in Productivity

Never, Ever, Hire a Life Coach

Instead, make friends with people who have done exactly what you want to do and learn from them.

I’ve had an obsession with learning, improvement, and generally getting better at stuff ever since I was little kid, so it’s no surprise I stumbled into the self-development scene as I grew up.

As I made my way through book after book, took on leadership roles in organizations like Toastmasters, and checked out personal development blogs, I ran into the concept of a life coach:

…a person whose job is to improve the quality of his or her client’s life, by offering advice on professional and personal matters, such as career, health, personal relationships, etc.

The Problem With (Most) Life Coaches

The most succinct way to sum up the issue with most life coaches is this simple question:

Imagine the change you most want to make in life is losing some weight and gaining some muscle. You can pick one of two people to help you:

  • A well-meaning, positive person with no particular fitness expertise to guide you through the process of transformation.
  • An asshole who has lost weight and gained muscle but has no coaching experience whatsoever.

Who do you choose?

The answer is obvious on paper — go with the person who has done it before. This is kind of like hiring a nice chef that’s half as good as Gordon Ramsay, or Gordon Ramsay. If you’re smart, you’ll choose Ramsay and work around the parts of him you don’t like so much.

Unfortunately, many people make the opposite choice.

Looking at a life coach as a panacea for all issues that you’re facing doesn’t make any sense. The chances are extremely slim that you’re going to find someone that has direct experience with the issues you want to improve in your life, and is a life coach.

A Better Strategy to Improve Your Life With The Help of Others

I’ve never considered myself to be in the top 1% of people in any particular field…but I am very good at figuring out how to both find and help that top 1%. As a result, I’ve been fortunate enough to:

  • Learn how to play poker from players pulling in millions per year
  • Learn the ins and outs of building and running businesses from people whose successes still dwarf mine by 100x
  • Figure out exactly how to fix the biomechanical issues I have with my body, and how to get in amazing shape
  • Become a much more social and engaging person after growing up thinking I was a total introvert

Instead of hiring a random, relatively unaccomplished person to guide you through the longest journey you’re ever going to take in life, why not seek out the best people you can find in each area of your life you want to improve and figure out how you can help them?
By doing this, you’ll be getting the absolute best advice in that particular area from someone who is very qualified to give it…and it’ll usually cost you your time rather than money.

Some may argue that time is more important than money — and I’d agree — but it’s time well-spent if you’re building friendships that last for years, decades, or a lifetime.