Why Not All Life Coaches Are Full of Shit
I think life coaches are full of shit. I’m going to offend a lot of people with that statement, but sometimes I’m just not in the business of pleasing everyone. (Feel free to click over to another Internet article that affirms your beliefs instead.)
I need life coaches to show me their credentials, experience, relevance to my life. I can be as woo-woo as the next gal, but in this case I want some cold, hard facts before I pay someone to tell me what to do.
How are life coaches different from therapists? (I’ll just put a pin in my thoughts on therapy for now. OK.) Can you take your pop psychology elsewhere, please? I’m not into it.
Look out, because I think I’m on a roll here.
Can’t we all be life coaches, considering we’ve experienced life thus far and have some inner wisdom we can translate out to the masses? Why do I need someone to tell me to say my affirmations three times a day and check in next week? I don’t. I’m a motivated overachiever, dammit. I don’t need anyone to tell me what to do.
So what was I doing last weekend at an all-day workshop presented by Coach Jennie, someone in the life coach genre? I blame Annie Passanisi, who recently blew my mind with a new perspective on branding and marketing. After I was sweeping up the pieces of my brain from the floor of the Living Room, she mentioned her entrepreneurial soul sister Coach Jennie and the Astonish Yourself tour, which was, in fact, coming to Chicago in July (and wouldn’t you know it, the last day for early registration was the day I met with Annie?).
Here’s how I made this decision: I came up with a bunch of reasons why I didn’t want to go and even made them public in a thread on Facebook. After that, the oh, what the hell kicked in. I know from experience (and homework) that resistance is usually a sign you’re heading in the right direction, because all those self-created blocks hate it when you start rocking the boat and, you know, changing yourself.
I’m stubborn and driven and filled with I can do it myself, thanks. But I signed up to spend the day with Coach Jennie anyway. Keep an open mind, I told myself. Appreciate the idea that maybe she could be a different kind of coach (not the full-of-shit kind). Be receptive to what was ahead.
What did we do last Saturday? Some pretty great work. No trust falls. No introductions to say who we were and what we did for a living (boo-ring). We sat down, individually and in groups, with Coach Jennie and each other, and came up with big goals and the important starting points we’d springboard from to get there.
Now let me circle back to the whole bullshit life coach thing. I certainly can sit down at my desk and write out my goals and the tasks I think I need to cross off the list to get there (I can, and do, regularly). But when I make my lists, I don’t have anyone there to nudge me a little to up the stakes (Coach Jennie’s term is a cathartic shove).
When I realized we had to come up with goals, plural, I panicked a little. I have one whopper (write a novel) that is taking up most of my time and mental attention, and so I wasn’t sure that I wanted to derail myself with other distractions (trying to buck that piece of self-sabotage before it starts, even though I have been distracted and cheated on one idea with another).
Here’s where Coach Jennie brought her shoves to my table. She helped me draw out what I knew I wanted (the novel) but portion it into small pieces that were easy to chew, while still keeping the whole megillah I strive for in mind.
I’m not saying I wouldn’t ever reach the same conclusions without her coaching, but in that consolidated time frame of one workshop day, Coach Jennie helped me wade through my inner muck of negative self-talk and limiting beliefs to come up with three freak-out-inducing goals:
- I will write for my novel for at least 15 minutes a day, five days a week.
- I will complete a first draft of my novel by December 31, 2015.
- I will take the aforementioned novel on a successful book tour (three cities) sometime in 2017.
The first two I probably would have stumbled upon myself, but that last one? I’m convinced it came from the intense (and very real, very productive) energy of that workshop. I panic a little (OK, a lot) at the thought of a book tour. But you should stay tuned.
Did Coach Jennie tell me what to do and leave me with assignments and affirmations and a bunch of platitudes about how I can get where I want to go? No way. Did she prompt me just enough to help me cut through my inner crap to figure out what’s holding me back, so I can chuck out what I don’t need and focus on what I do? Absolutely.
And that, my friends, is how I met a life coach who isn’t full of shit.
The next stop on Coach Jennie’s Astonish Yourself tour is Philadelphia on September 13. Do check her out.by