Adviser, Ally, Consultant, Motivator, Mentor… There are many ways Life Coaches have been described- or may even describe themselves- but I think Martha Beck says it best when she refers to herself as a “Wayfinder.”
Beck was recently featured in the New York Times article, The Merchant of Just Be Happy as she conducted one of her first all-male coaching retreats on her California ranch.
Up until recently, life coaching was a business that catered to women. The concept of “being happy” is ingrained in young women, but men? They’re taught to “do well”. Many times this means sacrificing their own happiness and well being for the good of their paycheck.
Beck is working to change that.
Of course coaching is not new to men. From sports teams to business coaches, men are certainly accustomed to this sort of rapport. But happiness coaching? This is new. And it’s not going away.
Beck’s clients are not layabouts. She does not work with men who float from one dead end job to the next wondering why they’re not fulfilled. Her clients are CEOs, technology wizards, even GE seeks her guidance.
Her motto is do what makes you happy, and the money will follow. When you stress about money, the money doesn’t come. But when you focus your energy in positive ways, the money will always be there when you need it. This can be hard notion for many success-driven people to accept on the surface. But on this most recent retreat, Beck’s clients were in the woods, tracking bear scat, when they all agreed they found fresh scat based on it’s appearance. It wasn’t until one man poked it with a stick that they realized it was old and hard. The stick broke.
Their accepted beliefs, they learned, were crap.
“You have to poke the poop,” said Beck, to imply that you shouldn’t just accept the limits of your current way of thinking. You have to test it.
Beck is a living embodiment of this theory. She set out to help people find their way in the mid 90s, before it was called Life Coaching, and she has made millions along the way.
As of last year, Life Coaching has become a $2 billion business. For an industry that isn’t even regulated yet, many of it’s practitioners have done quite well for themselves. What was once dismissed as a sham of a profession is now gaining major credibility one happiness-seeking CEO at a time.