alchemy alliance: press room: the guardian february 2005


If you can't take the pace of life, get a

The Guardian, February 23rd, 2005

Don't get a life, get a life coach. That's the motto for 2005, according to Jonathan Thompson in the Independent on Sunday. "What was once considered the indulgent prerogative of wealthy celebrities such as Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow is now a widespread phenomenon. Experts estimate that more than 100,000 Britons have consulted a life coach, a new breed of guru whose popularity is driving the astonishing boom in the therapy trade."

Life-coaching is becoming a status symbol in Middle England, said Thompson, and the online bookseller Amazon has reported a 38% rise in sales of its top five life-coaching books in the past year.

"Born in athletic training in the 70s and early 80s, personal coaches became status symbols in the corporate world, helping executives clarify their own goals and better motivate and manage staff," explained Judy Steed in the Toronto Star. Coaching then spread to a wider public "and caught the attention of people who felt they didn't need therapy but could benefit from a renewed focus on career, finances, lifestyle [and] relationships".

Two years ago, there were just 500 life coaches in the UK , said Anna Moore in Eve. Now there are around 5,000, with many more "in training". But therein lies one of the dangers: "Becoming a coach - whether it's a career coach, divorce coach, parenting coach or obesity coach - has quickly become a temptingly easy career option. And if you don't bother to train properly, it's still very easy to get started in coaching."

A successful life coach can earn between £30,000 and £60,000 a year and as more people queue up to cash in on the trend, some people are calling for tighter regulation.

"Why can't we stand on our own two feet?" complained Judith Woods in the Daily Telegraph. "According to a new report, we now spend £20bn a year in Britain on a support network of fitness trainers, acupuncturists, events planners, hair colourists and Hungarian mud therapists. But isn't a life coach just the thirtysomething equivalent of mummy ordering us to clean our room and sort out our school bag because we'll feel heaps better if we do?"

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