Whether you have goals and don’t know how to begin or simply feel lost in your personal or financial life, the idea of hiring a life coach may be enticing. These professionals tout their ability to help guide you through difficult periods, find a direction, or even discover your passions, all of which can lead to a more fulfilling life. But what’s a life coach anyway, and is hiring a life coach a good idea? Here’s what you need to know.
Life Coach Standards
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that nearly anyone can call themselves a life coach. There is no test or certification requirement to claim the title. While there are training courses and professional organization that certify life coaches, these are optional to work in the field.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to find a certified life coach to have a good experience. Many life coaches without certifications are completely legitimate and highly skilled. However, it may provide you with some level of assurance if you do hunt down a certified professional as that the person has some degree of formal training.
Do You Need a Life Coach?
In most cases, life coaches function as an objective perspective on your life. They have no personal stake in the outcome, aside from your satisfaction, so they can look at each area of your day-to-day and help you navigate tough choices or find a new direction.
Most skilled life coaches want to assist you in finding balance in your life, something that varies from one person to the next. They look at each client as an individual, creating a customized approach for everyone.
While there is no specific signal that you need a life coach, if you find yourself stuck over the long-term or need an outsiders perspective, hiring one may be beneficial. However, it may not be the right choice if you are looking for someone to tell you exactly what to do. It isn’t their job to take control of your life. Instead, think of them as a navigation app, providing you with guidance regarding potential paths and upcoming obstacles while you remain firmly in the driver’s seat.
Choosing a Life Coach
Selecting a life coach to work with is a personal choice. Ideally, you want to find one that specializes in areas that are valuable to you and who has proven experience in the field. By finding a professional that concentrates in a niche, their input may have more clout.
For example, if your personal goal is to make a major job change, consider a career coach. If you want to get your financial life in order, look for one with experience in personal finance matters.
Additionally, don’t just take their word when they say they can help. Instead, take a look at their credentials, testimonials, and even blog posts to gauge whether they are a good match. Nearly anyone can create a professional-looking website, so you need to dig deeper to see if they are genuinely skilled in the right areas.
Think of it this way; you wouldn’t hire someone to repair the roof on your house without doing a little research. Use the same level of due diligence when selecting a life coach for your personal or financial goals.
How Much Work Do You Need to Put In?
Once you select a life coach, the hard part isn’t over. You are still going to need to put in a lot of effort to make progress.
Essentially, a life coach helps you think through problems, develop viable plans, and create reasonable goals. However, when it comes to putting a plan into action, that’s all on you. They can’t take control of your life and do the work; that is firmly on your shoulders.
Plus, much of the work is going to take place outside of your appointments. Life coaches often help you create lasting change in your life, so the path you take impacts your day-to-day once you make the leap.
While this can sound daunting, any major change has the same effect. If you want to make your goals a reality, it’s going to take time and energy with or without a life coach’s help. The only difference is the coach can guide you through the process, so it may make formulating a plan easier than trying to do it alone.
How Much Does a Life Coach Cost?
How much life coaches charge varies dramatically. Their level of experience, specialty, or even the city they work in makes a difference, so you do need to look into this carefully before selecting one.
However, it isn’t uncommon for life coaching to cost between $75 and $200 an hour.
When you are working toward financial goals, which usually revolve around saving more or getting out of debt, the idea of spending cash on a life coach doesn’t make sense on the surface. But, if you genuinely need help to find the right direction, make a solid plan, or get motivated to do the work, it can be a wise investment.
Ultimately, hiring a life coach is investing in yourself and your future. If you find a quality professional with a great reputation and the right kind of expertise, their input may provide you with enough value to offset the cost. Again, this is usually a personal decision, so you need to consider your unique situation before you begin. If you think the value is there, it can be money well spent, so do your research before going forward and see if you can find a life coach that is right for you.
Have you ever worked with a life coach? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
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Tamila McDonald has worked as a Financial Advisor for the military for past 13 years. She has taught Personal Financial classes on every subject from credit, to life insurance, as well as all other aspects of financial management. Mrs. McDonald is an AFCPE Accredited Financial Counselor and has helped her clients to meet their short-term and long-term financial goals.