The 3 reasons people don’t take life coaching, and why that’s fine.

At its simplest, life coaching supports individuals to set goals for their future, review their life as it currently stands, and devise a plan to get from where they are to where they want to be. Many clients, will opt to be supported on their journey and held accountable to achieve their short and long term objectives. Beyond this, as a client, you will also work towards getting rid of limiting beliefs and negative emotions, and increase your confidence and self-esteem.

As a Life Coach, drawing on personal experience and the tools and techniques of coaching and therapy, I specialise in support the ‘successfully depressed’ to overcome stress, anxiety, and depression. While I believe everyone would benefit from life coaching, I appreciate it is still a ‘new’ intervention when compared to other talking therapy bedfellows such as counselling and psychotherapy. This lack of understanding, which I respect, creates barriers to people investing their time and money into a coaching session or programme.

Like many life coaches, I begin my work with a free Discovery Call. This discreet, confidential, and private call is an opportunity for an individual to review how they would like coaching to impact their life. We’ll discuss the changes they want to make and the goals they want to achieve. The aim is for them to gain a greater understanding of the role of coaching and be in the best position to make a decision about using coaching as the solution to achieve the life they desire and deserve. After the call, I provide a recommendation report and proposal and where appropriate, an invitation to start coaching with me.

Based on this discovery calls I’ve identified the three most common reasons people don’t take life coaching, and why that’s fine.

  1. Coaching isn’t right for you
  2. It cost’s more than you thought
  3. You haven’t got the time

Coaching isn’t right for you

People will seek life coaching for an increasing number of reasons, with coaches popping up everywhere and specialising in everything from relationships, career, money, confidence, resilience, and the list really does go on… and on. Unfortunately, while this variety is intended to support a person to find a coach who works specifically with what they need, it often overwhelms those seeking a coach. It’s one of the reasons I chose and remain committed to the title Life Coach, although I do specialise in mental health. This means the calls I receive often focus on a person wanting to overcome stress, anxiety, or depression.

The discovery call will support the client and I in identifying what they want to achieve, often best described as what they want to get rid of in their life, what they want can often seem too out of reach or overwhelming. As they’re experiencing a mental health challenge, my focus is on ensuring coaching is right for them. What this can mean is the client and I decide coaching is not the appropriate intervention, or at least not right now. Often the alternatives of counselling and psychotherapy are better suited to their circumstances. This decision is specific to the person’s need so there is no hard and fast rule I can share with you but as guidance, if you think the majority of your time with a coach needs to be spent discussing the past, then it’s not coaching. Alternatively, if you think the majority of your time will be spent focusing on the future, then coaching has the potential to be the right intervention for you, where we reference the past only to take learning from it and move forward.

It costs more than you thought

Unlike other industries, there isn’t a general awareness of the cost of life coaching. To make matters worse, life coaches can seem quite ‘shady’ about openly publishing their prices on their websites. I too am shady but unintentionally so. Because little is known about life coaching, coaching programmes, and the positive impact it can have in your life, I, and many coaches, don’t want people to make an initial decision on price. Initially seeing a price without understanding the value can put someone off. Someone who, had they spoken with a coach, would have invested and greatly benefited from their investment.

When people are aware of the price, they are often reluctant to invest in themselves. It’s rare we invest in our personal development, and for many, this may be the first time they’ve paid to make progress in their life. People also think they are paying for the coaching itself when they would benefit from considering seeing themselves as investing in the outcome, e.g. overcoming their stress, anxiety, or depression.

A further challenge is people put a low price on their life in comparison to other purchases. I recall delivering my signature A Better Life workshop one weekend and a lady coming up to me at the end of the day and remarking ‘I loved this workshop, and I know that I need coaching, but I could never invest that sort of money in myself.’ My response? ‘I appreciate investing in yourself may be something new, and I can’t help but recognise the Mulberry bag over your arm. I’m confident coaching can have a greater impact on your life than that handbag.’ Now, I didn’t mean to be pedantic, nor did I need to make a sale, I’m a firm believer a person needs to see the value before they invest and when it’s right for them, it’s right for them. What I did want to do is help this person to re-frame how they see money and how often we put the solution outside our self, investing in what we think will make us feel better, and that will never be an object. Dawn, a previous client of mine, shared this in a testimonial,

“I knew that no matter how many pairs of shoes, spa days and chocolates I bought, they wouldn’t make these issues go away.”

You haven’t got the time

This is the lesser of the three reasons for not taking life coaching, but it is a barrier for some. I intentionally put this third because so many people put a higher value on their money than their time and I think this is unfortunate.

Our time is the most valuable asset we have, we can always make more money, we can’t ‘make’ more time, although we can be more resourceful with both.

Coaches work in different ways although for those who want to create fundamental change in their life it is common to work with a coach anywhere between 3-12 months, and some clients favour a long-term relationship with their coach. Unlike other interventions, coaching involves the client completing ‘homework’ outside of the coaching room. This can leave a person feeling like they need to schedule time for their sessions and time for the homework, and for many people who arrive at coaching, they already feel strapped for time.

The key is to recognise the time invested is returned to you in the future. You are creating a life that takes less time; less time spent worrying, less time spent depressed, less time spent working, etc. If you’re going to invest your time anywhere, you are the best investment with the most potential for short and long term return.

The majority of clients I work with don’t decline a coaching programme on time, although they may delay their start date, aiming for a time that feels right. While I prefer the saying,

If not now, then when?

I do concede there can be a right time to start; when your calendar has freed up, you’ve less of a commitment to work, you’re starting a sabbatical, a weekend day has become free.

In summary, the three main reasons people don’t take life coaching is coaching isn’t right for them, it’s not within their budget, or they can’t invest the time. My one recommendation to you, don’t let any of these be a barrier to first speaking with a coach and allowing them to support you in making a decision. A good coach with help you identify if coaching is right for you and if it isn’t they’ll advise you what is, they will seek to deliver coaching within your budget or signpost a coach who can, and finally they will create a schedule that works around you.


If you’d like to know whether or not coaching is right for you, I’d welcome the opportunity to speak with you. You can book a free Discovery Call at a date and time convenient to you by clicking here.

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