profession? Are life coaches effective?
Because I can always use advice—and
it seemed sort of fun—I made myself a
guinea pig, submitting to an immersive
According to the five life coaches
who gamely agreed to take part in my
experiment, there are plenty of reasons
New Jersey cultivates so many coaches.
One is that the recent recession hit us
especially hard, causing the displaced
to seek new direction in a diminished
job market. Another is that we’re a
wealthy state. Life coaching isn’t cheap.
The typical fee among the five coaches I
talked with is about $150 an hour. And
what several of my coaches referred to
as “lasting change” can require years of
coaching. That’s a lot of coin out of pocket—considering that such services are
unlikely to be covered by insurance.
Jonathan Sibley, a Montclair-based
life coach, says his average hourly fee
is $180. But Sibley wraps his services in
pricey packages. His website, jonathan-
sibley.net, recently listed several specials, including a Lasting Change Breakthrough Package at $1,500 (at regular
rates, $2,500), and a Two-Hour Immunity to Change Consultation for $425
(marked down from $500). Sibley, a
Princeton graduate, has a master’s degree
in social work from Columbia University
and boasts training in psychotherapy and
couples therapy, among other fields.
Those credentials can seem pretty attractive in a field that does not require
accreditation. Life coach, like consultant, is a title anybody can try on—
although the life coaches I met all take
their training seriously.
“When people hear ‘life coach,’ they
might think of crystals and new-age
kind of stuff, which is why I tend to call
myself a ‘personal coach,’” said Sibley,
who has been coaching since 2004. Sibley’s practice extends far beyond New
Jersey, since like most coaches, he often
confers with clients via phone or Skype.
His reputation, he said, speaks for itself.
I used my two hour-long phone sessions with Sibley to zero in on a problem I presented to each of my coaches:
time management. As a full-time freelance writer with two school-age kids,
a husband and a house under renovation
in Madison, my average day is apt to be
Help Bob and
the Can Do Crew
Liberty State Park
Jersey City, NJ
©2013 HIT Entertainment Limited and Keith Chapman.