Over the past few weeks, I’ve been involved in conversations with friends, family members and even strangers about hiring a life coach. At first, I have to admit, I wasn’t clear on what a life coach was or why anyone would need one. After all, we all set goals, plan initiatives to achieve and meet them, right?! Ha! After typing that I realized very quickly, that I don’t do any such thing (I do some, but not with consistency), but if I had someone poking, prodding and guiding my choices in life, I may not reach the same conclusions I do on a daily basis. So, here’s what I did… I headed to Google to learn more about, as journalism majors know, the 5 Ws and an H about life coaches, and I’m sharing it with you!

What is a life coach? Lifecoaching.com presented the following definition: “The coaching process addresses specific personal projects, business successes, general conditions and transitions in the client’s personal life, relationships or profession by examining what is going on right now, discovering what your obstacles or challenges might be, and choosing a course of action to make your life be what you want it to be.” For me, the words that I bolded are the most important to my current life situations. Here’s why:

  • Personal projects – Being a mother of three and wife of a determined man who is rising quickly in his profession and reaching all his goals (personal and professional), I’ve realized the I am not doing enough for myself. The personal projects that could be on my bucket list, aren’t, but they should be. I started my own consulting company over a year ago and wow has this changed my perspectives on life/work balance, building/maintaining relationships, and most of all made me think about my goals for myself, my family and my company.
  • Transitions – Whether you are transitioning from college to the “real world,” from a Fortune 500 company to becoming an entrepreneur, from being a stay-at-home-Mom back into the workforce, or even from a career into retirement, you never know what life will bring to you. As each phase of my life transitions (and let me tell you, it does constantly), there are always positives and there are also learning experiences. One could not exist without another and I would not be the person I am today without all these.
  • Relationships or Profession – As much as life transitions occur, so do relationships. How you deal with, evaluate and build relationships shows your character. If you are someone who values relationships, you know that each one creates a valuable experience that enhances the ones to come. This is true in your personal and professional lives – be sure you structure relationships on what you want out of life and how you want to be treated. Do not let relationships run you… you are you… so run them the way you want. After all, you are in control of your own destiny, relationships and professional development.

When is the right time to hire a life coach? If you are reading this article, you must be close! I never saw the value of having someone else look at my life, as an outsider, and provide advice to me – at least not in my teens, 20s or 30s, but now that I’ve officially entered the 40s, I appreciate what others provide to me in the form of feedback, guidance, advice and criticism (corrective, of course). So, if you are willing and able to listen intently to how others view you, ready to make some changes and can’t wait until you reinvest in yourself, then the time is now!

Where do I find a life coach and who is the right life coach for me? If you are like me and do not want to be consumed by the plethora of information on the web, then check out these Life Coach Questions to Ask. This is where I have started developing the criteria as to what my ideal coach would look like. (You are correct, I have not chosen one yet, but am currently researching)!

How do I structure the relationship with my life coach? In order to structure the relationship, ask yourself the following questions (again, this will help identify what type of coach you are seeking).

  1. Do you prefer intimate or public settings for sessions? (make sure the coach is also comfortable in the setting you choose)
  2. Are you more effective in a group or one-on-one session?
  3. How does the life coach want to work? What process do they follow to make them most productive?
  4. How will a coach help determine and achieve the “right” goals?

As you identify what type of coach you are seeking and what your personal and professional goals are, you will be armed with the right information to start the search for the best coach to meet your needs.