It used to be that all your problems were yours to bear alone. These days, you can call upon a fairy godmother, also called a life coach, to help you deal with the ridiculous amount of crap in your life. But as with all fairy tales, there is a catch.

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You have to do the grunt work yourself. There are no shortcuts.

Okay, so that makes two catches, and at this point, we wouldn’t be surprised if you’re wondering why people pay good money for life coaches if they still have to do much of the work. After all, what are life coaches good for if they can’t make all your problems disappear in a snap, right?

The thing is, life coaches aren’t here to clean up after you. They aren’t here to give you all the answers. You’re not a four-year-old, so don't expect them to treat you like one.

They’re here to listen, not exactly as a friend would, because there are things that you just can’t talk about with your friends: financial goals, marriage problems, personal shortcomings, just to name a few. They’re here to give you clarity and help guide you through the turbulences in your life.

Oprah Winfrey’s resident life coach Martha Beck offers additional insight. “Coaching is not like school, and it's not like therapy,” she was quoted as saying in The Huffington Post. “It's a conversation between equals, where one person volunteers to be a leader by serving the other's life quest for truth.”

Deborah Gaines, a blogger for the aforementioned publication, understands this first-hand. After being gifted with a life coaching session, she found herself working hand in hand with her life coach (then called a career consultant) to find a better job with a higher payone that would enable her to have dinner with her kids every night.

With her life coach’s help, she was able to pave her way to a lucrative career (get the full story here). In all honesty, Deborah reports, “Often I wish I was healthy enough to just know this stuff without spending four thousand dollars a year on a babysitter for my mental health. But I'm not—so I am investing in my success.”

Not everyone needs a life coach and not every occasion calls for one either. But if you think you need a little help, there’s no harm in seeking it from a life coach. She may not be able to grant you wishes, but she can at least give you her wand.

(Photo by Purple Phoenix via Flickr Creative Commons)

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