The Truth about Life Coaches

The Truth about Life Coaches

Every now and then I come across someone throwing dirt on life coaching on social media, and they go on about what a sham it is, how coaches deceive people, etc.

Usually, I don’t pay attention to it because every time I challenged it, it turned out to be an opinion without legs, shared by someone who heard it somewhere and hasn’t had an experience of personal coaching, or it’s made by a frustrated coach fed up with his/her own industry.

I understand. It could be hard for someone to swallow that he/she could make a fortune by having a “chat” with someone. As a life coach myself, I know that coaching works — I’ve seen people’s and my clients’ careers, businesses and lives transformed because of it. But as with anything: if you hear something and it sounds too good to be true, then it usually is.

Here are a few facts about life coaching that no coach wants to talk about, and I’d like you to keep in mind before you make a judgement.

1. Life coaching is no different from any other business.

As entrepreneurs, life coaches have to deal with branding, marketing, sales, accounting — the whole thing. It’s not any easier, and any coach who doesn’t understand it will starve.

2. Bad coaches won’t last.

3. Most coaches will never get paid

Immediately after completing coaching trainings and earning a degree in Psychology, I coached for 6 months for free to make sure I’m delivering true value. Then one day, with a shaky voice I asked for £20 per session, and over the years I’ve been increasing my fee because I’ve gotten exponentially better at what I do. It took me over 2 years of small increments to become a full-time coach. But because most coaches cannot make that step and turn their passion into a business that would make a living, they coach on evenings and weekends for a cup of coffee because they like it.

Show me one other industry where people help other people for free in the same proportion?

4. It’s not life coaching; it’s people.

There are several industries (which I’m not going to name but you know what I’m talking about) that have a reputation for misleading their clients just to quickly get their commission. They are way more regulated than coaching, and YET, the concentration of rotten apples is much higher there. Don’t blame coaching. Blame people. If anything, true and good coaches are improving this situation by helping people get better and sort their shit out.

5. Life coaches are not sorcerers.

6. Life coaches are not life mentors.

In fact, it’s often the clients who ask what I think they should do and who need a direct push.

Coaching is much harder than telling someone what to do.

7. People need life coaches because you’re not there for them.

Being able to open up is very healthy and therapeutic (although no, coaching is not therapy), and just by hearing them out and asking the right thought provoking questions, amazing insights come up. Insights like that are sometimes all that a person needs to make the right changes in their life. Coaches will have clients as long as everyone is self-centred, judgemental, or just plain too busy to hear others out. And you’re right, it’s not your job to listen to other people’s problems and helping them sort their life out, improve their relationships, and overall get better. But it is a coach’s job, so let us do it. Needless to say, after (hundreds and thousands of) hours of coaching, coaches will simply become better and more intuitive to understand what someone needs. They will see patterns in their behaviour and help them realise it. Coaches have clients because these clients need coaching support. Any while it’s not for everyone, for those who do see the value in coaching take that step forward and start working with the right coach, boy do they have a load of good in store for them.

Written by Tomas Svitorka