Why Hire A Life Coach
So, I get this question a lot from friends and family especially since I am already in the mental health field. Most of the time the questions are …. “what does a life coach really do?” and “why switch to being a coach?” and “isn’t it like the same thing?”
So why hire a life coach? Why not just go see a therapist?
Both very good questions and both that I hope to answer for you. And while they may seem similar, they truly are a difference. And believe me … there is space in this world and in your life for both!
First off, let me put a little disclaimer out there especially as I proceed with telling you my why because I do not want to offend anyone or get some of my amazing therapist friends mad at me.
I am a licensed and practicing social worker. Yes! I am a therapist/counselor. I currently work as a school social worker (well …technically in the district I work in, I am considered a school adjustment counselor but really, I prefer school social worker because that is truly what I am). And while I find a high value in this work, I don’t find that it meets all the check marks that at times we really need.
Let me be real …. Being a social worker/therapist/counselor … pays my bills. It pays for all the things I want and need. All the things my children and family want and need. It pays to keep food on the table and a roof with heat and electricity on. It is paying for everything while I get my life coaching business off the ground because doing that means I make nothing while doing all the background stuff.
The work done in therapy is extremely valuable and important. At times, it is truly necessary to be in therapy. There is a ton of baggage that we carry around that needs to be teased through, processed, and released in order to alleviate some symptomology in the present.
I wholeheartedly believe that therapists and life coaches can work in conjunction with a person. And as I build my life coaching business, I hope and intend to collaborate with any of my client’s current therapists because I value the work that we both will be doing. And that doing it together can really be all the difference to someone!
With that being said, let’s get to the real reason for this, why hire a life coach?
I feel like “life coaching” is like this term thrown out there and used as a way to nicey-up therapy. In reality, it is NOT THERAPY at all! And this is coming from a therapist. Yes, we are both going to work from a place of vulnerability. As a client, you are going to have deep conversations. You are going to get in touch with that place within that true change lives … where the work is hard, messy, and oh so rewarding.
I find it important to really look at the difference and this list is not all inclusive. Trust me, there could be pages upon pages about the differences. This list is rather the highlights that I see as the social worker/therapist/counselor and the life coach.
Therapy is or includes …
- Working heavily with the current and past emotional state in order to best help moving forward. By this I mean, a client comes in expressing concerns about feeling depressed or anxious and the therapist is going to work on developing skills to help manage the current emotional state and “investigate” through talking or various other therapeutic techniques about how a person has gotten to this current emotional state. So, working with the past to inform the present and hopefully build the skills for the future.
- Working on developing coping skills. We all are constantly learning and developing our coping skills throughout our lives. I try to stress this with the students and families I work with on a daily basis. Our coping skills will change or even evolve through the different stages of life. Coping skills are skills/strategies that help us manage emotional states. Some examples of coping skills are taking deep breaths, counting to 10 or backwards from 10, changing our thoughts, etc. Things we do to help us to manage or cope from a negative emotional state to a more tolerable one.
- Working on managing the symptoms of a diagnosis. Yes, as diagnosis. When you see a therapist, you will leave with a diagnosis but you may or may not really realize it. For any therapist that is going to bill your health insurance, and therapy is covered by insurance, they are required to bill based upon a medical diagnostic code. This code comes from the Diagnostical Statistical Manual (also known as the DSM). Currently, the DSM is in its 5th This manual lays out all of the mental health diagnosis, the criteria that needs to be met to receive that diagnosis, and background around that. At some point, they may write up a clinical summary which outlines all the factors that got to this point, the work done in therapy, impressions, diagnostic outcomes, etc. And this can be truly valuable especially if you need some sort of medication intervention to truly manage symptoms.
- Getting vulnerable. Like, I am going to pour my heart and soul out into this session. Have that good cry. And the therapist is going to listen and ask questions. Being in this vulnerable state may be difficult because you will unearth things that may have been really buried for you. Your past will surface. You will get a better understanding about how you got to this place and learn to change or make peace with it.
There is so much more. I could go on and on. But I think that is because it has been my life’s work for so long.
So, then what is life coaching and how will it differ from therapy?
Life coaching is or includes…
- Working with the present to guide the future. Some life coaches talk about the past. I am one of them. But when working with clients, I am not digging in to the past to work on it like a therapist would. But rather, I am using it to gain some clarity for the current present state. Yes, the past informs the present. It is important to look at past habits or ways of handling things but we are not going to get “down and dirty” with the past. We are going to use it as a way of acknowledgement and education. I look at it the same I would learning about history (don’t worry, I know there are some that love history and dig in a ton). We learn about things that have happened in the past to understand how we have gotten to where we are today. Then we take that knowledge to help us in the present, make changes and a plan for the future to be different. The past is the past for a reason. Let’s let it live there. Learn from it and move forward. Use it to make a difference in your life.
- Goal oriented and accountable. Yes, there are goals in therapy too, however, they are very different. Goal oriented as it relates to working with a life coach is all about your goals not what is driving your goals. Does that make sense?? Coming in to the work with a life coach means you get to be the driver. You want to figure out where to go next with your career, see a career coach (life coach specifically focused on careers, jobs, etc. – I know a few good ones!). You want to figure out things with your relationships, see a relationship coach (oh … I know a few goods ones here too!). Does it make sense now?? The work during coaching sessions are goal oriented to you and what you want from your life, not your current emotional state or managing various symptoms. And with goals comes a system of accountability. A good life coach is going to keep the work progressing in a forward direction and help you to build your own systems of accountability with the work that you are doing.
- FUN! Oh so much fun! Yes, the work is hard. Yes, there will be moments of increased emotions (joy, sadness, anger, etc.). But because it is focused on what you want, it can be so much fun. I love to have fun in my coaching sessions. I love to laugh or try out exercises that we normally would not do (oh you know … dance it out, dialogue with ourselves, etc.). With fun, can come lots of celebration without worry or fear. Success looks different for everyone and it is so important to celebrate the success when it happens. In therapy, I find that my clients have a hard time celebrating because there is always a “but…” statement that comes after. For example, “I got that promotion at work that I was working so hard for but now that means more hours, more …, more …”. And believe me, in coaching, we will challenge those “buts” and gain some clarity about its reason for being around. In coaching sessions, we stay in that “I got that promotion” place and really celebrate it … “that is awesome!” what an accomplishment before we move on.
- Getting vulnerable but in a different way. We are going to dig into that vulnerable space where change happens. Where our desires live. Where we see our true and authentic self. In that vulnerable space, we are going to work to allow growth to blossom. To allow you to be vulnerable with yourself and what you want for your life.
Again, there is so much more to coaching that I could go on for pages.
Try it out!
- Maybe you have been to therapy and it does not feel like the right fit for you. I wonder why that is.
- Maybe you have worked through the past and are ready to gain some clarity and direction for the future.
- Maybe you are a parent who really wants to find a feeling or experience balance around your multiple hats.
- Maybe … you are just ready for that next step.
So, I encourage you … if you are at all curious … try it out! Schedule an appointment!
What do you have to lose? Not much.
But really … what do you have to gain??
Here is the link (https://takingcareofyoucoaching.as.me/) to schedule a FREE 30 minute session with me! And if there is not a time that works for you, send me an email and let’s work out a time.
Seriously … FREE!
As Always … Take Care, Kristin
Experience The Journey!
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