Dispelling myths about life coaching

Ashley Stahl identifies some of the most pervasive myths about life coaching. She is a career coach who helps millennials find their purpose, get job offers or launch their dream business. Join her at LandMoreJobOffers.com.



Coaches are basically therapists, with fewer academic degrees. This is one of the biggest and most dangerous misconceptions about coaching, because it sometimes attracts clients who want to focus on understanding or making sense of the past.  Coaching focuses on shaping the future, moving you forward.  Sometimes your past is your biggest obstacle, and if it proves to be insurmountable, a coach will suggest that you talk with someone who is qualified to help you. A professional coach is only qualified to work with clients who are willing, able, and ready to move forward.


Coaches are only interested in turning you into them. Prior to her first coaching session, my girlfriend made a confession about her coach: “She’s so high on her own happiness — I worry she’ll measure my success as a client by how close I get to being a carbon copy of her.” Clients do sometimes feel this pressure. But coaches would be doing a disservice to their practice if they downplayed their success to make clients more comfortable. However, a stellar coach is not single-minded about what success looks like – he or she is only an example, not the definitive model, of what is possible for you.


A career coach who isn’t an expert in my career field can’t help me. Effective coaching helps clients make positive changes in their lives, which undoubtedly affects the career realm. However, a coach who does not have industry specific expertise can still have a powerful impact on a client’s ability to up-level their careers. He or she is very familiar with the challenges and fears that come along with trying to make a major life change. Coaching yields the best results when the individual is committed to  personal learning and growth,  not just excelling in a particular industry. However, many coaches maintain wide networks of other coaches, headhunters, and specialists who can provide industry-specific insights, if needed.


Coaches get rich off lazy people who would rather pay a stranger for a kick in the pants than take any action on their own. This is synonymous with the oft-expressed “coaching is a racket.” In an industry where success is often subjective and difficult to measure, data overwhelmingly shows that coaching can result in improved self-confidence and communication skills, professional advancement and better relationships with others. Individuals who engage in coaching are not lazy – they are showing up in their own lives, often for the first time ever. I’ve been fortunate to work with clients who are passionate and committed to achieving results. Powerful coaching can move mountains, but it takes work, faith, and energy on both. Easy money? Hah.


Coaching can help you achieve clarity and empowerment. A little bit of skepticism is healthy whenever you are preparing to dedicate time, money, and energy to any activity. But don’t let those doubts or concerns keep you from doing your research. I would hate to think that these myths could be all that’s standing between you and the fulfillment you deserve. An effective and committed coach will help you experience their true weight and power in your life.