I’m a life coach, you’re a life coach: the rise of an unregulated industry

Brooke Castillo, the ‘queen’ of life coaching, has convinced her fans they can find meaning and money in the field – but is she selling them an unattainable fantasy?

In November 2020, Olivia* was ready for her life to be transformed. She had just stepped away from her long career in business and paid $18,000 for a six-month program to become a life coach. “It was a big decision financially, but it felt right,” she said. “I wanted to start bringing the work I’d done on myself to see if I could help others.” The program, she believed, was the key to a career that would be both lucrative and emotionally satisfying.

Throughout her life, Olivia had explored her inner world via spiritual retreats, therapy, and psychology books. But she’d been dismissive of life coaching, which she regarded as “bullshit” – until she heard about Brooke Castillo.

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