A few weeks ago, I hired a coach. No, I’m not a professional sports player. I hired a life coach. My coach helps me identify and work towards goals.
So you’re probably thinking: why can’t you set the goals and work towards them yourself? Well, like many gay men I’ve tried going to therapy
, counseling, and even to a psychiatrist to deal with coming out, breaking up, and moving on. Unfortunately, I never had much success with these sorts of professionals. I felt like I was paying exorbitant fees to have someone simply listen to my problems. I had all but given up on ever finding a way to deal with the deep-set issues that affect many of us: issues from our childhood, harnessing our creativity, learning to love after our hearts have been broken. Then, I heard about life coaching.
Life coaching is not therapy and it doesn’t feel clinical. I meet with my gay life coach once a week for an hour. Unlike counseling or therapy, our “sessions” do not focus on diagnosing or treating the past. We keep a forward-outlook. My coach is tough on me: she makes me set realistic goals and I’m expected to do “homework” to make steps towards those goals.
So is coaching right for you? First, you have to want to change. All of us have problems, and all of us need goals. But you have to want to see something positive happen in your life. No, coaching isn’t free, but finances don’t have to hold you back from doing something to improve yourself. There are many coaches out there willingly to work with any budget. Search the internet for life coaches and you’ll be sure to stumble across someone that understands you and can help you re-generate into the person you are on the inside.
Second, you should know that coaching is not a cure. It doesn’t make you do or say anything. If you listen to your coach, however, you will garner some life lessons that will be invaluable to your development, both personally and professionally. One of the early things my coach and I discussed was my reaction to traumatic or even day-shaking events. You know the ones I mean: fighting with your boyfriend, having a bad day at work, or waking up on the wrong side of the bed. My M.O. was to feed into these negative situations, which inevitably left me feeling paralyzed. My coach taught me a simple meditation that I can now use to calm down when things don’t seem to be going quite the way I’d like them to. It’s humble tips and tools like this that coaching gives you. What you do with the tools is up to you.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you need to determine if life coaching is worth the sacrifice. Because believe me, coaching is no cakewalk. You feel vulnerable and exposed at first, but ultimately you’ll feel accomplishment at having taken some steps towards getting the things you’ve always wanted in life. Maybe that’s a long-term relationship, improved communication with your spouse, or a chance to showcase your art. Here’s my advice: take this ten-question questionnaire
to assess your readiness for gay life coaching. And then jump right into it. Many life coaches offer a free initial meeting. Take advantage of that and see if you can connect with the coach.
All right, so I know some of you are thinking this is all hogwash. And I admit that before I started coaching, I wasn’t sure of it either. But the honest truth is that gay life coaching is a great alternative to a professional therapist. Perhaps all gay men should get a life coach when they come out, or when they hit a bump in the road. Better yet, how about we all just get one to keep us on a path towards meeting our goals and being the people we ought to be.