What a Life Coach Can Do for You

Everyone has life goals and dreams, but many people have no idea how to achieve them. That's where a life coach can help. Life coaches help you create the blueprint to become your best self. 

What is a life coach? Life coaches are trained professionals who help clients realize their personal, professional, and physical goals. Anyone can call herself a life coach, but professionals go through a reputable training program, adhere to professional standards, and become accredited and/or certified in life coaching.

Life coaches are like mentors, consultants, and mental health counselors/therapists, but they're different. 

  • Mentors and consultants offer clients the benefit of their expertise. Life coaches help clients access their own areas of expertise to achieve their goals.
  • Counselors and therapists tap into psychological and behavioral resources to help clients identify and overcome obstacles. Life coaches do too, but are more focused on moving forward than looking back. Life coaches aren't covered by insurance, so they don't have to diagnosis their clients or file insurance paperwork to get reimbursed.

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines life coaching as: partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. It's not therapy or counseling. Instead, life coaching focuses on specific goals and creating plans that motivate clients to achieve them. 

What kinds of goals? They can be anything, but the most common reasons why people hire life coaches are for help in these areas:

  • Relationships
  • Business
  • Weight Loss
  • Stress Management
  • Spiritual and Personal Growth
  • Health and Wellness
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Time Management
  • Creativity
  • Family, Parenting, or Marriage
  • Exercise or Fitness

How do life coaches work?  Clients usually work one-on-one with their life coach, through a series of in-person or over-the-phone consultations. They start with clarifying the client's goals, dreams, and the challenges they face achieving them. Then they create an action plan with specific steps the client needs to take to achieve their goals. Follow-up sessions help clients stay accountable and motivated and help coaches address obstacles and fine-tune their plans.

Who uses life coaches?  Businessmen and women, parents, singles, couples, students, or anyone who wants to invest in their own personal and professional development. The ICF says more than half of clients who use life coaching are women and people between ages 34 and 55. 

How do you find a life coach? Life coaches are listed in online registries and advertisements and by searching the ICF website. Be prepared to pay between $300 and $500 per hour and to commit to several sessions. Life coaches come with a variety of approaches, philosophies, and styles. ICF recommends asking the following questions before you hire a life coach:

  • What is your coaching experience (number of individuals coached, years of experience, types of coaching situations, etc.)?
  • What is your coach-specific training?
  • What is your coaching specialty or areas in which you most often work?
  • What specialized skill or experience do you bring to your coaching?
  • What is your philosophy about coaching?
  • What is your specific process for coaching (how sessions are conducted, frequency, etc.)?
  • What are some of your coaching success stories?

Ask for references and make some calls before you sign on with a life coach.  Then, get ready for a life-changing relationship. 



International Coaching Federation http://www.coachfederation.org/about-icf/