A few years ago an email landed in my inbox asking if I’d ever considered a life coach.
I had tried therapy previously but found that it didn’t really click for me. Yet I was at a time in my life when I was willing to try it again, because I had so much going on and I needed some support that friends and family couldn’t provide. Coaching is not about trying to fix something that is wrong, it’s about being able to talk openly about your life experience with someone who is trained to ask you the questions that you should be asking yourself.
Before writing about it, I wanted to be absolutely sure that meeting with a life coach was worth it and would have a positive impact on my life. Over two years later, it’s been enough time for me to confidently say that having this source of support and objective guidance in one’s life truly does have the potential to upgrade our confidence, productivity, and relationships.
How it Works
I travel almost constantly, so meeting with someone in person and maintaining a strict schedule just wouldn’t work. I have actually never met my life coach in person. We do everything over FaceTime.
I’ve had sessions with her from the Serengeti in Tanzania to my old apartment in Berlin. As long as I have a strong enough Internet connection, which is easier and easier to come by these days, we can do a session.
Our sessions usually consist of me updating her with what’s going on in my life and discussing any pain points I’m having.
So often it’s hard to really see what’s going on when you’re in it. Having someone who is not a friend, and doesn’t have opinions and emotional investments in your decisions to talk to is invaluable. It’s not about problem-solving or trying to fix you, it’s about being able to speak to someone who doesn’t know anyone you know and who can give you truly objective guidance. A good life coach should not tell you what to do, but should ask you ‘why’ – why you hold certain limiting beliefs, why things have to be a certain way, or why not take another path? They should help you dig to the root of and to see patterns in your life that you may be totally missing. It’s not so much about the answers as it is the questions.
As much as I love my girlfriends and my family, they can’t provide objective advice to me. And I can’t do that for them either. Moreover, none of us are trained to do so. I don’t want to burden those I love with my problems on a weekly basis, either. It’s so much nicer to speak to someone who wants to help and has dedicated their life to it.
My coach is a licensed therapist with years of experience. I would highly recommend seeking a coach who has a similar pedigree. I see a lot of people becoming ‘life coaches’ these days who don’t really have the experience or proper training to do so, and I’d be wary of those.
Changes I’ve Seen
My coach has helped me to identify and let go of many limiting beliefs around the worth of what I put out there and how I show up in relationships. Our sessions gave me the confidence to speak more openly about my personal struggles on this blog, to put out products like the Photo Muse Masterclass, and helped me to feel confident enough to start running women’s adventure tours.
The biggest change has had to do with my personal life and interpersonal relationships. They are much healthier now and I can see my part in things more clearly these days. In the past when I’ve confided in a friend, if I didn’t end up taking her advice I would feel a bit sheepish letting her know. The last thing I want to be is burdensome or secretive with friends. I find it’s just much easier to speak openly with someone who, even though we have met almost weekly for two years, is not going to judge what I do and is instead going to help me arrive at the answers myself. It’s simply a different dynamic when it’s a professional helping you. I find it so much less emotionally taxing and I don’t feel guilty over taking up her time or resources. That’s the entire point of it.
I’m also able to send my coach periodic texts throughout the week. It comes as part of my package with her. This is particularly helpful because sometimes I just need some mid-week follow up or to bounce ideas off of her.
Finding a Coach
So where should you look for a coach? First it is worth considering if this person‘s values align with yours. If you’re particularly religious or spiritual in some other way, it helps to find someone who approaches the world in a similar fashion or you’ll be speaking a different ‘language’.
I would also go with your gut. There’s nothing wrong with speaking to multiple people before you find your match. You can also use services that help you find the perfect coach by answering questions and getting matched up.
I used an online service that matches up coaches with clients based on a range of questions, needs, and areas of focus. The company I used has been acquired, but I’d look for a local licensed therapist, ask your friends who they are working with, or look to find someone who matches your core beliefs. Theta healing is an example website if you prefer a more spiritual approach.
I got really lucky when I got matched up with Tara and we clicked immediately. I credit this to the matching process at AwareNow. I have the top package which gives me the most time and access. I have found that this ideal for me and yes, 100% worth the money.
I don’t have any agenda in sharing this other than to say that it truly has helped me. Any money spent on therapy might seem like a lot, but I’ve always felt that investing in myself was the most important thing that I could do, whether it’s paying for exercise classes, coaching, and healthy food, self-improvement is always way more worth it to me than a shopping trip or weekend of cocktails. The benefits are so much more enduring.
Particularly for those who are entrepreneurs, especially at the beginning, the expense might seem gratuitous and like something worth putting off. But I have found that this pays for itself many times over. I often get amazing marketing ideas during our coaching sessions, and she helps me see aspects of it that I wouldn’t have thought of because I’m so close to the work, and helps me feel the confidence that I need to move forward.
So after two years, yes, I can finally say that coaching is worth it and no, it’s not just some cliche Californian thing to do. It’s healthy, it’s about self-love, and I am better off for it. I just needed to be sure first before telling you guys.
Have you ever tried life coaching or therapy? How has it impacted your life?