The coaching industry has grown tremendously over the past several years.
I worked with my first coach in 2007.
I am a life coach and I love the profession.
Though life coaching has been a way of life for me for 14 years, it's still a new concept for lots of people. Maybe even for you.
In this article, we'll explore:
What a Life Coach Does
Simply put, you hire a life coach to help you reach your goals and dreams. A life coach helps connect you to your deepest desires...you know, the desires you're too afraid to speak out loud. If you desire an exceptional life, you hire a life coach to guide you in getting there, loving there, and growing beyond there.
Professional athletes work with coaches to help them get to and stay at the top of their game. And to grow beyond that. Can you imagine your favorite football team excelling without a coach? Can you imagine Allyson Felix winning 11 Olympic medals without her track & field coach Bob Kersee? I can’t.
You get to be the Olympian of your own life. You get to operate at your highest level on the daily, designing and fulfilling your optimal career and personal experiences. Do what Olympians do. Get a coach and work with them for the duration. Allow yourself to work with someone who's only job is to bring the best of you forward.
A life coach is committed to your goals and dreams. They hold the vision for you on your darkest days. That, right there, is reason enough to have a coach on your team, even if you have supportive and loving family and friends. Your loved ones don't bring the level of neutrality, insight, expertise, background, tools, and training that a professional life coach does.
When I work with clients, I put my best thinking and insight into their problems, challenges, goals, dreams, and successes. I am dedicated to their success just as much as they are. Even when their hope wanes, mine doesn't. When they feel like giving up, I keep going, as long as they want coaching. I want for you what you want for yourself. I do everything in my power to help you reach the summit of your success mountain.
A life coach also helps you identify your beliefs and behaviors that block you from making progress. Every human has mental and emotional blind spots. A trained coach sees them, show them to you, and works with you to get out of your own way to achieve the results you seek.
Your coach also sees the greatness in you that you might not even recognize. They show you how awesome you are and work with you to live from your confidence rather than your insecurities.
Some coaches are strategy-based and don’t deal with processing emotions. Those coaches help you outline every single step it will take to get from where you are to where you want to be. And they help keep you accountable.
Other coaches just focus on mindset and emotions. They don’t deal much with action plans and strategies. Instead they help you uncover beliefs that hold you back while developing beliefs that move you forward.
My coaching method is a hybrid of mindset, strategy. and processing emotions. I also stand for your personal wellness as the foundation of everything you want to achieve. That means we create your dream career without sacrificing health, relationships, and the other aspects of life that matter to you. We create harmony in your life as you focus on achieving career satisfaction. You come to love the entirety of your life as well as your career.
There are myriad types of coaches within the coaching field. You have general life coaches that work with you on any topic you bring to them. You also have career coaches, midlife coaches, new mom coaches, self-care coaches, first-generation coaches, coaches for doctors, sexuality coaches. The list of specialties is massive.
As a Certified Life Coach and Certified Dream CoachⓇ, I've worked with college students through seniors on topics ranging from creating a life vision and finding meaning and purpose to setting boundaries at home/work and developing stand-up comedy material.
I now work with women of color who want to feel amazing about themselves while pursuing all the things they want for their lives. All while dismantling white-supremacist patriarchy in their minds and bodies as well as in their relationships and work.
What a Life Coach Does Not Do
Life coaches do not diagnose nor treat mental health disorders.
Leave that to licensed psychiatrists and therapists.
Life coaches also generally do not work with clients to process severe trauma, unless that life coach has received specialized training in that realm.
All this being said, you can work with a life coach, psychiatrist, and therapist concurrently.
There's no rule that says you can only work with one at a time.
I have a life coach, business coach, therapist, and psychiatrist.
All contribute to my well-being.
It takes a village to grow a thriving human.
When You Should Hire a Life Coach
Let's say you’ve read a fair share of personal improvement books with more in your Kindle wish list.
You regularly consume professional development articles.
You listen to a few really good podcasts.
You read great blogs.
You implement exercises from your favorite authors, podcasters, and coaches.
Yet you’re not experiencing the forward momentum in your career and personal life that you’d like. You may notice some difference, but overall, you feel the same on the inside.
And you haven't seen the significant changes on the outside.
When you ask questions like these, it’s time to hire a life coach.
When you’ve ‘tried a bunch of things’ on your own and life still looks and feels the same, it’s time to hire a life coach.
When you've got a personal problem, like you keep overextending yourself and say yes to everything people ask you even though you feel drained, a life coach can help you stop doing that. A life coach can help you become a different version of yourself so that you confidently and clearly say YES when you mean it and NO when you don't want to do something.
Even if you don't have any pressing struggles and life is going well, but you just want MORE for your life, it's time to hire a life coach. The person in this scenario often wants to discover their purpose, create more meaning, and develop their next adventure. Get a life coach!
How Long Do You Work with a Coach?
The most straightforward answer is: until you achieve your results. Commitment is what it comes down to. Are you committed to living your dream no matter what? When the answer is YES, you don't care how long it takes. You might want 'sooner' but 'longer' doesn't deter you either. You're just in it until the result is achieved. You're in it until you become the person you want to be.
You could accomplish your goal or dream in 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 2 years, or more. It depends on the complexity of your goal or dream. It depends on you showing up consistently to your coaching sessions. It depends on you implementing what your coach tells you.
Every coach also has their own business model and process. Some coaches only work with clients for a year at a time. Others offer month-to-month packages. There are several options here.
What's most important is that you resonate with your coach.
What's most important is that you believe your coach can help you.
What's most important is that you trust your coach.
If you find a coach that you're a 'hell yeah' to, find out how to work with them. Ask them for a consultation. Instead of shopping for coaches based on the duration of their programs, shop for your coach based on the relationship you can develop with them.
Earlier this year, my kitty Niko came into my life. I decided to keep him with the vet clinic he had already been going to, even though the clinic charges an annual membership fee. (The fee actually came due today as I write this post.) I've been a cat mama for 13 years and I've never paid a membership fee at other vets.
However, I choose to keep Niko at this particular clinic. Here are a few reasons why:
How Often Do You Meet with Your Coach?
Many coaches work with clients for an hour every single week throughout the term of the coaching program. I work with clients for 45-60 minutes every week for 12 months.
I believe in potent coaching. It's not about how much time we spend in the session; It's about getting you the results so you can live big outside the sessions. I've found that 60 minutes every week isn't always necessary.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that prospective clients think they are paying for the coach's time. You're actually not. What you're paying for is your dream. Your payment to the coach is an investment in YOU. You're telling yourself that your life matters. Your well-being matters. Your success matters. THAT is what's on the line. Not your coach's time.
At the end of the day, your coaching schedule is determined with your coach. It does have to work for the both of you, after all.
Like I said earlier, though, I wouldn't focus on 'how long' and 'how often'.
Put your prime attention on feeling a connection with the person you'll hire to help you.
You'll be sharing intimate details about your life with them. Make sure you feel safe with them.
On the topic of safety, ask them if they are trauma-informed, trauma-responsive, and if you're a person of color, ask what their experience is working with communities of color.
Getting this clarity upfront will set you up for success.
Take your next step towards the life and work you crave and book a call with me below. And yes, I am trauma-informed, trauma-responsive, healing-centered, and use somatic techniques in my coaching. I am also a black woman, Afro-Caribbean to be exact.
My name's Valerie and I'm a Certified Life Coach with a background in teaching dance as well as facilitating diversity, equity, and inclusion professional development conversations and workshops.