If you are one of the many people wondering what a life coach is... and what a life coach does, you are not alone. Nearly 1,500 people ask Google what the purpose of a life coach is every single month.
Agreed…it is not surprising so many people are asking Google what a life coach is, because it sounds like such a vague term.
Life is a complex thing, consisting of intimate and social relationships, health, fitness, happiness, money problems, career and so many of other aspects.
Each of these things alone can require the help of specialists like relationship councillors, financial planners, personal trainers and even medical professionals.
So can just one person, a life coach, possibly work with you to improve all these different areas of your life?
In short, yes and no.
Think about a football coach. In most cases, they are not superstar football players, but they know how to get the best out of each of the superstar players that they are coaching.
It is the same with a life coach. They might not necessarily be relationship experts, financial planners or medical professionals, but they are experts at establishing what is important in your life, helping you create an action plan to achieve it and giving you all the help, encouragement and motivation to make it all a reality.
So, to answer your question, "What is a life coach?"
But what about the details? What does a life coach do specifically? What's the purpose of a life coach? Why do people see one? How much do they cost? What techniques do they use?
I have put together this guide to answer some commonly asked questions that naturally come to mind when asking about a life coach.
Here’s everything you will need to know about what a life coach is and how they work broken down into 5 key questions.
The best way to start explaining what a life coach is, is to look at why people see a life coach in the first place.
Whilst some professions have a very limited scope, life coaching has the widest scope you can possibly imagine. The whole spectrum of a person’s entire life is about as wide a scope as there is.
With such a wide spectrum of things a person can be experiencing in their own life, you can now imagine that there are a million and one reasons a person may choose to see a life coach.
Quite often a person may seek out a coach for clearly definable things.
Maybe you are lacking self-confidence, unhappy and unfulfilled. Or maybe you just want to achieve more success in life.
Other times it is something less easy to define. Sometimes you just simply do not know what you want but you know you want something more.
A good life coach will help you identify exactly what you want out of life. If you already know what that is, then they will help you go out there and grab it with both hands.
You see, quite often a person knows what they want out of life but they find it extremely difficult to turn it into a reality.
They may procrastinate, lose focus, lack the confidence or even the self-belief that they can do it.
When thinking about all of these different reasons, it actually boils down to one single thing why a person actually sees a life coach; their life is just not yet exactly how or where they want it to be.
This is the purpose of a life coach. People see a coach because they need a powerful mentor who will help them get their life exactly where they want it to be. Or as practically close to that as possible.
With modern technology, people can choose a life coach globally, no matter where they live meaning they can achieve all of the above from the comfort of their own homes.
Life coaching is effective for a number of very powerful reasons.
Firstly, and in my opinion most importantly, it combines the power of your mind with that of your coach and focuses that power purely on making your life more meaningful.
Each session you have with your coach is dedicated to you. It is there to uncover your deepest desires, hopes and dreams and do everything possible to make them a reality.
Life coaching contrasts with therapy, because therapy focuses on things that might be wrong in your life. Life coaching focuses on your strengths and qualities internally which you already possess.
Every human being is capable of achieving the same greatness. We all have the same 24 hours in the day. Some use those 24 hours to do nothing, some use them to make millions.
If you really want to know the exact answer to what a life coach is, a life coach is there to help you change your own self-perceptions of what you can achieve and what you are capable of.
My own personal story reflects this. I used to think that spending all my time working to get an amazing career as a head teacher and being a yes man would make me the best leading practitioner in the education sector, but all the whilst I thought and behaved like that, I did nothing but burn myself out and become the victim of controlling behaviour, put in a box and ultimately bullied by jealous individuals.
But I had a burning desire for more and believed deep down that there was more to life. My life. Once I grew to understand that my life was churning up the same issues year upon year, I started to realise that my future had to change.
From being a leader in education, I went on to losing 3 stone in weight, retrained as a personal trainer and fitness coach and worked alongside some of the wealthiest business owners in the UK. I also had the capacity and creativity to design personal gyms for my clients. From there, I went on to train in physiotherapy and provide sports massage therapy. Through a great network of top business clients, I have supported men and women through physical rehab and sports injury too.
In addition to realising that my life was finally getting somewhere without having to try so hard, I undertook a Masters Degree programme in teaching yoga and have since designed personal and life changing yoga programmes for my clients.
You see, my potential was there the whole time - I just could not see it. So, what does a life coach do? They help you uncover your own potential and more importantly, they help you understand how to tap into that potential.
In the same way every single one of us on this planet has that same power to change. You just need more confidence, self-belief or simply a helping hand getting to where you want to go.
This is precisely why life coaching is so effective. We give you all the tools to re-evaluate who you are deep inside and what you are capable of achieving.
We then help you make concrete plans and spur you into action to get the life you not only wish for, but which you are destined for.
Now this is a key point you need to understand right from the beginning. A life coach will never tell you what to do.
When you first ask yourself what a life coach is, you may at first think it is someone who tells people the best way to live their life.
They might share their experiences with you, give insight and mentor you, but they will never tell you what to do.
I would share with you my experiences and tell you how I achieved what I did if you ask, but ultimately, I will encourage you and help you with all my heart to come up with your own steps to take.
Any good coach worth their salt will ask you powerful questions and encourage you to think deeply to come up with your own answers.
They will encourage you to come up with realistic plans of action that come directly from your own mind and to take steps that will work in your own hugely unique circumstances.
Will all the plans we come up with be perfect and work every time? Of course not. The plans in my own life were far from perfect sometimes, but I kept adjusting them continuously until they did work.
A skilful life coach will work alongside you over the long term and help you adjust the parts of your life plans that are not working and build on those parts that are getting you results.
As I like to say, a good coach will never kick the ball for you, they will get you in the best shape possible so you can go out there and score yourself!
If you are wondering ‘what does a life coach do’, it may be helpful to think of it more in terms of how does a life coach do what they do.
When people start researching life coaches, they sometimes initially see them as similar to a counsellor.
Although life coaching is a very distinct profession from counselling, it does share some things in common as well as using some of the same scientifically developed techniques.
Some of these tools have scary sounding names like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Emotional Feeling Therapy (EFT).
At their core they are all techniques that involve talking deeply with a client about their lives and uncovering things like self-limiting beliefs and both naturally and learnt behaviours.
A life coach may often follow what is known as the “Life Coaching Process”. Think of the life coaching process as planning a journey in your life.
For example, one of the life coaching processes I may use consists of 6 key steps as follows:
• what you want out of life
This could be more happiness, increased self-confidence, more money or simply just a greater understanding of what you actually want out of life and how to achieve it. It is the same as planning a road trip. You first must identify the destination you want to get to.
• Assess your current situation
You and your life coach need to establish exactly where you are in your life right now before you can start planning for your future. Are you already happy but want something more meaningful? Are you already successful but not satisfied? If you are planning your route on a road trip you need to establish your starting point.
• Understand your existing resources
Sometimes the client already has some of the tools and resources that can help them get to their destination such as mentors, specific skills, natural abilities and perhaps money. It is no good teaching you how to get to the petrol station before taking your road trip when you already have enough fuel in the tank.
• Help you create an achievable and highly ambitious plan
This is where I work with you to come up with your own plan for your personal journey in life. I teach you how to use the tools you need such as a map and compass but always encourage you to come up with your own route. There is often more than one route to a destination and I will help you choose your own, based on what makes you feel most comfortable.
• Give you motivation and encouragement to take action
The best planned route in the world is utterly useless if the driver does not take action and set off on their journey. A good life coach will provide you with the long-term motivation and encouragement you need to get past procrastination, self-doubt, lack of focus and confidence. I will never drive your car for you, but I will be travelling alongside you for as long as you need, helping you navigate and clearing the road ahead of anything that may be blocking your path.
• Keep you on track until you have achieved your goals
Sometimes when we are trying to get somewhere, we lose focus and end up going down the wrong track. Sometimes we grow tired and simply want to stop. Other times we forget we are trying to get anywhere at all and get distracted by the millions of less important things that prevent us from getting where we need to go. A good life coach will keep you motivated and keep you on route. I will be constantly improving what is working on your journey and getting rid of things that are stopping you in your tracks.
As you can see, a lot is involved in a life coach’s craft. They have to draw upon the power of tried and tested techniques and processes.
But the most skilled of life coaches will be able to do all of the above without you having to worry about what things like Neuro Linguistic Programming actually means.
They will be able to determine all of the above during your life coaching sessions using the good old art of conversation. Nothing more and nothing less.
Now for many people who are learning what a life coach is, one of the key things they may be wondering is how much does a life coach cost?
I won’t beat around the bush. A top life coach is what some would term expensive. Top ones will charge anywhere between £100 and £200 an hour.
I have even seen some charge over £500 an hour.
What is more, most coaches (including myself) do not provide single sessions.
I am often asked why lots of reputable life coaches do not provide single sessions and my answer is simple.
Whilst a single session will be enough to start you on the right path, it will not be enough to make a life-long meaningful change.
You would not expect to go to the gym and transform your body in one session. The same applies to your life. It is a process and a journey. It takes time, focus and attention.
This is why many coaches provide packages of at least 6-8 sessions minimum.
I also provide 6-8 session packages but I also offer smaller 4 session packages but whilst I do not recommend smaller programmes, I believe this to be the sufficient minimum to start you off on the right track and may be suitable for you.
From our initial conversation we can tailor a package that suits your needs.
An additional benefit to booking a multi-session package is the overall cost per session can work out cheaper. In general, the more sessions you book as part of a package the cheaper each individual session works out.
You may be asking, why does coaching cost so much?
I personally think the return on the investment you put in will get you the best possible life where you become the best version of you.
Think about it. We have all blown hundreds on nights out, holidays, fancy clothes and who knows what else to make ourselves feel better. These short lived blasts are exciting and great at the time but never provide long lasting contentment.
Life coaching and choosing to make changes that last does.
So why not spend that on something that will help you make a lifelong meaningful change for you and perhaps even those around you who you care about the most?
I have highlighted in this article that a lot goes into the craft of life coaching from psychological techniques, creating action plans and long-term motivation.
Life is hard and coaching someone on how to live a better life is hard too. So, I honestly believe that what might initially sound expensive to some is actually the best thing you will ever do with your money.
If you are unhappy, unfilled or just find it impossible to achieve the things in life you consider important, then you could find life coaching is one of the best value investments you will ever make.
I hope this article has given you a little insight into the question of what a life coach is. I am hoping you will understand more about what a life coach does, why people see them, the purpose of a life coach, how they work and how much they cost.
I have also attempted to show what a life coach does not and should not do. They should never tell you what do with your life. Instead, they will work with you closely and give you all the tools, encouragement and support you need to come up with your own path forward. If you wish, they will share with you their own experiences, but ultimately it is always up to you to decide what to do with your own life.
Having a life coach and creating and sharing your life journey with them can be an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience in itself. Knowing you have someone helping you along in life and helping you become a better version of you can give you the confidence you need to push yourself beyond your current limits.
I hope you have found this article interesting. If you want to find out more about life coaching please have a look around my website - I can offer the life coaching alongside one or all of the other therapies listed in the website.
Finally, if you have any questions please get in touch!
I look forward to helping you transform your life and being your life coach.