I wanted to take a moment and address a Dear Abby response that she published a few days ago. The link is at the bottom.
The help-seeker was upset because her adult daughter was making huge life changes that mom didn't agree with. She was leaving her husband, changing her eating habits and exercising. And was seeing a psychic life coach. Dear Abby answered in predictable Abby fashion - she is an adult, mind your own business, try to keep a civil relationship so you can be there for your grandkids should all your fears come to pass.
And then she addressed life coaches, with a fairly negative bend. Everything she said was true: life coaching is unregulated and there is no assurance that a life coach is qualified, ethical or trained properly. Buyer beware.
The therapist/counselor professions are regulated, have guidelines and standards of training. And I'm sure we have all heard stories about unethical behavior from therapists who take advantage of people who are at their lowest point. Or have all the proper training and are still lacking in intelligence. Or are just plain incompetent. Buyer beware.
Hiring a life coach should be treated just like hiring any professional that will be involved in your life. Get referrals. Check up to see if their training is reputable. Do they even have training? Ethical life coaches take their responsibility very seriously. Have a free consultation before committing. Are you comfortable with the person, or do they feel 'off'? Trust your gut reaction and look elsewhere if that feels like the right call. A reputable life coach will respect that decision and wish you well in your search for someone that is a better fit. They will most likely help you find someone else! A reputable life coach will never tell you what to do. We help our clients explore options and deeply held beliefs. It is up to the client to use or refuse any knowledge they discover about themselves.
Life coaching as a profession is here to stay, and will continue to be the butt of jokes for years to come. People still make fun of the psychiatrist's sofa yet psychiatry has been around since 1895! Life coaches fulfill a sorely needed niche - in between talking to a therapist and venting to a best friend. A compassionate friend who will listen without judgment. A compassionate professional that will hold you accountable for your own actions and beliefs. A fellow human that truly wants what is best for you, but knows that any change needs to be your decision.