What is life coaching?
A life coach is a professional who will help you achieve your goals. Life coaching can be tailored to meet a variety of aims; whether you want to overcome shyness, learn how to be assertive, get a better work-life balance, manage a health issue, achieve a fitness goal, manage fears related to pregnancy, or work out want you want to do with your life, a life coach can help you get there.
Life coaching, also sometimes referred to as personal coaching, is different from therapy, though there is some overlap. A life coach will work with you on specific targets and help keep you accountable. A therapist will not work with you in the same way, and will be more likely to delve into your past experiences than a coach. You can read more about the similarities and differences here.
A life coach will focus more on your present and future. Through deep listening and asking questions, they will come to understand your present situation and what stands in your way to maximising your potential. In life coaching, you will gain greater self-awareness, particularly relating to your limiting self-beliefs and your strengths and weaknesses, and your coach will work with you to develop a strategic, personalised action plan to achieve your specific goals.
How your life coach can help you:
- Identifying and clarifying your vision
- Overcoming limiting self-beliefs and other obstacles in your way
- Encouraging self-development through self-discovery
- Set goals and keep you accountable to them
- Modify the goals according to progress and your coach's expertise
- Creating a life that is balanced and is in line with your values
- Keep you motivated and focused on the goal at hand
- Empower you and boost your confidence
A wide range of people might employ a life coach. Creatives, business owners, managers; those looking to change career path or manage career changes; those looking to develop their hobbies or interests. There is really no specific requirement for having a life coach, though many who seek life coaching have found themselves feeling stuck, lost or feel that something in life is lacking. You may also have had a knock to your confidence, whether through work or relationships; coaching can help build you back up to your previous self (maybe even better!)
How does life coaching work?
While ultimately the action plan you and your coach devise will be tailored to your specific goals and situation, coaching generally has a fairly structured format. Firstly, you will ascertain what your goals are. Why have you set yourself these goals? Do they fit with your values and long-term plan? How will you keep motivated? What stands in the way of you reaching your goal?
Your coach will encourage you to set challenging, but realistic goals. Sometimes, we can be very down on our own abilities, lacking in confidence about what we can achieve. Your coach will empower you to take positive steps that more accurately reflect your potential.
Once you and your life coach have assessed your present situation and future goals, you will work collaboratively to create a course of action. You will set specific targets and plan how you will get there. You will identify what potential issues may arise and how you will face them. Your coach will then monitor your progress and keep you on track.
Coaching is often fairly flexible – you won't necessarily have to commit to seeing your coach once a week. Some people check in with their coach monthly, or fortnightly. Sessions can often be done remotely too, via video, phone or email, so there are lots of way to make coaching fit around your schedule.
Further reading on coaching
Coaching for specific issues
Different types of coaching
Last updated 17 November 2020