The 3 Biggest Problems With Life Coaching and The Different Techniques Coaches Use To Overcome Them: Part ONE

If you knew what the 3 biggest problems with life coaching were, you’d be quite surprised.  No matter what people say their problems are, and no matter what the personal development ‘gurus’ say about the problems with success and life, the different techniques coaches use to overcome life problems have been varied.  Some of these different techniques coaches use are effective and some aren’t.  When I first became a life coach, I found that I couldn’t help the majority of my clients.  It was really disheartening.  Here I am, supposed to be the ‘life coach’ that is going to solve your problems and help you get the results that are eluding you, and instead you drop a lot of coin and have nothing to show for it but time on the phone with me.

The 3 Biggest Problems With Life Coaching are All Based Upon the Fact That, Even With The Different Techniques Coaches Use, People Don’t Look at Themselves as The Source of Their own Problems

Soon after the realization that I wasn’t effective as a coach, I closed the doors to my coaching practice and revamped the entire thing.  That’s also when I learned (by the school of hard knocks, mind you) the 3 biggest problems with life coaching (at least the 3 biggest problems with life coaching as I served it).  I was also lucky enough to be a part of a community of coaches at the time that showed me the different techniques coaches use to overcome the problems that I was experiencing (and needed badly to overcome if I was going to stay in business for much longer).

Life Coaching Problem #1 of The 3 Biggest Problems With Life Coaching: Coach Being a ‘Friend’ (and The Different Techniques Coaches Use to Stop The ‘Friend Trap’)

Coaches many times create one of the 3 biggest problems with life coaching by being too much of a friend too much of the time.  Your #1 job as a coach is not to be your client’s friend.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t be a friend at all, it simply means that it is not your #1 priority, and frankly sometimes being a friend is the worst role to take on with your coaching clients.  Some of the different techniques coaches use take you way out of friend mode and make you the drill-sergeant, angel (or devil) on your coaching client’s shoulder, psychologist, or chief antagonist / provocateur.  Would you think it’s your job as a coach at times to simply bully your client?  Sometimes that’s EXACLY the right action to take with your client (if you know what you’re doing and how to work through the tension you create).

Avoid the 3 Biggest Problems With Life Coaching By Using the Different Techniques Coaches Use to Stop Being a Friend and Start Being a Coach

When you are a friend first and a coach second (at least during coaching sessions), you will limit your effectiveness as a coach.  The 3 biggest problems with life coaching all are similar to this ‘friend’ issue and you must learn the different techniques coaches use to overcome it.  If you stop being a friend and start being a coach at the right times in your coaching sessions, you’re clients will surprise you by thanking you profusely for your honesty and ‘tough love’ and you’ll find that they are more your friend than they ever were before.

Jeffrey T. Sooey
CEO, JTS Advisors
Founder, Coaches Training Blog community

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  1. says

    Jeff, great article and great point. I’ve been in that place where there’s a deep connection with the client, and the connection evolves into a friendship. Early on in my coaching career, it was hard for me to step out of that friend role when it was necessary to take a hard line with a client. As a coach and ultimately as a leader, we don’t need to be likedd, we need to be respected for delivering on what we’re being paid to do – moving people past their internal (or external) challenges. Usually “being liked” takes care of itself when we take care of the business of being an effective coach.

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