I'm a life coach so you might already be thinking, Of course you would think every working mom needs a life coach. That's who you work with. It's true. I am a life coach for new working moms. But before I was a life coach, I was a new working mom myself Googling all sorts of coaching questions, searching for someone who would know what I was going through and who could help me get my life together.
And to this day I still have a life coach. We all have our own challenges and areas in which we want to grow. While I have the tools and could certainly coach myself through a lot of this, it's so much faster and more effective to get help. To have someone who can look into my life from the outside, share a fresh perspective, and hold me accountable to the change I want to create.
So yes, I work with a life coach now and I have worked with life coaches in the past, even before I became one myself. I like to think I bring the best of both perspectives to this bold statement.
If I had my way, every working mom would have a life coach, ESPECIALLY new working moms. We are even starting to see some progressive employers offer these services as a benefit to new working moms (amazing, right?). Do you know why? Because life coaching impacts every aspect of your life, including your work. It's effective and it works. And the best part is, all you have to do is show up willing to share, be open to new ideas, and take action.
That last one is huge. One of the biggest differences between coaching and counseling, in my opinion and personal experience, is that coaching is about taking action. Sure, you talk and share, but at the end of the day, coaching is about figuring out what you want, what needs to change and then creating a plan for action so you can start making progress. If you have a good life coach, those next steps and that action plan will be doable for you, not something that is overwhelming.
So why do you need a life coach? Why can't you just read self-help books, listen to podcasts, or vent to your friends or partner? Here are a few reasons:
1. When you pay, you pay attention
It's true for most of us—when there is money on the line, you are more likely to follow through. It's why goal tracking apps like SticK or 21habit work. You're out money if you don't follow through. It's why paying for a gym membership or a class works to get you to consistently work out or why buying a book as opposed to checking it out from the library might make you more likely to finish it. You pay attention when you pay.
I have found the same thing to be true of coaching. If you try to DIY a life change by reading books or listening to podcasts or researching the topic online, you can quickly lose momentum. First of all, it takes longer to find the right solution for you. Second, you never fully make a commitment. You'll "figure it out" when you have the time or when it's convenient and 3, 6, 9 months go by and you're in the same scenario as when you started thinking about making a change.
But if you commit to paying for life coaching, it's a different scenario entirely. You schedule the calls in advance and rarely break them. You make sure that you have a clear schedule and childcare if needed. It's no different than keeping a doctor's appointment or a hair appointment. It's your time.
And because the recommendations, resources and action plans are specific to you, you get to where you want to be much faster. You don't have to go searching for information, you can get your questions answered immediately, and you have a clear plan. You know what to do next. The best part? You have accountability. In all of my coaching relationships, I have always had a follow-up with my coach to check in on my progress. And no one wants to show up to those meetings having done nothing. So you always take at least a few steps toward your goal or you share any roadblocks you're facing so you can work through them... together.
2. Friends are great, but...
I have some pretty amazing friends in my life. Career women, moms, working moms at all stages, and they have some truly amazing insight and ideas. They're who I go to when I need a recommendation for a new car seat, or when I'm struggling with a new-to-me sleep regression or behavior issue with my toddler, and they are who I go to when I'm having a tough week, an argument with my husband or feel overwhelmed. They listen, they commiserate and they offer advice. But they're not necessarily who I go to when I feel like I can do more with my life. That there is a happier version of me out there that I want to find.
It's not that I'm embarrassed to share that or that they couldn't relate—they probably could—but I need something more than commiserating. I need ideas, I need a challenge, I need someone who knows how to bring out the best in me. When it comes to accountability, my friends have busy lives of their own. Many of them are chasing their own dreams, their own kids and feeling just as tired and overwhelmed as I am.
A life coach doesn't try to be your best friend, they want to see you succeed more than anything else. And if that means providing some tough love, some big goals, and a customized plan for how to get there, then that's what they do. And then when you're ready to celebrate the amazing progress you've made, you can go to your friends because no one else will be as excited for you.
3. Take self-care to a whole new level
You've likely felt the push to prioritize self-care. To do something for you each day so that you have the energy to take care of everyone else. You're told that self-care doesn't have to be anything huge, it can be taking a walk, reading a book or drinking a glass of water. But you also know that it's harder to prioritize those little things than it is to keep a big commitment like getting a massage, for example (remember that thing I said about paying?).
So if you're going to take the time for something like a massage (while that is an amazing way to take care of yourself) the effects only last so long. And for the same amount of time in many cases, you could work on your life, your mental health, your spirit. You could make changes that will impact your work, relationships and overall happiness.
That's what life coaching has done for me. When my mind and my outlook are in great shape, everything else improves as a byproduct. When I work with a life coach, I feel in control of my life and I feel like I am making progress on creating a life that I love every day. That, to me, is self-care to the nth degree.
4. Reconsider your idea of frivolousness
Maybe you think that having a life coach is frivolous or extravagant, but you might be surprised that you know more people than you think who have a life coach. It's exciting to see this shift toward seeking help, prioritizing our mental well-being and taking ownership of how we feel about our lives. Isn't that more important than a lot of other "frivolous" things on which we spend our money?
If I could gift one thing to all new working moms, it would without a doubt be the gift of a life coach. Figuring out how to manage schedules, find energy, be productive at work and at home, and enjoy your life as much as, if not more than you manage it, those are big tasks. Wouldn't it be amazing to share those challenges with someone who can help you take action and make progress? From personal experience, it is pretty amazing.
Originally posted on The Mother Nurture.