Do I need to see a life coach? 6 signs you do

Whether it is to find a new job or career, build confidence, become more productive or change to a healthier lifestyle, most of us know – or have a good idea of – the areas we want to tackle in life. And yet, despite this knowledge, we often don’t act. Time passes. Personal or professional discontentment grows. Procrastination, unhealthy lifestyles and poor mental health and wellbeing become features of our lives. Something is missing, which would get us started on a journey from where we are now to where we want to be. And what is missing is the subject of my blog. In ‘Do I need to see a life coach?’, I look at six signs that explain why your goals remain on the drawing board, gathering dust and why a life coach can be just what you need.

Pair of glasses bring a beautiful landscape into focus.

Do I need to see a life coach? Sign one: conversations

When someone decides to work with a life coach, they are effectively making a comment on their existing conversations, and that is, they are not making the difference they are after because conversations that fail to move us forward in life are missing essential qualities and characteristics. So the first sign that talking to a life coach might be a good idea is when your current conversations leave you feeling frustrated or disappointed after talking about the areas you want to change. Sometimes we have to accept that our existing support network either can’t or won’t give us what we need. A good life coach will understand how to find the missing qualities and characteristics you need and put them into their conversations with you.

Sign two: meaning

When we think about the areas of our lives we want to change, we experience an emotion, and a way to think about emotions in this context is as two-part messages, sent from what I call our emotional self, and what they think about our attempts at change. The first part of the message is about the area and whether it is a priority, and the second part is about whether we have realistic strategies and solutions. Using the ‘emotions as messages’ principle, we can translate difficult emotions such as stress, anxiety, fear and depression as messages indicating that:

  • we are working on non-priority areas and avoiding priority ones (easily done)
  • we are working on priority areas with ineffective strategies and unrealistic solutions

Therefore, the second sign that life coaching could be the answer is the emotional state you enter when contemplating your area of challenge. The more difficult and unhelpful the emotion, the more concerned your emotional self is that you and progress will be heading in opposite directions without a change of approach.

Sign three: patterns

One way to understand ourselves and the situations in which we find ourselves is by shining a light on our patterns of:

  • thought
  • behaviour
  • feeling
  • relating

I think of a pattern as anything we do a lot of is helpful or unhelpful. When we are stuck in life, it follows that we will probably have more unhelpful than helpful patterns in our lives. Our ability to form patterns, like any tool, is one that we can use for good and not-so-good reasons. If I have a hammer, I can bash myself over the head or build something unique. However, it is not the hammer that decides, which means nobody imposes a state of ‘stuckness’ on us against our will; instead, we enforce it on ourselves. For example, someone who knows they need to change job or career but is not currently doing anything about it might have patterns that look like this:

  • Thought: “I have no idea what I want to do, so why bother?” or “There is no point in me going for that role because I will fail the interview.”
  • Behaviour: browsing job websites and social media without downloading application forms or working harder in current roles in the hope that this resolves the issue
  • Feeling: fear of failure that stops any progress in its tracks, or low mood that undermines self-belief and confidence
  • Relating: frequent, circular conversations with partners, colleagues, friends and family that go nowhere, or attachment to people, places or means of escape such as alcohol or food

Do I need to see a life coach? Well, the third sign you might are your patterns. A life coach will help you build up a detailed picture of your problematic patterns and develop a blueprint of helpful ones.

Sign four: acceptance

Another explanation for why we find personal or professional change hard to achieve is when we struggle to accept aspects of who we are, what we do or the life we lead. When this happens, when we fight with our reality, we open up what I call Fantasy-Reality Gaps, which are characterised by unrealistic expectations and false beliefs. For example:

  • Fantasy: I can achieve my weight loss goal in two months
  • Reality: it takes time, around nine months, to sustainably lose weight

How many New Year’s Resolutions have failed because people can’t or won’t accept that change can be challenging? It takes time and requires us to see some of our expectations and beliefs for what they are: fantasies. If my FRG idea resonates with you, this is the fourth sign that working with a life coach would be good to put on your to-do list.

Sign five: challenge

Do you remember the fairy tale Goldilocks and the Three bears? You might be surprised to discover that it plays a significant role in my life coaching because it helps me find the right amount of challenge for my clients. In the tale, we know that Goldilocks eats baby bear’s porridge because the temperature is not too hot, not too cold, but just right. In my work, I have transformed this into The Goldilocks Principle of Challenge: not too much challenge, not too little, but just the right amount. Whenever someone is unable to progress towards an important personal or professional goal, it is because of the level of challenge confronting them, not because of who they are. Life coaches appreciate this predicament and work with clients to alter the level of challenge until they make The Goldilocks Principle work for them, not against them.

Sign six: transformation

Human beings are transforming whether they like it or not, otherwise known as the ageing process. Ideally, this is a process we control so that as we progress through various life stages, we can prosper in good times and be resilient through periods of adversity. However, life has a habit of knocking us off course, sometimes to such a degree that by ourselves, we are unable to turn our situation around. My role as a life coach is often to help someone keep their journey and destination connected, and so the sixth sign that working with a life coach is worth considering is if a setback has:

  • Put you on the wrong journey, thus taking you away from your desired destination
  • Obscured your destination entirely, so you don’t know if your journey is the right one anymore
  • Sent you into a dead-end, meaning you have neither journey nor destination

If you identify with any of these three statements, be kind to yourself. There isn’t anyone whose personal and professional transformation does not take a hit sometimes.

Do I need to see a life coach? Getting support

If you recognise any or all of the six signs in my blog and would like further information on how life coaching can help you, then I’d love to hear from you. My IMPACT Model and IMPACT Transformation Programmes have enabled many people to overcome their difficulties and flourish in life. To read what some of my clients say about me, visit my Testimonials page.

For more information, the Life Coach Directory has some great articles and resources.