In the past decade, life coaching as an industry has attracted significant interest amongst professionals and organizations. Those who have experienced quality life coaching are enthusiastic in proclaiming how it has transformed their lives, relationships, and careers, and are quick to recommend it to friends and co-workers.
But is life coaching for everyone?
From my many conversations with professionals and years of training and study in personal development, I would say no.
Here’s my take on who coaching is for – and who doesn’t need it.
Coaching is for the individual who:
- has identified a need for change and improvement in one or more aspects of their life (e.g. career, relationships, health, finances, spirituality etc)
- has reached the tolerance threshold and is feeling so frustrated, overwhelmed, at cross purposes and stressed that their desire for a better way of living life is stronger than their fear of change and the inconvenience and hard work required to make change happen
- is ready to undertake the inner work of changing the way they think and act
- is in a financial position to invest in their personal development.
Change is hard work. There, I said it. Changing the way we think, act, and feel about ourselves and others is one of the hardest things to do, and the reason why so many of us are stuck. We are so emotionally invested in the stories we tell ourselves and the way our identity is bound up with our upbringing, environment, experiences, values and beliefs, that it is hard to tell where we begin – so many factors have interacted to bring us to this particular point in life.
The point about finance is not one coaches like to talk about, but I want to highlight it because quality life coaching does not come cheap. I would even call it a luxury item; it is something you think about once you are past struggling for survival and are in a relatively stable state emotionally, mentally and financially, and have breathing space to turn your mind to other things, like how to get your life to the next level of significance and fulfillment.
Coaching can cost anything from $100 to thousands of dollars for a session, depending on the coach’s experience, expertise and reputation. Most coaches offer packages that allow a client to work with them over a period of say 3, 6 or 12 months. This allows time to build rapport and understanding between client and coach, and for the client to grow and witness their own progress, but it is also a significant investment of time and money, so you want to be certain coaching is the right strategy for you at this time of your life, and that you are making the most of it so you will gain the maximum return on your investment.
Who is coaching not ideal for?
In my view, coaching is NOT suitable for the individual who:
- does not see a need for change
- is happy with the way things are, or even if they are not entirely happy, would rather put up with the way things are than endure the inconvenience and hard work of change
- is not ready to let go of old ways of thinking and acting, even if they know these patterns are the things that are holding them back and keeping them from living a more fulfilling life
- is not in a financial position to invest in their personal development, or is not willing to find ways to make personal development one of their top priorities.
Not everyone is ready or willing to be coached, and to sign up when you are not fully committed to the process of change is not only a waste of your time and money, it is a waste of the coach’s time and energy.
The best partnership between a coach who is completely dedicated to your success, who wants not just to help you achieve your specific goals, but to help you become the person you need to be to achieve those goals.
The coach’s role is to encourage, educate, equip and empower you, using all of their life experience, tools, knowledge and intuitive wisdom. As you progress through your sessions, you will notice that you are thinking and acting differently, trying out things you did not have the courage to try on your own, challenging yourself to do more than what you have done before, and getting consistently uncomfortable as you intentionally enlarge your comfort zone. By the time you complete your sessions, you should have enough resources to soar on your own, with you managing on your own more and more, with perhaps an accountability session on a less frequent basis to stay on track if you need it.
Ultimately, the only person who can decide what you want and why you want it, is you. You are your own red light, amber light and green light – not the coach. You get to take full responsibility for your life, your vision, your mission, your choices – and the consequences of those choices. Which also means you get to reap the rewards, enjoy the harvest, create a legacy and pay it forward to your circle of influence.
Are you ready to take up the quest?