What To Ask Before You Hire A Life Coach

What To Ask Before You Hire A Life Coach

I know firsthand how hard it can be for sassy, strong, high achieving women like us to admit that we need support. Let me ask you this. What do you do when you get stuck in ‘the swirl’? When you are stressed, uncertain, and floundering in your life? 

Who do you trust with your fears? Who helps you gain perspective and clarity when you’re navigating a transition in your career, at home, with your health, or in your relationships? Who sees your potential even when you can’t? Who’s your ride or die go to person for support?

A skilled and experienced life coach can help you gain clarity, perspective, and confidence.

Life coaches help people with all of these things- and many more. Coaching conversations can help you create a solid plan to be more successful, at every age and stage of life. They can help you actualize your potential. A skilled and experienced life coach can help you achieve profound clarity and growth. This type of co-creative life coaching relationship can literally transform your life. 

Here’s the rub. Life coaching doesn’t always lead people to positive outcomes.

I used to roll my eyes when I heard the words ‘life coach.” I imagined hokey motivational speakers at woo-woo seminars, hocking gimmicky books, and taking advantage of people who were desperately trying to ‘fix’ themselves. 

I’d heard of people who’d gotten divorced or fired and figured that was enough to call themselves a ‘life coach.’ They had opinions but not a lick of coaching experience or professional training. They hadn’t developed or practiced the deep skills that are essential for a life coach to have to successfully help and support others. 

I knew friends who’d hired ‘life coaches’ who fell into that category. They wound up frustrated and worse off after working with them than they were before. These so-called ‘coaches’ were my only frame of reference for years. (Now you can understand the eye roll.)

My experience challenged everything I’d known or believed about life coaches.

I was navigating a difficult chapter in my life and career. My energy was depleted. I was stuck in the swirl- overworking and under sleeping. I wasn’t clear on what I wanted or needed. I just knew that something had to give- that I needed support from a professional who could help me.

My first stop was therapy. 

At the end of our first hour, my therapist paused and said, “Cole, you’re not clinical. You don’t need therapy. It sounds like you know what you need to do. You just need to work with someone who can help you see that, take a step forward- then another. Have you ever thought of hiring a life coach?” 

I rolled my eyes then explained my concerns. My therapist assured me there were legit professional coaches helping people navigate similar things. She gave me a couple of names of skilled and experienced life coaches she knew. A few days later, I took her advice, did my research, and took a really bold step.

One phone call changed my mind about life coaching.

The coach I spoke with was a total professional: educated, skilled, and wildly insightful. Her coaching speciality matched what I needed. I felt all the good vibes so I hired her.

My life coach helped me get out of the swirl. Over the course of our relationship, she helped me regain my energy and clarity. We explored possibilities that previously were not on my radar. She challenged my thinking. Coaching with her helped me transform my mindset and my life. 

I learned firsthand that coaching can absolutely be a life changing experience.

This is  the power of great life coaching. The difference maker for me was the research I did that helped me find a skilled and experienced coach who could support what I needed.

There are three ugly truths about the life coaching industry.

  • The industry attracts all kinds of ‘coaches’ because it’s lucrative. It was worth over $1.5 billion in 2022 
  • The industry is unregulated.
  • Because it’s unregulated, there are plenty of unqualified people calling themselves “life coaches”. They’re giving shit advice, doing harm, and giving the coaching industry a really bad rap. 

There are also beautiful truths about the life coaching industry.

  • Skilled and experienced life coaches are having a positive impact on people’s lives every day. 
  • Coaching is a powerful practice rooted in positive psychology. Life coaching has been scientifically proven to help improve mental health and the overall quality of people’s lives.
  • The coaching industry has ICF a powerful international governing body and the gold standard for the coaching industry.

In the wild wild west of coaching, ICF is the beautiful, badass sheriff keeping watch. They are pro industry regulation.

  • ICF accredits coach training programs and schools. These programs and schools have to meet consistent ICF coaching standards and ethics. Formal education, key skills development, and real world coaching experience are three of the components that prepare coaches to have a positive impact on their clients lives.

How do you know whether or not a life coach is the real deal?

Great question. I’m not pretending to have all the answers but I do have a few solid ideas to get you started. I’ve put together a short list of five questions to help you be more successful in finding a life coach who can help you achieve your goals. (*Note: This is not intended to be an exhaustive or comprehensive list. Do your own research and trust your gut.)

# 1. Ask about their background, training and certification. 

Anyone can build a website and call themselves, well, anything- including a coach. Get curious. This is your money, your time, and your life. Start with basic questions like:

  • Where did you receive your professional coach training? 
  • Was your training program ICF accredited? 
  • What certifications do you have? (Yes, it’s ok to ask this question.)

# 2. How much real-world coaching experience do you have? Make sure the coach you choose has the skills and experience they need to well support you in achieving your goals.

  • How long have you been coaching?
  • How many hours have you coached?
  • Who do you coach? 
  • What do you specialize in helping your clients with through life coaching? 
  • What are some of the benefits and growth your clients experiencing? (It’s ok to ask for testimonials.)

# 3. How do you initiate relationships with new clients?

  • Do you offer a free exploratory hour so we can test the water before we commit? Be weary of coaches who say no. In my experience, this is a reasonable request. Great coaches will be open to sharing an hour with you to answer your questions and give you a taste of what it would be like to coach with them. Coaches in this category understand that life coaching is a privileged relationship. They want to make sure there’s good alignment before either of you commit.
  • What requirements do you have around scheduling sessions? Change takes time. There is no right or wrong approach. Ultimately, this is all about you so it has to work for you.

I steer away from lengthy packages. My reason is simple. At the end of the day, my job is to help you develop the clarity, confidence, and skills you need to rock your life on your own. I have a minimum requirement for my new clients- four coaching sessions over a one month period. 

# 4. Do you have a coaching agreement? This is really important. The coaching agreement is a mutual agreement that governs your coaching relationship. I make it a practice to send my coaching agreement to every woman who considers coaching with me before we meet for their complimentary coaching hour

Reviewing your prospective coaches agreement will help you understand (at a minimum) what the coach charges, how many sessions they require you to schedule, packages they offer, their policies, how to sever the relationship, if needed, etc.

#5. Where are you located? What time zones do you work in? This is such an important question!

It’s such an easy one to miss in our remote world of working. Make sure your coach is able to accommodate your schedule and not the other way around. 

Remember, life coaching is all about you.

Spend some time thinking about your ‘why.’ 

  • Why are you hiring a life coach?
  • What do you want to achieve?
  • Why is that important for you at this point in your life?

Ask people you trust for referrals. Research the coaches they share. Check out their LinkedIn profile and their recent posts. Read their blog. Get insight into their background before you contact them. Researching on the front end will most likely lead you to a few new questions which will lead to a more powerful conversation. 

The moral to this blog post is this. Life coaches can help you realize your best and rock your life. Making sure you have a skilled, and experienced who aligns with you and what you need is the key. 

You’ll be much more likely to have a positive experience with life coaching by doing some research and asking smart questions.

You owe it to yourself. After all, you’re entrusting someone to coach you and support you in achieving what you want for yourself in your life. That’s big potatoes. And, just in case no one has told you today, you deserve to live your very best life. We all do. 

If you’re considering life coaching and you’re looking for a professionally trained, experienced, and skilled coach who is having a positive impact on women’s lives, head to my contact form . Send me a message. I’d love to meet you. 

Finding Peace In The Midst Of Media Overload

Finding Peace In The Midst Of Media Overload

The world feels scary, overwhelming, and uncertain as heck right now. The last few weeks have been a ringer. Many of us are feeling saturated by media overload. It’s wreaking havoc on our bodies and minds.

I’m here to share good news: You have the power to control how you feel on the inside, no matter what’s happening on the outside. 

In this episode, you’ll learn about the impact digital media is having on your mental and emotional health. I’ll share mind blowing, eye opening, holy shit level stats from Statista about how much time we’re engaging with digital and social media.

I’ll turn you onto some of the ways screen time is affecting your brain, by sharing nuggets of wisdom from Dr. Victoria Dunkley that were published in a SUNY Potsdam article.

And of course, I’ll introduce you to my analogy of “Cactus and Blanket” to help you understand the miraculous worker bee known as your nervous system. I will connect you with the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems so you can understand how these systems are controlling the way you think, feel, and experience your life and help you understand how mindfulness can improve your quality of life.

Tune in, subscribe, and share. ❤️

What Deepak Chopra Taught Me About Stress, Seven Pillars And Our Power To Thrive

What Deepak Chopra Taught Me About Stress, Seven Pillars And Our Power To Thrive

I’d been waiting for years to hear Dr. Deepak Chopra speak live and in person. I finally had my day in the sun in March of 2023. As I sat on the edge of my seat listening to every wise word he spoke, the decades of my deep study, practice and work crystallized in way that blew my mind. Optimism and purpose washed over me as Dr. Chopra shared the latest medical science proving the correlation between stress, disease and the power we hold to be well. I scanned the few hundred faces in the packed auditorium and thought to myself, “Everyone on the planet needs to know this.”

Dr. Chopra shared that stress is the #1 health epidemic we’re facing today. He described it as “resistance to existence.” His lecture, entitled “The Future of Wellbeing” focused on the science of the mind-body-consciousness connection, the power we hold to be well and these (7) pillars that are critical in combatting stress to optimize our overall well being: 

  1. Sleep
  2. Meditation/Stress Management
  3. Movement/yoga/pranayama
  4. Emotional regulation
  5. Nourishment
  6. Bio rhythms/grounding 
  7. Self awareness and self realization

Dr. Chopra discussed the latest science that supports why each of these pillars have a positive impact. It was empowering to learn that less than 5% of the chronic illnesses we suffer from are genetically determined and 95% are influenced by epigenetics. We have the power to positively impact the other 95%.

I picked up on two overarching common denominators across the (7) pillars:

  1. Each pillar improves health by lowering stress that causes inflammation and disease.
  2. Anyone can choose to make these pillars part of their lives, if they have the information.

Dr. Chopra talked about the link between choice, awareness, self realization and ‘flow’, a state we experience when our nervous system is finely tuned. As he did, the critical role that mindfulness plays in overall wellbeing was underscored. I read through my notes and reflected on his words into the wee hours of that night. I woke up understanding that my mission as a mindfulness coach had never been so clear or validated. I grabbed my journal and jotted down these three truths:

  • When we have knowledge, understanding and awareness we have the power to choose. I help people develop awareness through knowledge and practice that empowers them with choice.
  • Stress overtakes us if we allow it. I empower courageous people to reset from stress, tune into their potential and thrive.
  • The connection between body, mind and consciousness is ours to optimize and activate. By making that choice, we have the power to control how well we are and how well we live. My work helps people optimize their mind-body-consciousness connection.

Four months later, all of the scientific data points he shared are still here, at the forefront of my mind. Dr. Chopra’s lecture was a bucket list item for me. I am changed by what he shared. I am emboldened by the power we hold to be well and thrive. I am optimistic as I think about the profound capacity awareness and choice hold to change our health and the way we experience our lives.

*If you’re ready to step into your power and change your life, let’s talk. 

How Mindfulness Can Help You Overcome Negative Thinking

How Mindfulness Can Help You Overcome Negative Thinking

Here’s a stunner. We have roughly 50,000 thoughts every single day and, scientists say on average, about 80% of the 50,000 daily thoughts we have are negative. Talk about a busy mind!

The way I see it, these data points represent incredible opportunity as I think about mental and physical wellbeing. Here’s why. We are in control of what and how we think which means have the power to manage negative thoughts AND replace them with positive thoughts. That means, we have the power to change our health and our life, once we understand how and make the choice to practice.

Negative tend to breed more negative thoughts. Ruminating on them sets up a cycle I call “black hole thinking” that pumps up your stress levels and floods your body with cortisol and adrenaline- the “Oh sh** protection mode” chemicals. As a general rule, this is not where you want to be. As the cortisol and adrenaline course through your system, they increase inflammation in your body and hijack your cognition. They also create chemical packages (emotions) like fear, self doubt, cynicism, and panic that cause you to feel depleted, confused, stuck- physically and mentally.

Breaking The Cycle

You can manage negative thoughts by disrupting the cycle and adopting a new thinking pattern. These actions rewire your brain, empower you to be present, healthier and create life enriching possibilities. Replacing negative thoughts with more positive and supportive thoughts is a choice that’s within your control. When your thinking is working for you, your life changes because the lens you use to view the world becomes one of possibilities. 

Here are three steps to get you started:

  1. Step 1: AWARENESS: Become aware of your thoughts and the quality of your thoughts.
  2. Step 2: CURIOSITY: Sit with the thoughts that are negative, scary and uncomfortable. Replace judgement with curiosity. This step helps you understand where your thoughts are coming from, how valid they and how those thoughts are impacting you.
  3. Step 3: INTENTIONALITY: Make a conscious choice to direct your attention. For instance, will you choose to stay with your negative thoughts? Or, will you choose to replace them with more positive and supportive ones that will benefit you and your life?

The Power of Positive Thinking

Meeting your thoughts with awareness, and intentionality is a courageous choice and it takes practice. This is mindfulness in action and it’s well worth the effort. Positive thinking produces the good vibes chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin which create balance, harmony, and happiness that support your mental and physical wellbeing.

Mindfulness empowers you to BE WITH your thoughts and observe them without absorbing them which makes it easier to navigate whatever life offers up with more ease, clarity, and acceptance. 

Here are three of the questions I offer my clients who want to start thinking more positively:

  • What’s the root of the negative thought?
  • How is that thought impacting you?
  • What else do you know about it?

I help my clients develop neural pathways through mindfulness based life coaching, that empower them to reset, step into their power and thrive. If you’re ready to change your thinking and your life, let’s talk.

Courage Is A Mindset

Courage Is A Mindset

I know a woman who left a narcissistic marriage after 30 years. She courageously committed to a journey of self discovery and healing. Today, her courage is helping her break the cycle of trauma and find her magic. I know a young man who lost his wife to cancer. He courageously chose to open his heart, believe in love and seek it out. Today, he’s happily married. I know a woman in her 70’s whose husband died at their kitchen table, without warning. Now, she’s pursuing her dream of becoming a ballroom dancer. Their common denominator is a ‘courage mindset’ that is connecting them with their personal source of strength, perseverance and wisdom. Their mindset is empowering them to live their best lives. A courage mindset empowers us to step into our lives, discover possibilities and thrive.

Courage is:

  • Vulnerability to go inward, be with your pain and learn from it. It’s making the choice to move forward in the face of fear and uncertainty, like the woman who left her narcissistic husband. 
  • Choosing to open your mind and heart to love, after you’ve experienced hurt, like the man who lost his wife to cancer. 
  • Being with your grief, reinventing yourself, and having the audacity to live your dreams, like the woman who’s husband died in front of her without warning.
  • Allowing yourself to be seen. It’s sharing your voice at the risk of ridicule or rejection. Courage is speaking up for what you need.
  • Accepting your whole self, without judgement. It’s asking yourself, “What can I learn right now that will empower me?” especially when you’re uncomfortable. Courage is questioning your beliefs, values and perceptions. It’s letting go of the things that no longer serve you, so you can live a life that does.
  • Meeting criticism with curiosity and cruelty with kindness. It’s asking one more question that helps you understand.
  • Trusting after you’ve been betrayed and offering unconditional forgiveness for yourself and others.
  • Saying ‘f#!@k it’ to fear. It’s trusting yourself enough to free fall as you take your next unfamiliar step toward the person you want to be and the life you want to live.

Courage is a mindset. Adopting it is a choice.

I coach courageous people. Here are three questions I offer to help them deepen their courage mindset:

  • When have you been powered by courage?
  • How did that impact the choices you made?
  • What became possible for you because you met it with a courageous mindset?

*If you’re ready to have a courageous conversation about your life, head to my contact page. Let’s talk.