Life Coachery 101
June 25, 2015 2:36 PM   Subscribe

I'm interested in finding a Life Coach. How does one do this?

The last two years have been crazy: new job, new spouse, new house, death of close family members, friendships changed, the works. I've spent so much time running ragged that, now that everything has calmed down, I'm finding myself a bit at a loss. The last few years have been so much about "us" and "them" that I think I've lost sight of what I want and need for myself.

I don't think I need a therapist. I've been treated for depression in the past (I am on Celexa) and am not having any depression-related problems. I have a great job, I don't need a career counselor. My spouse and I going strong, we don't need a marriage therapist. I really do think this is between me...and me. I want to work on having a clearer vision of self, of what I want and need, and then come up with some practical ways to move towards that clearer vision.

So, Life Coach.

How does one find a reputable Life Coach? Is there some sort of certifying body for Life Coachery? I've done some looking online and have found a few that proclaim "$800.00 for four 30-minute sessions and all the texting support you need!!!" That just makes me go ಠ_ಠ. It seems so...fluffy. I'm pretty down-to-earth but have a woo side, but I just don't know if I can take emoji-based cheerleading seriously. I really looking for a Life Coach? Or a therapist? Or some third alternative?

Also, if anyone knows of a Life Coach/therapist/third alternative in the Twin Cities area, I'd love to hear personal recommendations. Throwaway email is
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (5 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I know someone who is a life coach who will do coaching over the phone. I really like her personally. I met her through her husband's bootcamp which was fantastic, and she's truly a good person.

I have only two caveats, and these may not affect her coaching in the slightest but I think it's worth knowing. First, she is a religious person but she seems okay with working around it. She once asked me if it was okay with me if she prayed for me (re: health issues) and I was all, sure, positive energy is always welcome, but I appreciated that she *asked.* And she asked me on a personal note, not on a professional basis (I have never been a client of hers).

Second, she and her husband identify with the military. He was formerly in the military and they both act as consultants, and of course there's the bootcamp, which is not a military thing at all but they do yell HOOAH. With this said, she and I have never actually discussed politics so I don't actually know what her political stance is, and I suspect that she's able to separate her political thoughts with her coaching.

Her website gives a bit more clarity as to what she does. You can read her articles, too, which you'll see are all written for a military newsletter. Again, I like her. We've mostly interacted by email and phone, and I've met her in person just once, but she is a sincere person and from her mission statement (and the little bit I've discussed her coaching with her) I think she may offer the kind of thing you are looking for.
posted by janey47 at 2:54 PM on June 25, 2015

I'm also in the Twin Cities and have a few friends who had positive experiences with Lucy Dotte. It looks like she will do your first session for free to see if the two of you are a good fit.
posted by anderjen at 3:00 PM on June 25, 2015

I got a life coach during a similar tumultuous period, although it was mostly focused on my job. I didn't feel like as a person I was having the sorts of issues that one normally went to a therapist for, I just felt like I wanted someone who was a somewhat uninvested third party (aka, not a coworker or friend) to help me figure out some next steps in my career and I had a sense that it was important to consider my personality and life situation into it. In order to get to a good place with my job we spent (and continue to spend, years later) some good time on "me" the person. I have explored my own values, done a lot of guided reading and activities that clarify what I am looking for. And for me my coach has really helped me make major advances in my career while generally becoming an overall significantly happier person and better person to be around.

Anyway, I think if you can find a coach that others will vouch for, it is worth a shot. They usually do the first session for free. My coach charges around $500 a month for 3 hour long coaching sessions (a bit more for the first deep dive), and this is over the phone which has never been a problem for me. I do think that there is something valuable about having a person who is sort of a guide to helping you understand yourself without the clinical bent of a therapist, especially if you feel like you're just a little bit lost but not actively in significant distress. Feel free to memail me if you want my coach's info.
posted by ch1x0r at 4:13 PM on June 25, 2015

What I use instead of Life Coaches are therapists and Accountability Buddies. Mostly because they're way, way cheaper. My therapy co-pay is $25 for 45 minutes. Accountability Buddies are free (although sometimes you have to pay to get hooked up).

I don't think I need a therapist. I've been treated for depression in the past (I am on Celexa) and am not having any depression-related problems. ... I really do think this is between me...and me. I want to work on having a clearer vision of self, of what I want and need, and then come up with some practical ways to move towards that clearer vision.

Yeah, so, therapists can do that. (Some can't, of course -- some are ghouls who want to coo and hold your hand while constructing a sad backstory, no matter what. What I do is I ask for someone who does CBT, who is results-oriented, and whose affect is crisp rather than nurturing.) The good ones are trained to help you figure out what you yourself want, without getting in the way. Also, a lot of them have a social work background with skills for practical stuff, like: How do I actually do this thing I want to do? What is the first step?

It sounds like you want to -- and should -- treat your therapist the same way you'd handle any other professional relationship in which you are the client. (E.g. if you were consulting an architect, not a physician or a city code inspector.) Be respectful, but also be clear about what you want, and don't want. You want a structured time and space and techniques for elucidating your own goals.

Therapists can be like a Swiss Army Knife for locating and demolishing mental roadblocks. Like, you may realize along the way that one reason you're not doing what you really want to be doing is because instead you're investing your time in pleasing others, or because the initial steps you'd need to take are anxiety-provoking. They're REALLY good at troubleshooting that stuff. Instead of preaching Positive Thinking, they'll help you figure out the nitty-gritty of actually thinking positively.

Your sense of equality and collegiality can be enhanced by an Accountability Buddy, because they're in the trenches with you, even if you're not fighting the same battles. You meet, you share your goals, maybe brainstorm about how to make those goals more concrete. Then the next time you meet, you each report progress and developments. I've benefitted a lot from the half-joking competitive pressure to get more of my shit together before the next meeting.
posted by feral_goldfish at 6:03 PM on June 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've been doing phone sessions with a life coach (I got to do it free as part of a training program) and we have been talking about values, possible ways I could make money at my hobbies (didn't really pan out when they all run on volunteers, but oh well), took some various personality/values tests, talked about looking on the brighter side...It's been kinda nebulous on my part, but I've felt good doing it and I've had a good time doing it. Though to some degree since my goal boiled down to "get another job," I mean, that's kinda hard for her to necessarily do for me. Though that said, this is going better than I figured :) To a lot of degrees, you have to do the work yourself.

Reading your post, it sounds like taking some values tests and figuring out what you're into would be right up your alley, so maybe life coaching is the right thing for you at this time!
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:19 PM on June 26, 2015

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