Is life coaching still popular?

Still, the life coaching industry is thriving. Beyond life coaching, there is also executive, professional, leadership and even nutrition counseling. To open the curtain on the industry, I spoke with therapists, life coaches and people who have received life counseling. Our conversations revealed that many are attracted to coaching because it focuses on concrete strategies and objectives.

Some say they feel safer than therapy or, at least, than the popular understanding of therapy, which can remain shrouded in stigma. But while many life coaches have good intentions, the lack of educational and licensing requirements necessary to promote themselves as a coach could cause real harm, intentional or not. As with any industry, especially one that isn't heavily regulated, be careful with the buyer. Alternatively, a coach could play a complementary role to that of a mental health professional, who oversees the training process and provides specific mental health treatment in parallel.

Tess Brigham, a psychotherapist and life coach based in San Francisco, sometimes works with her therapy clients on specific goals, sometimes she doesn't. Since its origins in sports and mentoring in the 19th century, the word coach entered the business lexicon at the end of the 20th century with the term “executive coach”, a professional whose objective was to optimize the performance of leaders and guide employee development. The International Training Federation (ICF) approves certifications that hold students accountable to certain standards of education and experience, but many certifications are not accredited by the ICF. Nicky Hammond had been interested in life coaching since she was 26, but she knew she needed more experience in, well, life.

Being a life coach requires dealing with your own problems, and Hammond says she had to give herself the other way around to be the coach she is today. Sean O'Connor, from Sydney, who is a coach and academic, says coaches are likely to understand a lot of their work and use their training to set their own goals. Common topics for leadership coaches (maximizing performance, work relationships and professional anxiety) are the bread and butter of every therapy session. But like celery juice, yoni eggs and other wellness trends full of publicity and scant evidence, life coaching triggers my arachnid sense as a health journalist.

In the early 2000s, he saw a skinny life coach named Martha Beck on The Oprah Winfrey Show who specialized in working with overworked women. At first she trusted her life coach, in part because she seemed to have a lot of followers and commitment, which Kristen mistook as a sign that she was legitimate. Joseph James explains that it makes the difference between coaching and therapy “very clear”, and recommends that clients see a therapist if a mental health problem arises. As employees left their jobs en masse in search of better working conditions and more satisfying careers, LCS trained a record number of aspiring life coaches.