Some important tips about choosing a life coach.
We all want to be happy in our relationships and do our best in all aspects of our lives and all of us can benefit from the services of a good life coach, but what is a good life coach and how do you find the right one for you?
Like any profession, 80% of life coaches are not so good and 20% are worth being coached by. The question is, how do I pick which ones are the good ones?
Firstly, you must understand that life coaching is not a one time appointment, it doesn’t work like magic. It requires a long term commitment with regular appointments.
Secondly, your ideal coach must actually like you. The best client/coach relationships are mutually chosen by coach and client after a short period of working with each other. So, you will need to sample your coach’s skills before undertaking any long-term commitment, and you should walk a mile if your potential suitor acts like a salesman who has ‘all the answers’. No one has.
I recommend to anyone considering appointing a life coach that you should personally sample the coach’s work before considering a long term commitment. This is the reason I offer my Risk Free ‘no Time Limit’ Gift Voucher.
What to look for in a professional life coach?
You must choose the coach you want to work with based on a number of factors. Obviously you will want a coach who is personable. Your coach should demonstrate an understanding of who you are and have a genuine interest in both you and your challenges.
You should look for a coach with plenty of life experience, who demonstrates wisdom, who is rational and astute with a keen sense of humour. Your coach should ideally have felt the highs and lows of life and lived through good times and bad, across a range of situations. Your coach should ideally be well educated, grounded and able to substantiate sound practical knowledge and emotional flexibility. Above all, you must feel comfortable and safe in their company.
He or she should have the ability to ‘effectively disconnect’ from your story. That is to say, a coach shouldn’t become ‘emotionally triggered’ by your situation. You need a life coach who demonstrates who is tuned in but doesn’t get easily triggered. Just as you wouldn’t want an overweight personal trainer or an accountant with no money, your life coach should also have a track record that demonstrates that they do indeed ‘walk their talk’.
Training and Experience?
Most people who advertise themselves as life coaches do coaching as a part time job or a hobby. Many have been coached and have ‘seen the light’ and genuinely want others to feel the changes that they have experienced. Sometimes these people are excellent but more often than not, this doesn’t usually make for a good coach. These life coaches tend to become easily drawn into your story and when this happens they become ineffective. You don’t want a coach who tells says “I know exactly what you mean” and then proceeds to tell you about a similar experience that they had. Remember, if this happens, it is a sign that they have been ‘triggered’. Their mind is no longer on you, it is on themselves.
A good life coach won’t feel the need to justify their worthiness by pointing out their membership of a particular coaching institute. You need the support of your coach, so you’ll want a life coach who stands on his or her own two feet.
How old should my life-coach be?
I haven’t met many life coaches under about 35 years of age that I would consider engaging. The best coaches that I’ve met have been challenged and overcome adversity, many have remarried, brought up children from birth to adulthood and experienced a variety of life, business and career challenges.
Should I look for a male or female life coach?
This is a question many of my clients have told me that they pondered over. A woman may feel that she wants a female coach because she will be better understood by a female; likewise, a man may feel the same way toward a male coach. Alternatively, a woman may want a male coach because she wants a male perspective (I coached a lesbian couple that chose me for this reason).
Frequently we choose the sex of our coach for the wrong reasons and it may be that the coach you are avoiding is actually the best coach for you. For example, let’s suppose you are a female who has been raped and you are understandably fearful of the idea of a male coach.
In my experience a good male coach should be in a better position to be able to challenge and ultimately help you regain your power and confidence. Similarly, a man with ‘mother issues’ may do better with a very good female coach who may be able to challenge him in ways that a male coach could never do.
The bottom line is that a good coach should be able to handle almost every client need of any sexual persuasion and ultimately you will need to experience their life coaching methods first hand in order to make a decision on who will be the best coach for you.
About motivational coaching seminars
The presenters who sell coaching from the stage at seminars are very skilled at exciting a crowd and getting them to run to the back of the room for a ‘once in a lifetime offer’ but tend not to be the coach you will get. You should notice that as soon as someone on stage says that they have a free CD for the first 17 people who run to the back of the room, understand that you are being trained to run to the back of the room.
This is an Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) technique designed to hook you in and it will usually end up costing you a lot of money. Try to avoid ‘getting sold’ on life coaching at a seminar and never sign up with any life coaching organisation that promises to appoint one of their coaches to work with you.
A personal coaching relationship should be just that; personal.
Where to from here?
You need to do the legwork; look through this page again, make a list of the things that are important to you and then go and introduce yourself to some coaches.
Good luck and if you’d like to put me on your shopping list, please consider my Risk Free ‘As-Long-As-It-Takes’ Gift Voucher as a first step.