Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Life Coaching

Yesterday Brian Alger took an in-depth look at life coaching, and the types of education and certifications available for this emerging work:
"The notion of life coach certification provides practitioners with a source of authority and basis for establishing themselves as a trusted professional in the eyes of the public. In general, the market for lifestyle coaching is focused on providing solutions to help people bridge the gap between what they want to do or be in life and their present circumstances. In other words, lifestyle coaching is about providing a service for the preservation (and perhaps the recovery) of an individual's identity in the confluence of everyday life."
I appreciate Brian's cautions about this opportunity -- I have always been somewhat skeptical about companies like CoachU, although I can't really justify my negative stance. Perhaps it's a guttural reaction to the commercialization of every potential problem where we think we must seek out a professional (counsellor, stylist, tutor, therapist, landscaper, housekeeper, childcare provider) for nearly everything in our lives. It also seemed to be too easy to hang a shingle out and claim that you could help people transform their lives.

On the other hand, this lifestylism project is helping me understand how much help people seem to need, so if they're willing to pay for it, why should that be a problem? Although I'd like to see people develop their own strategies and networks for optimizing their lifestyle choices...I have to acknowledge that many don't even know where to start. I glean great advice from Curt's Occupational Adventure, and that's enough for me...but that doesn't mean that someone else won't choose to pay for his services, which I'm sure are excellent. Perhaps since the barriers to entry are so low, the supply of life coaches will outstrip demand for a while. Like any other consulting role, the wheat will be separated from the chaff soon enough.

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