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So often, it’s just the language in the way of a good thing.

I was (and suppose I still am) resistant to the term “Life Coach.” I’ve had a mental block with the concept and had to reprint my marketing material to include the term “life” in the life coaching portion of the logo.

Recently, I had a friend send me a Linkedin post discussing life coaches and indirectly suggesting the lot of them (us) are unethical snake oil salesmen, preying on the weak and dumb. I have no doubt that this is the case to some degree, as can be found in any industry. But the life coaches I know and work with are passionate, compassionate, deeply caring individuals who want to help people experience their lives in a state of empowerment.

So the question then becomes, how do you know if the Life Coach you’re considering working with is a snake oil salesman or someone who will make a difference for you?

Have a Starting Point

I approached my life coach with the idea that I wanted to increase my productivity. I was fortunate enough for him to have the instinct to inspect under the hood, helping find out why this was a desire. At the time, I wanted to improve my work performance and stick to the plans that I had set.

It would have made sense to me (and I suppose I expected) that we would make calendars and to-do lists, and he would be my accountability partner. Nothing could be further from what actually happened.

Instead, we looked deep together to discover why my performance was off. There were undoubtedly some things out of line. As a product of working toward alignment, productivity significantly increased.

But there was more. I saw so many more possibilities for what I could create in my life. Improving productivity was only the starting point.

Be Open

You’ll have to find someone who you feel specific chemistry with in order to facilitate openness. The worst-case scenario is that you are wasting your cognitive load during your sessions screening what you do and don’t feel comfortable saying to this individual. You have to be willing to be vulnerable and be in this space without judgment. This is more difficult for some of us than others.

Also, don’t be afraid to say no to working with a coach who just doesn’t feel right. You owe it to yourself to be open so that you can get the most out of the experience.

Be Coachable

This is not just referring to being able to accept feedback and criticism (although a good coach can deliver this in a way in which you can hear it well). But know where you want to get.

What is your destination?

Do you just want to work on one area of your life?

Are there multiple domains you’d like to consider?

I was once told that the coach should know where to direct the conversation. My reaction? Well, I can certainly see this point of view. But really, it is up to the client to set the endgame. With a good coach, the rest will take care of itself.

Prepare for Transformation

Our expectations set the foundation for our experience. This may seem counterintuitive at first glance.

There was once a study done at an elementary school. A group of teachers were given underperforming students but were told they were gifted in their academic performance. The children ended the year performing at a gifted level. This shows how our expectations can really set the stage for what we experience. Teachers with the expectation that children are gifted are much more likely to produce students who perform at this level.

Recall that our beliefs shape how we see the world, not the other way around.

Are You Ready?

Coaching is catching fire in the world. Whether it be a dating coach, a well-being coach, or a financial coach, people see the benefit in this type of partnership. If you’re ready to discuss this, click the button below to set up a strategy call!

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BA in Psychology and MBA from Kent State. ENTJ Myers/Briggs and my love language is acts of service. However, I don’t think any of those things should provoke you to read my blog. Hmmm. I want to talk about things we all think about but, can’t freely talk about.

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