressed, more focused and most importantly HAPPIER. So if you are thinking about going – I say GO! It is for you so you can decide how often you go based on your needs. I have only spoken to 2 different life coaches once. For me that is enough – at this point in my life. That could change depending on my circumstances. I do plan on making it, at a minimum, an annual occurrence.
If you are looking for a life coach in your area, I would say to start with recommendations from friends. If it is something you want to keep more private, then just Google search for a life coach in your city.
Let me know how you get on.
Have you used a Life Coach before? Tell me about your experience!