Be a Lifecoach That Doesn’t Suck

Be a Lifecoach That Doesn’t Suck

Originally posted on YOGANONYMOUS.COM | Feature photo from


I’ve lived in California for over 6 years and in that time I’ve learned many new things.

Growing up in the Midwest, I had no idea what a farmer’s market was, how good avocados were, or how much the sunshine could affect my state of mind. I also didn’t know how seemingly little work someone could do and still afford to drive a BMW. In general, people out here seem to work smarter – perhaps as a result of good fortune or maybe just a natural progression to living in an environment that encourages entrepreneurialism.

Sounds like a dream, right?

Not necessarily.

With the freedom to live life without being dragged down by harsh environments or limited beliefs, Californians have gotten creative in coming up with new problems to explore. These are called #whitepeopleproblems – such as where to find gluten-free pastries, charging stations for Smart Cars, and professionals to help keep us motivated in life.

And so the Life Coach was born.

Like a personal trainer, life coaches are there to keep us going when we can’t sort through our own stagnation, which is actually a useful resource to have access too. The problem, though, is unlike personal trainers, life coaches don’t need certifications to get into the industry. All they have to do is post pictures of their food online and tell their friends they have a coaching call later.

Being a coach is an important job and should be taken seriously. You can make a great living and help a lot of people – work that feels tremendous on the soul. But you can also ruin people’s lives if you don’t know what you’re doing. Since barriers to entry are almost non-existent, it’s up to the coach to take responsibility and make sure they’re legit.

Here are a few ways to get started with a career you can be proud of:

1. Be a student first:

Don’t try to teach as you’re learning, it’s not skillful. There’s nothing wrong with baring your soul to the world and sharing your experiences, but unless you’re sure where you’re going, or where your audience is going, spare the advice for when you’re through with the growing pains. At most, if you need to share, then report your experience with humility and focus on the process of what you’re going through. Advice doesn’t come across as true at this stage in the game.

2. Develop your own system:

It’s not enough to sit in the room with someone and encourage them to “follow their heart,” because their heart could be weak, desperate, or completely lost. Providing keen insight in the moment is certainly a gift but it’s not thorough enough. It’s important that a coach has created an outlined program to work the client through so it’s not a couple people sitting in a room hoping to god that they make each other feel better. It’s not about feeling better, it’s about getting better. That can’t happen without a plan and the strength to follow through.

3. Tell the truth:

There’s going to be a time when a client is struggling and the work ahead of them is tremendous. It’s important not to sugar coat anything that needs to happen in order for them to be truly successful with their goals. Don’t stand down because you’re afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. Tell the truth, even when it’s difficult, and trust that the advice itself is reason enough to keep the client coming back.

4. Practice your method:

Practice what you preach is a saying that’s applicable to almost everything. Whatever you’re telling someone to do, make sure you’re doing it yourself. You’ll feel like a phony after a while if you’re not practicing the work you’re encouraging others to do.

On the other hand, if you’re practicing you’ll notice that you speak more confidently and you’ll be able to cite specific examples and use very concrete language. You won’t have to use fluffy terminology to distract from what really matters, you’ll know from experience that it’s all about the work and your way of communicating that will be more clear and effective because of your efforts. Not to mention, people in action have momentum that people can sense. You’ll get more work when you’re practicing your method.

5. Quantify your results:

One way to know if you’re doing work that actually matters is by asking your clients. Have them fill out intake forms – asking questions about their life, goals, and current situation. After the coaching process coaches should follow up with clients to make sure they’re improving in all of their focus areas. If they don’t call clients back, it’s a good sign that they are scared the client is not any better off and they would rather not be held accountable.

There’s a definitely rush in this generation to be regarded as an expert as soon as we learn something new. We’re incredible at digesting information and conceptualizing new ideas, but without the work and the experience all of our ideas are just theory, and have no practical application. As we practice, irrespective of whether or not people are watching, we become more skilled in our work and, more importantly, more fulfilled on a personal level because we are gaining substance.

The world will be a better place when we can coach each other and communicate from soul to soul. But we need to put in our time and make sure we are truly capable of reaching each other on a deep and inspiring level, something that goes a little beyond chrome filtered photos of our acai bowls.


Kirk Hensler is the creator of ‘Organizing Inspiration – How to bring your brilliant ideas to the world,’ a course for entrepreneurs and creatives to identify their brand, create a work process, and implement an intuitive working schedule.

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