Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.Carl Jung
This is why you don’t need a life coach
As a life & leadership coach (I work with different individuals with different needs), I’m the last person who you’d think would write this article.
But I decided to write this because the world of coaching can be confusing, and I know I’d want this article written if I weren’t a coach.
So here it goes… you don’t need a life coach.
There, I said it.
It’s the same reason I don’t need to hire a fitness trainer, a nutritionist, or a website developer if I really don’t want to.
Twenty years ago, I wouldn’t have made this argument.
You have zero excuses for not knowing what to do
The internet has democratized so much content that you can find nearly any information that you would like for free. The only cost you would incur is the time spent filtering out what’s legitimate and what’s bogus.
Thanks to the information age, and the conveniences of technology, I’ve become my own trainer, nutritionist, and website developer – which would have been very difficult to accomplish 20 years ago without the help of Google.
Similarly, if you’re stressed, stuck, burnt out, or looking for ways to navigate imposter syndrome, uncertainty, office politics, or improving your executive presence – you can accomplish all of this – completely free of charge.
For zero dollars, you can find all the life hacks and ways you can crush it on your job in the form of blogs, podcasts, video tutorials, and online groups and training.
I swear – they exist. The quality of the content ranges from super valuable to complete crap – but it’s all available to you – completely free!
And if you still need more information, for a tiny investment, you can read entire books on each of these topics from world-renowned experts and researchers.
So if you’re looking for information and “how-to’s” – you really don’t need to hire a coach.
Why would you want to hire a coach?
So why do people work with coaches? You might wonder.
It boils down to 4 simple reasons.
1. You’re looking for personalized support
This means you want a tailored approach that fits your preferences, situation, and pain points.
While there’s a ton of free information available to you – it’s also thousands of hours of research and digesting the information – time that could be put toward living your life.
As a coach, part of my job is to keep up with the latest literature relevant to the issues my clients face (including wellbeing, stress, trauma, burnout, leadership). Instead of trying every strategy on for size – when you work with me, you’re going to get the most relevant tools for what you’re experiencing.
Don’t get me wrong – nothing’s a guarantee because, you know – life. But we’re improving your odds by starting with the five most effective tools based on your current situation and needs, which can be different than the five tools that would be suggested for the next person.
In addition to selecting the tools, a skilled coach will also follow a course that will most resonate with you – course meaning sequence.
For example, say your goal is to experience less overwhelm at work and at home. You already know that there are a number of different things that can help you – mindfulness, relaxation techniques, adopting a growth mindset, breaking down large tasks into smaller tasks, time-blocking, creating boundaries, prioritizing your day, examining underlying beliefs, and triggers around overwhelm, etc. These are all very common strategies that can help alleviate overwhelm – but which do you start with? And what mindfulness exercise should you try first? And how do you integrate them all?
A skilled coach will bring both science and intuition to work with you to create a course that will most resonate with you.
In this sense, working with a coach can save you time and energy, and get you to your goal more quickly and with less agony.
2. Discover your blind spots
People call it different things – the Johari window, blind spots, hidden talents, your shadow, and the subconscious. Essentially it’s the notion that we as humans all have things we don’t know – that we don’t know.
And if we don’t know what we don’t know – it’s hard, if not impossible, to work on these areas.
When it comes to self-help we often only work on the areas that we know we don’t know. For example, clients often are very aware and candid about not knowing how to create boundaries- so that’s where we start our work.
But the real value of working with a coach is the bigger realization that happens when you see the hidden beliefs that have been blocking you from setting boundaries. So the real issue isn’t the “how-to” but “why haven’t I” or “what’s been blocking me.” This is the area that you didn’t know you didn’t know.
It’s difficult to work with blindspots on our own. It usually requires someone else to be a mirror for us that allows us to see the things we don’t know that we don’t know.
Often what’s also in our blind spots is the thing we don’t know yet that we want or need. A well-trained coach can shine a light into those hidden corners. And once you see it, it’s no longer a blind spot. And once it’s within your awareness – you’re able to work with it to create the change that aligns with your goals. This is the crux of transformation – seeing things with “new eyes.” It’s this new perspective that you didn’t consider before that’ll propel you into action.
We as coaches don’t guide from a place of knowing what’s best for you; we’re not the master of your life. We’re able to uncover your blind spots through deep listening and asking powerful questions. Personally, I do this when my higher-self is connected to your higher-self and I’m hearing what your higher-self wants but hasn’t been allowed to articulate.
On a deeper level – many but not all life coaches believe in something greater than ourselves – call it the higher-self, the universe, mother nature, spirit, or god. It’s a part of us that often has been quieted in the fast-paced modern world. A life coach will reflect this part back to you, reminding you that you’re bigger and greater than your surface identity. When I’m with a client, my goal is always to connect with my client’s higher-self from my higher-self.
3. We hurt in relationships and heal in relationships
I have yet to work with someone whose current source of stress didn’t trace back to a pattern created ages ago that involved being hurt by another human.
The power of having another person with whom you feel safe and can entrust with your thoughts and feelings can only be described as healing. To quote my teacher Dr. Gabor Maté, “We hurt in relationships and heal in relationships.”
This is why “life hacks” and all the reading and thinking in the world won’t move the needle on healing at the core. Healing has to be experienced in the body, and usually in the presence of another safe body.
When working with stress and trauma, having a trained person to compassionately reflect back to you your truth is particularly important to release and transmute the energy that would otherwise be stuck in the body.
4. Make the journey less lonely
The modern world breeds people who are more and more independent. Self-made. Self-motivated. Self-sufficient.
But it can come at the cost of feeling alone in the journey. A coach can be your accountability and celebration partner as you work toward achieving your goal.
There are many leaders that talk about keeping personal goals to yourself until you achieve them – especially if it’s something you’ve never done before. This is so that you protect yourself from other people’s unintentional negative energy that usually comes from their own fears.
I’ll assume we all have experienced a family member or a friend who won’t hesitate to give you 10 reasons why moving, pursuing a different career, or taking on that personal project is a bad idea. Our family and friends have good intentions – but most people’s “suggestions” come from a place of their own desires and fears projected onto you – which may not be your truth.
A coach holds your agenda and works with you to tap into what’s true for you. This way, you’re making decisions and living a life that’s meaningful to you.
Working with a coach makes that journey a bit less alone. You can talk about the natural peaks and valleys and celebrate your wins and milestones without the projection of fear onto you.
The bottom line
You don’t need to hire a life coach if it’s information you’re looking for.
You can absolutely learn the “how-to” on anything on your own, without a coach, if you put in the time.
But, you might want a coach if you’re looking for a tailored approach, uncovering blind spots, healing from trauma (only with a trauma-informed coach), and a partner to celebrate with and hold you accountable. In that case, hiring a qualified coach is one of the best investments you can make for your life.
Hiring a coach is a personal decision and commitment. Don’t let anyone rush or pressure you into working with them. Coaching is an unregulated industry where you’ll find coaches with different qualifications and intentions. No matter who you might choose to work with, I recommend doing your research, getting on an intro call with them, and then feeling if it’s right for you.
If you have questions about coaching or working together, I’m happy to help – drop me a note.
If you want to read a super long article about everything you need to know before you hire a life coach, you can read that here.