What I Am Looking for in a Life Coach
—by Dr. James Michael Nolan
Let me help you think about how to find the right Life Coach. (The important point is NOT that you agree with me, but that you really think about what is right for you…this piece is not about being right, but about getting us to think…And a young Coach named Kyle Wright wrote, questioning the “Age” piece, and made great points—I love that he did that….)
- Somebody who has life experience. Interestingly, for me I think a thirty-year old might be a fine therapist; therapy has a limited scope, related to a client’s presenting problem. But a Life Coach should have a LOT of life experiences; they should have worked a number of jobs, lived in different places, traveled, have knowledge of relationships, and probably fallen on their face a bunch of times. It would help me if the Coach were into the Principle of Attraction.
- Somebody who has manifested a lot in their life. You don’t want to be somebody’s first client, or the single source of their “abundance.” Seriously, you want lots of evidence of their success, their satisfaction in life, however they defined it, pursued it, and achieved it. (I happen to be a big “Travel Guy”, so I have a wealth and abundance of experience in that realm. A coach living in Mom’s basement , or who is in great debt, or is flat about life, or who has worked only one job for years, or who has never been outside the greater Cincinnati metropolitan area probably needs a Coach more than they need to BE a Coach—at least for now. I could not work with them as my Coach. Not that there’s anything WRONG with Cincy.
- Somebody who listens to you. Some Coaches are so “selling their program” that they are not so much focusing on helping you create YOUR program. When I was looking for a Coach a couple years ago, I got a LOT of “For $3,500, we will work together 4 months, with monthly 1.5 hour phone sessions, and unlimited email in between, blah blah blah”, and I thought “You don’t even know what the hell I want to WORK on yet!?” I DID know that they wanted $3,500, but that was not helpful to me. Somebody once told me that the answer to most questions is “It depends”, and that goes here. “What does Coaching cost and how long does it take?” “It depends.” I did not find Coaches who wanted to listen much. Hold out for that.
- Somebody affordable. People get into pissin’ matches about how much they charge, and challenge each other to charge higher and higher rates. It feels like testosterone warfare to me sometimes. I get it. Who doesn’t want to make more money? I certainly do. But I have already made my fortune. That is why I am in a good position to be a Coach. For the same reason I take Medicaid as a therapist, I charge Coaching and Therapy fees my colleagues think are WAY less than they should be–because I want to help peoople who are trying to put together an awesome life, but can’t yet afford three and five and ten thousand dollar “packages” or “programs.” I have been that guy a number of times in my life, and I have a soft spot in my heart for their situation. I know, I know…”If they really want to work with you, they’ll FIND the money!!!” Yeah, whatever. If you truly cannot afford the services, they are of no use to you. I have taken two cheap-ass Coaching certificate programs that sucked, so I DO know that you have to pay for good stuff. Most of what is out there is not that awesome, I have to say. Do not assume high fees guarantee awesome Coaching. And some stuff at the Dollar Tree is over-priced.
- Somebody who can give you what you’re looking for. I have Coached people who wanted help with their app business, as well as several novelists, and a gaggle of psychics (that was unexpected), but what they wanted from me did not require that I know how to launch apps, write novels, or read energy fields. I have also had people who I felt I could not help. And I didn’t need the money, so I could easily tell them that what they wanted was not up my alley. In the past, I HAVE taken people that were outside my zone and it sucked for both of us. I try to see that on the front end now, and steer folks some other direction.
Summary: Lots of life experience, lots of manifestation, lots of abundance (whatever they value as abundance, and can demonstrate), lots of happiness and life satisfaction and positive thinking, somebody who listens and builds a plan around me rather than comes in with a plan before we have even met, somebody who I can afford, and somebody who can actually give me what I am looking for. That is what I am looking for in a Coach. (And I AM looking for a Coach, by the way…) Sounds simple, but is less simple than you might imagine…