A great life coach doesn’t tell you all the things you want to hear.
Instead, she tells you what you need to hear.
She guides you and becomes a mentor.
Much of what a great life coach does is in her questioning and listening (not her talking).
There are a lot of misconceptions about what makes a great life coach.
In this episode, I clear that all up, so you can know exactly what to look for in a life coach.
Here are more of my favorite resources for this episode:
- What Is A Life Coach? (blog post)
- What Is A Life Coach (podcast)
- 9 Life Coaching Tools For High Achieving Women (blog post)
- How To Live An Intentional Life (free training)
- Grow You (coaching)
Full What Makes A Great Life Coach Episode Transcript
Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life podcast where it’s all about designing your life on your terms and now your host, Natalie Bacon.
Hey friend, welcome to the podcast. How’s your summer going for me? It is going really well. Being able to be outside in ways that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise has been really, really enjoyable. Going to a lot more dog parks and taking little weekend trips, little road trips has been a surprising joy for me, for Penny, for Steve. It’s been a lot of fun in ways that I didn’t anticipate the trade off being of course, no weddings, no airplanes, no pool, no spending a lot of time in the city.
But making the most of it has been work that has been so worth it. So we hope that you’re experiencing the same and really being able to simplify and enjoy those moments. I know a lot of you have told me that that’s the case. I’m so happy to hear it. And if you are still struggling or just starting to struggle with the season that we’re in, that’s okay too.
It’s always just a season. For me, I’ve been thinking a lot about this time and really trying to get some perspective on it and take a step back. And it almost blows my mind when I think about us in this pandemic and also on a greater scale, thinking about the world and how accustomed we’ve become to living a certain way, right? Like I feel very entitled to live the life that I have created, but this pandemic has turned out to be a reminder that yes, I’ve created it based on the hand, I’ve been dealt for lack of a better phrase, but I’m always being dealt a new hand.
And those hands change, right? The deck of cards is constantly evolving and nothing is guaranteed. And instead of thinking of that as sort of doom and gloom, it has brought about a sense of magic and inspiration and really seizing the moment instead of thinking that it should be different than it is because I know for sure that anytime I argue with reality and the way that life is, I create so much friction and tension that doesn’t serve me.
So this is it. This is the summer. And it’s been really great. And I’m glad that I’ve been able to see that and just kind of go with it and move forward. And I think that that is due to life coaching. I don’t know how people are moving through this time without a life coach. I do know how actually I think it’s a lot of overeating, over drinking, and over fill in the blank, right? Seeking that external pleasure to feel good.
So today, what I want to talk with you about is life coaching. I want to talk with you about what makes a great life coach. I love life coaching. I love having a coach. And when I think about people, I admire, they all have coaches. Even if you think about famous people, athletes, right? They always have a coach, no matter how good at the sport they are.
They always have a coach. The same is true for leaders, right? They have advisors and mentors and coaches. And I think that there’s no replacement and there is nothing better than having a great life coach. I don’t think that it’s a luxury. I think that it’s a necessity just like I think working out is right. So if you think of your physical health, we wouldn’t really say exercising is a luxury. That’s how I think about life coaching.
I was doing some research for this podcast and a quote from Tony Robbins on his website stuck out to me that I wanted to share with you. The quote is, “Life coaching is truly its own unique service designed to help ambitious achievers meet the outcomes that will bring them success and fulfillment.” I think that really sums up the purpose of having a great life coach. So I talked a lot about the difference between life coaching and therapy in the episode, What Is A Life Coach?
So if you haven’t listened to that, go back and listen to it. It will help you kind of understand the differences because I think that people really understand therapy, but they don’t understand life coaching. So just briefly, I want to mention it here that generally speaking therapy tends to be past focus and diagnostic based.
So if you’re struggling with an addiction, part of your treatment plan might include seeing a therapist or if you’re struggling with post traumatic stress or maybe there’s domestic violence at home, anything like that, a therapist, the right therapist may help you very much, right? I am very pro therapy and pro all of the tools that really help you from the inside out.
Life Coaching is a little bit different. It doesn’t help you go from dysfunctional to functional. It helps you go from functional to exceptional. It helps you achieve your goals and really create the life you want. This is true, regardless of whether your goal is to have a very simplified life at home or whether your goal is to be a top executive making millions dollars.
So regardless of the design that you want for your life, a life coach is so essential to help you create it. So if you kind of feel like you’re in a rut or you’re stuck a life coach can help you find your passion, create that life design, that blueprint for your future, so that you’re really living your life on your terms. I mentioned in the, What Is A Life Coach podcast episode that I’ve had experience with both. I went to a therapist after I had an unexpected and rather traumatic breakup. And once I resolved that and was back to feeling normal, my therapist ended our relationship and the problem was solved, right? She was fantastic.
I had a great experience and I’ve subsequently recommended her to people who, you know, are in that area. I went and physically was in her office. I have hired a life coach for many areas in my life. I’ve hired one for business. I’ve hired one for relationships. I’ve hired one for self coaching. I’ve been a student in many virtual life coaching programs.
It’s kind of like self help and personal development books, but actually applying them. Right. I know my brain loves to read all of the books, but that information just kind of sits there as entertainment, unless I know how to apply it. So I love having a coach. I love having more than one coach. I continue to have multiple coaches at once, but I have them in different ways so that they’re not competing with each other. For example, I am a student and member of a virtual life coaching program that sort of runs in the background.
And that is a program where I go in whenever I want to, I get a new course and I do a lot of written coaching and I watch some replays and I’m constantly learning and growing over time, right? Improving my habits. I’ve also hired simultaneously a one to one coach and gone deeper with my mindset and relationships and business. And I will continue to hire different types of one to one or group coaches.
I think that you want to pay attention to the results that you want, the problem that you want to solve, and the style of coaching that you want. I know that most members in Grow You end up saying that they’re so surprised at how valuable watching the group coaching calls are. I know that was true for myself as well. If you’ve never had exposure to life coaching, you might not know that you can watch a replay like a video replay of someone getting coached and see the person’s problem.
See the coach and actually learn the tools that are being applied to that particular person and apply them to your life in a way that is unexpectedly profound. I have experienced this myself and continuously have Grow You students kind of emailing me, especially the new members they’ll email and say, Oh my gosh, I had no idea that watching these replays would really help me.
So depending on the environment that you’re looking for, you will be kind of driven one way or another for the life coaching program that’s best for you. You will want to hire a life coach when there’s something that you want to create in your future, that you haven’t been able to create. And it might be that you don’t even know what it is. You just think, okay, I went to school, I got married. I have a home, we have a child and I’m working and now what right?
You feel a little bit stuck or uncertain, but you know that you want a change. It’s a great reason to hire a life coach, or it might be something more specific. Like I want to make money in my online business, or I want help parenting, or I want to bring more work life balance into my life. Those types of problems, you are going to find the solution for, with a really good life coach.
I want to dive into what makes a great life coach. But first I want to talk with you about the qualities of a bad life coach. Just like there are different types of cars, different types of dogs, different types of handbags and houses and fill in the blank. There are different types of life coaches. So I will always suggest hiring a causal coach. That’s the coach that I am meaning I help you find the root cause of the problem and show you your brain.
So then we can create a plan for you to move forward and get the results you want. Contrast that with a coach who doesn’t take a look at what’s going on in your brain, and instead they just give you the steps to take action. I call that a line coaching it’s action line coaching, and they’re not looking at your brain and your thinking at all.
It’s kind of like someone who wants to start getting up earlier, and instead of the coach diving into what you’re thinking and feeling, when that alarm clock goes off, they’re going to tell you to move the alarm clock to the other side of the room and try to hack your way there. And it might work for a little while, but then you always revert back to the original pattern because you haven’t changed your mindset at all. So causal coaching is the most important thing I believe.
But outside of that, it might take some trial and error and going through some different types of coaches. I once had a therapist who arrived late and then joked about how I could help her with time management. And there was immediately the sense that I was the leader of the session, and you always want a coach to be the leader, right. And that’s why you’re hiring her.
So I immediately knew that with that therapist, it wasn’t a good fit, which is totally okay. It’s like test driving a car. It’s like, Oh, this isn’t the car that I want. So it’s okay to end that relationship and hire someone else, which is what I did. And I hired an amazing therapist and she was fantastic. So I think that it’s just not as well known that you can do that and that you should do that.
So my clients in Grow You, they love working with me and I love working with them, but I know that it’s not for everyone. And that’s okay. Right. For the clients who it is for. It’s amazing. Right? We get results in there. So I just want you to really know that just like you’re picking out a car, you might want to test drive that car first, same thing with a life coach.
So here are some of the things that I think you should look for and pay attention to. That will help you hire a really good life coach. So qualities of a bad life coach or what I want to start with first, number one is that a bad life coach will tell you exactly what to do instead of teaching you how to think for yourself, the life coach will just give you her advice based on what she thinks without helping you see your own mind.
And what happens here is that you end up being in a dependent relationship where you’re reliant on her in order to get the result that you want, right? You’re accountable to her. A really good life coach will teach you how to be accountable to yourself. A bad life coach is also really judgmental. She will have negative opinions about you and you will feel bad because you’ve trusted this coach and you’ve come to her.
And she is, you know, telling you, you shouldn’t have done that and sort of giving you her opinion of how you should live, right? And you kind of leave there thinking that you are wrong in some way. That is not what you want from a life coach at all. A bad life coach doesn’t believe in you. And it might not be that. She says, I don’t believe in you, but she will say things like, yeah, maybe this isn’t the right path for you to go down.
Maybe starting an online business isn’t the right thing for you. When you came to her, wanting to hire her for that exact reason of starting an online business, right? So your coach isn’t supporting you or motivating you or believing that you have what it takes.
A great life coach does the opposite. So a great life coach has confidence in you. When you tell your coach that you don’t think you have what it takes to improve your relationship with, you know, your spouse, she questions you, she tells you that, you know, if it’s not today, it’ll be tomorrow. She helps you move forward with your belief. So that even if you don’t believe in you yet, she believes in you yet. And she says, you might not know you have what it takes, but I know you have what it takes, right? And that great life coach will hold space for you.
We call it holding space in coaching. But that really means the coach is making a room for you to download all of your thoughts without her inserting her opinion and judging you. So if you tell your coach that, you know, you think your boss is the reason that you’re not getting promoted, she listens to you. And she asked you questions. And she’s very curious and loving, right?
She says, tell me more about that. She helps you solve your problem. She doesn’t immediately jump in and tell you what she thinks you should do. She helps you find your inner wisdom so that you can decide for yourself with her guidance. I think a great life coach also gives you tough love. And doesn’t just tell you what you want to hear. For example, let’s say you tell your coach that you are eating off your meal plan.
She will help you figure out why that has happened and how to prepare for the future. How to fail forward, how to keep believing until you create that result. She might say something like you ate off your meal plan because you decided to put food in your mouth. Now let’s figure out what happened.
What were you thinking and feeling right before you ate the food, right? She helps you dive deep into your actions and results without blame and being hard on yourself. It’s more of this curiosity so that we can look at our own minds and see how we are the creator of our results. I think great life coaches, also a great teacher. So when you tell your life, coach, you don’t know how to make money in your online business. She is going to pause and teach you as well as coach you, right?
Not all coaches know how to do both. I think a really great life coach is your teacher and your coach. They’re different skill sets. So for example, on this podcast, I’m teaching you, right? I’m not coaching you. I’m not asking you why you did that or what happened or show me your brain, or like, we’re not having a conversation. It’s me teaching you based on what I’ve learned, right? And I teach you life coaching tools. And hopefully you can apply them to your own life.
But if you actually want me to coach you, you come into Grow You that’s my virtual life coaching program. Right? I talk about it on here a lot, because I’m so passionate about it. And really this episode is not about Grow You. It’s about you knowing that you need a life coach, that everyone needs a life coach.
And not just any life coach. I want you to have a great life coach. I want you to have a great life coach because she will have confidence in you before you have confidence in you. And she will help you create that result that you want in your life. She will motivate you from the inside out, right?
She’ll say to you, you’re going to meet the man of your dreams and get married. Your time is coming sooner than you think she will give you those thoughts to believe that you don’t yet believe. As you go about hiring a life coach, which I hope that you will do. Even if it’s not me, I want you to make sure that you have one. I cannot stress that enough. And remember, you know, this relationship isn’t forever. Sometimes we hesitate to try new things because we think that the decision is finite, but like with everything, right, that decision is the decision for right now.
You can always change your mind. It’s not permanent. So you can, you know, start a program like Grow You join me. And then if it’s not for you, you can end that relationship, right? So as you go about hiring a life coach, I want you to find one who loves you, who supports you, who gives you the tough love that you need to hear. And it’s also just a good fit for you.
While you are considering life coaching and how to choose a great life coach and the qualities of a life coach that you want. I also want you to consider being coachable. This is something that you can improve if you don’t consider yourself coachable yet. And if you’re not sure it’s definitely something to keep in mind. So I think that part of the reason why I changed my life so quickly and get results that I want is because I’m very coachable, right?
So being coachable means that you are willing and able to accept feedback and be totally wrong. And you do that without beating yourself up, right? You have an openness to look inside and see what’s going on in your life instead of avoiding it with the overdrinking and the overeating and the overspending and the over fill in the blank, right? You’re like, okay, let’s stop with all this overindulging.
And let’s look and see what’s going on without hating myself, without beating myself up, just to see what’s going on and see how we can change it. That is being coachable. It also means you are willing to try something you are resistant to. I can always tell when someone isn’t going to get results, at least not quickly, if they continue on the path they’re on typically it’s because they’re not coachable. So it’s hiring a life coach.
And then going in thinking that, you know, more than the coach, every time I’ve hired a life coach, I’ve decided, okay, I am paying this person to help me. So I am going to go all in and do everything that they say, right. And I can always decide, okay, that way isn’t for me. But I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt that they have the results I want, or they know how to teach, whatever it is that I want to know.
So I’m going to trust them and I’m going to go all in. And that even means doing something I’m really resistant to. I know many people who really like learning about personal development, but they don’t want to apply it to their life because it’s incredibly uncomfortable. So instead they will continue to learn, but not apply. And they think that everything should be easy.
So it doesn’t make them very coachable. Right. And if you’re not coachable, it doesn’t matter how great the life coach is. So you just want to approach life coaching with a beginner’s mind and look for how you can learn and grow, right? It’s having that courage to do the unknown and fail forward. That will get you the results that you want. It’s not easy.
I often find that it’s a lot simpler than I imagine, right? Pre-coaching my brain is often very confused and messy and seems like, you know, everything is going to be so challenging. And what ends up happening is I find that the solutions are often very simple. They’re just hard because they require a lot of discomfort. And, you know, as a life coach, and also as a student, I’m so willing to experience that discomfort and just do it right. And that’s what I want to encourage you to do is to be really coachable.
And to also keep that in mind, when you are getting coached, regardless of who is coaching me, I know that they’re outside of my brain so that they can see in, in a way that I can’t. And that takes me to a beginners perspective where I really am open. And that’s how I get results so quickly.
So I think that the best life coaches, they end up becoming your mentors, your guides, sometimes even your friends. I have to say that personally, that’s been my experience and I’m so grateful for it. I love life coaching so much. I love having a coach. I love having many coaches and I love being a coach.
So I want you to think about what role you want life coaching to play in your life and why. Right. I started with that Tony Robbins quote. But I really, I want to reiterate it here that it’s this unique service that is specifically created to help those high achievers create the life that they want. Whether that’s, you know, more success, achievement, fulfillment, rest, you know, fill in the blank, money, time, productivity, family, all the things. That is what life coaching is about.
I’m so honored and humbled and proud to be a life coach, to be the life coach of so many amazing clients in Grow You. I’m so thankful for this opportunity. And I hope that you go out and hire a life coach. You will not regret it.
Hey, if you liked this podcast you really should check out, Grow You, my life coaching program. I coach you on everything I teach on the podcast so that you can uplevel your life. We 10x it so you get the results you want most. Just like a monthly gym membership to get your body in shape, this is a monthly personal development membership to get your mind in shape. It is an investment your future self will thank you for. Check it out at Nataliebacon.com/coaching. That’s Nataliebacon.com/coaching. I will see you there.