Lessons in Living: Life Coaching

BlogHer Original Post

If you've ever learned a sport with the help of a coach, you know how how valuable their guidance can be.  And even if you've never played sports but have just asked a friend to help you out by talking through a question or problem, you are aware of how helpful outside perspective can be.

Many of us could sometimes use help and guidance on how to move forward and take action.  Enter life coaches.  Life coaching is a growing business for providing direction for moving forward both personally and professionally.  Life coaching is different from therapy and is unregulated so if considering hiring a life coach it is important to figure out what you need and what type of credentials and experience to look for.

A New York Times piece by Eve Tahmincioglu on life coaching as an emerging job trend notes that:

[M]any life coaches were formerly in the mental health field. One of these is Joshua M. Estrin of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who made the transition from psychotherapist to life coach in 2003. He charges $50 to $75 for a coaching session. He noted that life coaching tends to be more focused on the present and on the future compared with some other forms of therapy.

“I help guide clients and give them the tools they need,” he said. “Coaching is about finding your inner expert to reach your goals. My job is to give my clients a tool belt.”

On her blog, DivineCaroline, Caroline Wilbert interviews Deborah Bailey who has gone from CPA, CFO and CEO to life coach.  Bailey notes:

[T]here is a school called Coaches Training Institute. What I like about this program is they are not just teaching you to coach—although obviously that is a big part of the curriculum—but they are also encouraging you to look inside yourself and see what drives you and what motivates you and why you want to do this coaching and get clear about what your boundaries are with clients so you are not projecting yourself onto them.

Sandra Tate, in a piece about "whole life coaching" points out that although many of the techniques used have been around for thousands of years in different cultures and may seem like a form of therapy,

A lot of people look at whole life coaching as some sort of therapy. While it is very helpful in every area of your life, it is not therapy. Life coaches do not process emotional history, or diagnose or treat mental conditions.

Susie at What Was I Thinking? wonders about qualifications and training:

Then there are those life coaches with no particular training of any kind in human behavior (or whatever one might need to know about in order to advise on matters of life, love, career, etc.), but who fancy themselves as having their shit together and capable of sharing that shit with others. These people can get a certificate saying they are a “Life Coach” from various groups who offer seminars and certificates, suitable for framing. In my state, and most I’ve researched, there are no laws regulating the marketing of oneself as a “life coach.”...

So what about this life-coaching stuff? What should the qualifications be? Does age matter?

Lana Walker-Helmuth at Get Happy, Be Happy, Stay Happy says "Life coaching versus therapy: know the difference" and shares an article which considers four broad distinctions.

Now that you have some ideas for what to look for in a life coach if you are seeking one, let's look at some advice from life coaches.

At Girlfriendology you can listen to a podcast with life coach Debbie Lundber who says "Choose to Inspire your Girlfriends" and gives "advice for supporting other women, for starting a girlfriend's group and for making a difference in women's lives."

At Ladies Who Launch, Certified Professional Life Coach, Joelle Prochera, says "Dream Along With Me" and offers advice for "goal setting for a year beyond your wildest dreams!"

At Fox Business, Nancy Colasurdo, who is a practicing life coach, discusses how you can use astrology to venture out of the box.  Our own BlogHer contributor, KT the Astrologer, offers a "cosmic weather report" to help "organize and prioritize your day."

Blogger imagineyourreality is learning to be a life coach and is finding that coaching can transform you as much as your clients:

It was a good weekend, with so much learned and experienced. As always I come away feeling profoundly changed, even if I don’t consciously realize the full extent of those changes.

And, finally, life coach Dr. Affie Adagio was recently able to apply some of her lessons to her own life and finds:

that when life intervenes we can manage to ‘dust ourselves off and start all over again’

BlogHer CE Maria Niles is still trying to figure out which of her several personal blogs will be her life blog.  Until then why not visit her Kleenex® Let It Out™ Blog where we talk emotions?

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