Wondering what Life Coaching is all about?
This page provides answers to all frequently asked questions.
Life Coaching is a collaborative relationship between you and a life coach who would help you tap into your potential and achieve your goals. It draws from a variety of tools and techniques from other disciplines such as sociology, psychology, neuroscience, positive development, career counseling, etc.
The most common misconception around life coaching is categorizing it as a mental health service, when it’s actually very different and not covered by health insurance.
- Therapy: Life coaching is not therapy, because therapy is intended to help people recover from emotional or psychological disorders, such as depression or anxiety. Coaching, on the other hand, is focussed on the present and the future, and deals with optimising the opportunities in your life for you to ultimately achieve greater happiness.
- Consulting: Consultants are hired for their expertise, and they are expected to diagnose problems then prescribe and, sometimes, implement solutions. With coaching however, the assumption is that you’re capable of generating your own solutions … the coach is only there to guide, support and help you develop your own plan and take your own action.
- Mentoring: A mentor is an expert who provides wisdom based on his or her own experiences. Mentoring may include advising, counseling and coaching, however the coaching process is not about advising or counseling. Instead, coaching is more specific to helping you set and achieve your own objectives.
- Training: Training assumes a linear, one-way learning path that coincides with an established curriculum. Coaching, on the other hand is non-linear, it’s a two-way partnership, and does not start with a pre-set curriculum.
A life coach is a trained individual who is qualified to support, encourage, challenge and motivate you to achieve your goals. He/she applies proven techniques and models to:
- Help you understand what you really want in your life.
- Uncover what’s holding you back from achieving your vision for yourself.
- Provide you with action steps to achieve your vision.
- Help you discover the changes you really need to make.
- Support you but keep you accountable.
- Help you move through blocks or obstacles.
- Ask you a lot of questions, and help you find your own answers.
- Challenges you but gives you the tools you need to reach your goal.
- Help you consider alternative approaches and explore different solutions.
- Encourage you to focus on the present and future.
- Work towards higher levels of functioning in all aspects of your life.
One of the most common reasons people hire a life coach is feeling “stuck”. You’re in a job you hate, you have unhealthy habits that you can’t change, or your life seems to lack meaning and purpose. If there is a gap between where you are now and where you want to be, then there is room for life coaching in your life.
When you have a leak in the kitchen, you hire a plumber. When you have a toothache, you go see a dentist. But what do you do when you feel stuck or overwhelmed? Usually people speak to a friend, a partner, a parent, etc. That’s great, but these are usually bandage solutions. A life coach, on the other hand, is a non-judgemental, supportive, encouraging and motivating individual who is solely dedicated to you.
Life coaching is also practical (all sessions can be done over the phone), and the experience is extremely uplifting.
You can surely reach many goals on your own, however with a life coach you will take bigger actions, set bolder goals and achieve results faster. Commitment, accountability, and follow-through are some of the most valuable components of the coaching process, and they are the reason why people who work with a life coach make much more progress than they do when working alone.
Through your life coach you will also have access to a number of tools, techniques, and processes that are proven to work, and you will benefit from being exposed to a different perspective that would challenge your approach and provide you with new ideas.
Athletes and CEOs know that they can’t do it alone. They recognize the value of a trained professional who would help them determine the best direction and provide them with objective support and feedback. No athlete would consider going to the Olympics without a coach, and the way I see it, we all deserve that same advantage.
- Setting and achieving goals and objectives.
- Planning (business, career and life).
- Blasting through blocks and fears.
- Getting organized.
- Balancing business and personal life.
- Making key decisions and designing strategies for success.
- Communicating powerfully and succinctly.
- Becoming a problem-free zone.
- Building powerful relationships.
- Getting promoted.
- Finding the ideal career/work or business.
- Making an important life transition.
- Starting a business.
- Growing a business.
- Identifying core values and passions.
- Having more time to enjoy life.
…. and much more!
- Career Coaching
- Family Coaching
- Health and Fitness Coaching
- Money and Finance Coaching
- Relationship Coaching
- Retirement Coaching
- Spirituality Coaching
- Business Coaching
- Entrepreneurship Coaching
- Executive Coaching
- Leadership Coaching
- Performance Coaching
- Team Coaching
- Organizational Change Coaching
People who hire a life coach come from all walks of life. The only thing they really have in common is their desire to change their life to the better.
Also, life coaching isn’t cost prohibitive and the return on investment is high. A recent ICF study shows that 86% of participants who hired a coach believe that they’ve made back at least their investment, if not more.
Typically, coaching begins with a consultation session (in person or over Skype). This is when the life coach seeks preliminary information from the client to assess whether he/she can be of service to that particular client. It is also when the client assess the coach and decides if this is the life coach he/she would like to work with. If both parties are in agreement, a contract is signed to formalize the launch of the coaching process.
Subsequent coaching sessions may be conducted in person, over Skype or over the phone. Between scheduled coaching sessions, the client completes specific actions that support the achievement of his/her goals.
Coaching sessions usually last 30 to 60 minutes each, once a week or twice a month. During the early sessions the client fills out several assessments to identify strengths, values, and the things that give the client meaning and purpose. The primary goal of these initial sessions is to give the client absolute clarity about what he/she want to achieve.
As the sessions progress, the process moves from self-awareness to planning, where the coach helps the client develop a personalized plan for achieving success. Subsequent sessions monitor the progress being made and provide support and motivation towards achieving goals.
To be successful, coaching requires that both parties (the life coach and the client) commit to their own roles and respect their own responsibilities.
The life coach has to provide objective assessments and observations, listen closely, and act as a sounding board in exploring possibilities and implementing thoughtful planning and decision making. The life coach should encourage, stretch and challenge the client’s strengths and aspirations. He/she should foster shifts in thinking that reveal fresh perspectives, challenge blind spots and maintain professional boundaries in the coaching relationship, including confidentiality, by adhering to the coaching profession’s code of ethics.
The client must assume full responsibility for personal decisions and actions. He/she should take advantage of the coaching process to promote possibility thinking and fresh perspectives, take courageous action in alignment with personal goals and aspirations, and engage in the process with complete trust and honesty. The client needs to take the tools, concepts, models and principles provided by the coach, and challenge existing attitudes, beliefs and behaviors in order to develop new ones that serve one’s goals.
The length of a coaching partnership varies depending on the client’s needs and preferences including the types of goals being planned, the pace by which the client takes action, the frequency of coaching meetings, etc. and financial resources available to support coaching.
For some people this may take as little as 6 sessions; for others it will be more. The important thing to note however is that the client is always in control of ending the process whenever he/she wishes to do so.
A Harvard Business Review article revealed a study where “training” alone was compared to “life coaching, combined with training”. The study showed that training alone increased productivity by 22.4% while training combined with weekly life coaching increased productivity by 88%. Here’s why:
- Synergy between the life coach and client creates momentum and enthusiasm.
- Better goals are set and the client develops new skills, which lead to greater success.
- Life coaching provides a structure of support and your life coach is an objective, positive supporter.
An ICF study on the benefits of life coaching showed remarkable results in terms of increased productivity and personal growth: