Updated: Aug 18, 2018
When you see a therapist, mentor or life coach you do this for different results. There's not one size fits all, it's who you trust, who you are comfortable with and who you believe can help you with your problems and challenges.
A life Coach and Mentor would be able to offer guidance on:
Clarifying and achieving personal and professional goals.
Creating business plans.
Working to improve communication skills.
Achieving financial independence and security.
Achieving a work/life balance.
Starting a new business or growing a current business.
A therapist, on the other hand, focuses their conversation on ways to:
Recover from past traumas.
Explore why past relationships (business or personal) have been destructive.
Work through depression or anxiety that affect your ability to function at home or work.
Survive a divorce or loss of a loved one.
Mentor - Someone who has achieved something you are striving for (i.e. career, result etc..), and who can give you guidance through their own experience. Very similar to coaching and some coaches use both.
Life Coach – A coach knows you have the answers and coaches help you uncover them by asking you questions and getting you to see the missing information. This helps you achieve your goals. Life coaches can have different techniques, qualifications and ways of working with you. Some use NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), hypnosis and others ask powerful questions.
When I felt lost and stuck my anxiety increased to the point where I decided enough was enough. So, I went to see a psychologist. The first session was great, I walked out of there beaming with excitement. She told me that the reason I am feeling this way was because I am not aligned with my values in my career. I felt that was the case but to have an experienced professional tell me that was exciting. I knew I had to change careers, in other words I was confident to make a change in my life. She also told me a bunch of other interesting information and suggested the book Set Yourself Free by Shirley Smith. I highly recommend this book.
Now the next thing she said was:
"You don’t need to come here anymore, you have the answers". I was like, "do I?" It was something I didn't want to hear, because I still felt confused but I was functioning, so I didn't need to see her anymore.
Still feeling lost and not sure of what to do next, I decided to quit my job. I knew what I didn’t want, and I had no idea about what I did want. I had no plan, goals, I hadn’t identified my values, I still lacked direction and clarity.
I had no idea what life coaching or mentoring was. I knew that mentoring involved working with someone who provide guidance in your career, but I had no idea that some mentors do this as a career. If I had of known, I would have jumped on that opportunity quick smart (which is what I eventually did). Instead I just made decisions with no plan or goals. Even though I got unstuck, it cost me time and money working towards the wrong thing.
So, I decided the one thing I knew was that I wanted to start my own business. I had no clue what that was, who I would work with, but I knew what I wanted, and that was to own a business. I decided to hire a business mentor. I knew I wanted what she had, so I hired her. She is driven, intelligent, has the freedom to choose her own work hours, choose what she charges and how she implements her work. She is a very successful business owner. By the way I had this all along, I just didn't choose to live by it.
I did not ask what her qualifications are, I went off what results she has produced for herself and that was enough for me. The thing is, sometimes we over-complicate this process. When it comes to spending money on courses and hiring someone to help you, it can be simple. Go with your gut and don’t make decisions based on fear and money. Ask yourself "what do I want? Am I willing to invest in getting there? How can this person help me get there? And do I feel comfortable with them?".
So who do I work with? I get help from both a business mentor and a life coach. I chose to work with a life coach for the same reasons. She has the life that appeals to me and I could relate to her in my values and what she does. I feel comfortable with her enough that she can call me on my shit and with opening up to her about deeper problems I’m having. Before I started working with my coach, I met her at a workshop and connected with what she was saying. I knew I wanted to learn from her and I had no hesitations in paying her for that. It felt right.
What I have achieved so far has been huge and it would have taken me much longer to get to this point without my mentor and coach. I'm grateful for all the lessons I have learnt so far and I'm sure there will be more to come.
So, where are you in your life?
In survival mode?
Thriving and want to push yourself more?
Do you want to start your own business?
Do you strive for something bigger in your life?
Decide who can help you get the results you want.
Then let go of what you think you should learn and trust that you will learn and grow regardless of what results you get from the experience.