I read an article this morning entitled ‘You don’t need a life coach. You just need a life.’ It resonated because it seems there have been a multitude of life coaches appearing over recent years. Just like yoga teachers and healers, suddenly they’re everywhere.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m neither discrediting the fact that there are a wealth of people doing great work in these fields, nor undermining those who have devoted their time to studying in serious depth what they do. But in addition to these authentic paths, there are also providers issuing certificates like there’s no tomorrow and quite clearly training alone is not what makes you truly qualified to do this kind of work.
Quite often also, there is also the feeling of it being yet another money spinner. Who gives these bodies authority in the first place anyway? Providers are less regulated than people might care to think.
To be perfectly honest, even the term ‘life coach’ or ‘healer’ can feel a bit nauseating. I think it’s the idea of someone holding onto some personal notion of themselves as some exalted being, teaching others how to live or feeling they possess some personal power which heals which is a trigger. Life force is universal and it’s for free.
Of course I get it, the idea is to improve the quality of life that someone leads. And where the role of a life coach can really work is when it is to support and empower the client to live their potential and access their own inner well of wisdom, not teach co-dependency and encourage them to think the answers lie outside of them.
The same article voiced the preference of having a ‘licensed’ therapist over a life coach. Of course, to an extent, I’m compelled to agree. Someone who has a relevant PHD or who has spent years studying psychology and theories of mind and human behaviour could well be in a better position to address trauma or provide insight to life patterns that may be repeating.
It’s just that in the same way that I have experienced holistic practitioners spouting naivety, I’m equally aware of the same misfortune of having highly trained professionals wasting time, providing little, if anything of any value. Often spouting textbook theories, whether it be, Gestalt, CBT, PCT, Existential or Psychodynamic Therapy, and applying what may be valuable knowledge, but with little life experience and subsequently a lack of experiential authority.
Professionals in many holistic fields can also spin just one disc, whether it’s the nutritionists who think that all life’s answers lie in a healthy diet, or the acupuncturist who thinks acupuncture solves every ailment, the EFT practitioner who believes they can tap life’s problems away, or the tarot reader who relies on readings for guidance.
To an extent I find this naive, because whilst these might well all be valuable tools, that’s it – they’re just tools among many, through which the infinite can work. Advice, given within a limited remit, bothers me when it’s presented as the one truth because it imposes limitations; it just doesn’t equate with life wisdom. I’m not denying that these practices might work, but a holistic vision is more empowering.
I reject the idea of a licensed therapist being, by virtue of their qualifications, superior to a life coach. In fact, co-dependency can equally be inherent in the relationship between many so called ‘licensed’ therapist and their clients. Whilst there are of course therapists doing incredible work out there and liberating people from past traumas; there are equally some awesome and inspiring life coaches out there who have made and indeed are making a radical difference in peoples’ lives.
I would say, it’s down to the individual themselves and not the role they are presenting in. I’m not denying the value of specialist knowledge in a particular field, it’s just that life wisdom, which we acquire experientially, is key and it can’t be studied. Without doubt, it does pay off to be discerning when evaluating whether someone is equipped to work with you; it’s just that for me, qualifications are not the defining factor.
Ultimately, it’s unhealthy to think that someone else holds the key to your happiness, but equally at times, there is a role for receiving pointers support & guidance in order to help evolve you on your individual life-path. If, as eastern traditions teach, there is only one universal life force playing out in individual forms – it is all ultimately a process of self-healing anyway.