The "life coach" is the new personal trainer, only, instead of working to help you with physical basics to improve your health, the life coach helps you with those basic experiences of adulthood to help you live life. Who knew that someone could get paid top dollar to be "the little person" on your shoulder?
Life coaching has become a staple on television, with coaches helping sort out the lives of single men, ugly ducklings, sexually unsatisfied wives and other women in shows like "Nip/Tuck," "The Swan," "Starting Over" and "Modern Men." Life coaches, with their vague self-helpish title, have also come in for considerable skepticism and ribbing. "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" just this week devoted a sketch to poking fun at the coaching and "coachees" who become coaches themselves…
Although the federation does not keep track of coach specialties, coaches who devote themselves to the entertainment business — many of them former actors, television network executives, film producers or scriptwriters who sell their services as insiders — say they have seen more acceptance and a doubling and even tripling of demand for their services in the last three or four years.
Life coaches, who are unregulated and vary widely in their training and credentials, say they help clients define and pursue career and personal goals. The action- and results-oriented approach, they add, is appealing in a business where so much seems left to chance and few are prepared for success when it happens.
In a profession with a propensity for coaching — the acting coach, the voice coach, the writing coach — there appears to be room for one more coach, the one in charge of happiness, not to be confused with the old-school therapist.
Life coaches are taking jobs away from certified therapists, because so many people are trying to be proactive about living a happy life; they have to be tutored through each step, instead of learning to take independent risks. You'd think that this would lead to therapy anyway. Life coaching sounds like a pretty codependent activity to me.
"The difference between life coaching and therapy is that psychotherapy is about helping people heal their wounds," said Phil Towle, a psychotherapist and life coach, "and coaching is about helping people achieve the highest level of their fulfillment or happiness or success, whether they're wounded or not." Mr. Towle's work (at the rate of $40,000 a month) with quarreling members of the band Metallica was chronicled in the 2004 documentary "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster." […]
Life coaches, who work in person or by phone and whose rates usually start at over $100 a session, partly credit the increased demand for their services to decentralized and scattered families: the life coach, some say, takes the place of the mother, father or some other elder, who gave counsel through life's decisions and conflicts. That many people have more than one career and are searching for pursuits with more meaning also plays a role, they say.
Life coaching seems to be all about hustling a living out of maintaining a codependent relationship. These coaches work under the guise of helping people to live a happy and independent life, but what happens if the coach, who seems to be installed, for the most part, as a permanent fixture, suddenly leaves, or is not available when the client needs help? Hopefully the real therapist is still on speed dial…