Thoughts on Life Coaching

I’ve always been skeptical of life coaching. I think it’s for people who need reassurance and not direction. Needing reassurance is fine, but your friends, church, parents, or psychiatrist are probably better at it than a life coach, and they won’t do it under false pretenses. Or charge you as much money.

However, maybe I should re-think my assumptions. Here’s a new post on Study Hacks about a world renowned surgeon who has a professional coach. He discusses why he uses one:

Athletes and musicians know that deliberate practice is the foundation for excellence, and that this style of practice requires a ruthless focus on your shortcomings, which in turn requires coaching. The rest of us, however, tend to flee the discomfort of such directed criticism as soon as we’ve acquired the bare minimum of credentials that allows us to adopt the moniker of “expert.” We wield any foundation of skill — even if skimpy — like a shield against the discomfort required to acquire more.

The entire article about the surgeon can be seen here

Over here, Tyler Cowen states that the motivation industry will be one of the fastest growing employers of human labor.

I think both of those guys are a lot smarter than I am, so maybe I should admit defeat. 

However, I think in the comments section on Study Hacks one of the commenters nails the issue:

Rather than hiring a coach, or spending the time to find a good one, you could instead team up with your friends or co-workers or colleagues and then try to have everyone coaching each other. I remember hearing about this charter school where this is exactly what the teachers do. They all attend each other’s classes and then hold feedback sessions later. One teacher described the system as feeling like “the Olympics of teaching.”

I agree that external sources of motivation are a new need, but I don’t ever see formal coaching that you pay for being the answer. I’ve also never seen lifestyle coaches extend their businesses beyond themselves. It doesn’t seem like something that’s easily replicated. The people who can do it well probably have better options available to them than being lifestyle coaches.

The ability for people to organize around shared interests is a more likely answer to the motivation/expertise problem.

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