‘You’re awesome and you’re doing great’: Why life coaches are in such demand

The life coaching business has been turbo-charged by the pandemic, with many of us looking for ways to change not just our habits but our thought patterns.


One morning, while checking my inbox, I spotted an email from Michael Bungay Stanier, known in the life-coaching world as MBS. Despite growing up in Canberra – where he listened intently to friends in cars as they spoke of disastrous love lives and teenage angst – Bungay Stanier, 54, is not well known in Australia. But in coaching, he’s a big deal. After studying arts and law at Australian National University, he won a Rhodes Scholarship in 1992 to Oxford University and went into management consultancy in London. Then, one day, he read about the rise of coaching in the US.

“It all sounded a bit like woo-woo, touchy-feely hokum,” he tells me via Zoom. “But there’s a part of me going, ‘That’s interesting – that’s kind of what I’m doing as a consultant.’ So I started telling my clients: ‘I’m going to coach you now.’ And they were like, ‘All right, whatever that is.’ ”

Bungay Stanier, who lives in Toronto, Canada, went on to train as a life coach and build a leadership coaching business called Box of Crayons. In 2016, he self-published The Coaching Habit, a book that, he says, “strips away the mystery to un-weird coaching”. It was an unexpected hit, and has sold 1.2 million copies. Brené Brown, the world-leading Texan researcher on shame and vulnerability, recently called it “a classic in the field”.

MBS’s email that morning was just a run-of-the-mill note canvassing dates and times for a Zoom interview, but the last line stops me in my tracks.

“You’re awesome and you’re doing great,” he writes. Hang on. How does he know I’m awesome, and what exactly does he think I’m doing great at? Perhaps he thought my interview pitch was particularly inspired.

“Thanks MBS!” I write back, a flame of feel-good warmth lighting me up on the inside. Maybe I’m okay. I carry that glow inside for about 24 hours.

Life Coaches are facilitators, positive and forward thinkers.  Life Coaches are empaths naturally and have a burning desire to see people excel.  In a world where it is so easy to judge and be envious of accolades and success on face value, it is coaches who are driven by others accomplishments, transformations and those wonderful light bulb moments.

Professionally trained coaches have the tools and skills to recognise limiting beliefs and self-sabotaging patterns and understand the importance of empowering another to break down those barriers in order to move forward before the actually coaching can start.

We all have these tendencies and some of us can be derailed by them, some of us have a crippling fear of failure and other have a stance that they have been doing something for so long and it has always worked for them.

Regardless of our tendencies, we all need a non-judgmental expert to guide us and ask us questions we may not want to answer in fear of being held accountable.  Thats the power of coaching, to push us out of our comfort zones and grow.

Does Life Coaching sound like your calling?  Do people suggest you should become a life coach?  Are you ready to change your life and others?