When you work as a life coach, you get used to a certain amount of scepticism, if not outright cynicism. If the most common query is “what is a life coach”, the second is most definitely “does life coaching actually work?”
It’s good question but, like all good questions, it doesn’t have a simple “yes” or “no” answer.
What I can say, with some certainty, is that life coaching can be hugely beneficial to many people. No matter what walk of life you come from, what industry sector you work in, or what goals you have for yourself, a professional life coach can help you, and the statistics back this up.
The hard numbers
Recently, the Institute for Continuing Education (ICE) performed a survey of life coaching participants to determine whether or not it had a positive impact on them. ICE know what they are talking about, being one of the world’s leading coaching organisations. They deal with all manner of adult learning and continuous improvement, of which life coaching is but a small part.
Their conclusion was that life coaching does help its users, and by a significant margin. According to the survey, 80% of life coach clients reported an improvement in their self-confidence, while 72% reported improved communication skills, and 57% reported better time management skills.
These are all fine results, but the key to answering the original question – does life coaching actually work – lies in your reason for seeking it out. Life coaching is a not a magical solution to all of life’s ills. Like any form of coaching, it has practical applications across a range of disciplines, but you need to know what you want from the process. It needs more definition than just getting your life on track, or something similarly vague. If you hire a life coach with a clear goal in mind, your chances of success increase exponentially.
According to that same ICE survey, the most common reasons people gave for hiring a life coach were: achieving their goals, happiness, finding their purpose, doing what they love, career, confidence, and relationship/love.
Like any new discipline, you only get as much out of life coaching as you’re prepared to put in. In fact, with life coaching, you’re likely to get much more out it, since the techniques you learn to achieve your goal can be applied to so many other areas of your life.
In the final analysis, your life coach cannot do the work for you. However, if you’re determined and focused, and committed to making the changes you need, life coaching can be the best thing that ever happened to you.