Publisher’s Note – Winter 2010
Sometimes I wonder if I am in the wrong profession. It seems that every time I turn around I am stunned by what people do for a living. A friend of mine recently proclaimed that she was a Life Coach. After the obligatory congratulations – that’s wonderful news, what a wonderful idea – I walked away kind of shaking my head, wondering just what exactly is a Life Coach? And what the hell does a Life Coach do?
I may be off track here, but when I hear the term “Life Coach,” I think about people who need help navigating their daily lives. I know that everyone needs a little help once in a while, but to go out and purchase the service of a Life Coach makes me wonder.
Are their different packages that you can purchase, depending on how totally screwed up you are? Say, the basic package for those that just need a refresher course on living. To the extreme/supreme package that starts with a gentle nudge in the morning and a helpful “time to get up.” I imagine this package includes classes such as: How to Get Dressed – One Leg at a Time, to the ever challenging and popular class, Walking and Chewing 101.
I think the best Life Coach is your mom. She’s been pretty good at it up until now. “Get up, you lazy ass, eat your vegetables, clean your room, brush your hair, you’re NOT leaving the house dressed like that, wait till your father gets home,” etc. But mom as Life Coach only works if your mother has not done time in the penitentiary, or is a crack head, prostitute, or certifiably insane. And, no, being overbearing, hypercritical and obnoxiously annoying does not qualify for certifiably insane – I’ve checked.
But if you are at the point which you feel you must hire a Life Coach, here are a few signs to look for: 1) How many times they have been married and divorced. Yes, multiple marriages can be looked at as “experience,” but after the third divorce, there should have been a little voice saying – “maybe marriage isn’t for me.” 2) The amount of plastic surgery said coach has had performed. Changing yourself on the inside takes hard work and perseverance. Changing yourself surgically only takes cash. I highly recommend that you stay away from anyone that has had three or more sessions under the knife. Not being judgmental, just think it’s poor planning. 3) Religious affiliation. I am not against religion. My stance is to each his own, and THAT should be yours too. But a life coach with a religious bent translates to Cult-of-the-Unknown. 4) If you are looking for warmth and sympathy, do not hire an ex-military guy as a Life Coach. He’s just going to tell you that you screwed up in the first place and fix it – dumb ass. 5) And just a personal thing, stay away from any Life Coach who wears those long blowy dresses, uses her favorite catch phase “life is wonderful,” and has a house full of cats. Enough said.
And another thing. The handful of Life Coaches that I am familiar with are not really the people I think are the strongest candidates for the job. I think Life Coach is the new graduate school. You know, when you don’t know what to do with your life, so you say you are going to graduate school (until of course something else comes along). It is the people “in between” jobs who have created this whole new career choice. It’s better than having to say you are out of work. It’s a catchall career. Like being a psychologist without the degree. Or being a stylist with authority. And any combination of past experiences qualifies you for the job.
But even more intriguing to me is – who hires a Life Coach? We have all heard of, or know someone, who is a Life Coach, but do you know anyone who has actually hired one? Or is it like the weird uncle that nobody talks about, something you have, but you don’t announce it to the world? Is there shame and embarrassment associated with having a Life Coach (which I am sure the LCAA – Life Coaches of America Association is working on addressing)? Where are these people? Are they stuck at home, at a loss for what to do next, until the coach comes over and helps?
It makes me wonder. Maybe I missed my career calling. I mean people are constantly calling me. (Those non-returned calls are not because I don’t want to talk to you, but so many people are calling me to ask what they should being doing today.) And I have done a lot of jobs in my life. I was a paperboy – taught me how to roll. I was a Quelqu’un qui lavages plats (dishwasher, but it sounds better in French) – which taught me what I did not want to do with my life. And the list could go on for days, which as a potential Life Coach could OVER qualify me. I can multi-task with the best of them, I’m a tad OCD – in a good way – love details in life, I can be very critical of people (just ask ANYONE), and I am more often right than wrong (again, just ask ANYONE). But most importantly, I am very expensive. Hmmmm, Publisher? … Life Coach? … Publisher? … Life Coach? It makes me wonder. Sign me,