Choosing the Best Coach For YOU!
You’re looking for someone who will be a supportive guide and partner as you navigate this wild ride called life. Do you choose a Therapist? A Life Coach? How on earth do you figure out which, and who, will be the best choice for you? There are so many factors to consider, but I’m going to break it down into bite-sized pieces that will help you make this crucial life decision.
Let’s first define the difference between Therapists and Life Coaches.
They don’t always have degrees, either related, or non-related, to their field. I’m an exception to that particular rule of thumb, but there are many Coaches out there who have no formal training or education in Counseling.
They are licensed by the State and required to meet the laws of that state that specify requirements, such as specific types of degrees and continuing education, in order for them to practice legally.
These two worlds often collide and intersect and each side is tempted to defend itself, which often sounds a little something like this:
Coach: I am a coach and I’ve been there. I can relate to your struggle. I have gone through xyz and come through on the other side of it, and that is why I am qualified.
Therapist: I am a highly-educated professional, and as such, I can be trusted with your care.
Here’s the thing – there are problems with both of these representations.
Not all coaches and therapists are going to be equally effective in working with you. People are people and we all have issues and baggage that might make us unsuited to certain situations and tasks. This is true for Therapists and Coaches as well. Not everyone is mentally, emotionally and educationally equipped to serve as a Therapist or Coach. The stakes are too high to take a chance with someone who may not be qualified, in some way. This is the person you’ll be trusting with the health and safety of your relationships, career, family, and mental and emotional well-being. A strong connection with a healthy provider is crucial to your success.
So, how can you determine who is going to be the best choice to work with you?
Some things to consider:
It is not enough to just have the degree. It is also not enough only to have gone through your own personal growth.
For a Coach or Therapist to be competent and effective they must able to satisfy the following requirements:
They’ve done their own work to resolve issues and circumstances in their life, and have come out on the other side of mental and emotional trauma healthy and whole.
They have at least some education in the following areas: Physiology/Mental and Emotional Aspects of Brain Function, Psychology, Interpersonal Relationships, Conflict Resolution, Goal Setting, etc…and have a working foundational knowledge of those primary areas of focus.
They must know how to coach! That one seems obvious, but there can sometimes be a profound difference between someone who may highly educated, but lacking in people skills, and someone who has sufficient education and the ability to relate to their fellow human beings on a deep, personal level. The person who has the right education, but the wrong mindset can potentially do far more harm than good for their client.
If you’re coming away from your sessions having heard some of the stereotypical ‘Therapy Questions,’ like, “How does that make you feel?” or if your own questions get parroted back to you, you may want to take a long hard look at finding someone who can skillfully guide you through the challenges that you may be facing.
Life is a journey, and a good Life Coach can help you navigate the twists and turns that get thrown into your path, by walking you through the options and possibilities available to you. You should leave your sessions feeling inspired, empowered and equipped to take on the world.
Here are five key questions to ask when you’re searching for the right Coach:
What’s your educational background?
What prompted you to go into this field?
What are your primary areas of focus when you are coaching a client?
How do you measure success with a client?
Describe the structure of a session with a client.
The answers to these questions will either have you shaking their hand and setting up another appointment, or running for the hills. Either way, you’ll know where you stand and so will they. A good coach will leave you wanting to come back for another session because of how good you feel when you leave. They will be your partner in success and fulfillment.