What Is A Life Coach?
It seems everyone is talking about life coaching these days. Chances are you've heard loads about it and it sounds interesting, but you're still wondering what it's all about and whether it can work for you? Well, let me answer some of the most frequently asked questions about life coaching.
What is life coaching?
Life coaching is a professional practice that helps people to identify and achieve their goals. It's about taking the client (or coachee) from where they are currently to where they want to be, whether it is in their business, finances, relationships, health or whatever area of life that is important to them.
Is a life coach the same as a mentor?
No. A mentor is someone who has achieved success in a particular area of their life and is therefore in a position to impart their experience and lessons learned to a mentee. A coach doesn't necessarily come from the same industry as their client (in fact, most coaches don't).
The coach's skill comes from knowing the right questions to ask, challenging the client to find the answers for themselves, and supporting them in achieving breakthrough results.
And while we're on the subject, a coach is also not a therapist, counselor or psychiatrist. Coaching is about empowering people to achieve the results that they are committed to, and has no therapeutic component whatsoever.
Will a life coach tell me what to do?
No. Coaching is premised on the fact that we all know what we need to do in order to achieve our goals. In a coaching relationship, both the goals and the means to achieve them are determined by the client.
The coach's role is to keep the client accountable for doing what they commit to in order to achieve their goals.
How does coaching work?
Well, first you have to choose the right coach. And it is always a good idea to choose someone that you have a good rapport with. Over the period of your coaching relationship, there will be times when you are challenged and you feel like failure is inevitable. Your coach has got to be someone that you feel you can turn to for encouragement and support.
The right coach for you has also got to have relevant experience in the area that you are working on. You want to make sure that you choose someone who knows how to produce results. It's always a good idea to ask for references before taking on a new coach.
Once you've found the best coach for you, you will start by identifying the goal(s) that you want to achieve. And just as importantly, the steps that you will take to achieve those goals. From then on your coach will support you in taking the necessary actions, and will hold you accountable for doing what you say you are going to.
It's advisable to agree on a "by when" right from the start, so that you have a timeline that you're working within. Otherwise the potential exists for the coaching relationship to turn into an open-ended "talk shop".
Coaching can be done face-to-face, over the telephone, via Skype or even online. Whatever modality works for you and your coach.
Do I need a life coach?
Strictly speaking, no you don't need a life coach. But I'll also tell you that many of the world's top leaders in sport, business, entertainment and academia have coaches.
Often people think that there's something wrong with them if they get a life coach. This couldn't be further from the truth. Coaching is not about fixing something that's wrong. It's about helping you to achieve your goals and to live the life that you've always wanted.
Rafael Nadal doesn't need a coach. Hilary Clinton doesn't need a coach. Oprah Winfrey doesn't need a coach. These massively successful people are very talented in their own right, and coaches have helped them to achieve some of the amazing results that they are so famous for.
So no, you don't need a coach, but having one could make a huge difference to the quality of your life.
Who can benefit from the services of a life coach?
In a nutshell...everyone. There are different types of coaches, many of whom specialise in specific areas such as business, career, finances, relationships, health, etc. The key is choosing the most appropriate coach for the particular area in your life that you want breakthrough results in.