Life Coaches Are For Everyone

Braverman, a former social worker, is one of more than 30,000 life and leadership coaches now estimated to be practicing. She says people don't necessarily need life coaches, but some people want it.

"It's a wonderful gift to give yourself to have a supporter just for you," she said. "To cheer you on. To hold you accountable for the things that you really want to do."

Case in point: Marian Haider. She says she might never have had this moving day, daring to live on her own in a new apartment, without her Braverman, who coached her through a divorce. She said she still relies on friends and family, but coaching allows her to be selfish.

"I just wanted someone that could help me work through the process and just focus on me," she said. "I had actually been to a therapist or a counselor at various times in my life. The therapy and counseling was quite helpful. But quite frankly, I didn't want to rehash my childhood."

Braverman, like most life coaches, was quick to say she is not a therapist. She doesn't psychoanalyze her clients. She does get them to make promises that they will accomplish certain goals. Haider said she would frequently update Braverman on how she is doing. And, says trend spotter Salzman, there is a reason clients want to show their coaches they are making progress:

"There is something about the fact that there's a financial transaction," she said. "They feel like they've invested in it. Therefore it has value. Your friends' advice, it wasn't as valuable. You didn't pay for it. You got it for free."

Salzman says coaching is not just an American trend.

"I had dinner in London a couple of weeks ago with four women, all in their 30s, three of whom were recently married thanks to dating coaches," she said. "And the best plastic surgery coach I think anyone knows. It was a woman out of Montréal that tells you where to go to for various procedures … you just don't go to plastic surgeons blind, you call the plastic surgery coach and they tell you what you should ask for."

And the kind of coaches there are run the gamut. Salzman said the weirdest kind that she has ever heard of is a housebreaking coach people hire for their pets.

There are also housekeeping coaches like Phoebe Coles — a family manager coach to be exact. Her background was in the Army. For $200 for a full makeover, she coaches clients like Gena Salonga, a mom who's trying to start a new business, on how to run their homes.

"We like the idea of just having someone come alongside us and say, 'Hey, you can do that. You can have a smooth-running home,'" Coles said.

"I think my girlfriends and I get together, we all have the same problems, that's the problem," Salonga said. "We all just gripe about what to do during the day. But we don't have any real solutions, so Phoebe is my solution."

And maybe someday we'll all have a Phoebe for every aspect of our lives.