ElidS and I were talking about this subject a few weeks ago. I think it may be hard to articulate what a life coach does without experiencing it...
I don`t necessarily agree with the "friend for hire" description. I have many wonderful friends who are great to talk with and often give great advice, but I wouldn`t classify them in the life coach category. And, I wouldn`t describe my experience with my life coach as a friend for hire. Its much more along the lines of tools/exercises to help me to take action on things and to help me focus on the areas of my life where I want to improve. I think its a heck of a lot more action oriented than therapy too. It is in the therapy realm, but its funny because my coach asks all of her clients for permission to call them out if they start complaining about things and not making the changes that they need to make. Much different from therapy in that aspect. Coaching is not about hashing out and re-living problems - its about taking action.
My life coach experience was great - its helped me to make many changes. One of the really helpful things that I accomplished through coaching was to develop a business vision that incorporates my values, which is actually very much in line with the Life Plan here at SUN.
To answer your question Craig, I`m not sure why we don`t have more life coaches here at SUN. Maybe we need to find some to join!
Becky is correct, IMHO. A life coach, much like a peer group, holds you accountable. Many business people have issues with being held accountable for the goals they set for themselves. Whereas, the people below them in the organization are usually accountable to someone along the "food" chain of leadership.
The same principals carry over to the person`s personal life. If a goal is to spend more quality time with the family, the coach makes sure the client does it. Need to exercise more? The life coach is there to make sure the client stays on track. And like Becky stated, most friends won`t be this tough.
It is BIG business. And peer groups work, too. I know, I belong to Vistage and it`s like having your own Board that holds you accountable.
One of the best reality shows on TV was called Starting Over. It was about 6 women living in a house together and supporting one another in "starting over". They had two life coaches that would come over to the house daily and hold group meetings along with individual meetings where the women would get assignments.
On this particular show, the life coaches did take on some of the roles of a therapist as the women worked through some tough personal issues that were holding them back from having fulfilled lives. However, unlike with a traditional therapist, they were given active assignments to help them overcome their obstacles. Once a women reached her goal, they had a graduation ceremony for her and a new woman was brought into the house.
This show had lots of drama, as do most reality shows; however, it was also very inspirational to watch these women work through all their personal challenges to reach their full potentials.
Some of the women included:
A women that overcame her twin`s suicide (and disdain for other women) to became a "fashion cents" guru inspiring and motivating other women.
An older woman that overcame her obstacles to become a standup commedian
This girl (yes, the Senator`s daughter) wanted to turn her love and knowledge of travel into a thriving career.
Other women included, Toni Braxton`s sister, who was dealing with being in the shadow of her sister`s career, a woman that wanted to become the first successful black country singer, a woman that wanted a career shift from voice-overs to auctioneer, an older woman that used her excellent sewing skills to become a movie costume designer, and a young single mom, with a knack for antiques, that was struggling to save her home/farm, make ends meet, and ended up with a successful Ebay type business.
This show really did prove that, "everyone can do something well." It`s a shame that it was cancelled. It was awesome to watch ordinary women become thriving entrepreneurs.
My problem with the "Life Coach" concept is that i think it`s too broad a title.
I read plenty of self-help material each month. I used to be an avid fan of Tony Robbins. While I still refer back to his books at times, I`ve become very displeased with their Forum there.
Look at your Life: You work, you interact with friend adn with family, you worry about your health, your wealth your sense of humour. Your future. Can 1 person direct you in ALL of those categories?
I prefer to find coaches in categories, rather than 1 life coach. I want to talk to 1 person about my health and fitness. I want a different coach for my Finances. A different sounding board for my relationships.
This is not to say that 1 person cannot be in great health, great financial shape and have great relationships...but I prefer not to keep my eggs all in 1 basket.
So, when I see a person who read a few good books and now wants to be hired as a `Life Coach`, I get a little skeptical. Don`t read me wrong...if you`ve had great experiences with this sort of thing that`s greaet news and I do not doubt it..but the concept on the whole is not for me.
<<So to be a life coach, wouldn`t someone have to have a "Theory of Life?" >>
I think that`s a fair statement. Most Life Coahces who I have read about (Givens, Tracy, Robbins, Rohm and many less-popular names) already have a preconceived idea of what `principles` are the best to follow...and they basicaly show you how to apply them to your life/lifestyle.
Again, this is not to say that they are trying to mold your life into one that fits their vision of a `great life`...but if you are going ot learn from them you are expected to uise them (or people who have followed thier ideas) as a `model` or template.