Life Coaching is an often misunderstood profession that can exist within the realm of ‘What the heck is a Life Coach, anyways?” This article explains what life coaching is, the differences between Coaching and Therapy and what you can expect to achieve within a Coaching partnership.
We all need a little help sometimes, especially when it comes to journeys of self-discovery. Whether your goal is to be more confident or to find fulfillment, it can be pretty tough to figure out how to get from point A to point B. That’s where a life coach comes in. Like a therapist, a life coach is someone who can help you identify strengths and weaknesses and overcome obstacles holding you back.
Who you should see depends on your issues and what you’re hoping to achieve. So here’s what you need to know before you reach out.
What is a Life Coach?
Coaching is about helping people to identify the obstacles that keep getting in their way, assisting them with finding motivation and pinpointing any resistance to change. Life Coaching is a broad term that is often used to describe business coaches, executive coaches, leadership coaches and health coaches, however life coaching is typically most helpful when you’re thinking about your overall future.
A life coach is a type of wellness professional who helps people make progress in their lives in order to attain greater fulfillment. Life coaches aid their clients in improving their relationships, careers, and day-to-day lives.
A Life Coach is like a personal trainer for your mind.
Life coaches can help you clarify your goals, identify the obstacles holding you back, and then come up with strategies for overcoming each obstacle. In creating these strategies, life coaches target your unique skills and gifts. By helping you to make the most of your strengths, life coaches provide the support you need to achieve long-lasting change.
The relationship between a client and their life coach is more like a creative partnership than a one-way street. You will:
- Identify, clarify and create a vision for what you want
- Use your coach’s expertise to modify goals as needed
- Encourage self-discovery and growth
- Nurture and evoke strategies and a plan of action based on what fits best with your goals, personality and vision
- Foster accountability to increase productivity
Many people seek out life coaches for guidance in navigating a significant life change, such as taking on a new career. In plenty of cases, however, people turn to life coaches simply for help in building a happier, more meaningful life.
Who should work with a Life Coach?
There are a number of indications that working with a life coach could be helpful for you. These signs include:
- Frequent irritability
- High levels of stress and/or anxiety
- Reactivity within relationships
- Inability to break bad habits
- Lack of fulfillment in your social life
- Generalized feeling of unhappiness
- Persistent feeling of dissatisfaction at work
- Feeling stuck or without forward momentum
- Sense of blocked creativity
In recent years, life coaches have acquired a considerable presence in the mainstream. Indeed, a growing number of creatives, executives, business owners, professionals and entrepreneurs are now teaming up with life coaches to attain success in their professional and personal lives.
How is Coaching different from Therapy?
Coaching can be therapeutic, but there are some major differences between life coaching and therapy. While there is often overlap between the Therapist and the Life Coach, each professional has a distinct role and serves a unique purpose.
Unlike life coaches, therapists and other mental health professionals focus on healing, treating mental health conditions, and helping people work through trauma and other issues from their past. While working with a life coach may help you to deal with certain unresolved issues, life coaches cannot treat mood disorders, anxiety disorders, addiction, or any other mental health condition.
Coaching is action-oriented, while therapy is insight-oriented. In this way, Coaching is about moving forward and creating something new for your future.
The great thing is that you don’t actually have to choose one or the other. Coaching and Therapy can work very well together or successively to help the individual process things internally while building something new for the future.
(Please be advised that Life Coaching is not a replacement for Therapy and cannot provide diagnoses as defined by the DSM-5)
It’s not a Coach’s role to give you advice: It’s NOT about their answers, it’s about yours.
What does a Life Coach do?
One of the main benefits of working with a life coach is the ability to gain a fresh, informed perspective on problems that you face. In addition to offering new insight into challenges, a life coach can help you to zero in on negative patterns that could be standing in the way of your success.
The exact life coach definition and the benefits you will experience depend on what your specific goals are. Some of the most common areas clients improve while working with a life coach include:
- Identifying goals and defining a vision for success
- Creating professional and personal growth plans
- Better work/life balance
- Elimination of long-held fears and anxieties
- Enhanced creativity
- More satisfying work-life
- Stronger relationships with friends and family
- Identifying limiting beliefs
- Working toward financial independence
- Learning to communicate more succinctly and effectively
- Fostering more powerful connections professionally and personally
- Getting promotions / enhancing performance
- Achieving weight loss and/or fitness goals
- Starting a new business or growing an existing one
- Managing an important life or business transition
If you’re thinking of working with a life coach, keep in mind that it’s up to you to decide what you’d like to focus on in your coaching sessions. Each session should leave you feeling empowered and uplifted, so it’s critical to find a coach whose style and philosophy resonate with you.
Katrina Murphy is a Professional Intuitive Mindset and Confidence Coach in Ontario, Canada, serving clients across Canada and internationally. Katrina helps professionals to change the relationship that they have with themselves so they can reconnect both in their relationships and at work. She’s been featured in various publications and is the creator of the Power-Passion-Purpose Framework.