Recently I read an article on life coaching in the March 2013 issue of Elle magazine, Life Coaching, Better Than Therapy?. The writer, Bliss Broyard, participated in life coaching as part of her research for the article and found that it was a really positive experience that helped her in her hectic life to construct time frames and strategies that addressed being a wife, mother and journalist whilst maintaining sanity. There were, however, a couple of inaccuracies in the article that I feel prompted to put right.
The writer had interviewed a psychiatrist who stated that life coaches attempted to help people with deeper mental health issues and did not refer them to mental health professionals. Well, I don’t know about other coaches but my training with Momentum Life Coaching and Training, New Zealand, (an I.C.F., International Coach Federation, approved training) very specifically stated that if I felt that any client had deeper issues, either being stuck in the past or a mental health issue, I was to recommend they see a counsellor or health professional and to stop working with them immediately. So far I haven’t had to do this with any of my clients but if I did, I would certainly not entertain the notion that I could help them with these deeper mental health issues as I am simply not trained to do so. I would not hesitate in referring them on.
The other inaccuracy that Bliss stated was that if a life coach was not active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, then don’t touch them. As if being active on social media these days gives anyone authenticity! Even a sociopath can learn how to be active on social media and to say that this type of promotion means that a life coach is good or not is very misleading. By all means do your research on a life coach that you are thinking of working with but do not dismiss them simply because they are only somewhat active, or not active at all, on social media sites. I offer a free 30 minute session to anyone to see if life coaching is for them and if we, as coach and client, are a good match. If during that time I felt that the prospective client would not benefit from life coaching (and there are some who don’t, but this is rare) or that we aren’t a good match (this hasn’t happened yet either), then my personal integrity would prompt me to speak up.
Another good way to help decide on the validity of a coach, is to find out if they belong to a recognised coaching organisation. I.C.F, International Coach Federation, is the organisation that I belong to and it is the world’s largest life coaching association.
Overall, Bliss's article showed life coaching in a positive light but I felt it was important to put the inaccuracies right as they can mean the difference to someone embarking on a life changing course of action or dismissing it and staying in their own quite lives of desperation. We need to acknowledge the power of the written word and keep as accurate and honest as we can – someone’s future happiness could depend on it.
Hi I'm Anna, I'm an experienced Life Coach and member of the ICF (International Coach Federation). I love helping people and couples realise their goals and dreams. With your hard work and focus, my guidance, and proven Life Coaching techniques, you can achieve all you desire.