A vague term, "life coach," and one that is tossed about often. People continually claim that I should even consider becoming one (so not happening), but what exactly do those two little words add up to in professional practice? Are these life coaches selling snake oil or truly adding value to society? These questions have been in the back of my mind for about the last year or so and have led me to keep my eyes and ears open on the subject. The other day I finally met an honest to goodness life coach. While I cannot speak to every life coach, I can tell you that my new friend, Ross Williamson, an inspirational life counselor from Scotland, is truly an asset to the field. Ross runs a website, Ross Sense, that helps make sense out of life and I want to highlight his methods and shine a light on why life coaching can be a successful choice for anyone looking to make positive business changes or improve not only his or her life but also the life of a loved one.
“Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is thought to be one of the most effective and accessible self-help methods to come from modern psychology. Many life coaches use NLP techniques to help 'reprogram' clients' patterns of thinking and behaving,” says Williamson. NLP is a short term goal-orientated and practical therapeutic approach to problem solving. NLP therapy is about taking action, it is dynamic and energetic. Life coaches break down mental barriers and move client’s away from his or her comfort zones to lead healthier, happier, and more fulfilling lives. It seems like an honorable task, but does life coaching through Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) truly work?
Participants of life coaching programs report increased business productivity, better organization skills and many previously depressed people find his or her “can do!” spirit once again with the help of a written plan and enthusiastic cheerleader. USA Today reports personal growth as one of the hottest trends to get Average Janes and Joes “unstuck.” The publication makes sure to point out that potential life coaching clients are not weak or incompetent, but rather need help thinking outside the proverbial box. Well-trained life coaches like Ross Williamson understand when a client is truly suffering in a dark place and possess the educational background to refer such clients to proper psychotherapy providers. Ross Williamson's advanced training is the ideal pedigree of a life coach. Prospective clients beware of untrained providers that cannot anticipate advanced needs.
The main point I want to stress after this brief discussion is the importance of finding a properly trained life coach. Look for a provider with a college degree, one that is involved with governing oversight bodies such as The National Council of Psychotherapists (NCP) and also be certain to ask for previous client references and actually seek those conversations out. Not every human being wakes up each day with the same set of goals. I truly see the life coaching value if a person finds her or himself struggling to stay motivated. As idealistic as it may seem, all humans can become the person they want to be and a life coach provides a private and effective method of supporting self-concept.