Bonus: An exclusive interview with my personal Life Coach to get the inside scoop!
I believe everyone needs a Life Coach! At some point, we all end up thinking that it would be helpful to talk to someone outside of our world. Someone that can kick us in the butt to stop doing the things we want to stop doing and to encourage us to do the things we want to do. Wow, when I say it like that, it really seems as simple as making a decision to do or not do something. If only it were that simple. Right?!?
A Traditional Therapist
Traditional therapy focuses on the past. Some of us need to deal with wounds from the past. Traditional therapy has it’s place in this world for that reason. It is a long term commitment and a much deeper dig. If you suffer from chronic issues such as clinical depression, anxiety, or other debilitating diagnoses, then traditional therapy is necessary.
I experienced traditional counseling during my teen years which didn’t seem to leave a lasting impact nor give me any tools to work with afterwards. This is because I didn’t need a deep dig. I just needed some focused guidance and accountability, someone to ask me the magic question and help me answer it. I didn’t have deep trauma. Just some surface issues that I couldn’t figure my way through.
I believe traditional therapy gets a bad wrap sometimes, because so many of us are taking this route when it just isn’t the right fit. In other words, if you find yourself carrying around a bag of dirty laundry and you’re not sure what to do with it, maybe a deep dig isn’t necessary with a traditional therapist. Maybe you just need someone to help you make some decisions.
A Life Coach
I first experienced a life coach in my early twenties. Every single one hour session captured my attention and required me to “do” a great deal of “thought work” before the next session. It was very structured and focused, purposeful and goal oriented. She didn’t focus on my past. She focused on my desired results. In other words, that bag of dirty laundry I carried into her office, she helped me decide exactly what I wanted to do with each item and helped me do it.
When I went through my divorce I was surrounded with lots of friends and family that did not coddle me. They kicked me in the rear to keep me going. “A warrior never lays down on the battle field, woman! Get up! The Battle ain’t over yet!” My friend commanded me with such authority, I knew better than to resist or ignore her. “Yes ma’am” was the only proper response. So, I got up! But eventually, when the divorce was over and the storm had calmed, I was left with a bag that I couldn’t carry and I think my friends really needed a break from holding me up.
Friends…real friends can be very effective at telling you what you need to hear. But, I didn’t want to strain my friendships anymore and I needed to be able to speak of things that I was struggling to even say to myself. Those are not the things I want hanging out in my friends’ minds when we are together. Sparing them the weight they shouldn’t have to carry, I made a decision.
First Consult is FREE!
I called the Drill Sargent (aka Life Coach), Jenny from Thread of a Thought. The first phone consultation was free. This is where Jenny assessed where I was and where I wanted to be. She asked me the magic question, “what do you want?” I summed up the whole bag with, “I want to be free.” She didn’t make me any promises since all the work was on me, but she did say, “if you stick with me even when I make you very mad, I promise to give you the tools to get you where you want to be.”
She suggested 8 sessions of grueling mind, emotion and habit overhauling at a flat rate. Ya’ll it wasn’t cheap. I had to consider the investment and it took me a few days to commit. I’m not in the habit of spending a wad on myself and that alone was a scary decision to make.
But, I knew I needed help and I needed a real plan of attack, not the indefinite weekly sessions that got me nowhere. 17 years of marriage were now stuffed into that proverbial bag. I needed real hard truth and real hard feedback.
Jenny offered me exactly that, so I took a leap of faith.
Cons to hiring a Life Coach
Life coaches will make you mad! Real mad! It’s what they do.
They hold up a mirror and show you YOU. And they don’t wait until session 19 to do it. Jenny had me spitting mad during the first session. I’m not quite ready to broadcast actual session footage, but I’ll say this: Jenny’s goal was my goal. That meant the minute I revealed the first chain that was holding me hostage in my own mind, she shined a light directly on it. She showed me where I was wrong in my thinking and imprisoning myself. That was just session #1.
Life Coaches have nothing to lose. They are not dictated by bureaucrats or insurance companies. The pay structure does not lend them to want to prolong results and therefore, they can be absolutely honest and on point. This is highly effective. But I will warn you this is not for the faint of heart. They are not like the gentle parent that ties a piece of dental floss around your looser than lose tooth and sits with you for hours waiting for you to get the courage to yank that sucker out of your skull. Oh no no! Life Coaches are like the busy mom that see the tooth dangling out of your mouth and without any notice or warning they reach in to your skull and yank that sucker out before you even realize you had a lose tooth! Are you getting the picture now?
Life Coaching is about results! But the burden is on you to do the heavy lifting. You have to be ready and committed to facing the issues that you may not even know exist!
Pros to hiring a Life Coach
Not every Life Coach offers the same pay structure, but a typical package is a certain amount of hour long sessions (usually weekly) for a set amount. This varies widely. I paid in advance for 8 sessions and did a bi-weekly schedule since it takes me a lot longer to process stuff. I have a slow processor. What can I say?
I really appreciated having a structured and set amount of sessions. It certainly made me take every single session very seriously.
I didn’t graduate a Master after the 8 sessions, but I did walk away with the tools to continue a life time of practicing a new way of thinking, feeling and reacting to life. Thank you Jenny at Thread of a Thought for pulling on the threads of my thoughts to reveal the lies I had accepted as truth.
Worth the Investment
Would the end of the world have happened if I had not invested in my life coach. No. But now that I’m on this side of my 8 sessions and several months of practicing what Jenny taught me, that load is so much lighter and the mom and woman I am today is far better off. I will never know the ramifications I have avoided by changing the way that I think and assess circumstances. I suspect I’ve added to my life, or at least I haven’t taken days off my life by allowing bitterness, resentment and anger to become my portion.
If I had to label the assets gained from my investment (actual ROI), I would label them: forgiveness, empathy, broader understanding, self realization, acceptance…to which I cannot place a monetary figure. This I know, I could not, would not have been able to obtain that on my own. It is worth the investment!
The Big Question
“What do you want?”
Maybe for you, you want to grow your business, attack a huge project, start a new career, figure out what you’re suppose to be doing, or reach your fitness goals. Maybe you just need a little help figuring out why you keep choosing the wrong people to date. These are all great reasons to hire a life coach.
For me, I wanted to be free. Freedom isn’t a one and done. It’s a daily assessing, adapting, managing and overcoming. It’s also super scary! Have you ever seen what a bird does, that has been caged it’s whole life, when it’s let out of the cage? It’ll do everything in it’s power to get back in. Jenny gave me the tools to fly away from the cage.
Interview with MY Life Coach
1. I know that you were a client of a Life Coach first when you decided to become a Life Coach. What specifically was it that made you want to become a Life Coach?
I didn’t know it, but I’ve been a coach most of my life. Like a doctor practices medicine or a lawyer practices law, as I did the work on myself, I realized that I have been a practicing coach throughout my professional life and most likely years before. I’ve always enjoyed helping others reach their potential and I’ve never been afraid to share my observations of why someone is not. I became a manager and then a director. I became the person that worked on “problems.”
I reached a point where I felt stuck in my own life and my life was completely transformed by coaching. I felt like a million bucks and I wanted every single person I met to feel the same way. Doing the work on myself gave me the tools to hone the skills I already had and break through the limitations I was putting on myself.
2. One of the criticisms I received about choosing a Life Coach had to do with the training or lack of governing body over the industry. Are there any insights you would like to share about that?
It is true. Coaching is an unregulated industry. This means there is no accrediting body with any authority deciding what’s important in a coach, who trains coaches, or what “life coaching” even means. You will find a few for profit organizations that claim they “accredit” coaches, but they are accrediting the program they sell. They are simply saying the person accredited agrees with their philosophy. At the end of the day, you have to decide what result you want and do you think a coach can help you get there? If you’re a football player and you get hurt, the doctor is going to take care of the problem. When you’re not hurt, the coach is your strategic partner.
3. I think it is fairly obvious how to spell out the difference between a Life Coach and a Licensed Therapist, but I believe you probably have a much deeper understanding having sat on both sides of that desk about the differences. Could you tell me your opinion on how they differ and the benefits of choosing a LC over a therapist?
I like to describe the difference like this:
When something is broken or not working at full capacity you see a doctor who gives you a diagnosis and sends you to see a physical therapist. The physical therapist works on that one problem until it’s resolved.
Working with a coach is like working with a personal trainer. A personal trainer is focused on your overall health or physical goals. When you see a personal trainer, your body is already functioning at normal capacity, but you want to build a set of muscles, become stronger overall, maybe even change your physique.
Therapy is useful for individuals who have a problem and are not functioning at their normal level. Therapy typically focuses on “where the problem is” while coaching is more goal-oriented. Coaching is much more “what is going on now” and “where do you want to go?”
Therapy and coaching can be awesome companions, but there may be times when an individual cannot benefit from coaching until the therapeutic problem is resolved through therapy or perhaps even medication.
4. Without divulging private information, could you share about how you dealt with a real doozie that completely stumped you? In other words, has any client presented a situation or set of circumstances that maybe left you speechless?
Speechless? Never. One of my superpowers is being able to listen well and talk.
The answer is no. My job is to show my client’s their minds – what they are thinking and the power of those thoughts. My job is to hold a completely open, non-judgmental space. I take my job very seriously.
If you force me to come up with something that’s stumped me, it would only be that some clients don’t do the work and some clients resist acknowledging the power of their own minds. But really that doesn’t stump me either. That’s what makes us human. What I continue to be shown over and over is that we have way more in common than any of us thinks.
5. How would someone find a Life Coach if they were starting from scratch? Is there a resource or directory of some kind?
The Life Coach School has a directory of their certified coaches. You can also Google life coaches, but it may be helpful to include search terms on the particular problem you would like to solve. While there are a lot of “generalists” out there, you may desire a coach that focuses on one area such as business, relationships, careers, religion, etc.
6. Please share anything else that you believe potential clients should know about hiring a Life Coach?
Hiring a life coach is personal. You want to connect with them, but they are not quite like your best friend. A life coach will tell you the truth every single time. A life coach will hold you accountable. When you tell them your goals, they believe you and they believe for you.
Professional athletes, big executives, actors, singers, musicians, even T-ball teams (I can go on and on) have coaches. They have someone helping them see their blind spots. Helping them become better. We all deserve a coach. It’s the highest form of self-care.
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