This is an article originally written by Lindsay Tigar and published on Self.com. It captures one key asset of the value of coaching of which I didn’t want to deprive you.
From the outside (and her Facebook feed), 30-year-old Camille Galles seemed to have it all. She married her best friend, she loved the amazing city where she lived, her career was at an an all-time high, and she was in great shape. But something was missing, she tells SELF. While she had worked with many exciting start-ups and had a successful run at Google, inside, she couldn’t shake a hollow feeling that nagged at her.
“The impact that I was making never felt like it was enough. I wasn’t using my talent and gifts to their fullest extent and I constantly started to wonder, ‘What am I doing this for?'”, Galles’ says. “Yes, obviously for money, but ‘happiness’ to me while still making money was more important. The thought of going another year just phoning it in and not really taking a chance at who I wanted to be scared me.”
Then, she met NYU-certified personal life coach Alionka Polanco through a mutual friend. And while she was a little nervous before her first session, Galles described her initial meeting with Polanco as ‘groundbreaking’. Even after the first conversation, she says a wave of clarity instantly swept through her racing mind. I immediately felt energized and so happy.
According to market research company MarketData, there’s an $822 million market for personal or life coaching services in the U.S. The self-help market itself is a multibillion-dollar industry. Many of us are clearly looking for ways to improve and make the most of our lives. For some, working with a life coach may be the best method.
Wondering if a life coach is right for you? Here’s what to consider.
Why would someone need a life coach?
If a person feels unfulfilled personally or professionally (like Galles), wants to take their career to the next level, or is looking to make a radical change in their life priorities, they might benefit from a coach’s help. Palanco explains that most people need extra motivation to take a big risk, make a big move, or throw away their plan and create a new one that’s ripe with possibility. For Galles, it quickly became clear thanks to Polanco’s coaching that she needed to leave her job.
I needed someone to help me make a huge foundational shift, to be in the trenches with me to help me create a new way of thinking and a transition plan, she says. With Alionka’s help, I left my fantastic job, as well as my work family at Google, to take the big leap and start my own company. I’ve successfully launched and am already working with a wide array of clients. Galles now runs a digital media consultancy company.
Why not a therapist?
Many people confuse traditional therapy with life coaching, but the difference is actually pretty major. While a therapist can help you overcome feelings of sadness, depression, or anxiety, or help you get through a tough period (like a death in your family, a heart-wrenching breakup, or job loss), a life coach is there to help you uncover the ways you could change your life to be happier. ‘Happy’ is the keyword here. Like Galles, for most life coach clients it’s not that anything specific is wrong, it’s that something is missing.
Life coaching is a multi-faceted process meant to help clients feel fulfilled and purposeful in every area of their lives, Polanco tells SELF. As a coach, I guide my clients on a journey to uncover their deepest desires, and then I help them create an action plan to actually get there. Along the way, I provide them with insight on their performance/behavior, and any tools and resources that will accelerate their growth.
Galles had seen therapists in the past, so she already worked through what she was feeling and learned that she needed to make a change. She just needed help taking action. I had already determined what I wanted, why I wanted it, and that it was not going to be easy, she said.
What results can you expect?
At first, the experience of branching out and figuring out what really brings you joy can be intimidating, but Galles says once she opened up and had some faith in the process and in Polanco everything fell into place.
Traveling on the path less traveled by was scary to me, she says. But once she got comfortable with it and was able to adapt, she started to see so many more possibilities. While it’s taken me 30 years to get to this point, I’m so happy I’m here. For the first time, I’m truly living and using my gifts. My husband and family have noticed a new me. My tone, demeanor, approach, and entire presence have totally changed. I’m happy beyond measure.
Polanco praises Galles’ six-month journey, and says that when they started working together in November of 2015, she knew she felt tired, frustrated, exhausted, unfulfilled and anxious. But at their last session in June of 2016, Galles was fearless, excited about possibilities, and proud of herself. Says Palanco of her client: She said she no longer cared what other people thought of her and had learned to trust her gut instincts about what she wanted in life.
Galles now runs her company and says she feels more engaged, inspired and satisfied than she has in years. Coaching has also helped her prioritize interests that she never dedicated time to like singing, a passion that always took the backseat to her career. Now singing isn’t something I just do on the weekends, Galles says. She now knows she doesn’t have to choose between the things that make her happy; instead, she has the courage to pursue them all.
So, what should you do if you want to get a life coach?
If you’re considering hiring a life coach, it’s important to choose wisely. The coaching industry is so large and still very unregulated, meaning many certifications can actually be bogus. Look for a coach that graduated from a university coaching program (like Polanco did) or search the International Coaching Federation’s website to find a coach in your area that has a recognized coaching credential. Also, ask a potential coach for reviews knowing others were happy after working with them is a good indication you might be, too.
Original article publish by Lindsay Tigar on Self.com (Jul 30, 2016); Photo by Alena Gamm / EyeEm / Getty Images