So, what do life coaches do and what is life coaching all about?

A life coach is someone who has trained professionally to be able to assist people in identifying their goals in life, be they professional or personal, and helping them achieve those goals. He or she will hold you to account and encourage you to in your quest to become the best version of yourself that you are pursuing.

Your life coach will, utilising principles backed by psychology, provide you with skills to overcome difficult situations and to work around and beyond emotional issues to may be preventing you from realising your objectives.

A life coach is not a teacher or instructor, but rather a companion along the path to personal fulfilment. As a guide, he or she, is not geared to telling you what to do. Rather, he or she will empower you, having objectively assessed your situation.

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Life Coaching FAQs

Central to the whole idea of life coaching, is the fact that clients are empowered to help themselves. They will be guided towards a solution or answer, rather than being advised or judged by their coach. Some fundamental principles that life coaches follow, include:

  • Objectivity: The coach has to remain objective and not allow his or her personal preferences and tastes to influence the way he or she guides the person to self-fulfilment and achieving their goals.
  • Empowerment: everyone has the ability to modify their perspective on life situations. Through life coaching and the skills that it can provide, any individual can adapt their ways of thinking to achieve their ambitions.
  • Guidance: instruction is not guidance. It is expected of an instructor to show someone precisely how to do something. A guide, on the other hand, offers support and provides tools that the person requires to help him- or herself. A life coach is not an instructor. He or she is a guide and, therefore, will not tell you what to do.

A note on holistic life coaching:

This is when a coach engages with a client to help them transform body, mind and spirit. This form of coaching endeavours to link these three aspects so that you can live more mindfully and intentionally.

What Does a Life Coaching Session Consist of?

A typical life coaching session lasts between 45 and 60 minutes. These sessions can take place almost anywhere: face to face (your office or home), via email, instant messaging, telephonically or via Skype.

To get too know you better, you coach will ask you a series of questions which will aid him or her in identifying what specifically is important to you. These questions will guide them to ascertain what your life goals are, what changes you would like to make and where you see yourself in the future.

While your life coach will walk by your side and guide you, the eventual decision is going to be yours, as you deliberate over particular ideas and honestly re-evaluate your own perspective on particular issues. The decision to change will, ultimately, be yours, as your coach will never impose his or her will in you. As all sessions are private and confidential, you will reflect on your situation and feelings before making your decisions in private.

So, what is life coaching all about?

It is really a collaboration between you and your coach, during which you will be inspired or emboldened to bring about positive change in your life. Your life coach will, because he or she is serious about your progress, provide you with feedback and support as you follow a new path directly towards your identified goals.

woman at desk using phone and computer
Life coaching sessions can take place anywhere: face to face or online. - Source: Pexels

What are the Different Kinds of Coaching?

What can life coaching help with, you may ask.

Coaches utilise different forms of coaching, dependent on the client’s specific requirements, which may be to satisfy business, relationship or personal goals.

Personal Coaching

This answers the questions ‘what do life coaches help with?

A life coach will help you analyse the situation you’re currently in, identify your own beliefs which are limiting and any other obstacles you may be facing and devise a custom-designed plan to help you achieve your dreams (goals).

Relationship Coaching

This type of coaching involves a coach imparting important relationship skills to couples and individuals. These individuals may be in a marriage or a romantic relationship and will be aided in developing conflict resolution skills and skilled to heighten intimacy.

Business Coaching

The work of a life coach can embrace a range of subjects; therefore, some specialise in one or other area. For example, a business coach, will be skilled in many aspects of the business world and will, thus, seek to empower and re-invigorate staff at a company, be they owners, management, staff or entrepreneurs.

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What’s the Difference Between Counselling and Life Coaching?

Counselling will seek to address issues in your past which are currently influencing you today, your decision-making and your relationships. They look at your past to help you, through healing, to move forward.

A life coach assesses where you’re currently at and helps you define a course to help you achieve goals you have set for yourself.

In essence, the difference between the two can be summed up something like this: Counselling helps you cope and coaching enables you to take action!

What Does a Life Coach Help With?

A life coach can help his or her clients in many facets of life. The goals you have identified may be business related, monetary or very personal. Your life coach can assist you if you have ever grappled with any issue – stepping out of your comfort zone, following a new diet or learning a foreign language.

Your life coach will, very practically, plot a course for you to follow which will lead you to your goal. They will interview you to ascertain what ‘makes you tick’, ascertain what your view on life is, and design a course of action to follow which is tailor-made for you!

Change can be unsettling for the majority of people and, so, it is good to embrace it slowly. Your coach will ascertain whether you’re a tortoise or a hare and will adapt the pace at which the programme is to run, for you! For the hares, the impatient ones, the amount of change or the pace at which it is to be implemented, will be much greater than for a more cautious individual.

woman with yellow flower between hands
A life coach will accompany you on your path to personal fulfilment. - Source: Unsplash

So, whatever the pace at which you want to move, race- or cruise mode, your coach will design your life-changing programme around you, your perspectives, personality and expressed needs. A life coach has the ability to aid you with the following issues and so much more:

  • Personal life – Life can be so interesting and beautiful, yet many people don’t view it that way. They are hamstrung by their own insecurities, negative biases and lack of will-power. A skilful life coach can inspire his charge to attempt and achieve the things they’ve always dreamed of, but were too timid to attempt.
  • Romantic life – A life coach can assist in almost all aspects of intimate relationships. He or she can help you with any issues you have regarding commitment, trust and even guide you through a divorce and make your trip a smooth one.
  • Business life – To start or run a business is not easy. You may find that, in your busy-ness, you have started to neglect yourself. A life coach can positively impact on things such as decision-making, leadership, confidence and work-life balance.

How Many Life Coaching Sessions Are Needed?

This is a personal thing. Because each individual and their requirements are different, the number of sessions will be tailored by you, in consultation with your guide. Many coaches work online and you can, thus, structure sessions to fit into your budget and, very importantly, your schedule.

Some individuals engage with a coach intermittently, as and when the need arises. They contact their coach when a difficult decision needs to be made and they require a bit of help deciding which the best way forward is. To stay on track, some folks will have a weekly session to ensure that they are still aligned with their medium or long term goals.

The ultimate decision is yours to make in terms of how long and how often you wish to work with a life coach.

Are Life Coaches in SA Qualified?

Although life coaching is an unregulated industry, there are organisations like COMENSA which regulate coaches and mentors. COMENSA protects the rights of users of these services through an established ethics complaints procedure and a code of ethics to which mentors and coaches must subscribe.

Finding Your Life Coach

Online, the are numerous sites which list coaches of all kinds for you to select from. Many coaches specialise in one or other field – relationship, creativity, spirituality, business, etc. Research the options as best you can, until you’re happy to throw in your lot with a particular coach.

The Superprof site will direct to a number of coaches who may fit the bill. Find a coach near you (if needs be) and examine the profile. If you wish, call them and have a chat, before you commit to whom you are going to work alongside.

Seeing a life coach is an informed decision you have made, so, whomever you choose … the decision is yours!

Life coaching holds benefits for all people, whether you’re facing a crisis or not! In today’s harried and hurried world, anything that can assist us to live happier lives is welcome! Agreed!?

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Trevor

Career teacher turned writer. Passionate about family, running, and the great outdoors.