What is a Life Coach?
To compete as a world-class athlete, you need the experience, enthusiastic support, objective perspective and insight of a coach. This is just as true for CEOs, entrepreneurs, business leaders, executives and business professionals. A life coach is someone professionally trained to help you maximize your full potential and reach your desired results.
What does a life coach do?
A life coach encourages and counsels clients on a range of professional and personal issues. Life coaching is distinct from advice, consulting, counseling, mentoring and therapy. The coaching process takes on specific professional projects, personal goals and transitions by analyzing the current situation, identifying existing and potential challenges and obstacles and devising a plan of action designed to achieve specific outcomes.
The life coach/client relationship is a creative partnership which seeks to:
- Identify, clarify and create a vision for what the client wants
- Use coach’s expertise to modify goals as needed
- Encourage client’s self-discovery
- Nurture and evoke strategies and a plan of action based on what fits best with the client’s goals, personality and vision
- Foster client accountability to increase productivity
These aspects of the process all work together to allow the client to maximize his or her potential, and research shows that coaching and training is a far more potent combination than training alone. In fact, training alone can increase productivity by 22.4%, but when combined with weekly life coaching, productivity is boosted by 88%.
Life coaching misconceptions
There are many misconceptions and myths out there about life coaching. Here are some of the most common.
“Anyone can be a life coach and coaches do not require training.” This isn’t the case. Great life coaches must possess the right blend of expertise and skilled delivery. This ensures that they can properly motivate and encourage clients while determining and resolving the core issues that merit attention in each case.
“Coaching is like unlicensed therapy.” Life coaching is focused on your present and your future. Coaching accepts your current reality and looks to improve your outcome moving forward. Life coaches are not health professionals, and they do not diagnose. In contrast, therapy focuses on your past and looks to delve into past actions and motivations. It is analytical, but not action-oriented.
Check out our infographic on the differences between a life coach and a therapist to learn more.
“Coaching is only for people who have problems or who can’t succeed on their own.” Going back to the athlete analogy, life coaching is for anyone who wants to improve their performance – whether you’re trying to advance at work or make more meaningful personal connections. Even the most skilled, successful people can benefit from coaching.
“Coaches let you vent, then they offer advice.” Coaches do need to have great listening skills, but delivering high-quality coaching is far more than giving advice. It demands that the coach be able to draw on a deep base of knowledge, experience and training to craft unique solutions for each scenario and work with the client to implement them.
Why would you work with a life coach?
People choose to hire life coaches because they want to do even more tomorrow than they can do today. They want to improve their output and see more growth, and they want to do those things quickly and to the best of their ability.
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All kinds of people use life coaches, including actors, business leaders, creatives, entrepreneurs, executives, homemakers, managers, professionals, small business owners and startup pioneers. These people all identify a gap between where they are and where they want to be, and want help reaching their goals.
What a life coach can do for you
Some of the most common steps clients take while working with life coaches include:
- Identifying goals and defining a vision for success
- Creating professional and personal action plans
- Identifying limiting beliefs
- Working toward financial independence
- Obtaining work/life balance
- Learning to communicate more succinctly and effectively
- Fostering more powerful connections professionally and personally
- Getting promotions
- Achieving weight loss and/or fitness goals
- Starting a new business or growing an existing one
- Managing an important life or business transition
- Articulating core values
How does life coaching work?
Life coaching typically works in a specific, structured format. First, you will work with your coach to define your vision, identify barriers and limiting beliefs and set challenging, but achievable, goals. Your coach will ensure that you are not settling for limited goals or being too negative as you assess your position by helping you calibrate your long and short-term goals against your core values.
Assessing your current position helps you and your coach measure your progress and identify current and potential obstacles. After this important step, you and your coach will review your resources and all courses of action available to you in order to create a plan of action. You’ll then decide which specific steps you will take and when you will take them. You will prepare for potential obstacles and decide how to cope with them. At this time, you will ensure that each step supports your end goals, while your coach will help you stay motivated and track your progress. If your plan needs modification at any point, your coach will help you with this as well, which will empower you to stay committed and on track toward your goals.
There’s a reason that life coaching is the second-fastest growing profession in the world – because it works for people. Few people can honestly say that they are already performing at the top of their game each and every day. If you are ready to truly maximize your human potential, seek out a life coach.