In the Life Coaching Trenches

Ever since that charmer Tony Robbins showed us how entrenched misogyny can be even in what might be widely considered an ‘enlightened’ profession, I have lingering thoughts about the shadow this famous life coach has cast on people doing the work in the coaching trenches. We – yes, I am a life coach – have already accepted how we’re portrayed in entertainment. You can bet that if there is a life coach character in a TV show or movie, that person is going to be flaky and/or the slick, fast-talking type. That character will be the butt of a joke or be exposed as a charlatan. This is nothing like the professional coaches I know. Then, of course, there is the image of coaches who preach from a mountaintop of their own making. Robbins falls in that category. He has helped a lot of people. He’s motivated them to overcome their fears and rethink debilitating thought patterns. He also holds the distinction of being arguably the most famous coach in the world. People see his riches, the arenas he packs, and are drawn to his swagger and presence. He has earned his place in the upper echelon of self-help experts by virtue of all of that. But the Robbins model represents a small fraction of professional coaches. Meanwhile, among the coaches I know (and we’re talking the cream of...

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