Life Coaching, and How to Choose a Good One

Life Coaching Moves from the Business World to our Personal Lives

Since the 1980’s, life coaching has frequently been used by business executives and  managers to “up their game”–define goals, sharpen focus, and reach desired levels of success and satisfaction. But now more individuals are turning to life coaches in their personal lives, as well. In her article, “The Coaching Phenomenon,” Dr. MaryAnn Diorio describes this shift:

Once “the private secret of the business world… the phenomenon of life coaching has taken the public by storm. People from all walks of life are now hiring coaches to help them meet both personal and career-related goals… After September 11, 2001, a paradigm shift occurred in the minds of the American people… People began questioning the meaning of their lives.”

Coaching: Big Money, Few Rules

Personal Coaching has become a very big business. In 2012, the ICF (International Coach Federation) determined that there were over 47,500 life coaches operating globally with an estimated $2 billion in annual profits. There are certainly some documented benefits to coaching, and there are undoubtedly many fantastic life coaches out there. However, the field remains somewhat undefined. While there are a variety of coaching accreditation groups, there’s not a central organization or licensing process for life coaches. It’s easy for anyone to call themselves a life coach. Any individual or company looking for a life coach needs to be aware of this fact, and do some work to find a legitimate coach.

Evaluating Coaches, like Evaluating Self-help

There are definite parallels between life coaching and other forms of self-help. Many self-help authors and speakers offer one-on-one coaching in addition to their seminars and other offerings. While other self-help professionals may not define themselves as life coaches, their methods and aims are often similar. As with any self-help search, if you are considering hiring a life coach to help you identify and stay focused on your goals, educate yourself so that you’ll get the most for your money and have an effective and safe experience working with your chosen coach! On that note, this comprehensive survey of the coaching industry from the Harvard Business Review raises many of the issues that individuals may want to consider when hiring an individual life coach. Mary Cravets, who attended our Sedona Summit in June, offers “6 Questions to Ask a Potential Business Coach.” These are some solid guidelines to have when choosing a coach. You may even notice there are many overlaps between her advice and SEEK’s Empowerment Guide! Do you have any experience with life coaches, in your business or personal life? We’d love to hear about it!

{header image from woodleywonderworks on flickr}

3 comments on “Life Coaching, and How to Choose a Good One

  1. Louise Clark on

    What an brilliant post. Thanks. Life coaching works best for people who are stuck in their life, and are unsure of what direction they should go in. Individuals, who are unhappy in their current life situation, love, or careers, find that coaching is beneficial when they are unable to imagine what their life should look like next. It is also helpful in situations where people are not able to maintain healthy relationships, need to build self-esteem, or find it difficult to follow through with their responsibilities.

  2. Burt Silver on

    Thanks for the tips on choosing a life coach. I totally agree that you want to find a coach that will identify your goals and help you reach them. I don’t even know what my goals are, so having a life coach help me figure that out could be really helpful.

  3. Frank Delaware on

    Thank you for all this great insight to choosing a life coach! One thing that really stood out to me is that you say that they can actually help you stay focused on your goals! It would be nice to know that you will be able to succeed better in life.


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