Choosing the Right Life Coach Is Critical
There are a LOT of Life Coaches out there. Choosing the right Life Coach is not an easy exercise, but it’s critical to get it right because your life is literally riding on your decision.
A Life Coach can help you gain a powerful understanding of how you arrived where you are today, the clarity you’re looking for in your life, and an action plan to bring your goals to life.
The conversations you have can be powerful. As you start to reconnect with who you were and who you want to be, it’s common to revisit times of great pain, struggle, failure, or shame. To rewrite the story of our lives, we have to go back and talk an honest — and often uncomfortable — look at the story we’ve been telling so far.
These are moments of great vulnerability.
What’s at Stake When You’re Choosing the Right Life Coach
If you’re successful in choosing the right Life Coach, it is nothing less than staggering to see what can happen in your life. We’ve seen case after case where clients have undergone massive change. They’ve realigned with their core purpose and found the fulfillment and peace they’ve been looking for their entire lives.
When people fail at choosing the right Life Coach, the results can be catastrophic. In the best of cases, they lose time, money and energy. It leaves them frustrated, more cynical, and less open to pursuing the change they so desperately need in their lives. In the worst of cases, people end up damaged, more confused, full of self-doubt, and further than ever from the life they’re meant to live.
A Guide to Choosing the Right Life Coach
We’ve had so many people come to us after having these negative experiences that we felt we should share some guidance on how to go about choosing the right Life Coach. We encourage you to test anyone — including our own coaches — against these so you can make sure you’re with the right Life Coach.
Is Your Life Coach Properly Trained?
There are tens of thousands of people across North America claiming to be Life Coaches. Some are serious coaches who have invested in their personal training and development.
Others are simply individuals who have made it through a difficult and powerful time, have a compelling story of personal transformation to tell, and are empathetic to others. While these are valuable in their own right, they don’t necessary mean that this person should be coaching you.
When you’re choosing the right Life Coach, ask what training they have received. If they’ve taken a course or two, then you’ve probably identified someone who has just initiated their coaching career and you should take that into account.
If you’re looking to undergo a major transformation in your life or if you know you’re wrestling with substantive emotional issues then you will likely want to work with someone who can demonstrate a range of training they have received over the years. Your life is too important to simply put in the hands of someone who says that they’ve trained in the school of life. There’s much more to choosing the right Life Coach than that.
What Experience Does Your Life Coach Have?
From time to time, we’ve all run into people who‘ve trained their entire lives, but done very little with the training. Make sure the training is there, but also get clear on how many people they’ve actually coached.
It is not uncommon to hear people say “I’ve been coaching people my entire life” but this isn’t the same as providing deliberate Life Coaching grounded in effective methodology and sustained over the years.
In the same way that cooking meals for yourself your entire life doesn’t make you a chef, giving people advice about how they live their life doesn’t make you a Life Coach.
When you’re choosing the right Life Coach, make sure you’re clear on how many years or how many clients they have been coaching in an intentional, organized, and meaningful way.
How Steady Is Your Life Coach?
It’s important when you’re choosing the right Life Coach to look at their life too. Now, let’s recognize that we all follow different paths to get where we are and there’s no single path to Life Coaching, but there are also some cues that are worth exploring when you see them.
We’ve seen many individuals who are passing through the field of Life Coaching as they are finding their own way to their Epic Life. Taking some of those courses and learning to share what they learn with others can be part of their healing and growth. However, if the person you’re considering is bouncing from job to job, jumping from business to business, or trying to maintain a series of other initiatives at the same time as coaching you, it may be worth exploring things with them further.
In some cases, these may be bone fide entrepreneurs. In these cases, it’s wise to dig into the level of success they’ve experienced. The entrepreneurs will likely have built businesses that are self-sustaining where others may simply be struggling with what to do with their lives and leaping to the next perceived opportunity.
Central to the exercise of choosing the right Life Coach is whether your Life Coach is authentically moving toward their Epic Life as well.
What Support Does Your Life Coach Have?
No one can deal with everything. In fact, this may be one of the biggest challenges facing Life Coaches. No single individual can address every issue. The risk this creates is that, in an attempt to gain or keep the client, Life Coaches will say “yes” to supporting them in areas where they’re not qualified to do so.
When you’re choosing the right Life Coach, be sure to take the time to understand who your Coach can turn to in order to provide additional support. For example, we’ve had many clients open up about addictions, abuse, trauma, and many other challenges that they face.
These are times when a Life Coach should be guiding clients to a professional counsellor or therapist. Solo coaches may have informal relationships with therapists or counsellors but having those resources available as part of a Coaching team makes for a more compassionate and holistic Life Coaching experience.
What Results Can Your Life Coach Demonstrate?
Life Coaching can be heavy on feelings. Let’s face it, the quality of our lives is based on how we feel about the life we’re living. But the conversations shouldn’t only be about what you feel, they should also be about the results you want to see in your life.
When you’re going through the process of choosing the right Life Coach, ask them to provide you with tangible examples of the results that other clients have experienced. Ask them for references and examples and evidence of the positive impact that their work has had.
If they’re not able to point you to tangible examples of the results that have occurred for others, then you may want to continue searching. And to be clear, we mean more than short quotes from clients. Look for before and after cases that outline what the client’s situation was before Coaching, what Life Coaching activities took place, and how the client’s life was different afterwards.
How Does Your Life Coach Communicate?
Language is incredibly important. By now you already have a sense of how potent words can be when it comes to the things we say to ourselves, what we believe, and how we see the world.
When you’re choosing the right Life Coach, look for someone who communicates in a manner that resonates deeply with who you are. This is critical. But there’s also more to it than that.
Listen for language that’s positive, language that’s full of compassion and support and openness. Watch carefully to see if your Life Coach is asking questions or if the very first conversations are full of their advice. This may be a sign that they’re not listening with enough care.
It’s also important to make sure the “audio” and “video” line up. What we mean by this is that the words and the energy and the body language of the Life Coach should all be sending a consistent set of messages. If your Life Coach is talking about joy but struggling to smile deeply, there may be a disconnect. If their words are expressing deep empathy of a painful experience but their expression is otherwise, it’s worth taking this into consideration.
Now, people are complicated, so we’re not suggesting that if a person is not deeply expressive that they are not the right coach for you, but it is worth exploring with more care to ensure they are.
Is the Focus on You?
Each of us has lived a life full of ups and downs; of betrayals and disappointments; of pain and failure. How we communicate about those experiences and the people linked to them will tell you a great deal about your Life Coach.
If your Life Coach hasn’t been able to find peace with elements of their life, their language will often change. Sometimes the words will come across as more passive aggressive, or a “negative cloud” will hover over that part of the conversation, or they might become outright accusatory.
Having pain or disappointment is a natural part of our lives — Life Coaches included — but if the person who is guiding you has not been able to find peace with those major elements, then you may want to explore with care to ensure that their story is not going to be tainting your story.
When you’re choosing the right Life Coach, almost all of them will tell you that the focus is 100% on you. Take the time to reflect on the conversations you have with them to be confident that their pain, their story, is not overshadowing your story.
A Final Thought About Choosing the Right Life Coach
The stake are high when you’re choosing the right Life Coach. This is your One Life and we encourage everyone to be very careful about who they let into it.
Choose carefully when you’re picking a Life Coach. When we decided to start offering Life Coaching services, it was because our clients made it clear that we needed to. Recognizing how important you are, we brought in clinical oversight to help us shape the right program and methodology. We have both a Registered Psychotherapist and a Psychologist as part of our team of Life Coaches.
Make sure your Life Coach is as serious about helping you achieve the Epic Life you’re after as you are.
Your worth demands nothing less.