When I was twenty-three, my mom suggested that I see a life coach. I bristled. I thought the term “life coach” sounded ridiculous and I wasn’t ready to admit that I could use the help. I wanted to figure out what to do with my life – on my own. After a few more aimless months of applying to jobs and wondering what do with my life, I swallowed my pride and started working with a life coach.
Life coaching was life changing. In fact, I soon became one. I have been a life and career coach since 2006. I still think the term “life coach” sounds odd but I’ve seen the value of life coaching by watching 1000s of clients build inspiring careers and passionate lives that bring out their best.
When I went looking for a life coach in 2005, there weren’t that many to choose from. Now everyone, including 50 Cent (who I’d honestly love to hire as my coach), seem to be calling themselves a life coach. So how do you find a life coach that’s right for you?
Here are the steps that I recommend to find an excellent life coach.
1. What areas of your life do you want to improve?
Life coaching can encompass a lot of areas of your life including career, relationships, life purpose, health, self-confidence, and more. Every life coach has their specialties and you’ll get more value from a life coach that specializes in the area of your life that you most want to improve.
Before you start looking for a generic life coach, it helps to identify the area of your life that you want to focus on. For example, let’s imagine that you are feeling unfulfilled in your career and wondering what career path would be a better fit for you. In that case, a life coach that specializes in career coaching would probably give you the most bang for your buck.
Free Career Guide & Case Studies
Want a more meaningful career? Learn 5 key strategies to find work you love that pays you well. Download our career guide today.Download Now
The first question to ask yourself when trying to find a life coach is, “What area of my life do I most want to improve?”
2. Does the coach have the specific expertise that you need?
The good thing about having a million life coaches to choose from is that you can find a coach with the specific expertise to help you accomplish your most important goal. If we continue with the example of someone who wants to find a more fulfilling career, they will get better results by searching for a “career coach” than a “life coach.”
Even within the field of career coaching, or any other subspeciality of life coaching, you’ll see that different career coaches specialize in different aspects of career success. Some will help you update your resume. Others will help you figure out what career path is right for you. Browse around until you find a coach that solves the exact problem you are trying to solve in your life.
3. Does the life coach have proof of their results?
It’s easy for a life coach to create a fancy looking website that says they can do damn near anything. How do you know if they can do what they say they can do? The easiest way to assess whether or not a life coach is legit is by reading reviews on Yelp and/or Google.
- How many Yelp reviews do they have?
- What do the reviews say about the coach’s style and effectiveness?
I don’t think there’s anything more trustworthy and insightful than hearing from former clients about how life coaching actually impacted them.
You can also look at the coach’s website to see if they’ve posted any client case studies or created any video content that illustrates their expertise.
4. What is their coaching methodology?
I’ve worked with numerous coaches over the years and I’ve benefited most from the coaches that had a proven method or framework to guide me toward my goal. I find it frustrating when my coach doesn’t actively guide me through a series of steps or activities and instead asks me questions like, “What do you think you should do?” or “How do you feel about that?” If I knew what steps to take to accomplish my goal, I wouldn’t need a coach!
When I was first starting out as a life coach, I didn’t have a method. It took me years of education, training, research, experimentation, and testing to hone my coaching method and continue to refine it. When I finally got it dialed, I saw a tremendous shift in the success of my clients. Having a proven coaching method made me a better coach and my clients more successful. My business also skyrocketed through referrals from happy clients.
5. How many actual years of experience coaching clients do they have?
Experience is another important criteria in assessing the quality of a life coach. How long have they been in business? It takes 10,000 hours to master something so if you want an excellent life coach, you’re more likely to find it in someone with a decade or more of experience. Experience gives a coach the benefit of seeing what works and what doesn’t and refining their skill. While I was still effective earlier on in my life coaching career, I’m far more effective and efficient now.
In addition to the years of actual experience coaching clients, I think it’s important to look for a coach that has successfully overcome the same challenges and accomplished the same goals in their personal life and career that you are seeking help with. In other words, they have lived it.
6. How do you feel when you talk to your prospective life coach?
After doing everything above to zero in on the right coach for you, the final step is to talk to the life coach that seems like the best fit for you.
Most coaches offer a free 30 minute consultation to determine if you are a good fit to work together. That initial conversation is an important opportunity for you to share your goals and challenges and ask the coach how they would help you accomplish your goals. Be sure to ask them about their methodology in addition to whatever other questions you have.
Notice how you feel during the free consultation…
- Does the coach seem to “get” you and understand your goals?
- Does their coaching methodology make sense and address your goals?
- Do they have examples of clients like you who have succeeded in accomplishing similar goals?
- Do you feel safe enough to share about your doubts, fears, insecurities, and dreams?
- Do you feel a sense of resonance between the two of you?
Working with a life coach involves a significant investment of time, energy, and money. You should feel excited about the life coach you choose to work with. I recommend talking with a few life coaches before you choose the one that feels right to you. I respect and encourage the prospective clients that I talk with to interview at least one other coach before making a decision about who they want to hire.
I hope these six steps help you find a life coach that you can partner with to create big beautiful changes in your life and work. If you’d like to explore working with me, or one of the excellent coaches on my team, we all offer free coaching consultations and we’d love to hear from you.