What is Life Coaching?

The question 'what is life coaching' comes up a lot with little understanding. Most of the feedback i've heard from people suggests that it's a strictly corporate consultant who has some magical power to alter executives thoughts (and get paid a huge amount for it!). This is a little bit of misunderstanding mixed in with a resentment of business and executive types. In this section we want to unwrap and explain the basics of what life coaching is and what it is not. Does that sound good? lets get started.

Lets start by finding some simple definitions of what others say it is and what it does. Jeni Purdie (Author, life coach and NLP practitioner) describes it like this;

"A purposeful conversation that inspires you to create your best life."

This is a bit of a broad definition but a great place to start and move forward. Life coaching is usually practiced between a certified life coach and an individual who is needing some formal help to make some decisions. It happens in a private setting where a conversation happens where the life coach asks particular questions and helps the individual to find the answers they desire. This isn't mentoring in its traditional sense (but we'll get to that later). The end goal is for the individual who has hired the coach to be able to create the life they desire and be equipped with the skills to maintain that.

Life coaches maintain that their goal is to build an individual up to have total empowerment to be there own inner-coach or a sort of self guru.

This seems to be an exemplary and commendable pursuit as then there would be no need for the coach in the long run and would emphasize the short-term nature of life coaching. Therefore, we get one answer to the question what is life coaching; it is short term and empowering of the individual.

The initial and overall blueprint of life coaching is as follows.

  1. Clarify thought processes.
  2. Resolve problems.
  3. Reach agreements together.
  4. Commit to actioning these agreements.

This would then suggest that its actually quite simple rather than some elaborate magic trick. Which is good news for all of us who like things simple! The beauty of this is that you don't need to be some executive to need that kind of help. We all have problems to work out but, do we need a life coach? lets delve a little deeper into what is life coaching.

What Life coaching IS

What is life coaching? Life coaching is very direct and gets straight to the point of why you want their services. Not in an over-bearing confronting sense but in a, "we want to help you" kind of way.

  • They help you to understand why you make the decisions you do. Whether negative or positive there are reasons behind the way we act the way we do and often this is our very problem.
  • Life coaches help you narrow down which path to take in your current situation. There will always be many options on where to go from here ut often the answers are in you and just need to be drawn out with some help and asking the right questions.
  • Map out a great blue print of action to take in order to find the success you desire. There will also be many options for achieving these results but narrowing all the options down and planning how to find this fulfillment is a life coaches bread and butter.
  • Strategize the best ways of keep motivation in your life and how to keep this up day-to-day to achieve the success you desire. This can be one of the biggest ones to-date as finding the right answers and goals is one thing but actually coming into work the next day and finding the momentum to keep going towards them is another thing entirely.

What life coaching IS NOT

As with many other definitions; looking at what something isn't really helps us to wrap our minds around what it is. Life coaching is a technique which incorporates many other skills but focuses primarily on facilitating you finding your own answers. Lets have a look at some similar pursuits;

  • Life coaching is not meant to be mentoring. This is probably the closest other technique that life coaching can be associated with but there are a few distinct differences. Mentoring is a fantastic relationship to have but it i meant to be with someone who is farther ahead in life than yourself, but has insight into your area of life that you don't Mentoring is quite informal and they give advice freely without expectation of the mentee taking that advice and applying it. This could be a goal to have a mentor post-coaching as it helps to support your life but life coaching is a lot more direct.
  • Life coaching is not meant to be an advice giving service. You'd be surprised how a lot of people think that coaches just give 'good advice' to their clients. In realistic practice this is almost the exact opposite of the presupposition of effective life coaching. Life coaching is about asking the questions for you to find the answers yourself, in your own thought processes and in the time of the coach. Anyone can give advice but life coaches are meant to train you to find the solutions which are usually already decided inside yourself (although hard to find at times!).
  • Finally, life coaching is not a counselling service and won't ask you to lay on a bed and tell them how you feel (writing copious amounts of notes, of course). Couselling starts with the perspective that there is something wrong with you that needs fixing. Life coaching presupposes that you're already whole and healthy to deal with life and strong enough to make great decisions.

The question ' what is life coaching ' is hopefully answered to a good degree in the above text. We hope that you've enjoyed this section defining what is life coaching and if you enjoyed it then you should have a look at our mentoring and coaching section which takes a step past what is life coaching and into more depth of these two subject areas.

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