(Listen to this as a Podcast here)
I have noticed a marked increase in 'Life Coaches' on popular social media platforms showing enticing videos of them explaining how they have a global client reach and a very successful coaching business, telling us all how they can help us to improve our lives, and even start our own business. All of which is great if indeed they are offering personal, tailored coaching and therapy based techniques to help us work on those areas which are holding us back.
The problem is, they are actually offering to sell you a 'system' which is "foolproof and will guarantee you a better life", which you only find out after you have invested a fair bit of time in IM and phone conversations. I know, because I have been following a few up to see what the hype was all about.
Now maybe it is just me, but I find this disturbing on a couple of levels.
Firstly, it is NOT what 'life coaching' is about. There is little to no personal exploration and tailoring of techniques and approaches to the requirements of the individual, and very little directly personal feedback or personalised homework and targets to work towards, nor depth of understanding or appreciation of the potentially sensitive or traumatic issues the client may be wanting help with.
Secondly, and somewhat more sinister in my opinion, the very people who are reaching out for help, have an element of vulnerability which I feel is being exploited, and that not only impacts on them and their experience, but taints the view of others towards REAL life coaches, and the great work they do every day for their clients.
It can be quite difficult to spot these people in amongst the real coaches, but what often gives a clue, seems to be their enticement of a 'look at how successful I am' video , and the promise of 'you can have all this' (so long as you send me money for my guaranteed 'system') messaging.
I even saw one answering a question asking about guarantees with what they no doubt thought was a clever answer of "I guarantee if you do nothing you will stay how you are". That in itself should tell you all you need to know about that individual.
I always recommend doing a bit of research into any prospective coach, and as those of you who follow my blogs know, I advocate finding one who has actually experienced your issues if possible, as it definitely makes your experience richer and more fulfilling when you don't have to try and describe your feelings to them in order for them to 'understand' how you feel (according to textbooks or literature).
Please don't get lured into the hype. Research your coaching options and above all, ask your coach about their own experiences. Don't look for nor expect details, as this is not about them, but if they say they have experienced something similar, you can normally tell quickly by their reactions, suggestions, empathy characteristics and even the look in their eyes, if this is true.
My own clients often know because I regularly describe their feelings to them before they tell me, which gives them more comfort to be open and candid about their emotions during sessions, which makes the sessions far more effective. If in doubt, don't engage them. Your sessions should be unique to you and tailored to your particular needs, as explored in your initial sessions.
I will be back next week as usual, and again apologies for the slight hiatus the last two weeks due to unforeseen circumstances and much appreciation to my understanding clients.
As always, put down your gadgets and "Live Life, Don't Watch Life".