A life coach is the latest professional on every celebrity’s speed dial, along with the PA, personal trainer, stylist, psychic and nutritionist. Leonardo DiCaprio, Hugh Jackman and even Chuck Liddell have all credited at least part of their success to using one.

But us ‘regular’ folk too can experience the same pain and emotions as an A-list actor or MMA fighter (okay, maybe not the same pain as an MMA fighter but you get the idea).

Life coaching can be effective in many situations, for example in turning a side hustle into a career, fulfilling fitness potential, finding personal peace, or just for calling straight-up bullshit on some of the worst advice out there. Which is exactly what we asked six leading coaches to do.

The Worst Advice I Have Ever Heard

“Stress is good for you; you perform better under stress.”

What You Should Do

“Pressure is good for you. Stress is not. Prolonged stress actually causes damage to your DNA as well as physical and mental health. Parts of the brain shut down when stressed, which then affects your ability to make decisions and spot errors. Pressure is short term, and you remain resourceful. Recognise the difference.” – Becki Houlston

Woman under stress

The Worst Advice I Have Ever Heard

“Let it go, confrontation it is not worth the hassle.”

What You Should Do

“Never let someone make you feel like you are not valued. Confrontation does not need to be aggressive or highly emotional. If at work, arrange a meeting with the person and go fully prepared with examples to state your case clearly and with real solutions.” – Kate Evans

Confrontation

The Worst Advice I Have Ever Heard

“Stay in a safe job instead of launching your own business.”

What You Should Do

“Listen to your gut and go for it, but mitigate against the risk. If changing industries, keep a couple of smaller projects going to pay the bills while building the new business before taking it on full time.” – Jo Emerson

People working at a table in a startup business

The Worst Advice I Have Ever Heard

“Get a sensible job and give up on wild dreams.”

What You Should Do

“Spend time with people who have created an income from their dream, and limit your time around people who try to take you away from yours. With determination, belief and perseverance, anything is possible. The people that believe that you have to work hard in a job you don’t like to survive have simply not yet found another way.” – Maria Hocking

Boring Job

The Worst Advice I Have Ever Heard

“Just forget her/him.”

What You Should Do

“A broken-hearted man’s friends will (with the best of intentions) want to distract him from his pain, be it with drink, drugs, sport, adventure, strip clubs or casual flings. If you really want to get over heartache, you must firstly allow yourself to feel it. In failing to do this, we simply carry our heartbreak like excess baggage to our next relationship.” – Hilda Burke

Man sad after break up

The Worst Advice I Have Ever Heard

“Put some space between the two you as quickly as possible.” [When in a relationship and the other person starts getting emotional.]

What You Should Do

“When someone becomes emotional and expresses their feelings to you it does not mean that they want you to ‘fix’ a problem. All they want is to be heard, so listen with full attention. They only really want you to show that you respect their feelings. Be an attentive listener and notice how the atmosphere will immediately lighten.” – Lynda Field

Listening to problems

The Worst Advice I Have Ever Heard

“Distract yourself.”

What You Should Do

“It’s something we all do, but I once heard someone advising another person that if they felt bad, they should distract themselves to feel better. Judging a feeling as right or wrong is in itself probably the most harmful general understanding our society has.

“The idea immediately gives us a belief of how we have to feel for it to be okay, and rejects part of the human experience. If we feel bad and we gently take notice without getting pulled into the feeling, or indulging in it, we can understand ourselves better. This leads to better decisions, greater intimacy and a greater general sense of wellbeing.” – Sophia Davis

Women feeling content

The Worst Advice I Have Ever Heard

“Stay in your comfort zone. It’s nice and safe.”

What You Should Do

“The reason it’s terrible advice is because if you don’t step outside your comfort zone you never have any adventures or learn anything new about yourself. First of all, try to get a clear vision of what you’d truly like to aim for and then set small ‘stretch goals’ to get started and help you make progress step by step. Also get some support. From a friend, family member, or coach.” – Sally Ann Law

Get out of your comfort zone

The Worst Advice I Have Ever Heard

“You can be happy all the time.”

What You Should Do

“The worst piece of advice I’ve ever seen is from a life coach who said he ‘helps his clients get and stay happy all the time’. I wonder, how that’s even possible? I’m all about happiness, but I’m not sure everyone can be happy all the time unless you are in a Disney movie. I think it’s best to stay away from advice like that.” – Jacqueline Hurst

Faking happiness

The Worst Advice I Have Ever Heard

“Go for it! Keep going!”

What You Should Do

“This cheering on speeds up a process to the point where the one outcome looks inevitable, and it makes it public, too. All of this dis-incentivises taking a step back to assess something at a deeper level: Is that next step that I’m about to take something that I truly want? Does it make sense where I am in my life right now? Will this make me more fulfilled?

“All too often we take decisions because they look good on paper, the numbers are right, or it’s the logical next step. People cheer us on, it’s good news to tell your friends.

“Extracting yourself from this maelstrom to listen into yourself can be daunting. It is important though. What about your values? Your integrity? The fit with your overall life? What does your gut feeling say? Take that time to assess and review. Take a look at the bigger goals and purpose you have in life. How does this fit?. Listen to your body too. Then make your decision. The cheers can come later (and they will last longer, too!)” – Christine Locher

Man setting targets and adjusting his goals

The Worst Advice I Have Ever Heard

“But that’s just who you are, you can’t change that.”

What You Should Do

Believe you can change, if you want to. “I completely disagree. As a life coach and hypnotherapist, I see my clients make huge changes, I have watched people who were angry and controlling become so relaxed and happy.

“I know from my own journey: I thought for some time in my life that I couldn’t change the fact that I was impatient or the fact that I was a night owl who really wanted to be a morning person. I learnt how to be patient and nowadays I skip out of bed at 7am, which for anyone who knew me five years ago would properly need to see it to believe.” – Camilla Sacre-Dallerup

Man changing who he is