Should you hire a life coach?
Should I hire a life coach? I asked myself that question when I was feeling stuck and trapped in my advertising career. I was ready for a change due to major burnout and wasn’t sure what to do next. Should I go back to school? Stay in my current profession? Quit my job and freelance? I had a lot of options on the table and no idea where to start when a friend mentioned she had decided to hire a life coach.
Other than Tony Robbins, I’d never heard of a life coach. I was skeptical, so I did some researching and was surprised by what I found. It sounded interesting. A coach could help me get clear on what I wanted and create a plan to get there. For what I was looking for, it seemed like a great place to start. I decided to hire a life coach and give it a try.
I was hopeful, but not sure what to expect. The price tag was high, but so was the master’s degree I was considering. I wanted clarity and coaching felt like a smart investment.
It was one of the best investments I ever made.
Working with a coach completely changed my life, so much so, that I went back to school and trained to become a coach. I am a huge fan of coaching and still have my own coaches, but as much as I love it, it’s not for everyone.
To know whether or not you should hire a life coach, I think it’s important to understand what coaching is, what it’s not, and decide what’s right for you based on your unique needs and goals. There are a lot of support professions to help you get from A to B. Depending on the desired outcome, consulting, therapy, or mentoring could be the better fit. For some, a combination of several, including coaching, are the most helpful.
Here is an overview of each support profession so you can understand their differences and know if the decision to hire a life coach is right for you.
Consultants are specialists in one area of expertise. If you want to redecorate your house, you hire an interior decorator. If you need computers and software for the office, you hire an IT company. Consultants are professionals who assess a situation, present a solution for their clients, and do the work required themselves.
If you want to grow and achieve mastery in your field, you hire a mentor. A mentor will guide and advise you in their specific field based on their specific experience.
Therapists help heal the past and diagnose and treat mental health disorders. This is a client-patient relationship with the therapist being responsible for the solution. A client (or patient) seeks therapy to heal the past, deal with a current trauma or get support with issues like depression or bipolar disorder.
Coaches support their clients to improve their lives, relationships and careers through discovery and personal growth. Coaching is measurable and focused on results. It follows a learned process (if your coach is trained through an International Coach Federation-approved training program). There are corporate coaches, life coaches, relationship coaches, parenting coaches, etc.
One of the biggest factors that set coaching apart from these other support professions is the nature of the relationship. Coaching is an equal partnership between a coach and client. The coach is trained in the process of coaching, but the client decides the subject of each session.
Coaches will share insight, observations, and resources to support their clients, but they don’t give advice or “prescribe” a solution. A good coach will never tell you what to do because they know their advice will be coming from their limited perspective and each client knows themselves better than anyone (including a coach) ever will.
Have you ever asked someone for advice and went against their suggestion? Of course, you have – because even if we don’t know how to achieve our goals, we DO know what we’re willing and unwilling to do to make them happen. We may not understand why, but we all have our own behaviors, beliefs, and values that help us or hold us back – and that’s where a coach truly brings value. Not in finding the answers FOR you, but supporting you to discover who you are and what makes you unique. They will help you identify your strengths and understand your weaknesses so you can better achieve your goals.
Are you ready to be coached?
Sometimes healing past wounds needs to happen before entering into a coaching partnership. Coaching is goal-oriented. It takes effort, action, and accountability. If you have some recurring, unresolved issues in your past preventing you from moving forward, therapy could be a more appropriate first step.
Think of it like a rebound relationship. You start seeing someone new to move on from a broken heart. When the newness and excitement wear off, the baggage and hurt from the former relationship can start to creep in, sabotaging what might be a good new relationship. It might have gone better if you went into it when you were ready and over the first break up.
That’s how I feel about coaching. You get the best results when you show up ready and able to do the work. If you’re in an uncertain place, it doesn’t mean coaching is the wrong solution, but sometimes it’s not the right time. Sometimes, it’s a great companion to counseling, like after a divorce. You could be working with a therapist to help you get to a healthy place with your ex. You could also be working with a coach, exploring and designing your new life. Being ready for change when you start coaching will get you the most value out of your investment.
There are a lot of support professions to choose from. Understanding the benefits of each and how they align with your unique goals is the key to finding the right professional for your needs.
Think hiring a life coach is right for you? Request an appointment for a free 45-minute discovery session.