by Gideon

April 13, 2017

I saw a life coaching type Ad on Facebook (coaching men with high levels of stress to be exact) today and one of the comments on it was, “Where do all these snake oil people come from; can’t they just get a legitimate (pointing out he misspelled ‘legitimate’) job?”  Needless to say, I was simultaneously entertained and slightly perplexed by this comment. So, I felt the need to respond with a blog post. I don’t do short LOL.

Why entertained? Well, I thought it was really funny coming from a guy who is clearly still stuck somewhere in the 60s based on his homepage. Why perplexed? I was perplexed because history shows us that some of the most influential or famous people on the planet all ascribe their success to some form of mentor, coach, advisor, or someone in their corner (whether a spouse, old teacher, or friend), so I didn’t get his point about “legitimate jobs.”

Jim Rohn. Tony Robbins. Oprah Winfrey. Serena Williams. Leonardo DiCaprio. Metallica. Andre Agassi. Von Miller. Bill Clinton. Hugh Jackman.

The list is endless.

So in my mind the question isn’t “why should you get a life coach” but rather “can you afford not to have one when you’ve been struggling for results in like forever?”

GH Gideon Hanekom Life Coach High Performance Trainer Consultant Writer Thought Leader Speaker Pastor M.Div Whangarei Northland New Zealand New Life Better Life Blog

But, let’s ask the question: why should you get a life coach?

Good question. Let me answer it with another question.

What’s easier: Working toward your goals alone through trial and error, OR seeking the guidance and direction of someone who’s been there and done that? 

The answer is obvious from where I’m sitting anyway.

Also, how could you compare a professional coach (life or business, with all the sub niches) with a snake oil salesman? I mean is that even a real question or comparison?

According to Wikipedia, by extension, a snake oil salesman is someone who knowingly sells fraudulent goods or who is himself a fraud, quack, or charlatan.

I might not be a genius but I doubt that people like Oprah Winfrey, Hugh Jackman, Tony Robbins, Leonardo DiCaprio, Andre Agassi or Serena Williams would have achieved what they have achieved if they were fooled by charlatans.

I mean seriously. This isn’t even a discussion.

Now, I’d also be the first to admit that there ARE a lot of snake oil type of coaches popping up everywhere.

The reason for this in my opinion is because of the whole “lifestyle” marketing catchphrase. Consequently, you get every person and his neighbour doing some form of weekend certification and promoting themselves as a professional life coach, while attempting to charge thousands of dollars for it.

That, in my opinion isn’t right either. But then again, demonising a whole industry because of a few people abusing the system is insane.

GH Gideon Hanekom Life Coach High Performance Trainer Consultant Writer Thought Leader Speaker Pastor M.Div Whangarei Northland New Zealand New Life Better Life Blog

That would be like saying “leadership” is fraudulent or illegitimate because there are 1. corrupt leaders and 2. people are inherently self-managing.

And since that is true all people in leadership positions should just get real legitimate jobs or positions and let people lead or manage themselves. It’s a nice idea but not the real world from my observation.

Here’s another observation and fact I’ve learned my dear “Keyboard Warrior Friend from the 60s”when you seek the advice of someone who has been through it all before, or who has the skills to help you achieve your desired outcomes, you can avoid the same mistakes and focus your time and energy on what truly works. We do live in a world where speed of implementation and fast results are the name of the game. You snooze you lose.

In other words, while you’re busy doing your “legitimate work,” I’ll wait for you at the finish line after having fast-tracked my results due to the impact of a coach, mentor, or advisor.

THAT is the power of a good life coach.

Listen, my critical friend’s stupid comment aside, the concept of life coaching has been around since Socrates (I would argue even earlier) methodically asked questions and engaged in dialogue to derive truth and knowledge more than 2,000 years ago. It’s hardly a new idea.

People have been going to sages, priests and “their wise men and women” for advice on anything from childbirth to war strategies since the dawn of the human species. Does it come as any surprise that it still holds a place in modern society also?

Here’s a good analogy and food for thought:

Who has more value in a system – the person pushing buttons to get a result, OR the person knowing which exact buttons to push to get the best result fastest?

I know who I’d pay more but I’ll let you answer that one for yourself.

The point I’m making is that there’s always been a place for both “coachee” and “coach’ (or whatever terms you want to use). The 21st century is no different.

In fact, according to, coaching is a booming international industry.

In a global study released in 2012, the Lexington, Ky.-based International Coach Federation (ICF), the industry’s largest trade association, estimated about 41,300 active professional coaches worldwide generated nearly $2 billion in annual revenue. In North America, about 14,060 coaches earned some $707 million.

That number has gone up since five years ago. This is not a small industry and dwarfs many other more “legitimate” counterparts.

GH Gideon Hanekom Life Coach High Performance Trainer Consultant Writer Thought Leader Speaker Pastor M.Div Whangarei Northland New Zealand New Life Better Life Blog

So hopefully I’ve answered the question, “why should you get a life coach,” by now. Clearly I’m biased 🙂 but for good reason. And it’s obviously your prerogative to disagree with me.

Moving on …

Therefore, in the rest of this post we will spend time to look at the power of a life coach and what they can do for your results, as well as what you need to do should you consider working with one.

I have a very specific criteria I look for in all “coaches” I decide to work with and give my hard-earned money to. It’s only one thing, but will really help you cut through all the clutter and what I call, “authority stacking,” you see with many professional coaches. I learned this from the very famous Frank Kern. So I’ll teach that to you later.

Take a moment now, and imagine what you’d be able to accomplish if you had an effective map (or plan) and just the right guidance and accountability to reach any specific goal you have.

Imagine the things you’d be able to achieve.

Lose that 20kg.

Make an extra $50k a year.

Start dating again.

Improve your marriage.

Become the parent you want to be for your kids.

The possibilities are endless.

GH Gideon Hanekom Life Coach High Performance Trainer Consultant Writer Thought Leader Speaker Pastor M.Div Whangarei Northland New Zealand New Life Better Life Blog

Regardless of what you want to achieve, coaching may shave years off the time it would have taken you to reach your goals otherwise!

I would like share the top 7 reasons why I think you need a life coach, and maybe at the end of it you’ll be open to work with one.

Here are the top 7 reasons why you need a life coach (as I see it):

  1. Builds confidence. You know you’re under the guidance of someone successful and that your goals are attainable.
  1. Clarity plus a guided map/ plan. Most people I’ve worked with in my career have very little clarity about what they want or why when they first walk through my door. Additionally, their plans to achieve something typically lack some components research has shown us are important for attaining goals. Sure, you can draft up a plan by yourself, but when you write out your plans with the help of a coach, you know you’re getting a realistic plan that works! Your coach will know shortcuts and can help you stay accountable as well.
  1. Coaches can help you cope with current conflicts and tensions in your life. They can also give you tips on how to avoid similar situations in the future. People are creatures of habit and we typically allow old habits to stall our progress. A good coach knows this, and can help you develop the habits and routines needed to overcome obstacles and achieve your desired outcomes.
  1. Personal attention. Coaching allows you to get one on one attention so you can be personally guided along your chosen path. If you run into struggles, your coach will be there to provide much-needed support and suggestions. Sometimes people just need someone else to be accountable to. Many people might not understand this because they are self driven, but it’s a fact. I’ve worked with many clients over the years that simply needed someone to walk alongside them until they reached their goal.
  1. Dealing with challenges. Things will not always go according to plan. When you hit a snag, your coach can help you overcome the challenge and steer you back into the correct direction. You can feel comfortable knowing that you’re receiving expert guidance.In fact, even when the guidance isn’t that great, having the coach still means you’re not facing your challenges alone. There is someone in your corner. Not everyone has the privilege of having a lot of people supporting them. Oftentimes a coach (someone they pay) is the only one.
  1. You can decide how you’d like to use your coach. Do you want help with short-term goals or long-term goals? Perhaps you’d like both. Coaching is kind of like making upgrades or extensions to your house. To do that you need the expert advice of an architect and a builder. You can go about it DIY, but chances are you’ll either take you a lot longer than you planned for OR you’ll stuff up somewhere and won’t comply with some regulations. Having a coach puts you in a position of taking the time to work on each area of importance in your life, and really fine tuning it alongside expert guidance.
  1. Your coach likely has a great deal of enthusiasm for their work, which will naturally rub off on you. Sometimes it may be difficult to keep up your drive, but thankfully, inspiration is one of the main reasons why coaches exist. There is an old rule of thumb in the personal development world that says, “we become like those we surround ourselves with.” Sometimes the only thing you need to have a breakthrough in your life is “better” people. When you surround yourself with people who can help you get the results you want, you are more inclined to raise the bar. You need that positive energy, focus, enthusiasm, and even faith (belief) to create improved results in your life. A good coach can provide that.

The list of why you should get a life coach is most likely a lot longer. But these are the top 7 reasons I wanted to point out.

Also, all of the above is of course based on the assumption that you’re working with a good and professional coach.

Because even though there are many reasons why you should get a life (or business) coach, there are also just as many reasons why you should avoid BAD coaches.

So we have to think about finding a coach that’s right for you. I have a few ideas which I’ll share with you now.

GH Gideon Hanekom Life Coach High Performance Trainer Consultant Writer Thought Leader Speaker Pastor M.Div Whangarei Northland New Zealand New Life Better Life Blog

Finding a Coach That’s Right for You

As I said earlier there is one of key criteria that I always look for when deciding to work with someone, like a coach or advisor.

It is super simple but also super important.

Here it is – can they get me the result I want!?

Honestly, we live in a world where there is no shortage of information.

Go to Google and type in any goal you might have. Do it now.

Just type in “how to X” and see what comes up.

Chances are you’d be met with thousands, if not millions, of search results.

So what I look for in an expert (like a coach) is not whether they can give me information or not. I can get that on Google.

What I’m looking for is, insight. Wisdom. Strategy.

A good coach can take you from where you are to where you want to be because they have the insight (and know how) how to do that.

GH Gideon Hanekom Life Coach High Performance Trainer Consultant Writer Thought Leader Speaker Pastor M.Div Whangarei Northland New Zealand New Life Better Life Blog

Now, this is where it gets interesting for me.

Because I follow the “results-in-advance-criteria” when looking for a life coach, that might not mean that they are always the best-looking on paper (or webpage).

It might mean that they don’t always have the best credentials, been to the best schools, or have memberships with every possible organisation on the planet etc.

It is easy to do what I call, authority stacking. That is when somebody stacks their profile with so many credentials, qualifications, memberships and whatnot, to make him or herself seem impressive but in reality they’re actually insecure and are trying to hide the fact with education or connections.

It still doesn’t mean that they can get me from where I am to where I want to be.

That’s the first and most important criteria I look for. And I would encourage you to do the same.

You will pick up very quickly in the first session with any coach whether they are someone like that or simply someone with a very impressive bio.

But in saying that, credentials and experience are important. Just not the MOST important.

However, the coaching industry is growing and developing and is therefore raising the bar for entry-level. That’s a good thing. What that means is that credentials will mean more and more as the industry grows.

What you’ll also notice is that there seems to be some form of migration happening among therapists, counsellors and psychologists who are shifting into the coaching space. Qualifications like those will typically speak for themselves. Just make sure the therapist understands the coaching process, which is different from a typical therapeutic process.

GH Gideon Hanekom Life Coach High Performance Trainer Consultant Writer Thought Leader Speaker Pastor M.Div Whangarei Northland New Zealand New Life Better Life Blog

Another good thing to look for before deciding to work with a coach is testimonials and reviews. Ask around and try to talk to someone else who has been coached by this person. After all, a good referral is always a good indication that the specific coach has some skills at least.

Communicate with your potential coach and see what his or her communication style is like. Ask yourself whether or not you think you’d get along well with this person. Some people might think the coach is fabulous, but if you don’t think you’ll personally communicate well, then it may not be a good fit for you.

Make sure your coaching sessions will be conducted in a format that you find comfortable. Ask yourself whether you’re the type of person that needs to meet face to face. Nowadays with technology we can communicate in many different ways. E-Coaching has grown and coaching sessions can take place over the phone, email, video conferencing, or in-person. But it’s still important that you feel comfortable with the format in which the sessions are available.

At the end of the day you should be proud of yourself for seeking expert help.

There is no shame in it and you’re definitely not a gullible person who has fallen for a scam.

Professional coaches are making a difference in people’s lives all over the world every single day. They fast track results and help people achieve levels of success those people never thought possible.

GH Gideon Hanekom Life Coach High Performance Trainer Consultant Writer Thought Leader Speaker Pastor M.Div Whangarei Northland New Zealand New Life Better Life Blog

As I see it, you have one of two options – 1. You can remain doubtful (and that’s your right), or 2. You can find a good coach, work with them, and start achieving some of your most elusive goals.

Follow the strategies I gave you to find a great life coach for you and jump-start your journey towards the life you desire.

Please leave your comments and questions below if you have any.

Also, if you are looking to work with a good coach, go and check out this offer here.

To your success,

gideon hanekom consultant trainer life coach

About the author 


Gideon is the Owner of The Relationship Guy, a top-100 marriage advice blog that helps married couples create happier relationships. He is a trained professional counsellor (DipProfCouns., DipMSHT.), has been happily married for over fifteen years and is a dad of two.​ He also holds Bachelor and Master degrees in the field of Theology and is currently studying Psychology at Massey University (New Zealand).

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