Life coach

Life coach may not be what they say they are

Beware of the life coach 

I had a call today from someone asking if I could refer them to a life coach. I had to tell them that I did not know any life coach that I would inflict on anybody. All the ones I had ever met were losers trying to tell other people how to live their lives. There might be genuinely useful ones out there, but I have never met them.

I was once a member of the local Chamber of Commerce and it seemed to me that most of the membership was made up of Life Coaches and Personal Finance Advisors. They appeared to be there for the sole purpose of marketing to each other. It also seemed to me that not one of them knew the slightest bit about what they were talking about. When I asked those 'Life Coaches" how much money they had in the bank, or what kind of car they drove, it was immediately obvious that they were complete amateurs. In fact most them had taken up these 'professions' because they had lost their jobs in the downturn. They had to do something to make money so this seemed like a good way to make a living.

Your Life Coach and the Management Sciences Paradox

It reminds me about what is known as the Management Sciences paradox. This says that the people who go into professions are the ones who should never be in that profession. The basis of the paradox is that people are attracted to study the things they feel weakest about. For example, when I was doing my psychology degree it was clear that most of the students were secretly hoping to find out what they feared what is wrong with them. And in my estimation all of the staff had psychological issues of their own.

People who are chronically disorganized, for example, realize they have a problem and begin to search for ways to not be so disorganized. So they learn more and more about what makes people disorganized and how to be less disorganized. They end up knowing more about disorganization than anyone else, but they are still disorganized. But when it comes to selecting people to teach about disorganization, who gets the job? The person who has studied it most - the person who is in fact fundamentally disorganized.

In this way you end up with Behavioural Scientists who alienate everyone they meet, time managers who are always late, therapists who secretly believe they are no good, and life coaches who are hopeless losers.

David Mason

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