Hiring a life coach appears to be the excellent solution to anchor your life into something that is workable. It’s actually the only solution for people who aren’t exactly sure what they want out of life and how to tread on and skate around this huge uncertainty facing them.

Why Hire a Life Coach?

Hiring a life coach is synonymous to hiring a success coach. Many mortals like to be successful but don’t know how to become successful. It is surprising that when asked what their idea of success is, they give you a blank stare and mutter, huh? They want roadmaps that are easy to navigate and want a GPS that will take them to road signs they can follow to their chosen destination. Unfortunately, some of them don’t even know what their destinations are.

This is one reason we have counsellors in school. Their job is to let students be aware about their strong and weak points, and how to capitalize on those strong points. One way of doing this is to make students fill in a questionnaire – it’s usually a combination of questions that will gauge interests, aptitudes and abilities and whether they would perform better as leaders or followers.

Sometimes, however, these questionnaires are inadequate because they’re geared to university-age individuals, and it is not uncommon for individuals in their mid 30s to early 40s to still be confused about the birds and bees. They go through life and switch careers so often because they haven’t defined what their goals are and the steps they need to take to reach those goals. In terms of focus, they score below zero!

No wonder hiring a life coach has been de rigueur for those who absolutely need to get started on the success ladder. Even successful CEOs have life and success coaches to teach them proper business writing, public speaking and how to deal with management and worker conflicts in their organizations. And no other than US ex-president Bill Clinton – a Rhodes scholar and an intellectual who married another intellectual – had a coach.

If you’re a coach with a solid reputation and an impressive portfolio of clients, your future is practically sealed!

Hiring a Life Coach: Tips

Buyer beware! If you’re on a shopping spree for a life coach, what should you be looking out for?

Communication skills– does the coach use language you can understand easily so you’re not left guessing what it is exactly he was talking about? Some coaches – perhaps more so with the green horns – tend to use high fallutin language to impress their clients. If your success coach has too much of a scholarly bent and you feel you’re dealing with someone the likes of Einstein or Aristotle, you may want to re-think hiring this coach. You want someone who will motivate you, NOT teach you; that is, teach in pure academic style.

Interest in your hopes and aspirations– a good coach must first know your reasons for hiring him. His desire is to know WHAT he can help you with and HOW he can help you. So he should be listening to what you have to say. A coach who does all the talking without considering what’s on your mind indicates that he’s going to impose his personal agenda. Remember that the reason you hired a life coach is because of YOU. It’s all about you, not about him.

Experience and success rate– ask your coach how long he’s been coaching people and how they fared under his tutorship? This is key, because a really good coach enjoys word-of-mouth referrals by those he has genuinely helped. If people speak glowingly of a particular coach and credit him for their success, you’ll be in good hands.

Knowledge and connections– an excellent coach is one who’s widely read in all fields. He’s first and foremost a humanist and generalist, able to understand as many industries and personality profiles to make him a well-rounded success coach. If there is one goal that’s crucial to you, the person you hire must have some knowledge of it. We’ll give you an example: you’ve had this lifelong interest in landing on the moon. Neil Armstrong was your idol and when you saw that televised coverage of the moon landing as a child, you promised you’d be the next Armstrong. You know that the only way to do this is to study to be an astronaut, so you earn a degree as a Space Scientist. You now need to get a foot in the door – NASA – so you can work your way to the rocket ship that will take you to the moon. Just how will you get into NASA is the $64 question.

This coach – let’s call him Mr. Moonshine – was recommended to you. He worked as an apprentice in NASA eras ago and used to coach space managers in NASA. You tell him, “I want to apply at NASA. I’m a space scientist but so are thousands of others. I want to land in the moon someday. How can you help me?”

Your coach smiles. “Why, that’s wonderful. I used to work at NASA and know some people there. Since I spent quite a bit of time in their corridors, I know the culture and the mindset of the NASA guys. I’m familiar with their SOPS, I also have the inside scoop on their hiring policies – what qualities they look at. I also know – and I’m telling you this in confidence – that they’ve got this industrial scanner – as huge as a rocket ship – that scans only resumes. If the scanner does not pick up the keywords that they’ve keyed into the program, the resume heads straight for the bin. OK, this is what you and I have to work on to get you to the moon fast Let’s get cracking.”

The lucky guy picked the right coach obviously. Now, we’re not saying that we should all look for a coach that hits the nail on the head, because most of us have less ambitious goals than the guy who’s moon-obssessed. Most of us have simple goals with simple expectations. Even if our goal is just to be happy by eliminating stress in our life, we need not search the ends of the earth to look for a specialist therapist on stress management. A good coach will tell us how to reduce stress in our lives.

Finally, your coach must be a genuine motivator with heaping spoonfuls of positive thinking. He must energize you, not discourage you. He must make you feel good about yourself, and not scold you for your past failures. In fact, he really isn’t interested in the ‘bad’ things you did before, he’ more concerned about fixing your gaze towards the future. In short, your coach must inspire you by helping you define what it is that needs defining.

Do you remember Dr. Stephen Covey (7 Habits of Highly Successful People)? He wrote a series of books on how to achieve success and is considered one of the leading proponents of success and coaching principles. This particular passage was extracted from another book he wrote – Daily Reflections for Highly Effective People (1994) and we like it very much because it is relevant to the issue of what we ought to be looking for when hiring a life coach.

“If I try to use human influence strategies and tactics of how to get other people to do what I want, to work better, to be motivated, to like me and each other – while my character is fundamentally flawed, marked by duplicity and insincerity – then in the long run, I cannot be successful. My duplicity will breed distrust, and everything I do – even using so-called human relations techniques – will be percieved as manipulative.”

Hiring a life coach… Do your homework, and then get your coach to start working for you!

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