What is Life Coaching?

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What is Life Coaching?

You may be seeing more and more social media ads for coaches, especially celebrity coaches like Tony Robbins, Amy Porterfield, Marie Forleo, Jay Shetty, and more. Maybe even hear about people in your network circles are becoming coaches. Coaching is a relatively new industry that is not regulated although there are institutions like ICF and AC that are promoting best practices and setting standards in the industry. According to IBIS World, the market size of the Life Coaching industry in the US has grown on average 3.7% per year between 2017 and 2022 so it’s a fast-growing industry. So what the heck is even life coaching? Sure, you remember coaches from playing on a sports team but a life coach?

Well, life coaching is a form of personal development and support that helps individuals navigate through their personal challenges and achieve their personal and professional goals. Life coaches act as guides to help empower individuals to make positive changes in their lives, overcome obstacles, and maximize their potential.

What is Not Life Coaching?

So what is not considered to be coaching? There are many other modalities that exist and are often confused with coaching. A common misconception is that coaching is like therapy. Another common misconception about coaching is that a coach will tell you what to do and give you advice like a mentor or consultant. Even though we sometimes want someone to magically tell us the answers to all the problems we have, a coach will not actually do this. So what do therapists, mentors, or consultants do vs. a coach?


Note that anyone can call themselves a coach but not every coach is certified. Therapists, however, are medically trained professionals who are equipped to diagnose and treat your mental health needs. Therapists help you unpack and dig into why you have certain psychological and emotional patterns, possibly due to a past trauma. Coaches, on the other hand, will help you acknowledge this pattern exists but then focus on figuring out what to do and how to move forward.

Mentors and Consultants

A mentor is someone who has already walked the path you want to walk. They can provide insight into their successes and failures to help you learn from their experiences.

A consultant is an expert in their field with specialized knowledge.

Both mentors and consultants can provide advice, recommendations, and tips that a coach wouldn’t. Instead, a coach will work with you side-by-side as a partner to help you uncover those answers that are already within you because you know yourself best. Only you are the expert on yourself!

Sailing Example

Imagine you are trying to learn a new skill like sailing. You might end up working with different types of professionals to support your sailing journey based on your needs.

A life coach can help you set sailing-related goals, develop a plan for learning to sail, and provide motivation and accountability to keep you on track. A life coach is like a compass, helping you stay on course to reach your goals.

A therapist can help you if you start to develop fears, anxiety, or other emotional challenges about being on the water while you’re trying to learn how to sail. They would work with you to understand why you have such fears and address any underlying mental health or emotional issues. They would provide tools to manage these emotions and ensure your mental well-being while learning to sail.

A mentor would be a seasoned and experienced sailor who takes you under their wing. They teach you the practical aspects of sailing and offer advice based on their experience. They’ll pass on their tips and tell you about their failures and successes so you can learn from them.

A consultant would be a professional who has expertise in the technical and practical aspects of sailing. They might provide guidance and recommendations on boat selection, maintenance, navigation, and safety procedures. A sailing consultant can help you with the technical knowledge and skills needed to sail effectively and safely.

Benefits of Life Coaching

So why sign up for life coaching? You can think of life coaching as a gym for your mind where you can exercise your mental and emotional health. Similar to going to a physical gym to work on your physical health, a life coach can work with you to help you get a deeper understanding of what’s going on inside your head to help you achieve personal and professional growth.

The benefits of life coaching can lead to:

  • Personal and professional fulfillment – find a sense of purpose and meaning
  • Higher self-awareness – develop a better understanding of your thoughts, emotions, core values, strengths, weaknesses, and beliefs through self-reflection and self-discovery
  • Achieving goals – set clear, specific, measurable, achievable goals and create actionable plans to achieve them
  • Career satisfaction and advancement – navigate career transitions to get the job or promotion you actually want
  • Building long-lasting healthy habits – take consistent action to master competence and create effective routines
  • Challenging yourself – push yourself out of your comfort zone to learn and grow
  • Better decision-making – make informed decisions by thinking critically, considering alternative options, and aligning decisions with values and beliefs
  • Mindset shifts – increase confidence and motivation
  • Overcoming fears and obstacles – conquer procrastination, self-doubt, and other limiting beliefs
  • Improved work-life balance – take care of your holistic well-being for physical health, emotional balance, career satisfaction, and overall quality of life
  • Better time and energy management – prioritize time and energy to reduce stress and increase productivity
  • Accountability – stay on track and maintain progress
  • Improved relationships – build healthier relationships with family, partner, friends, and colleagues

It’s important to note that the effectiveness of life coaching depends on the client’s commitment to the process and the relationship between the coach and the client. Success in life coaching relies on a collaborative effort with the client taking an active role in their personal and professional growth.

If you’d like to learn more about how life coaching can help you, you can book a free discovery call.

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