What is life coaching and does it work?

A beginner's guide to life coaching

Have you heard of life coaching but aren’t sure what it is or whether it could be beneficial to you? Then check out our essential beginner’s guide.

Does life coaching work?

What is life coaching?

Life coaching is aimed at helping people meet goals in their personal or business lives by guiding them in the right direction — much like a sports coach might do for a sportsperson — although the methods used by individual life coaches will vary greatly.

It might seem that the concept of turning to a coach outside of a sporting context is something that many people would shy away from — but the more you think about it, the more you may realize that people have been turning to friends and family for help and guidance for years. Life coaching is just a professional extension of that help.

Most of us turn to a friend who we consider to be ‘wise’ when it comes to certain circumstances such as making key decisions or overcoming problems. But our friends may not always have the answers or may not be sufficiently objective about a situation to give decent advice. This is where life coaching has role to play, by helping people see their life from a different perspective and giving them the confidence to move forward.

Life coaching is a form of counselling which uses a series of individual sessions — which are sometimes carried out over a telephone or even via e-mails, as well as through face-to-face sessions — to help people solve their problems and achieve ambitions. It draws from a number of disciplines, including sociology, psychology, and numerous forms of counselling.

While life coaching is frequently associated with the business world, there are also coaches who deal with individuals and their personal lives by helping them to explore the underlying causes of their problems as well as helping to find routes to success. This more personal kind of life coaching is frequently done face-to-face.

The aim of life coaching is to help people break their negative belief patterns, act more decisively, and set clear goals towards achieving what they want from life. Most coaches are highly trained as generalists but many also specialize in areas such as relationships, stress, personal growth, business, careers, motivation, finances, creativity, and family — among many others.

Does life coaching work?

While some people may be a little skeptical about turning to a coach to help them with their life issues, the fact is that people are turning to life coaches in increasing numberswhich is a sure sign that they must be serving some useful purpose.

The success or failure of the coaching often depends on people finding the right life coach for them — whether it’s someone to help kick-start a new career path or someone to help with more personal issues.

A coach can help people to organize their priorities and decide which directions they want to go in. From their sessions, a person will agree strategies with their coach to help themselves solve problemsand in this way they will become much clearer about what they want out of life. A life coach will effectively act as a sounding board for ideas — rather like a brainstorming partner.

However, life coaching is not a miracle cure for people’s problems — particularly if a person isn’t open to the possibility of closing the gap between where they are and where they want to be. Anyone visiting a coach needs to be open to new ideas and ways of doing things and needs to commit to the process. Life coaching is also not a solution to people with more deep-rooted problems such as depression, as these require more specialist help and therapy.

Can I benefit from going to a life coach?

Anyone can benefit from working with a coach. Those that are stuck in a rut can become clearer about reaching new goals, and those who are already successful may achieve even more. The bottom line is that by working with a coach, you can set better goals and reach them faster than if you tried to reach them under your own steam.

Ultimately, you can only really measure the success of life coaching if you achieve the success or happiness that you’re seeking — and that relies on you committing to the process and acting upon it.

To find out more about life coaching go to The Life Coach Directory

Comments (5)

  • TonySmith2 'I didn't really know what life coaching was before this and was perhaps a little sceptical about it all, but it certainly seems to have some use almost like someone in a mentoring role. '

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  • adrienne 'This was a great synopsis - I too was sceptical but delved deeper and recently became certified as a Life Coach. Just studying it changed my life - or rather changed the way I looked at life and therefore feel better equipped dealing with challenges and making the most of creating more opportunities. It is not really counselling more like empowering an individual to reach their best potential. I believe in the relationship the client is the expert and the coach is a guide or motivator. The client knows the answers but just may not have realized them yet. Sorry to ramble!'

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  • SuperCaz 'Sounds like just what I need to help me get into my chosen profession. A little more information about costs an timescales would be nice, although I appreciate that this will depend on the individual to a certain extent.'

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  • sizzling_strawberry 'I have been a Life Coach now for 2 years and it has been the best thing I have ever done. I agree with Adrienne, the training gave me a lot of insight into my own thoughts and negative perceptions of myself. I am now helping clients with body image and confidence - even though I am a bit of a fat girl myself! I also agree that coaching is not counselling and it's not about wearing pink (as per tv programmes - although it is an excellent colour!) but it is about people taking responsibility for their own actions and learning to trust their own judgement, If the solution to our problems is within us why aren't we using it? - I love it! Also sorry to ramble!'

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  • ritasoman 'I had always wondered this. Thanks for the post! http://www.ritasoman.com/'

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