Updated: Feb 25
If you have ever wondered what a life coach does and whether you need one, then you might want to read on!
I wrote this article to shed light on this big world to enable you to pick your coach better, and I also wanted people that are thinking about whether life coaching might be helpful for them to be able to assess whether they would benefit from having a coach, and to also be able to see when they might need a different type of help.
First of all, it's important to note that a life coach is a very general term that covers many types of life coaches of different specialisms and disciplines. Just as in life there are many areas, from relationships to finances to spirituality, there are also coaches that can help you with these specific areas.
As well as there being specialists in different fields and niches, there are also different styles of coaches. Similar to fitness trainers, where each person may look for a different style or personality to achieve their fitness goals, you can also select a coach to fit in with what may work best with your personality and the ways in which you are driven and feel supported.
For example, if you liken it to a personal trainer, some people may prefer a trainer that is forceful and really pushes you hard, and some people may prefer a more gentle and nurturing style. And sometimes you may want both for your different moods (a good cop and bad cop, so as to speak!) for different days and different moods!
Finally, as well as there being niches and styles there are also methods. And each coach has a different methodology or approach. Some coaches will take a more spiritual approach and use tools like NLP, tapping and visualization and some may use more traditional goal-setting methods and talking and counselling based approaches.
I have had coaches myself for different reasons, at different points in my life. I have used performance coaches that were about metrics and goals, I have had energy healing coaches that used a spiritual and holistic approach, and I have had everything in between! And each coach was perfect for my needs at the time.
I have found that at different points you may be drawn to different types of mentors and coaches and also that it is possible to grow out of a mentor or coach when you have levelled up and are ready to tackle the next in life's many lessons.
So that is a brief summation of the general landscape of coaching.
However, the common denominator of all personal growth coaching is that it helps bring you a greater sense of clarity and direction and helps you up-level your life and your coping skills (whether they be hard or soft skills) to a greater level of mastery.
Personal development coaches often help you achieve whatever goal you have set for yourself. These goals may not always be tangible physical goals such as achieving a new job, gaining a promotion or launching a business, although, of course, they may well be these sorts of goals. They could be something intangible, but just as important, like having greater confidence, being able to navigate difficult relationships, conquering fears or assimilating big life changes.
Sometimes life coaches ease the way into new directions and, when we cannot see a way forward or feel stuck, they help us create a new path forward that is in alignment with our greater good.
Sometimes life coaches help us clear the past and sometimes life coaches help us reduce stress and achieve greater work life balance. They may focus on one of these areas specifically or cover all of them in different sessions.
When you hire a life coach, the best life coach will understand your goals but also have the experience and wisdom to know what you need that is unspoken and between the lines.
Because, if we all knew exactly what our problem was, we would often be able to solve it ourselves!
A great coach will be able to zone in on your blind spots or resistance and will understand and navigate the big picture. Because, oftentimes, we don't know why we feel the way we do or are permanently dealing with the same patterns or problems and we need someone to be able to provide clarity and objectivity.
A good life coach will have a plan based on your goals but will also have the confidence to tailor their approach to you, and this may mean your coaching journey takes on a unique path, but one that will ultimately lead you to massive breakthroughs and shifts in your mindset.
And, finally, a great life coach will base their coaching practice on a principle of shared responsibility which means, as well as them being responsible to you to provide their best and give you their all, you are also responsible for showing up, doing the work and being actively and fully engaged.
So that is what a life coach does. But what does a life coach not do? In what circumstances is a life coach not appropriate?
A life coach will not, unless they are trained, attempt to diagnose or solve your mental health problems. If you are suffering from any mental health issues then you need to consult with a qualified doctor and mental health professional.
A good life coach can often be a great addition to your support structure if you have recently gone through physical or mental health challenges, in order to move forward and rebuild. But in dealing with the immediacy of the mental or physical health issue, you will need to seek a diagnosis and proper treatment to deal with the medical and psychological parts of the specific mental or physical health issue.
A life coach will also not be able to give you financial, legal or tax advice for which certification is needed - you will need to consult with a tax professional, accountant, financial planner or legal professional.
However, again, life coaches, which provide business coaching, can be part of a person’s support structure when helping them achieve their professional and personal goals, including career or financial goals, by providing them with structured coaching, improving accountability and helping them harness the skill set required to help achieve their goals.
So now you know what life coaching can do for you, I hope it has provided you with food for thought and context as to whether you could benefit from one, and how to go about finding the right person.
My ultimate recommendation is to go with someone that feels right, that makes you feel challenged but also comfortable and safe. It is a relationship built on trust and so you need to look for someone who you can trust to be with you in your more vulnerable moments, while also supporting you in your full strength.
Have you ever had a coach? What was your experience? Let me know by commenting below!
And if you want to explore my consultations and coaching services, click below.