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The Simple Luxury Of Having A Life Coach

Photo Credit: Handel Group

For most people the idea of having a life coach sounds like something only people who have trouble achieving things on their own would do. Yet looking at the most successful people in the world shows otherwise. People like Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Leonardo di Caprio, Bill Clinton, Serena Williams and many others at their level show that there might be something more to the simple luxury of getting a life coach. Just like top athletes couldn’t get to where they are without the input of a coach, reaching the next level in life might need the input of a life coach. It’s not that you couldn’t do it by yourself, but it would be so much faster, more efficient and maybe even more fun to have someone in your corner.

We reached out to Lauren Handel Zander, co-founder of the Handel Group, sought after life coach who has helped a myriad of people get to the next level in their life, and author of a few books such as Maybe It’s You, to get a better understanding of what life coaching does and why it’s a luxury we should all splurge on.

Before we got her to answer some questions, I had my own session with her, so I got to see a little through the looking glass inside the potential that life coaching could reveal. Here are a few things I took away from my session:

There is a lot of homework so you have to be ready and willing to set aside not only time for your one hour session, but at least a few hours to do the homework and really be able to dig deep into what you want. You have to work for it. It took years to build the beliefs and behaviors you have right now, but it doesn’t have to take years to break them down.

There’s a no-nonsense attitude. Lauren will not stand for mediocrity or self-pity. While she is incredibly supportive and insightful, she will also deliver her insight with impressive clarity and directness. From the second we got on the phone, I could feel her energy and her tough love. It’s as if somehow she knew that I can deal with the tough love and she didn’t hold back at all. She was my biggest champion, supporting and nurturing, while at the same time calling me on my BS.

You have to be willing to be open and raw with everything. The homework and the sessions are confidential, which means it’s your opportunity to let it all out, even the stuff you don’t admit to yourself. No, it’s not a therapy session, but there is so much value in your patterns, your secrets, how you deal with disappointment, change, how you love, how you leave, what you choose to hide, what makes you proud.

Don’t get hung up on how it looks! There will be times when you look like a winner, times when you look like a brat or a whiny baby, and other times when you just feel broken and defeated. Lauren has the unique ability to say the right thing for each of those situations that will move you forward.

Moving on to the discussion with Lauren, here’s what she revealed to us.

LL: Tell us what is your background and how did the Handel Group get started?

LHZ: Almost 19 years ago, I invented myself as a sole practitioner and launched a business out of my bedroom.  What I found was that no one was really asking the right questions. No one was really teaching us how to live a life worth living. We are all so busy just reacting to life, reading seven hundred books we’re going to forget, getting into college, paying off college, and achieving all of our goals that we’re not really designing our dream life at all. We’re so much greater and more capable than this, except we’re not breaking into our life and discovering our real voice, our real truth, and our real ability to live a life we care so much more about than the one we’re seemingly stuck in.  I began coaching and developing my method to help change that and to help people to break into their own lives. I’ve been coaching for over 20 years now. I developed The Handel Method, a step-by-step process that’s been taught at over 35 universities and institutes of learning across the country. In time, I turned my practice into an international coaching company with over 60 employees.

LL: What’s the best way to describe life coaching to someone who doesn’t know much about it?

LHZ: I consider it my (and our) job to point out every last thing that stands in your way of living true to your highest ideals for yourself and to be able to do that with honesty, compassion, and a sense of humor. I loved how one reporter put it. She said after speaking to me that perhaps the job of a life coach is to take something sticky and sharp and make it feel smooth enough to put in your pocket.

LL: Who is a good candidate for life coaching and who would benefit most from it?

LHZ: A good candidate for coaching is someone who is already healthy, but could use a helping hand in one or more areas of their life. Our work is philosophical, spiritual (not religious), and action-oriented. It takes someone who is willing to do the work, wants to break into their own life, deal with what doesn’t work, take responsibility for all of it (the good and the bad), and lighten up about it all.

LL: Most people are willing to embrace the idea that in order to excel at sports, a good coach is key, but are still reluctant about life coaching. What is the most important value you see as a life coach that may be missed by someone who doesn’t know much about it?

LHZ: In sports, great athletes, as talented as they are, have to believe that their coach is an expert that knows and can see more from the sidelines than they on the field. Same goes for a great life coach. You want an expert you not only trust, but are impressed with. They walk their talk and their life matches what you are look for. After the first or second session, you should be able to tell if your coach is the right fit for you; their advice is not only good, it changes you.

LL: As a life coach, do you have your own coach? Since you know all the tools and how to use them, what is the benefit for you to have a life coach?

LHZ: Yes. Every coach needs a coach. Who I go to, depends on the issue. But, my all time favorite means of getting coached is by surrounding myself with a high-powered group of women with whom I do assignments, invent new methods and practice with. Just as I have my clients make promises and find an accountability buddy, I too live publicly and transparently. Trust me, every assignment I give to a client, I do too. It keeps me not only living true to my own ideals and highest standard, but wildly happy. Yes, my own method is in my face.

LL: What would you advise someone who’s looking for a life coach? What should they look for in a coach? Certifications? Previous success? Connection?

LHZ: Find someone who you trust, whose life truly impresses you, and whose advice has already started to shift your world by the second session. Also, make sure you’ve done your homework. Research the coaching company. Read the testimonials, the blogs, the free tele-courses, etc. Truly, get a full sense of their flavor, ensuring their philosophy dances well with your own, or better yet, has you start to have insights about yourself before you even begin.

LL: What if someone is unsure of what their next steps are? If someone just feels a little stuck, would they still benefit from a life coach or is it better to have clear goals when beginning the work with a life coach?

LHZ: There’s so many ways to get a good shot in the butt (or a shot in the but, but, but) versus a revamp. And, which one is right for you is up to what what works for you to keep yourself inspired and pushing forward. One of the first assignments we give our clients is to write out your dreams in twelve areas (yes, twelve) of your life. What you will find pretty quickly is how little we dream anymore and how ill-equipped we are at it. Even if you come to coaching with one thing in mind to work on, you’d be surprised (and blown away) with what you discover you are really here to work on. Also, in this day and age, the ease at which you can get to work on yourself is amazing. If you’re a self-starter, you can check out Inner.U, my digital coaching course. If you want one-on-one guidance, then there is private coaching, a book and tele-talks. It all depends on how self-sufficient you are, we’ve got no lack of suggestions and ideas!

LL: How do you pick the coaches who work for the Handel Group? What kind of training to they go through?

LHZ: We believe in best in class. To give you an idea of how intricate our coaching process is, it takes about two years to go through our entire method to become a Handel Group life coach. There is no assignment that we give our clients, that our coaches haven’t done. And if you were to become an HG client, you’d quickly attest that there is a shift ton of work to do.

LL: Tell us a little about the Handel Method and what makes it so successful?

LHZ: There is no “maybe” about it. We are our life’s biggest problem and solution. We teach people how to design their lives, dream in every area of their life, learn how to keep a promise to themselves, and get into the right actions to realize their dreams.Though we’re loving and straightforward, at HG our coaches are are also wildly honest about our own lives and the first to cop to our own stuff. Not just that, we’re a bit in your face and honest. We will call you out on your BS and, in fact, we consider it our job to help you find your sense of humor about your own darkside and what doesn’t work about you. We don’t believe in tiptoeing. We help you shine a light on every which way you lie, blame, excuse and aren’t living true to your highest ideal.

LL: Are there any exciting news about the Handel Group that you'd like to share with us?

LHZ: We are very excited about Inner.U, our digital coaching course. Its beta testing period is about to end in a few months and we are offering it at a slightly ridiculous price for what it is (over 14 hours of coaching with me!) through the end of the year before we add new features and up the price.

Lavinia Lumezanu

Intuitive problem-solver with a vast experience in communication, public relations, marketing and linguistics, as well as demonstrated leadership abilities. View more work at www.lavinialumezanu.com ...(Read More)

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