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What Does a Life Coach Do?

By Sophia, published on 24/08/2018 Blog > Professional Development > Life Coach > What is a Life Coach?

We all know what a football coach does: formulates and imparts strategies to win football games.

Alongside those duties, s/he mentors, motivates, counsels and helps players focus their energy on achieving their goals – both in the game and in their lives.

Pun intended!

In a similar vein, a voice coach will help train your voice and build your confidence before a performance, an acting coach guides thespians, a dance coach facilitates dancing and a holistic health coach teaches yoga, nutrition… everything you need for a healthy life.

Your child might need an academic coach: someone who can help develop good study habits and organisation skills – as opposed to a tutor, whose area of expertise may be in just one or two subjects.

All of these coaches work toward a specific goal: a better voice, more credible acting, a more fiery dance, a healthier life, academic success…

What does a life coach work towards: life?

No, that doesn’t make sense; not if we believe life is what we make it.

And that’s the problem, actually. Too many people don’t believe their life is what they make of it. They feel constrained by societal norms and bound by family obligations.

While their minds are free to dream their life is tied up in the minutiae of living: that’s where a life coach comes in!

Let Superprof explain in depth what a Life Coach is and isn’t, and what such a coach could do for you.

What a Life Coach Is

A life coach can help you unlock all of your potential To unlock your creativity and become fully you, work with a life coach! Source: Pixabay Credit: Geralt

If you want to make a change in your life, professional or personal – or both, but lack sufficient motivation, are plagued by fears and doubt, or just don’t know how to go about changing things, that’s when it’s time to call a life coach.

A life coach is a professional who helps you reach a goal or make a change in your life.

The first step in achieving that aim is, of course, determining and defining your goal(s). To that end, your life coach is a strategist.

S/he would talk with you at length; ask pointed questions and rephrase your answers to make your perhaps vague goal (I want a promotion at work, e.g.) more focused and clear.

Perhaps: I want to be better at public speaking so I can get promoted.

Once the obstacles that stand between you and your goal(s) have been defined, your life coach will outline a strategy for you to overcome them:

  • specific tasks for you to undertake

  • an exact timeline to accomplish said tasks

  • proving the results

Above all, your life coach is looking for efficiency in your efforts to reach your goals – floundering or making excuses will not be accepted!

To that end, your coach will be a motivator.

Just like a personal trainer will push you to reach your full physical potential, a life coach has the training, experience and, most importantly, the coaching skills to get you to where you want to be in life.

Don’t think that your life coach will assign you tasks to complete and sit back to watch you complete them!

A life coach is complicit in your personal accountability of achieving this life-altering goal.

After all, if you do not reach that goal, obviously your coach is at least partly to blame?

That is why the best coaches stay in touch with their clients, checking in every so often.

How did your speech go last night?” or “What do you think of Toastmasters?” might be common questions in the scenario painted above.

In general, you may engage a coach for a month or so, just until that goal has been reached, or until you are primed to reach it.

However, many people find that, as soon as one goal is reached, there is another one right behind it, with more help and direction needed.

It is not atypical for a person to retain a life coach for up to six months.

Bear in mind that time spent with your coach are not counselling sessions: your life coach is not a therapist of any type – although s/he may, in fact, be a licensed therapist.

Nor is s/he your new best friend!

S/he is there for one purpose: to help you achieve your professional and/or personal goals; not to hear about your bad breakup!

However, if that breakup is robbing you of any confidence or knocking you off-track, you’d better believe your life coach will help you regain focus by becoming tough as nails!

All while aiding you to compartmentalise your heartbreak so that it doesn’t interfere with the timely achievement of your goals.

What else doesn’t fall under the umbrella of life coach?

Your life coach won't join you for a night out! Don’t count on your coach to join you at the bar; that’s what you have friends for! Source: Pixabay Credit: Free-Photos

What a Life Coach Isn’t

You presumably already have friends and family, so you don’t need any life coaches to have dinner with you or share your relationship troubles.

That’s a good thing because professional coaching is not about making new friends.

Nor are coaching programs about psychology: you are not engaging a psychologist, you are working with a guide who will lead you to a specific desired outcome, through your own efforts, of a particular facet (or facets) of your life.

There are two fundamental differences between a certified life coach and a licensed therapist.

  1. Whereas a therapist will examine your past, a life coach focuses on your future.

  2. A therapist focuses on your problems but life coaches’ mission is to help you find solutions!

A coach may offer suggestions, ideas and actions that will lead you to succeed, but generally will not give advice – because they are not counsellors.

If you do have unresolved issues that would benefit from therapy, a trained life coach would surely recommend a clinician to see that issue resolved, especially if it is standing in the way of your becoming successful.

A life coach will not help you manage your business.

The reason you hire a such a coach may well be business-related, but if you’re having personal issues or problems managing your supply chain, you probably need a business coach.

Naturally, you could consult with your coach about strategies and goals for your work life but remember: they specialize in getting your life where you want it to be, not your business.

Along the same lines, don’t count on your life coach to become your mentor.

Mentoring suggests a long-term relationship in which the mentor oversees the overall development of their mentee or protegée.

A life coach will help you crystallise your goals and develop clear-cut strategies to reach them. Once you have attained the level of success you sought, your relationship with that coach ends.

Possibly the most important caveat about working with a life coach: they are not your friend.

That sound a bit cold but, think about it: they are passionate, encouraging and inspiring. They are devoted to helping you reach your goals.

Those are all great qualities any friend should embody.

However, you should never lose sight of the fact that your relationship with your coach is a goal-oriented one and, should you lag in accomplishing your goals, your coach will be hard and demanding.

Just as a coach should be!

You will not be verbally abused by your life coach but s/he will certainly get tough with you when warranted! Yelling is not among the coaching tools your coach might employ but they will certainly be tough when needed Source: Pixabay Credit: Ashish Chodhary

What Can a Life Coach Do for You?

If you want more out of your personal or professional life, you may consider life coaching.

Not surprisingly, increasingly more businesses are providing their employees with life coaching, included in their benefits package.

Studies show companies that offer coaching services enjoy greater employee effectiveness, retention and higher productivity. They also suffer fewer sick days.

You don’t have to wait for transformational workshops at the office; plenty of people engage in coaching sessions for their personal development.

If you’ve ever been one of those people who uttered ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda…’ with just a whisper of sadness woven in, you might be motivated to seek out a personal coach to:

  • become more confident and/or assertive

  • become more successful

  • improve your relationships

  • decide on a career change or actually change careers

  • find a more meaningful life

  • find your life purpose

When it comes down to brass tacks, what a life coach actually does is give you permission to live as you see fit.

By that, we don’t mean that you will be given license to do as you please and blast the consequences!

Personal coaching means empowering you for life: ensuring your personal growth, realising your full potential and freeing you from limiting beliefs that have, till now, held you back.

Who knows?

After you achieve your goals, you may want to empower others by undergoing coach training yourself!

Even if, at the outset, that wasn’t the new direction you saw your professional life going in…

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