Monday, February 23, 2009

Is Life Coaching Really Effective?

I am a big reader overall of everything from Toni Morrison and Charles Dickens to Twilight and the Power of Positive Thinking. For quite some time, I've had an interest in books that focus on self-improvement and goal-reaching. In reading books from those genres, I came across Jack Canfield (co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series) who mentions in some of his books, the concept of obtaining a life coach to actualize goals. Since Jack Canfield does offer life coaching through his company, he does have a personal interest in pushing the concept, but he’s not the only one that encourages the idea of having assistance to actualize goals. I guess in theory, life coaching is a good idea. But I can’t help thinking, shouldn’t I be able to coach myself to reach goals? Since my goals for the immediate future lie in paying off debt, increasing my income and becoming a social entrepreneur among other things, life coaching doesn’t exactly fit in my budget. But honestly, if I had the extra money, I’d seriously consider getting a life coach, here are a few reasons why:

  1. A life coach can help you sort out the things that matter to you. I know certain things matter to me in abstract ways like equal opportunity in education for all children regardless of socieo-economic background and lessening my negative impact on the environment, but it would be nice to have an objective person help me sort out things that really matter to me, so I can do something about these things at least in some small way. This could also help me evaluate how much time I am spending on things that don't matter to me very much at all.
  2. A life coach can help you come up with or refine a plan to achieve personal and professional goals. I could fill several pages or make 10 vision board of different goals and aspirations I have for the present and the future, but narrowing these down and making a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) plan to achieve these goals is another story. A coach would enable me to do this in a more strategic manner.
  3. A life coach can hold you accountable for progress made on reaching goals at specific intervals. I am a daydreamer, and without a deadline for things, I could let my mind wander on tasks and goals indefinitely, so being held accountable through regular check-in’s with a life coach would be good for me. I go in between being highly productive and a huge procrastinator, I’m sure I’m not the only one like this.
  4. A life coach may be able to align you with other like-minded people out of their network to reach a specific goal. Most people don’t reach goals in a vacuum, and in most cases, reaching certain goals is about who you know, or who someone you know, knows. Read books like Never Eat Alone and The Tipping Point to see the value in your network of personal relationships. I think a life coach who I assume would be a natural “connector” would be able to align me with others that could help my progress on professional goals like starting a non profit, or getting a book published.
  5. If nothing else, fear of wasting money (and time) will motivate you. I hate to waste money, and I also hate to waste the time of others. Not doing either of these things would keep me on task if I was working with a life coach.

In this difficult economy with so many people facing or living through job loss, reevaluation and reinvention are ideas that can jump start a stale career, or open the door to another one. A life coach may be the first step in doing these things. But I think, if funds don’t allow, we all might have to start serving as our own life coaches.

Any body else have any views on if life coaching really helps you to reach goals?


Anonymous said...

great post - you have some really good thoughts about getting a life coach.

As for now, I'm going to save my money, but I can see myself using one within the next couple years.