When is a life coach not the answer?

Posted on: 07.07.2018

As a coach, clearly I believe that life coaching is valuable and I really love helping people move on from pain and grow into happier lives. However, coaching is not always the right answer for everyone. If these reasons ring true for you, it may not be your path right now.


When you don’t want to

Self explanatory really. If it’s not for you or you feel like you don’t need it. That’s A-OK with a side of ‘just dandy’.

When actually you need something else

If there is trauma from the past to be handled or when you are struggling with levels of depression or anxiety which may mean you need medication it is absolutely the right call to see a doctor, psychiatrist or therapist. The quickest and best route out of your pain and into your healing is the right path here. Coaching will not cut it, if this is where you are. Please, please get the help you need because you deserve the best care available.

Also, if you want to change or grow but there’s something from the past that means you get stuck in powerful feelings of say, anger or fear…this may also mean some therapy first may be a good shout. We all have baggage so I’m not implying anyone be ‘perfect’ and have no issues (like that’s a thing?! Pffft!) but you are probably going to struggle to move forward if there is a great deal of emotion pulling you back. For example, if you Dad was very critical and this affects your relationships because you try and people please, coaching can help look at this and find ways to empower you so that this can change. However, if this left you with intense rage that is easily triggered and means you see red and lash out physically working with a therapist would be more helpful. This can be a tricky line to walk. I’m always happy to discuss this and advise the best fit for where you are now and your most effective next step.

When you aren’t really into it and you don’t believe in it

This happens a lot with couples, when one person really wants to change the patterns they have fallen into but their partner just thinks coaching is a load of crap and so just IS. NOT. INTO. IT.
Also when lots of a persons friends’ recommend coaching so that person decides to give it a go but deep down they aren’t sure about it so they are already checked out. I’m not saying don’t be sceptical or force yourself into it, but like all things if you go in with a closed mind and a ‘yeah, right!’ attitude it’s probably not going to work. Be sceptical and know your own mind but also be open to possibilities and be curious and willing to try. If not, coaching is not for you right now. As you were.

When you aren’t ready

Coaching takes time and effort. There will be things you don’t want to do. You can’t want big change without doing something that will push you out to of your comfort zone. As Dr Susan David says ‘Discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life’. So if you want to change your dysfunctional relationship with your hypercritical mother but you are unwilling to have an uncomfortable conversation with her or upset the apple cart in any way, you may not be ready to change that relationship. Notice I said ‘unwilling’ to have that conversation…you can not really WANT to, it’ll be difficult so it’s probably not going to be something you approach with the enthusiasm of getting a massage or a sunset cocktail on a beach, that’s why you have someone to coach you through firstly, the fear you feel and secondly the chat. But if you 100% flat out don’t want to do the work, be that deep and meaningful with ‘Mommie Dearest’ or looking at uncomfortable feelings or sticking that toe outside that comfort zone, coaching won’t work. If you don’t really want to but are willing with a bit of reasoning and support and yes, gosh darnit, even some hand holding, to try and be curious and brave that’s a different thing. This isn’t a judgement thing. It’s a when the time is right and your mindset is ready thing.

When you don’t have the time

Sometimes this is an easy excuse because it lets you off the hook, ‘I totally would look at those yucky reasons I keep self sabotaging myself but WHO HAS THE TIME?!’ Most often people can find or make time if they really want to. But if you really can’t then that’s ok, that’s how things are right now and when they change you can move forward. Until then in the pockets of time between shifts or on the bus or before you pass out after putting your kid to bed, you can check out a blog post or a YouTube video or read a chapter of a book focused on something you want to change in the future. It’s all forward momentum. Even little steps add up!

When you don’t have the money

There is not affording something and there is ‘no really, this is question of maths, I cannot make this happen right now’. If you have the money but it seems like a lot for ‘essentially just talking to someone’ I challenge you to think about what coaching is, what it can help you achieve and what you want. I’m not saying spend your money with me necessarily….I’m just encouraging you to think about this a bit deeper and what is best for you. That may not be coaching. But it might be coaching but I feel bad because it’s an expenditure. That’s a bit more complex because you need some ‘skin in the game’ to push you forward…it’s the difference between paying for a French tutor or signing up for a free online course that you never quite start. Money is a complicated issue for many. If the money is there, I invite you to think about what the changes you want to make might be worth to you in financial terms and 100% want you to know that you are absolutely worth it and this is true whether you spend the money or not. You are just worth it. Trust me.

If however, the money is not there or you can’t financially make it work without being dishonest or irresponsible, then the time is not now. There are lots of resources for free or cheap that can help you take steps to where you want to be. There are leaders, writers and coaches everywhere with free or inexpensive content, follow them on social media, read their blogs or watch videos on YouTube or TED Talks or listen to podcasts about things you want to learn more about. Read books. Go to lectures. Join Facebook groups. Sign up for free newsletters or webinars to get the content and just side step the hard sell. There are lots of resources if coaching is not an option right now.


If coaching is not the next best step for you, that’s ok. Maybe it is just not for you or maybe its not for you right now. Whatever the case I hope that whatever follows brings you the most peace, love and joy in the quickest and most lasting way. Until next time, much love x

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