I ask the question “is self-development oversold?” because a quick Google search for variations of “life coach” will bring up over a billion hits, pages of links to both unknowns and successful coaches. It will not, however, sort them by longevity or skill level or effectiveness. In other words, the time-tested “word of mouth” referral system has been replaced, in large part, by those who spend the most on advertising to social media. It’s as if the original coaches and self-development experts have been plowed over like mom and pop stores leveled for new neighborhood Walmart stores. Sure, you can get a variety of stuff, but if you want quality, you’re going to invest somewhere a bit more reputable, and dare I say it: time-tested.
I think it’s like that with the current coaching industry. You can find a coach who has been in practice for a few months or even a couple of years; they are a dime a dozen. But are you getting the highest quality and greatest possible outcome for your investment?
It’s true that the once cottage industry has blossomed into mainstream life, and we all know someone outside of sports arenas who is working with a personal development coach. That’s a good thing, in my estimation, because another set of eyes and especially ears lends itself to clarity. And clarity, especially of a chronic issue that’s become like a boil that won’t seem to heal and causes all sorts of discomfort, is the means to the cure.
With that said, I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit that it scares me, that so many self-professed “life coaches” don’t have professional training. And some of them are “treating” clients, which is not only unethical, but is illegal in most of the world. Coaches are NOT licensed therapists. That level of treatment MUST be left to the licensed professionals.
This post, by the way, is not to toot my own horn, nor is it to recruit new clients. I don’t need to advertise, as my practice is consistently full with a wait list. And it has been for several decades.
It IS to offer some sound advice, and that is, if you are looking for a coach, PLEASE do some deep due diligence prior to entering into a contract with anyone. Your investment in your SELF is the most important investment you’ll ever make. If you invest wisely, the dividends will be endless, so make it your priority to choose wisely. Be clear on the specific outcome you are seeking before you sign on the dotted line. Make the goal measurable. Give it a reasonable time frame. And then resist falling for the hyperbole, the bright shiny promises, and/or for the manipulations that are all too prevalent in today’s industry.
You owe it to yourself to live the best life possible. And that may mean consistent coaching to guide you along your pathway, and honestly, to keep you on that trajectory when you wander off the course that leads to your preferred optimal outcome. Depending on the end goals, that sometimes means looking at the long game. It always means not choosing the cheap fix offered by someone with little skills or tools in the self-development toolbox. Be selective in your choices of how, and with whom you invest, and you will realize outstanding benefits of life coaching.
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