Anyone used a career/life coach?

Kropotkinskaya is working with a coach as her retirement approaches. She’s finding it extremely useful. The sessions are, as noted above, Socratic, and are about values, expectations, desires, more than “how to.” Knowing where you want to go rather than how to get is a big part of it and K is enjoying it a lot and learning about herself as well. But coaches and approaches different widely

I’ve worked with a life coach.

A few years ago one of my wife’s friends was training to be one and needed some pro bono clients as part of her training. I found it to be a helpful and positive experience.

I agree with the general description of the process as Socratic, and largely about a self-defined exploration of goals and values. Those goals could be personal or career or other. The techniques my coach used are certainly not rocket science, but they are effective, and I still use some of them today.

In my personal case (and, I think a lot of people who seek coaching), the issues we seek help with are things that we feel “stuck” on, either because we know that we want to change something but aren’t really sure what to change or how, or because we’re paralyzed focusing on downsides (every change has some trade offs). Coaching can be helpful both to talk through what you actually want and to determine which values are important to you.

Define a goal. Talk about what it would mean to you personally to achieve it. Talk about how others would recognize it. Talk about the steps to get there, and the timeline, and what it looks like to be on a path to the goal. Whatever the long-term goal is, make shorter goals. In one year I will X. In six months I will Y. By next week I will Z. Today I will run out of letters.

Measure progress. This really can be as simple as taking 10 minutes a week to think about what’s important to you to accomplish in the next week, then reflecting on how you did with the things you wanted to accomplish last week. And also thinking about how well the goals you set last week made you feel, and updating your understanding of your values based on that.

When I wasn’t sure what to do, the coach would often ask me to consider what I would say to someone who approached me with a similar dilemma, or what I thought someone whose opinion I valued would tell me to do if I asked them. This sort of felt silly at the time, but it’s really effective! I often described the coaching sessions as being an hour-long process where she coaxed me into saying aloud the answers I kind of already knew.

A lot of the value of a life coach is the social commitment to keep you on track. Like a personal trainer or a (good) manager at work. It’s not like I don’t know how to make a plan to accomplish something, or to do 20 pushups, or to accomplish a particular task that’s maybe not the thing I most want to do. But having a meeting on the calendar with a person who is going to specifically ask me what the plan for the week is, and how the last week went, and how it makes me think differently about the 1-year plan (or do a few more pushups or finish that feature) is a powerful motivator.

This is really helpful, thanks!

I don’t really have any “goals”. So I think even the Bill Belichick of life coaches wouldn’t be helpful at this point. Like what sort of “goals” do people have? Stuff like climbing Everest or driving a motorcycle cross country?