Athletes rely on Athletic Coaches to guide them to peak performances. Several top executives solicit the advice of Executive Coaches to assist them with office or career goals. Many of the most talented singers utilize the services of a Vocal Coach to keep their voices pitch perfect. But, what is a Life Coach, and can you benefit from hiring one?
There are several definitions of a Life Coach, but basically he or she guides and supports their clients while the client identifies and works-out issues preventing them from achieving specific goals. A professional Life Coach is not a therapist, although some coaches may come from a background in therapy. The International Coach Federation defines life coaching as "partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential."
The premise is that most people can achieve their goals if properly guided. The Life Coach will attempt, utilizing a series of steps, to support their clients as they endeavor to overcome the anxiety, fear, or other issues, keeping them from reaching individual goals and balance in their lives. After discussing a client's goals and issues, a Life Coach will help the client design a plan to eliminate obstacles getting in the way of successfully reaching those goals. A professional Life Coach will give input and support, but the client will do the work.
Why Hire a Life Coach?
People seek professional Life Coaches to help them in a number of situations, such as; how to develop and have rewarding relationships, changing or improving a career, losing weight, developing stress management techniques, time management, reduce clutter – both physically and mentally, gain financial security, overcome fear and gain confidence. The reasons for hiring a Life Coach are as diverse and numerous as the Life Coaches themselves.
Where to Find a Life Coach
If you make the decision to hire a professional Life Coach, where would you look to find one? There are several websites which offer Life Coach Referrals, however, you should ask how that website chooses the coaches they refer. Are there any financial incentives for the website? You might also find a listing in your local city directory, or check with spas that specialize in mind and body wellness, they may have referrals. The best referral would be from a friend who has benefited from the services of a professional Life Coach.
Once you find a resource, you must begin the interview process. Hiring a Life Coach is no easy task because there currently are no educational, certifications or licensing prerequisites. Online courses are available, offering education and credentialing programs (see; How to Become a Professional Life Coach), however, they are not regulated and not required. Some of the career backgrounds of professional Life Coaches are business, consulting, counseling, sociology, and entrepreneurs. But a Life Coach can come from any background; some may have vast amounts of experience, while others may have little to none. There are groups attempting to regulate the life coaching industry, however, until then be aware, as with many industries, there is a potential for fraud.
If you are considering hiring a Life Coach, you should interview several potential candidates and you must do the work of verifying their résumé. Peruse their education and employment histories, and contact all references. Just as a company wouldn't hire someone based on their word alone, neither should you. What type of coaching experience and education do they have? Where did they get their life coaching education? Get the name of the school and check-out that institution as well. Be aware that some internet sites offer courses such as "How you can get coach certification by next week." So, just because someone says they have a life coaching certificate, it doesn't necessarily always equal competence or even experience. When you meet with someone ask yourself (and them) what makes them qualified to give you advice?
What about a Non-Professional?
You now have an idea of what a professional Life Coach does, but you might be thinking, is there such a thing as a non-professional life coach? Well, just as there are professional and non-professional coaches in other industries, the life coaching industry is no different. You can think of a friend or family member, who offers sound advice and is supportive, as a non-professional life coach.
The question is can you benefit from hiring a professional Life Coach? Imagine what your life would look like if you could attain your goals. Now, think about what it would take to get there. Can you do it alone or do you need someone to guide and hold your hand (figuratively) along the way?
Remember the analogy of the athlete, executive and singer? Although they all utilize the services of a coach or coaches; the example was not an endorsement of Life Coaches (professional or non-professional), merely an illustration of how people use coaches for a variety of reasons. The best coaches have years of training, experience and are experts in their fields. What is the Life Coach an expert in?
Choose the Best Life Coach for Your Needs
If you decide to hire a Life Coach, take your time and conduct a thorough research. Then choose the one that you are most comfortable and satisfied with. If you decide not to hire a Life Coach, don't forget to spend a little time working on those issues that are keeping you from realizing your goals. Either way, the journey may be different, but the destination is the same.
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