For more than ten years I’ve been coaching and mentoring people. It was not the way I would market myself. Instead, my consultancy was called Left Luggage Creative Training and Facilitation. I loved the metaphor and it felt appropriate because I use metaphors often with individual and group work.
It was only as I looked to rebrand myself and my wise and wonderful digital marketer, Beth, said “you’re hiding” that I began to understand I had to choose a name that said what I did and who I am.
This journey took years as I tried continually to come up with clever names that were often more akin to secret codes than a clear brand.
Beth did the research and found that Life Coaching is by a long shot the most popular term for coaching sought on Google.
I refused. For years, I refused because of the negative connotations ‘life coaching’ as a term can conjure.
All coaching is life coaching
Please understand, when one of my coaching tutors said, “All coaching is really life coaching”, I did not disagree.
Even if the work you want to do is about your career or your ongoing development, it’s your whole life you’re bringing to it. No one can coach your career; they coach you as a person. You’ll bring your whole self in if the process is a sound one. Working with any one aspect of your life will have an impact on everything else.
So why the resistance?
The bottom line is that life coaching is not a protected term (neither is ‘therapist’ for that matter) and it might mean someone has completed a weekend course or they have a PhD in it. It’s too wide a continuum to bring the clarity that I needed for my brand.
People can always ask about qualifications (mine are on this site) or connection to a professional organisation to whom a client can turn if there’s a problem with a coach’s practice (I’m a member of both the Association for Coaching as well as the British Psychodrama Association). More often than not, they do not.
Vet your coach!
Please do begin your search for a coach with questions about their background, training and ongoing development as well as their values and mission. It’s important to speak with them too as it’s your intuition that will help choose the person that’s best for you.
Coaches are as different as any other professional you would choose to hire. We don’t always have choices so make the most of this opportunity.
Choose well and wisely. Reflect and consider how you are feeling in that coaching space. Is it what you had hoped for? If not, talk about it with your coach. Perhaps your expectations were different. Perhaps you need to find a different coach. We are people after all.
Life coaching is not a cult
Weeks before the launch of this website, a story broke about a life-coaching cult. It confirmed my worst fears about life coaching and how it could disempower people, the very opposite of what all coaching aspires to do.
That it called itself a life coaching group adds fuel to this notion that the industry is unregulated and out of control. It clearly can be. Taking steps to ensure that your coach follows clear ethical guidelines and you have recourse to complain if things go awry can keep you from being a victim of this sort of scam.
To discuss any questions, thoughts or your developmental needs, please feel free to contact me for a consultation. It will be free and backed up by the code of ethics of two robust, viable and caring organisations. I look forward to hearing from you!