How To Tell a Bad Life Coach
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Contrast.
Iâ€™d donâ€™t believe you need a gazillion credentials to be good at the Â job you do, though Â if youâ€™ve been recommended Â to Â me Â for Â brain surgery, Â Iâ€™m Â probably Â a little more concerned about your skills than your bedside manner. However, I do understand the importance of proper training, especially when youâ€™re mucking around in peopleâ€™s lives. Itâ€™s Â something Â that slowed me in my career transition because I wanted to avoid the mistakes that an acquaintance made.
She doesnâ€™t Â talk Â about Â exactly Â what Â happened. Â Just that she made a mistake. My guess, from my last conversation with her, is that it wasnâ€™t her only mistake.
People close to her wonâ€™t talk about exactly what happened either, except that she messed up someoneâ€™s life by interjecting her own personal Â issues into a professional relationship. Whatever happened with her client was bad enough that she lost her confidence level and without it, her career dissolved. Â Sheâ€™s trying to rebuild that now by getting the training she never had. All I knowâ€”from personal experienceâ€”is that I canâ€™t trust her advice.
Sheâ€™d always Â been Â told Â that Â she Â was Â very Â intuitive. Truth be told, some people consider her clairvoyant, not for seeing clearly but that when sheâ€™s â€œclear,â€ she sees the big picture in an amazing way. When sheâ€™s Â dealing with her own Â personal Â issues, Â her Â advice Â becomes Â muddied with Â what Â amounts Â to Â advice Â to Â herself Â or Â advice Â she wishes someone Â would Â give her. Not necessarily Â the advice her clients need.
But, this woman who had very few years of business experience, no college education, and no way of supporting herself Â except through the kindness of relatives, decided Â several Â years Â ago Â to Â hang Â out Â her Â shingle Â as Â a â€œspiritual coach.â€ Which might have been fine except that she had yet to make it through any of the spiritual training programs sheâ€™d started. She gets to the hard part and quits. But when I first met her, I didnâ€™t know all that. The woman Â definitely Â had Â confidence Â in Â her Â abilities, Â even when Â she Â later Â announced Â that Â she Â was Â doing Â career coaching and something she called â€œstarting-overâ€ coaching. Â She Â gave Â me Â a Â free Â knock-your-socks-off Â inspirational session on career transitions that was pure marketing and I vowed if I ever needed help in Â that particular area, Iâ€™d go back to her on a professional basis.
And that did happen. I went to her for a little bit of career advice Â a Â while back, Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â when I was looking for a mentor. I told her upfront that I was looking for a mentor, someone Â to work with once a month after we got started. She knew Â thatÂ before Â I Â ever Â paid her the first dime. I wasnâ€™t looking for her friendshipâ€”just pure professional advice. Â I quit after Â four sessions, Â two Â in one month Â and Â then Â two Â follow-ups. Â Iâ€™m Â grateful Â to Â have found a couple of new Â mentors who are everything she wasnâ€™t.
It started well enough. The first hour we talked, we focused Â on Â career Â transitionÂ Â issues, Â but Â then Â things shifted. She wanted to get into some other â€œareasâ€ of my life to aid me with the career transition. In hindsight, I see that Â what Â she Â really Â wanted Â was Â to Â be Â a Â relationship coach. She was in a happy relationship at the time we first started talking and it was one area where she felt really confident. Then her relationship hit an abrupt dead-end.
By the end of the next session, she was asking questions of me and answering them herself. Things like, â€œDo you love yourself?â€ Â And Â then, before Â I could respond, saying, â€œI donâ€™t think you do.â€ Or asking Â me what the most hurtful thing was that ever happened in my life or what themes Iâ€™ve seen play out in my life and loves.
These questions threw me at the time. She kept straying off the subjectsÂ I wanted to talk about, touching Â on them Â only Â briefly Â before Â heading Â back Â to the reason Â I sought her advice. Not that Iâ€™m against holistic treatment of any type, but she would go off on a tangent that didnâ€™t seem related to my life at all.
The last time I saw her, the most she spoke on my career transition was that I would probably do well and be very prosperous at anything I tried.
Okay, thatâ€™s nice, but not really the kind of advice I needed. Â I Â wanted Â to Â work Â on Â career Â planning, Â timing, milestones to expect, Â practical Â sorts of things. Â She was on-target with just enough advice in the past two sessions to keep me coming back, though I was waffling about her ability by this time.
She wanted to talk about men in my life. Even though she knew Â nothing Â about Â my Â divorce, Â she Â told Â me Â she thought I was still in love with my ex. I wasnâ€™t. I couldnâ€™t imagine where she got that idea, and I assured her that Iâ€™d moved on.
She asked about the last man whoâ€™d fascinated me and perked up a bit. She proceeded to tell me how wonderful everything would Â be Â between Â us. I told Â her Â he Â wasnâ€™t around anymore. Â Then she told me Â that I had to stop beating Â myself Â up for not doing things Â to trap him Â or trick him into staying with me. I had no idea what she was talking about and told her I wasnâ€™t beating myself up for not doing those things because I never would try to trap or trick him and if anything, Iâ€™d encouraged Â him to be flexible and follow his dream.
She told me to forget about staying with any one man, that if I did, then I would â€œnever have any peace,â€ and it was Â best Â if Â I Â move Â from Â relationship Â to Â relationship. When I protested that this wasnâ€™t what I saw for myself, she told me that she knew it wasnâ€™t what I wanted to hear and that was just my ego talking. Maybe she was intuitive enough to grasp that this was our last session because she told me that â€œAnother Â advisor will tell you that you can have your dreams, but youâ€™ll never enjoy them unlessâ€ I did it her way.
We never Â spoke Â again. Â Whatever Â happened Â around then Â caused Â her to Â change Â the Â way Â she Â saw Â her Â businessâ€”which sheâ€™d made into a business and not a professionâ€”and sheâ€™s not been able to regain her former glory. I know that she told me way too many things that were flat-out wrong for me, and all flavored with her personal opinions on relationships and events in her own life.
I know for me, she did little to help with my career transition except Â to show me the importance Â of being objective and non-judgmental when it comes to working with other Â people to help them make their lives better. Because itâ€™s not about making their lives better in the way I define â€œbetterâ€ but in how they define it.