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What is a life coach?
A life coach is a trained professional who aims to help and guide individuals to make, meet and exceed personal and professional goals. They support clients on a journey to rediscover their own strength and abilities: this can include excelling in the workplace, becoming happy and fulfilled at home, exploring your potential, managing health conditions, and achieving life ambitions.
By harnessing techniques based on core psychological principles and intuition, coaches empower clients and provide a toolkit of teachings to confidently face challenges and overcome barriers.
A coach won’t tell you what to do, instead, they will use questioning techniques to help you uncover the answers yourself. They'll also provide an objective and empowering environment for you to explore any challenges you're facing.
At the heart of it all lies the idea that clients must be given the power to help themselves. Offering advice, opinions and judgements would undermine some of the basic principles behind life coaching.
What happens during a session?
Coaching sessions will typically last between 45 minutes to an hour (depending on the coach you choose). Often, after an initial assessment, sessions can be conducted face-to-face or remotely, usually over the phone, over email, via video calls and occasionally through instant messaging.
During the session, your coach will ask you some questions, such as what you want to achieve in life, what areas you're unhappy with and where you'd like to see yourself in the future. Although a coach will work with you, it’s often up to you to challenge or reflect upon certain ideas you have to help you move forward with your life. You will never be forced to make any decisions you don't feel comfortable with, and all sessions will be confidential, allowing you to explore your thoughts and feelings privately in a safe space.
Coaching is often seen as a partnership between you and your coach, who will gently encourage you to explore how to make positive changes in your life based on your aspirations. A coach should also offer support and feedback to help you to stay focused on your goals and will occasionally set you tasks and objectives to work on outside of sessions.
Life coach vs Business coach
The term ‘life coach’ encompasses a range of areas. Within these areas, a coach may choose to hone in on a specific topic such as health or spiritual coaching.
Business coaches have expertise in the business world and therefore choose to coach individuals looking to excel in business. This could include entrepreneurs, company owners, CEOs or even employees.
What can a coach help me with?
Coaches utilise techniques to help their clients in all aspects of life. If you've ever struggled with something - whether it be moving out of your comfort zone, improving your confidence, or starting healthy habits, then consulting a life coach could help you.
A coach will approach things pragmatically. Through questions and exercises, they will try to get an idea of how you perceive the world. From this, they will be able to identify the most effective route to your goal. Some people feel intimidated by the idea of change and so need to take things slowly to fulfil their goals. In this situation, a coach might divide goals into smaller bite-sized pieces. Other people may get impatient and lose interest. In this situation, a coach might suggest introducing stronger reminders and incentives to keep them on track.
However you approach life, your coach will be able to tailor your sessions to fit. Subjects coaches deal with include:
Relationships - Do you wish you had the confidence to approach someone you like romantically? Do you struggle with commitment? Are you struggling to cope with a divorce? A coach could help you to understand your love-life and work towards improving it.
Business life - Starting and running a business is tough work. Sometimes we get so absorbed in hard work we neglect ourselves. Coaches can help build confidence, develop leadership skills, enhance decision-making abilities, and assess your work/life balance.
Personal life - Do you feel like you're not making the most of life? There's so much to see, do and learn in this world, but often a lack of confidence, time and willpower can cause us to stay inside our comfort zones, doing nothing. Life coaches use specialist skills to motivate their clients to do the things they want to do, see, and achieve, so they can finally fight the urge to procrastinate.
Performance - Improvement is at the heart of life coaching. Whatever your skill, coaching could help improve it. Whether you're an athlete, an artist, a writer, a performer, or a musician - adopting specialist techniques will help you to push your limitations and exceed expectations.
How many coaching sessions will I need?
You can have as many or as few coaching sessions as you like. Because many coaches operate over the phone or via the Internet, the sessions can easily fit around your schedule. Some people hire a coach once every few months, some people have a session once a week. It is entirely up to you to decide.
Can I have coaching online?
Lots of coaches offer online and telephone coaching for individuals who are unable to meet them face-to-face or find these services easier and more convenient. Online and telephone coaching can be offered in addition to one-on-one meetings or as the primary method of coaching.