What Is a Life Coach, and How Can They Help Me?

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What Is a Life Coach, and How Can They Help Me?

Are you wondering how to determine life goals or figure out a greater purpose for yourself? If so, you might appreciate some assistance from a life coach. Life coaching is a type of assistance for your life goals instead of your mind, as in traditional therapy.

If you’re interested in learning more about these professionals or you’re considering hiring one for help, take a look at the basics you need to know before hiring a life coach. You’ll gain a better understanding of exactly what they do and don’t do, how they differ from traditional therapists and what you can do to make sure you get the most out of your work with a life coach. Get ready to set some goals — and see how a life coach helps you reach them.

What Does a Life Coach Do?

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Life coaches exist to help you unlock your passion and guide you in formulating a specific plan on how to reach your goals and when to reach them. If you want to advance your professional career, personal development goals and any other areas of your life, then a life coach is someone you can work with to accomplish these objectives.

There are different types of life coaches you can work with, and each one specializes in assisting you with a certain area of your life you want to work on. These include:

  • Career coaches
  • Relationship coaches
  • Finance coaches
  • Spiritual coaches
  • Wellness coaches

Each focuses on assisting with elements specifically related to the area of your life they can help you make progress in. But how does it all work?

In order to get the most out of working with your life coach, you’ll provide them with all the necessary information about your life, any struggles you want to address and your personality. These details help them analyze your current situation and determine what (if anything) is preventing you from reaching your goals. They’ll then help you develop a timeline and give you a breakdown of exactly what you’ll need to focus on doing in order to make it all happen.

Along the way, they can figure out what motivates you and how you can use that motivation to propel yourself forward. A life coach can also teach you new habits that’ll help you maintain the changes you make. Think of life coaching as creating an actionable plan to succeed in life — based on your personal definition of success.

Are Life Coaches Therapists?

It’s important to understand that, while life coaches can help you make changes in your life, they are in no way considered therapists. And while they do guide you through life, they aren’t qualified to address any mental health issues or diagnose any medical issues you may have. Life coaches focus on your goals, while therapists focus on your psychological health and have to complete a rigorous education and licensing process to be allowed to provide therapy.

There are several ways to differentiate therapy from a session with a life coach. First, therapy is all about working to determine what’s going on in your mind, along with ways to mend it. It can help you see how your past affected you and made you the person you are today. Your therapist can offer advice and, depending on their qualifications, medication that will help improve your mental health issues. A life coach doesn’t have the qualifications to do this. Their job is to guide you through any challenges you face with your overall life goals. They can, however, help you create a timeline for your financial milestones, build relationships, help with your business and do much more.

In short, therapy focuses on healing your past and working on any current struggles with your mental health, while life coaching helps you shape your future. Each involves a different approach, different qualifications, different education — they’re completely different, and you should never go to a life coach for therapy advice.

Do You Need a Life Coach?

Now that you have a clearer idea of what life coaches do and don’t do, perhaps you’ve started to wonder if this is something you should consider. Maybe you’re feeling stuck with your current goals or have hit a motivation plateau. The good news is that those are perfect things to bring up to your life coach.

Below are some examples of things a life coach can help you with:

  • Creating a clear vision of your goals
  • Making a realistic timeline to reach those goals
  • Boosting your self-confidence
  • Working on your spiritual growth
  • Making a career change
  • Keeping yourself responsible and accountable
  • Removing procrastination from your life
  • Earning more money
  • Creating a better support system
  • Improving your time-management skills
  • Minimizing stress and increasing productivity

If any of these activities sound like something you’d like help with, it may be time to find a coach who can guide you.

What to Look for When Choosing a Life Coach

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It helps to find a coach that focuses on your particular goal; they’ll have more experience in understanding what does and doesn’t work for achieving those specific milestones. Once you do, check their credentials. There isn’t a formal degree that focuses on life coaching, but there are various certification programs that a coach can use to demonstrate they’ve pursued a deeper understanding of the coaching process. Having certifications also helps to ensure your coach is motivated and knowledgeable.

During your first session, ask the following questions:

  • What’s your coaching style? Tell me a bit more about how it works.
  • What tools do you use?
  • What’s included in your sessions?
  • What’s your availability?
  • Do you offer additional educational resources?
  • Can I contact you outside of sessions?
  • Have you had clients with goals similar to mine before? How did you help them?
  • How much do you charge?

This should give you a good idea of whether you and your potential life coach are on the same page. If you don’t feel comfortable asking those questions, this may be the first sign that the coach isn’t right for you.

Before you attend an appointment, do some research online checking a coach’s reviews. You’ll want to find out everything you can before you make the commitment, as determining your goals and how to reach them can be a long-term process. Furthermore, you’ll want to pay attention to the communication that happens after your session. How fast do they reply? Did they provide you with the resources you spoke about during the consultation? Does it feel like they’re being pushy? It is a life coach’s job to push you to reach new heights, but they should do this in a supportive manner, not in a way that feels coercive or uncomfortable.

Finding a good life coach takes time, and you shouldn’t rush the process — or let a coach rush you into making a decision. Sometimes it’s helpful to trust your gut feelings about how well you get along with a coach. Do the research, and, most importantly, spend time with yourself to truly identify exactly what kind of coaching you’ll benefit from. Once you’ve found the one, it’s time to get to work and reach your dreams.

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