What is the point of a life coach? Do they help or hinder?

photographerHave you ever hired a life coach? Was it worth it or did you read the same self-help books as they did and wondered if they knew anything?

When the ‘live like the Joneses’ post 2008 period ended with a bang a lot of people not only lost their life savings but their jobs.

Some of the biggest losers in my part of the world were real estate agents riding the wave of the property boom fuelled, in part, by stupid people getting loans that they could never pay back.

About this time I noticed a surge in ‘life/success’ coaches pitching their services. Could it be that some of the now deflated out-of-work real estate agents were reinventing themselves as life coaches? What does this say for the sector? Who can you trust?

Two things strike me as odd using a life/success coach: what qualifications do they have to be able to understand your mindset enough to give you advice and why the hell do they want to focus on you – because they want to help or make a buck off your insecurities or laziness?

Some of the big players in the self-help sector charge thousands for a weekend where a group of you get together and get brain washed and overhyped enough to think you are superman. To keep you in this brain-washed state you are ‘encouraged’ to buy their DVD’s, books and are up-selled into yet another weekend retreat where you learn more ‘secrets’ and offered even more products to buy. Maybe what you should have done is saved the money you spent on these brain washers and went to a professional counsellor to see why you have doubts.

It seems I am not alone on the thought that motivational speakers, ‘success’ coaches and other pedlars of self-help success brain washing are full of BS.

He points out that charisma and perseverance – which motivational speakers often characterise as the hallmarks of successful entrepreneurs – are also likely to characterise extremely unsuccessful people. ”Motivational books, tapes and seminars might leave you feeling briefly excited, but that feeling fades,” Burkeman writes. ”Which is, a cynic might suggest, how motivational speakers and self-help authors guarantee themselves a reliable income: if their products delivered lasting change, they would have less repeat custom.”

I understand that its a bonus having a successful person teach you how to invest or buy property for investment but having a person who calls themselves a ‘life coach’ means, to me, that they are digging into your mind.

I have seen some life coaches in action and they mainly provide helpful hints such as jumping up and down and yelling ‘I am successful!!‘, reading the book ‘The Secret’, which is a load of complete BS in my opinion and pasting sticky notes all over your house stating how happy you are.

Where do these life coaches get the idea that they actually know how the human mind works or that their hocus pocus treatments are helpful?

Telling your client to paste sticky notes around their house with positive affirmations seems to be a dangerous and often stupid way of dealing with a persons reasons why they need help in the first place.

The life/success coach sector is here because they invented the thought that maybe you need a life coach to reach your goals. Do they actually help or do they dangerously confuse the person who should actually be going to a counsellor first.

Have I used a life/success coach?

No and never will.

If I have a mental block or doubt in my mind about my abilities I go to a counsellor to help locate where in my mind is the root cause of this issue. Yelling ‘I am successful!’ does nothing for me and I doubt it does any good for anyone.

Whats your thoughts?