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.