Making large-scale changes to our lives isn’t easy, but that doesn’t stop us from dreaming: If only we had a better job, got into a relationship, had better friends…
But, often we don’t even know where to begin.
That’s where a life coach comes into a play. Just as a personal trainer will help you get in shape by standing by your side while you lift weights, a life coach helps you reach your desired goal by giving you action steps.
Melissa Heisler, a life coach based in Arlington Heights, says it’s easier to make changes when you have someone to check in with. “The accountability and support is really, really powerful,” she says.
Heisler says clients often seek out a life coach when they’re unhappy in their job and aren’t sure where to go next. “There’s this feeling that there’s something bigger in their life, they just don’t know what it is,” she says.
She has her clients envision their perfect life, and figure out what they really love to do. Often, they’ll start to realize that a job change is only part of the puzzle.
Sara Connell, a life coach in Chicago, had one client who came to her because she was unhappy in her finance job at a Fortune 500 company. She wanted to do something different, but she knew she had to continue making at least $100,000 a year to support her family, and she was afraid she couldn’t earn enough money while doing something she loved.
First, Connell helped her client realize she really wanted to work in the performing arts. Then Connell encouraged her to get informational interviews, write a new resume, and take other steps to reach her goal. Today, that client is working at a non-profit organization in the arts and making a 6-figure salary.
Of course, career change isn’t the only thing a life coach can help with. Connell says she’s been to 8 weddings of clients who came to her because they wanted to find a satisfying relationship.
Heisler says her job is to help people realize they’re not stuck in their circumstances. “Our parents, our peers, society as a whole limit the ideas about what’s available,” Heisler says. “We always have a choice in every situation. I help them have the courage to make the best choice for them.”
Once you start meeting with a life coach (usually every other week), you should see significant changes in 3 to 8 months. “You’re not just coming and talking. You’re taking action, which is why pretty quickly you’re going to see results,” Connell says.
Unlike therapy, which often focuses on analyzing the past, Heisler says working with a life coach is about changing the present. “I help people figure out ‘What can I do to make my life today and tomorrow just a little bit better?’”
Interested in a Life Coach? Here are some local resources from our Better List.
Also check out our quiz from Joanne Gordon, Quiz: What Type of Happy Working Woman Are You Destined to Be?