Life coaching is a huge industry that will continue to grow, despite widespread cynicism around the trade. It isn’t regulated and licensure isn’t required; this has led to the proliferation of coaches who, because of incompetence, greed, or some other reason, have had negative effects on the profession as a whole. As a result, a wall has arisen between coaches and the people we are called to serve. Each coach must stand out, transparently telling the truth to those watching, even when it’s inconvenient.
You could say that an article like this is a bad move; I’m effectively driving away potential clients by telling the truth. However, I’m alright with that because I want to help clean up the reputation of my chosen field, and also to help potential clients see that their work and resources would be better placed elsewhere. Dare I say it? Coaching isn’t for everyone.
And now, seven reasons NOT to hire a life coach:
You don’t want to be held accountable.
You say you want to be held accountable, but are you sure about that? Criticism, constructive or otherwise, is hard to take. Yet, when you’re signing up as a client, you’re signing up to be held accountable to yourself. If you aren’t ready for that, reconsider hiring a coach. Remember: no one can want to accomplish your goals more than you do. Good coaches recognize this and will close out the relationship if this is an enduring pattern.
You want to be told what to do.
Some people believe that the main job of a coach is to tell our clients what to do. However, we’re not therapists. We help clients to explore their options, asking questions while trusting them as the geniuses of their own lives. At no point should a coach be above their client, acting as an authority. If you’re interested in coaching, you must take an active role in your own experience. You have to be willing to set your own goals and do the work.
You want to uncover and work on deep wounds from your past.
Trauma is pervasive. Many coaches became coaches to help reduce suffering in the world, which often results in buried trauma that can manifest in a variety of ways in your life. You would be better served by a licensed counselor or psychiatrist, who have specialized training that most coaches lack. The best, most ethical coaches will figure out where you are and help to refer you to someone who can help while causing the least amount of harm.
You expect quick results.
Coaches are trained to offer introductory sessions for the purpose of getting to know you while sussing out whether a coaching relationship is possible. Do not expect anything to be done in that first session besides rapport (hopefully) and diagnostic questions (in the loosest terms - we aren’t counselors).
You don’t like introspection.
Introspection is scary if you aren’t used to it. Looking within and being mindful of how actions, intentions, thoughts, etc. don’t match up makes everyone uncomfortable, at least at first. However, it’s required when you’re really serious about personal improvement. Unwillingness to look within for truth and understanding is one of the main reasons why our world is like it is today. Do better.
You’re not willing to tell the truth.
This one is self-explanatory. I once knew of a woman who went to therapy (this was long before coaching was mainstream) and lied in every session. She had her reasons, but do you think she got any actual help with what drove her to therapy in the first place? Enlisting help from a coach without being willing to tell your truth is a waste of time and money, and nobody is here for that.
You’re not willing to invest in yourself.
Investing in yourself doesn’t always mean taking out a loan or maxing out your savings. You can choose to invest in yourself by giving yourself time, care, attention, and love. Some unscrupulous coaches browbeat you for not “investing in yourself” when you balk at their prices, which makes everyone uncomfortable. Be willing to invest in yourself in the ways that matter. Balking at the coach’s pricing could mean that you’re not in their target audience, which is OK!
As a coach, if I get an inkling of any of these behaviors, I make sure to refer to other professionals. Why? Because instead of taking someone’s money and acting unethically, it’s more beneficial for them to put their resources into an alternative, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or medication. There is no shame in either of those options, and wellness is more important than my financial bottom line.
What are your thoughts?