I recently read a very generalized article/ mockery piece on life coaching which made remarks like life coaches are “Skype cheerleaders” and that they “poach” clients/ people who actually need mental health support, that it’s a business run by selfish and greedy people who tell others what do for hundreds of dollars. It also mentioned how they create dependency so that the client keeps coming back to them.
I’ll now try to argue against all these claims.
- Mental health issues– Clients who need mental health support are often told by their coaches to get it separately if they feel they’re not responding to the coaching, and if later in life they realize that they need an actual therapist, he/ she can. It’s up to the client to try out whatever works for him/her. Often people write on their blogs about how therapy didn’t work for them but life coaching did. There are also many therapists who later become life coaches who are perhaps equipped to work as both on the same client.
- Businesses– Businesses are being looked at very negatively here. Again, if the client is not happy with the product being offered, they can easily go to a different seller. That’s the beauty of the free market. If the life coach is truly a horrible hoax whose making money off doing nothing, then they won’t even get any business because then his/her techniques won’t work! The client/customer holds all the power and that’s why not helpless.
- Creating dependency– If the coach/therapist is actually helping, only then will the client want to come back to them in the future. If they’re not actually helping, then the client will automatically not want to come back to them so there is no question of creating dependency. Also, here the idea of consulting someone for ideas/solutions is being looked at very negatively. If once in a few years, one wants to consult someone for advice, coaching, to enhance their skills or whatever, how is that a bad thing?
Regulation– I do believe that the field needs to be regulated in better ways, which needs to be thought of by those who do care about ethics, but it most certainly shouldn’t just be shunned because of its personal entrepreneurial nature, where coaches have a lot of freedom to chose their philosophies. This aspect can be both the most attractive part of coaching, as well as the most scary. If used well, it can create magic in the lives of clients, and if not, then potentially destroy their lives too.