When I started working with a life coach, I was working a demanding job with mandatory weekend hours – there were months where I worked 25+ days straight! I woke up and went through my life on autopilot, returning home after a 12 hour work day only to fall into bed so I would get enough sleep to do it all again the next day.
I needed help finding motivation and maybe a little bit of help not being such a pessimist. After my first session, I was so motivated! I started a gratitude log and began practicing morning affirmations in the shower. “This is going to change everything!” I thought to myself.
THE NEXT SIX MONTHS
For the sake of this story, let’s call my life coach LC. I continued to work with LC for six months. In life coach time, that’s a long time. The goal of a life coach should be to assist you in reaching your goals. They should dig in and get down and dirty with you, helping you to unlock your potential. And then they should fade into the background while you should continue to be awesome, all the while knowing you can always get back with them for more sessions if you feel the need.
I knew other professional women who worked with LC. One sunny afternoon in Chicago on a business trip, I was sitting across from two wildly successful women, enjoying drinks. One brought up LC and how she was helping her and her husband to make decisions regarding their three children. The other chimed in how she’s been working with LC for years.
I felt like all the air had been sucked out the room. My head was swimming. Years? And she’s helping with the children, too? When will I ever be strong enough to stand on my own? Will LC still be in my life in another six months? Or a year? That’s not what I wanted. That wasn’t at all my plan. I wanted help getting out of my funk – and then I wanted to take the lead.
THE NEXT WEEK
My whole flight home to Cleveland (all 45 minutes of it), I thought about that conversation. Was LC fostering a dependency in me? How would I know when I was ready to stand on my own again? Why did I feel so scared over it all?
I made a decision about a week later; I would find a less demanding position. With my new, clearer mindset, I felt the only thing out of whack was my work-life balance. I was still working long hours and not getting home until it was almost bedtime for my boys. This needed to change, and I finally felt empowered to change it.
I tested the water with LC, mentioning how I felt my work-life balance wasn’t where it needed to be. She encouraged me to work harder, insisting that I was fine working a 60 hour week. This, combined with the Chicago conversation, made me sit up and pay attention. This wasn’t working. I wasn’t being heard.
THE END, sort of
The day I fired LC, I also quit my job. I had figured my hourly wage by dividing my salary by my combined hours – the 12 hour weekdays and additional weekend hours – and I could’ve made more money working those hours as an hourly employee at literally any other employer. I was sacrificing precious family time for what?
Once I was free of the crippling corporate expectations, I didn’t need LC. She had helped me become much happier; I was journaling and practicing gratitude. I took the time for mindful moments throughout my day. I had become what I wanted to be, for the most part. My last obstacle was my job, and with that gone, LC and I parted ways as well.
WHEN THE TIME COMES
There were two main reasons I fired my life coach:
- She was fostering dependency. Whether this was intentional or not, I don’t know. I believe the purpose of a coach is to help you overcome your personal and/or professional barriers. A good coach will provide a limited number of sessions and help you immensely in that time. And they’ll be there for more sessions, should you need extra help. Coaching shouldn’t need to be ongoing, for months or years on end.
- I wasn’t being heard. Sometimes, people don’t gel and you can feel like this immediately. But that wasn’t the case here. LC and I had started off with a healthy and collaborative relationship, and somewhere along the way, that changed. This is one of the hazards of a prolonged coaching relationship.
HOW I GOT HERE
LC inspired me to become a life coach. I sought out the classes about a year after parting ways with her, after living the lifestyle she had taught me with great success. I realized others needed to know what I had learned, or at least I needed to offer the information to them. Shortly after becoming a life coach, Extraordinarily Nice was born.
If I had to do it over, I’d work with LC all over again. She helped me to realize my passion and potential. If you’re feeling stuck and feel like you could use a nudge, a life coach is an invaluable resource. Just make sure you pay close attention to the journey. If you feel like it’s time to end the relationship, it probably is.