Life Coaching: Who Needs It?

I am thrilled to announce that I had the chance to partner with Essential Living Maine magazine to support their readers in understanding more about coaching and what working with a coach could do for their lives. A free digital copy of the issue can be found here. Enjoy!

Welcome to March: a month just far off enough from those New Year’s Resolutions to forget they were even made!  January can be a time full of anticipation, and when March arrives—after weeks of dark, cold weather, the return to our busy work days, and the occasional post-blizzard shoveling day—we are suddenly faced with the stark reality that not much has changed.  We are the same.  Our circumstances are the same. And once the energy of “New Year, New You” wears off, we are back into our usual habits. 

What we don’t normally acknowledge is that our ideas about big changes, getting healthier, switching jobs or stepping into our greatness this year, may all be great—but they are also ideas that are coming from our feelings.  When our feelings change, so will our goals.  Some of you may be protesting this in your brain by thinking, “I accomplish my goals and I kick butt doing it.”  Let’s not knock your goal-achieving techniques or criticize what normally works for you, but let’s take a deeper look in order to go further. 

What would you accomplish this year if your performance weren’t up to just you?

This is a reasonable question to ask because we sabotage ourselves by objecting to the stuff we said we wanted. 

We want a salary increase, but we sabotage it by believing this puts us against others in our company or in our field. 

We promise we will finally write that book, but we save it for later because we just aren’t in the right mood or feel it will never get published.

We are ready to open our hearts and fall in love, but we are annoyed by online dating or we make ourselves available to people who are not ready to share that kind of future with us.

We are ruthlessly two-faced when it comes to achieving our goals and dreams.  How crazy is that?!  We become so used to our “internal crazy” that we can no longer discern how crazy we are.  Most of us actually need someone in it with us; someone to call out the sabotaging parts of the crazy and call forth the powerful and useful parts.  Someone whose job it is to set yourself up to win and call out when you are setting yourself up to fail. 

A life coach partners with clients in a thought-provoking process to inspire them to reach their maximum potential, personally and professionally. In plain terms, they work with clients to help them get everything they want in life.  Although there are many coaching practices that focus solely in one area such as career, wellness or finances, some coaches intentionally identify themselves as a Life and Leadership Coach because it helps people become a leader in all areas of their lives. As such, these coaches may help you work on area-specific projects, but their coaching always reverts back to the "big picture," the complete and whole life you want for yourself.

So ask yourself this question again and think a little deeper this time.
What would you accomplish this year if your performance weren’t up to just you?

Would you write your book?  Get promoted?  Start your own business? 

Getting back to the root of your goals and actually creating something requires courage, confronting the part of you that gave it up and A TON of practice.  A powerful, trained, devoted coach will listen to all of your feelings and help you figure out which of them you want to hold onto and which goals you will dedicate yourself to achieving this year.  Life coaches will connect you, over and over, to the tender and wonderful possibility of it all coming true!   Why is this important?  Because on our own, we forget why we started and in truth, it is most comfortable staying put and doing nothing.

So you’re ready for more. You know your work/life balance is wacky. You have an exciting new opportunity at stake. There is a gap that exists in skills, confidence, or resources to get you that thing you want. How do you know that a coach is the right person to work with?

First, be clear on the difference between coaching and other service professions.

Coaches vs. Therapists.  Therapy is focused on healing and occasionally generates some action. Coaching is focused on action and occasionally generates some healing. If you want help managing concerns such as anxiety, depression, or addiction you should see a therapist.  With that being said, you can still work with a coach while in therapy.

Coaches vs. Consultants. People work with consultants when they require that expertise to create solutions for them.  A coach’s role is in the support, co-creating discovery-based approaches and structures.  Your coach will partner with you to develop a plan on your terms to ensure you are creating a life that meets your standards, not anyone else’s.  

Second, make sure your coach is trained.

Would you go to a doctor that only finished 2 semesters of medical school?  Very few people know that there is actually an international governing body that sets the standards for quality coaching. While there are about 2,000 training programs in the world, only 200 of them are accredited by The International Coach Federation (ICF).  That means only 10% of programs produce coaches that are trained at an industry-praised level. You can learn more at

Lastly, after you know what a coach does and how they are trained, see if they are a good match for you.

Committing to a coach is an intimate and life-changing endeavor. Most coaches offer a complimentary session to explore if you are the right fit for one another and if you aren’t sure then make sure you ask if that is an option.  Many coaches are also equipped to handle busy schedules, so don’t feel discouraged if an in-person meeting isn’t doable. Check to see if they offer alternative meeting options, such as phone calls or video conferences.

Working with a coach is an investment, one that you will thank yourself for forever.  It will not be comfortable, but it will permanently change how you think about yourself in the world. You will stop limiting yourself, and instead, get used to embracing your own brilliance and your ability to get more of what you want out life!  

And of course, if you were going to do it alone…you probably would have by now!