Does anyone have experience with life coaching?

As per the title, I wanted to see if Dopers have had any experience with life coaching, or similar services. I have been considering looking into one, to help me figure out what I want out of life, as well as hopefully get some help on tackling procrastination.

For those who have used a life coach before, did you find it useful? What would you say are reasonable expectations/outcomes from getting coaching? And how would you go about finding a good coach?

Data point of one - take it for what it’s worth.

It was strongly suggested to me that I consult a life coach. I had one meeting with her and did not find her useful in any way. She had no credentials or applicable formal education she was willing to discuss and offered no significant comments or advice. Maybe I went in with a defensive chip on my shoulder. Maybe I just didn’t give her a chance. We’ll never know.

In fairness though, she did offer one parting comment that did make sense to me. “If you’re not sure about which goals to pursue and how to reach them, spend some time helping others reach their goals. Volunteer. Find ways to be of service to others. Maybe you can find your own path in the process.”

Good luck in your search.

Those are two different-but-linked issues. There are a lot of people who can help with the second one, if the first isn’t getting in the way.

I would say that if you don’t know where you are going, you are already at where you are. I don’t think you’ll get any kind of reasonable outcome until you sort that out, and I wouldn’t go to a life coach for that. Maybe there are life coaches who could help you with that, but not the few I’ve known / know about.

I have used a life coach before and found it very useful to have a someone completely independent with real no stake in my future help me sort through a variety of issues that were holding me back. I had been through a divorce and was at a crossroads in my job/career path. My friends and family were of no help so I needed to talk to somebody who would help me navigate my issues and could suggest options I might not have thought of. It started out as career counseling and expanded to my entire life. The person I ended up working with was recommended to me by someone I trusted so I wouldn’t just pick someone out of the phone book and hope for the best.

You mentioned procrastination. I know a lot of people who procrastinate, but it doesn’t seem to really impact their lives that much. Eventually they either get around to doing what they should have done months earlier or whatever it is no longer needs to get done. If it’s bad enough that it’s impacting your everyday life then you probably want someone to help you work through why you procrastinate so at least you understand what’s holding you back. There could a lot of reasons for it and knowing the why often helps with changing behavior.

As with all counseling a lot if it has to do with your willingness to accept advice from someone else. I know people who have gone to life coaches with no intention of changing. They just want to check the box to say they did it. That’s a total waste of time and money in my book.

If your issues surround what you should do with your life you may want to start with a career counselor and see where that goes. You may just need an unbiased view of where you are today and some ideas for how to move forward, and a good career counselor or life coach should be able to do that for you.

I know one life coach who, though unorthodox, seems to get results. (NSFW - it’s Peep Show for god’s sake)

When I joined AA almost 30 years ago I got what we call a sponsor. The sponsor sort of acts like a life coach in a lot of ways. I saw procrastination as my number one battle. Looking back I wasn’t nearly as bad as I saw myself. I was probably in the 80th percentile when it came to doing things promptly. Unresolved issues and undone projects absolutely would drive me to drink. Maybe consider some kind of 12 step program that you qualify for and look into getting a sponsor. Don’t hesitate to drop a sponsor and seek another one if you don’t feel you are a good match. My sponsor is no example of what I strive to be but he has been very good about steering me down the right paths and calling me on my bullshit when needed. I was able to completely turn my life around with his help and support. Now we sponsor each other.

I’d say if you find someone who’s an expert in a field, say business, and they can help you with education, training, your resume, interviews, working on your image, and making the right connections - that is good.

But I fail to see how a person, even if say they have a degree in counseling or psychology, could help you achieve in a field they have no experience in.

Now to switch that around, years ago on the very first episode of “Survivor” the man who won, was a life coach from San Fransisco and what he did was he made the right connections and groups to basically bring down stronger opponents. Basically he contrived to knock out all his competition by making and breaking alliances. Which I guess is how certain people get ahead in their careers.

Maybe he coaches people to do the same?

SDMB/IMHO is a life coach, and it’s free! :wink:

Not a very regulated industry, it seems. Just about anybody can be a “life coach” without any training or certification, so look heavily into the background and training of anyone claiming to be one.

I got a break on my health insurance if I scheduled three sessions with a life coach to talk about exercise and stress reduction. I told her about my exercise goals, we met via phone a month later and I told her about my progress, and then a final one where I told her I met them.

It was kind of worthless, since I knew more about exercise than she did, but it didn’t hurt anything.


From what I understand a life coach isn’t there to offer advice as much as they are there to offer accountability and questions that help you sort through your own stuff. They aren’t there to tell you what to do or how to do it, they are there as someone that you can bounce ideas off of and a skilled life coach will ask questions that are increasingly insightful as they get to know you. If you think about it, a therapist isn’t necessarily there to tell you what to do either. They ask questions and help draw you out. While it’s true that certifications and such don’t have much behind them, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to be a good listener and to help you sort through things. With that said certain skills needed for such are natural and people have them or they don’t.

For anything like this to work, you must not be doing it for the wrong reasons. The wrong reasons are: for someone else, to improve yourself for someone else, to be able to tell others you’ve done it, because someone else suggested it or requires it… Get the point? It MUST be “for yourself”, PERIOD. Not “for yourself to get along with others”, not even “for your own benefit in your relationship”. Any benefit to others, even “fringe benefits” to others, are a dangerous distraction and likely to cause failure if you care about those benefits.

DAMHIKT. :slight_smile:

That’s not coaching, that’s counseling. In an unregulated industry, you can get that from people who call themselves “life coaches”. But you can also get coaching, which is a separate and useful thing if you’re ready for it.

Hmmm, thanks for the input everyone. Upon further reflection, perhaps what I’m actually looking for in the short term is counselling - once I get a firmer handle on what I want, maybe then I’ll see if a life coach might be useful in helping me achieve it.