What Is Life Coaching?
“A coach is your partner in achieving your personal goals, your champion during turnaround, your trainer in communication and life skills, your sounding board when making choices, your motivator when strong actions are called for, your unconditional support when you take a hit, your mentor in personal development, your wake-up call if you don’t hear your own, and most importantly: your partner in living the life you know you’re ready for, personally and professionally.” – Thomas Leonard, Founder, International Coach Federation
While many coaches have their own definitions, my personal take on life coaching is: “a process that unlocks the inner potential of a person, and in which empowers that person to overcome the obstacles in their life, to achieve their life’s purpose, and to become who they truly want to be.”
That’s a lot to take in! Let’s quickly break down what life coaching is and how it can help you.
1. Life coaching helps people solve problems in their lives.
“They’re part therapist, part consultant – and they sure know how to succeed.” – Newsweek
A lot of people have problems in their lives. Okay, everyone has problems in their lives. But not everyone is able to move past those problems quickly and easily, and can certainly benefit from some help along the way. That’s what a life coach does. You have a problem, and a life coach helps you find a solution.
Coaches do this by helping you build on skills that you might already have, but aren’t aware of yet. They do this by encouraging you when you get depressed, by challenging you when you might not want to face a hard truth, and by supporting you in every aspect of your life.
2. Coaching reduces stress, helps in relationships and career decisions, and offers many other benefits.
“Coaching reduces stress an average of 18% to 47% after a three-month period.” – CoachConnect
“A coach may be the guardian angel you need to rev up your career.” – Money Magazine
The beauty of life coaching is that it is distinctly multi-faceted. People usually seek out life coaching for one of five main reasons:
- Help with relationships, family, and marriages
- Help with career problems, decisions, and transitions
- Stress reduction
- Self-confidence and self-worth
- Work-life balance
Life coaches usually stress how coaching can really benefit anybody, since we all fall into at least one of the categories above. And the list is truly endless, since coaching is tailored around you and your individual needs.
3. Coaching helps people get to where they want to be.
You have goals in life. A life coach is there to make sure you achieve them. Are they going to do the work for you? No, but they will engage in a process with you so that you can achieve them – and frankly, who doesn’t want to achieve their goals in life?
You probably want to be happy too. Again, who doesn’t? Everyone wants themselves and their loved ones to be happy, to have a defined purpose in life, and to feel fulfilled at the end of the day. Life coaches help support you in those efforts and help ensure that you are who you want to be, and ultimately, help you get to where you want to go.
4. Coaching simply works.
“99% of individuals who have had a life coach report that it was helpful for them, with 95% of those reporting that it’s been very helpful for them. In all, 96% reported that they would engage in coaching services again.” – ICF 2009 Global Coaching Client Study
That’s a lot of happy people :-)
There are many reasons why coaching works, but suffice it to say that coaching works for three main reasons:
- Coaching is a proven profession
- Coaching helps you gain a greater awareness about your life
- Coaching helps facilitate change that can be difficult to achieve on your own
5. Coaching is all about you.
The beauty of coaching is that the coaching process isn’t directed by the coach, it’s directed by you! You tell the coach what you want to talk about, what you want to get out of the session, and what would help you the most at any given time. This can be disconcerting for individuals who might have a background in more traditional counseling environments, or who haven’t ever had a lot of attention directed towards them. However, when people realize that coaches are there to help in a personalized way and are there to promote the client’s agenda and not their own, the potential of coaching is truly realized.
6. Life coaching is not counseling.
One of the most common questions from clients is how life coaching is different from counseling. There are three key ways in which life coaching is different:
- Life coaching is focused on the future, whereas counseling is focused more on one’s past.
- Life coaching is more action-oriented and focuses around goals, change, and results for the client, while counseling is focused more on inner healing and helping people move past psychological barriers and disorders.
- Life coaches give you the freedom on how you want to structure any given session, as well as the communication that follows; counselors often have a process or psychological model that they lead clients through on the road to overcoming trauma, mental illness, and addictions.
While the two professions certainly have a lot of overlap, especially in the psychological arena, they are two distinctly different professions, and each individual has to decide which is right for themselves.
7. Life coaching is new, widespread, and mainstream.
“Coaching is the second-fastest growing profession in the world, rivaled only by information technology.” – Ray Williams, President, International Coach Federation, Vancouver
“Coaching has evolved into the mainstream. This is because there is a great demand for results, and coaching can help provide those.” – Harvard Business School
Having been around for about 20 years, life coaching is a relatively new profession and is gaining traction every day. Coaching is now utilized by many Fortune 500 companies such as Nike, Ford, IBM, Campbell’s, UPS, and even NASA, so there is no doubt that corporate America is on board with the idea.
Though life coaching is indeed new, it certainly is here to stay, and now is a great time to try it out for yourself and see if all of these companies are on to something!
8. Lastly, coaching is free. Well, that’s not true, but the consultation is! :-)
Take this opportunity to talk with the coach absolutely free. That way, you can see if life coaching is a good fit for you, and if it could actually help out in your unique situation. Have a problem you’re dealing with right now? Family struggles? Can’t handle or relate to that one boss or co-worker? Relationship issues? Try out a certified, professional coach by scheduling your free consultation now, and get every one of your questions answered.
Also feel free to explore more of the site, such as finding out why life coaching works, as well as how to choose a life coach. There’s even frequently asked questions and common coaching concerns as well. Take your time, and thanks for visiting!