Dear Reader,

There was a Facebook post the other day, lamenting the hypocrisy of coaches.

Coaches don’t practice what they preach the post said, and generally pointed out a few more obnoxious tendencies we often see in those marketing themselves as coaches.

Unfortunately, coaching is an unregulated industry, which means the word can cover all manner of sins.

To help those who struggle with this, the PrisMind team decided to put together a guide to bad coaching.

The following are a few ways to know if you are not receiving good coaching services.

Firstly, life coaching isn’t therapy.

We aren’t trained and do not have the qualifications to treat mental illness, especially suicide.

Like therapy, we deal with emotions, but a good coach should know when they are out of their depth and advise you to seek mental health assistance.

According to celebrity coach, Tony Robbins, therapy is designed to heal – therapists are after all, medical professionals.

Coaches, on the other hand, help you plan actions going forward – and identify what emotions or internal challenges that could hold you back.

If you’re coping with serious emotional or mental trauma or an illness such as clinical depression or an anxiety disorder, and your coach is not referring you to a mental health professional, that is a definite red flag.

Secondly, life coaching is not consulting. The idea of coaching is to tap potential within yourself – answers that are already there. Your coach should not tell you what to do or decide what you talk about: it should be about your agenda and your thoughts.

Many who call themselves life coaches and spend their coaching sessions doling out advice are actually trainers or consultants. These are usually the ones that promise to give you the “top success secrets” and changes your lives in an hour.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Coaching is designed make you aware of the things you may not notice about yourself and to challenge you in a gentle and safe way.

A good life coach will reflect your blind spots back to you – those things you tend to gloss over. They will share their observations and feedback on what they see. They will ask you the questions you won’t ask yourself because it feels scary to get there.

The feedback should be free of the coach’s personal biases, judgements and experience of the situation.

Finally, while all or at least most life coaches will take the step to say that you’re in a safe space, do all of them actually provide it?

The coach must not be attached to any specific outcome for you. For the purpose of this exercise, they are simply a vessel – the less their own personality appears, the better.

Coaching is not about what them and they do, it is about you. Hidden within the concept of coaching is this beautiful belief in the human potential to tackle problems.

A good coach will never try to what you’re going through to something in their own life.

How many times have you told someone about an experience or feeling and had them respond with “I know exactly what it feels like,” only to go on to describe a situation which is nothing like yours?

How many times has someone offered you unsolicited advice and been very pushy about you taking it?

It is aggravating right?

Well, you shouldn’t need to pay someone to do that – you have plenty of people willing to do that for free!

A good coach may occasionally share a personal example but should do so without any attachment to your acceptance of it. They should certainly not be pushy about what they think you should do.

If you choose to work with a life coach, pick one who resonates with you and gives you the space to be vulnerable. Pick one who makes you feel empowered, not judged.

Pick one who brings out your best, not your worst.

Lots of Love,

Your Coaches at Team PrisMind