I am often asked what life coaching actually is and there are many misconceptions about it. It is certainly not the easiest thing to explain succinctly, but I would describe it as follows…
Life coaching tends to be goal focused and typically involves a client seeing a coach for 5-10 sessions, however this is completely dependent on the client and their objective(s). If you choose to seek help from a life coach this means a few things:
1) You have a willingness to be proactive
2) You want to succeed
3) You are ready to move forward with your life in some way
Choosing life coaching is about deciding to take action in a particular area of your life (you may not even know exactly what it is you want to achieve initially, which is OK) and being prepared to be open and honest with someone who can support you on your journey to success. Coaching involves discussion, questioning, reflection and setting realistic and achievable goals. Your coach’s role is to help you to focus on what you want to achieve, and to look at how you can break your goals down into manageable steps in order to realise success!
In the same way that many people find it useful to have a Personal Trainer at the gym, many people find that having a life coach motivates them to succeed in other areas of their lives. For instance your goal may be related to your work life (achieving a work-based target or setting up a business) or your personal life (a health goal or lifestyle change perhaps). Some coaches specialise in a particular area e.g. relationships, whereas other coaches will work more broadly on any area a client seeks help with.
As a client you will receive support, encouragement and feedback from your coach. You will be listened to (I mean really listened to), you will be challenged and you will be motivated to take action. However, your coach will not decide your goals for you and is not accountable them… you are! As a client, you must be willing to set goals and work towards achieving them. A coach will not drag you to the finish line kicking and screaming! The process is (and must remain) collaborative.
What life coaching isn’t
Life coaching is not counselling or therapy. It may be that as a result of coaching you feel happier and in turn, healthier, but coaching is only for people who are keen to develop an area of their life, not for those requiring medical assistance. It is also not within a coach’s remit to impart knowledge, make judgements or give a client advice. A coach is far more impartial in the way they provide you with support.
Below is a brain dump I made of some words that can be used to describe life coaching:
To find out more about how life coaching can be defined, check out my Pinterest board.