What is a Life Coach?
It’s difficult to define what a life coach is in one sentence because life coaches assist with so many aspects of an individual’s self both personally and professionally. Merriam-webster.com defines a life coach as “an advisor who helps people make decisions, set and reach goals, or deal with problems”. It’s true, but this is the tip of the iceberg because coaches have all sorts of specialties from personal relationships to careers and assorted styles from explorative to direct.
While these variations make pinpointing an all encompassing definition next to impossible, the vast spectrum of coaching specialties and styles mean there is a life coach who is qualified uniquely to help you. No matter which area you are looking to improve right now, there is someone who can identify your needs, develop a plan to overcome, and celebrate with you when you achieve your goal. Long lasting change is attainable through your specific strengths, which a life coach will help you realize and tap into more fully.
How does life coaching work?
Again, there is no one size fits all answer for this question, which is fantastic because you get to decide how you will benefit most from working with a coach. Some coaches meet with clients face-to-face and others work virtually with clients all over the world. Some coaches suggest personalized sessions while others offer group settings so you can benefit from working with others who share similar obstacles and goals.
You can structure your time with a coach so the sessions will comfortably fit into your schedule. Depending on the goal you are chasing, you and your coach may decide to meet weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Some sessions may be as short as 30 minutes while others may last an hour. There is a lot of flexibility to meet your needs and desires.
Working with a life coach is a partnership. The most important thing to realize when working with a life coach is that it is up to you to decide what you would like to focus on improving in your life. Most coaches have specialties, so finding a coach who is equipped and experienced in the area you want to concentrate on is usually straightforward. Take advantage of a 15 or 30 minute free consultation to explain the goals you are aiming for and ask the coach how he/she has helped others realize similar goals in the past. This will help you identify the philosophy and style employed by a coach and see if it is a fit for you. Working with a coach should make you feel empowered and excited to reach boldly for your dreams.
Once you and your coach have pinpointed where you are now and where you desire to be, you’ll work cooperatively on creating a plan to meet and exceed your goals. As you work through this plan together, your coach will provide inspiration and motivation to keep you on track. Self discovery and growth are essential to create the life you desire and a coach is your guide on that dynamic journey.
Just like an athletic coach improves the speed, agility, mindset, and physical strength of an athlete, a life coach focuses on providing accountability so you can increase your productivity and develop the skills and mindset you need to realize your objectives.
Life coaches give advice, right?
Some may think life coaches are paid to give advice. Why do you need that when you can get advice from a friend for free?
Well, life coaches don’t give advice. You’re not going to be told exactly what to do during a session. Let’s say you are interested in increasing your earning potential and hire a coach to help. You’re not going to get a script to memorize and practice before marching into your boss’s office and demanding a raise. That’s just not what will happen and if it does, you should seek out a different life coach immediately. Instead, what may happen is your coach will ask you questions like:
- Are you looking to earn more money immediately or is this a long term strategy?
- Do you think you have the ability to make more money at your current job in your current role?
- Are there any opportunities available or about to become available with your current employer which will pay more than what you are making now?
- Have you considered a “side hustle”? Do you have any hobbies you can turn into a small business?
- Have you considered applying to do the same type of work you currently do at another company?
- Have you considered changing career fields?
- What do you think about going back to school or attending training classes?
There are lots of options to explore with just the one goal of making more money. I could think of more questions to ask a client about this topic. The point of the exercise is to give you the opportunity to see all of the options up for consideration and help you make an informed choice based on what it is you really want. There is a lot of self exploration in coaching sessions as well as the ability to get outside perspective.
A friend may give wonderful advice or her statements may be clouded by the fact she knows you don’t like your boss, your coworker just went out on maternity leave giving you double the work, or she makes money selling jewelry and wants you to work for her (boosting her earning potential). Sometimes you need impartial guidance from someone who only has your best interests as the main concern. This makes working with a life coach a great choice.
Also, coaching is not therapy. Life coaches do not make diagnoses or provide clinical treatment. If you need therapy to promote healing first, you should seek out a trained professional before starting to work with a life coach.
Does life coaching really help you get results?
It’s understandable to have doubts around just how impactful working with a life coach could be. After all, with so many different coaching specialties and styles, who can say coaching will work where you need it?
The data regarding the efficacy of life coaching is compelling. According to an article on TheLadders.com, “Studies conducted by the International Coaching Federation on the effectiveness of life coaching showed 99% of the people they interviewed saw their experience working with a life coach as rewarding, while 96% stated they would do it again. Moreover, 65% said working with a coach helped them improve their performance at work, and 80% said it helped improve their self-confidence.”
Thanks to a study from the International Coaching Federation (ICF), there are plenty of statistics that prove the effectiveness of coaching. For example, here are 4 benefits identified by clients from an ICF survey:
TheCoachingToolsCompany.com published the following:
80% of clients improved their self-confidence
73% of clients improved their relationships
72% of clients improved their communication skills
67% of clients improved their work-life balance
Working with a life coach has the potential to bring many rewards beyond the goals you are looking to achieve. Entering into a coaching relationship with an open mind and an open heart may result in finding your true happiness and clarity of purpose. Discovering your true self is the most priceless conclusion of all.
Take the next step now and book a free 30 minute consultation to see if working with a life coach is beneficial for you.