What is life coaching and how can it help YOU?

We all have goals of some kind – career, business, health, relationship and personal goals. But having a goal and achieving it are very different.

Some people have no idea how to actually start working towards their goal, or lack the personal resources to make it happen. Some don’t believe their goal is possible for them, or that they deserve it, so so make excuses not to go fort, or give up along the way.

And some people genuinely try hard to reach their goal, but fail because of the external difficulties they encounter along the way.

So what can you do to give yourself the best shot at achieving a goal? Many people turn to a life coach for help.

A life coach will help you shape your goal, and ensure it’s something you really want and can reasonably achieve. They’ll then help you to decide a plan to reach it – and stay on that path through the ups and downs along the journey.

Life coaching isn’t for people who are unable to achieve goals on their own, or who have ‘failed’ at life. Many of today’s successful leaders, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and even executives use life coaching services.

As well as guiding you to your goals, life coaches can assist you through significant life transitions, such as divorce, the death of a loved one, career shift, etc.

They also help people with low self-esteem to gain the confidence they need to tackle any roadblocks in their way – such as anxiety about starting a business or asking for a pay rise.

How is a life coach different from other types of coach?

People often confuse life coaches with business or executive coaches and other types of coach. But what distinguishes a life coach is that they usually focus on their client and what makes that person tick.

Here are some other types of coach you may have come across and what they do:

  • Executive coaches – focus on helping people in senior roles. They mainly help people in large corporations deal with stress.
  • Career coaches – focus on general career struggles. For instance, if you can’t find the right way of progressing in your company.
  • Health and wellness coaches – these are fitness and health gurus who help their clients improve their health.

Who works with a life coach?

Almost anyone could benefit from working with a life coach. If you’re struggling with any area of your life, they can help to bring clarity and guide you to finding a path through it.

People work with life coaches for everything from finding a romantic partner to coping with a tricky relationship at work. A life coach will help you break through any limiting beliefs and find the personal resources in you to help you achieve the results you want.

Put simply, if there’s a gap between where you are now and where you want to be, life coaching will help you to close that gap.

Why life coaching works

Coaches can help to bring a new, more objective perspective to old problems, and situations you feel stuck in. They can act as an impartial sounding board when you’re working through tough decisions.

Life coaches also offer accountability by giving you ‘tasks’ to complete between sessions to ensure that you stay on track and maintain momentum in working towards the results you want.

As a result, clients of life coaches often see these benefits:

  • They start taking focused and productive actions.
  • They create momentum which makes getting results much easier.
  • They set better goals that are based on what they truly want.
  • They have more energy and time.
  • Their decision making skills improve.
  • They’re clearer about what they want.
  • They feel more empowered.
  • They enjoy better professional and personal relationships.

What can a life coach do for you?

Now that we’ve covered what life coaching is, let’s look at a life coach may be able to help you.

To start, it’s important to remember that a life coach isn’t a therapist. Nor will they give you the answers and tell you what to do to solve your problems.

Instead, a life coach will listen to you, and use their training and positive energy to help you work out what you really want and how to get it, and then motivate and encourage you to take the right actions.

Psychology says that we’re capable of generating our own solutions, and life coaches help you to do this by asking targeted questions and providing discovery-based frameworks, so you see things more clearly and honestly.

12 ways a life coach can help you

To give you an idea of the breadth of issues a life coach can work with, here are 12 things a life life coach can help you to do.

1) Find your life purpose

Everyone loves to feel special and important. That doesn’t mean we want to feel better than everyone else, or be the center of attention. It just means that we want to live a meaningful and valuable life; to accomplish something.

The problem is that, for many of us, exactly what that purpose is, isn’t clear. And that’s where a coach comes in.

Often, the life experiences we encounter shape and mold who we become. And we can use these experiences in any way we wish to find meaning in this world. Coaches can help you unlock this potential for meaningful purposes. They’ll help you to process your past and shape new goals for the future.

For example, if you work as a mechanic, and twice you’ve performed CPR and saved people’s lives, after speaking with your coach, you may realize that your current job isn’t your purpose, and that you react well in emergencies. So maybe you’d find more satisfaction in a role that enables you to help others.

It doesn’t matter how much you love your career, if you don’t feel like it’s your true purpose and you’re still yearning for something meaningful, you won’t be satisfied. A life coach will help you to discover that purpose.

It’s also important to note that negative experiences can drive your purpose too. For example, if your child committed suicide some years ago and now you’ve healed, you may realize after speaking with your coach that you want to channel your story and experiences into helping others.

2) Find the answers you need within yourself

Sometimes we know that we want more from our life, but have no idea what it is that we’re looking for. This is something a life coach can work with you to uncover. Because, while they won’t be able to give you any solutions, they will help you to unlock the answers in yourself.

They know how to ask the right questions to help you to identify what might be wrong, and what could work for you instead. Rather than just mulling over what you’re not satisfied with, a life coach will help lead you to the answers through targeted questions.

Life coaches are encouraging, positive, and accepting of your ideas and thoughts. Their job is help you unlock the answers within yourself, and partner with you to find solutions even if you don’t believe or know that you have them.

3) Design steps for self-improvement

Once you’ve determined your purpose, you need to work out how you can fulfil it. And again, this is something a life coach will help you to do – whether your goal is career-related or self-improvement.

Your life coach will work with you to develop a plan of action. For example, if someone is living with HIV/Aids and they’ve decided that their purpose is to encourage other people who live with this disease, their coach will help them to work out what success looks like, how they can practically make it happen, and how long it will take.

These questions help people to get a full picture of what it will take to accomplish their desire, and brainstorm ideas to being it to life.

4) Set and achieve goals

One of the main reasons why people hire life coaches is because they want to set and reach goals. Even if you’re already comfortable about setting your goals, you’ll benefit from having someone to motivate you. 

Coaches will ask you how you plan to achieve your goals after you’ve set them. They’ll hold you accountable and ensure that you remain committed and complete the steps you need to reach them, to the timetable you’ve agreed.

This accountability will help to keep you on track, and increase the likelihood of actually achieving the goals you have set for yourself.

5) Help you to get past barriers and fears

The thing that holds most people back from living the life they want is fear. Fear can be caused by many different things, and has a powerful effect on our body and mind.

And while some fear is natural and healthy, miss-placed fear, or too much fear can have serious adverse effects on your quality of life. Fear will stop you dreaming, stop you setting yourself goals and stop you taking positive action to achieve the life you really want.

Life coaching will help you to identify any lurking fears, understand why you have them, and help you overcome them – if you want to. Then, once your fears have been moved from your path, you’re free to go out and starting building the life you really want, and become the person you dream of being.

6) Find a soulmate

Whatever life goals we set ourselves, most of us dream about achieving them, and enjoying them, with someone by our side. But finding a soulmate isn’t always easy, and sometimes we don’t know were to start in finding for one – or even what our ‘soulmate’ looks like.

If you’ve not had any luck in finding a partner, you could benefit from life coaching. Your life coach will help you understand what is it that you want in a partner, and help you draw up steps to find them.

Importantly, they can also help you to become a great partner too. So when you do meet someone special, you’re ready to commit to a happy, meaningful relationship with them.

7) Make life transitions

There are many changes we’ll live through in life – leaving home, changing career, moving house, getting married, having children, and even losing people we love.

It doesn’t matter what change you’re facing – whether it’s one you have chosen, one you want, or a difficult transition that has been forced upon you – a life coach can guide you through it. They’ll help you come to terms with any feelings you can have, and feel more in control by identifying what you want your new future to look life after the change, and taking positive, practical steps to make it happen.

So rather than feel stuck or a victim, or feeling hopeful but lost, life coaching will help you create a new vision and feel empowered and hopeful – maybe even excited about the new possibilities in front of you, and the life you can shape for yourself.

8) Be more organized

It can be hard balancing work and family, but it’s crucial that you remain functional in every area of your life to keep that balance. But keeping all the balls in the air you might be juggling – especially if you’re a mother – isn’t easy. And sometimes you need help.

That’s where a life coach comes in. As well as ensuring that you’re genuinely living the life you want, they’ll help you to identify everything you need to do, and ensure you’re not missing any opportunities to ditch responsibilities that you don’t need, or no longer serve you, delegate tasks you can, and do the ones that are left better so you’re more productive.

So rather than feel like life is running you, you feel more in control and contented.

9) Lose weight

Weight loss is a journey, and it’s not always an easy one. Many people, even after deciding that they want to shed some pounds, just can’t manage to lose weight. Or if they do, they can’t maintain their weight loss.

Sometimes it’s because they’ve relied on a quick fix to get them results faster and more easily. Fixes like pills, shakes, extreme diets and surgery.

Private or group life coaching can help you achieving lasting weight loss by identifying meaningful goals, and a realistic plan to reach those goals. It will also give you important support and accountability on your weight lose journey.

10) Gain better self-awareness and confidence

You can’t be confident in yourself unless you genuinely know and accept who you are – a process life coaching can help you through.

Life coaching can guide you to better self-awareness – owning your strengths and identifying areas of your personality or life you’d like to change (and creating a plan to achieve it). You’ll be more aware of your abilities in any given situation, and feel more empowered to create the results you want.

You’ll also have a clearer understanding of what makes you tick – the passions, career goals and type of people you need and want in your life, and those you don’t.

Through this self-awareness comes confidence. Confidence in knowing who you are, what you can do, and where your strengths do and don’t lie.

11) Achieve financial independence

Some life coaches specialize in financial coaching. They may help people who struggle with money to identify solutions out of a mess they may be in, and guide them to create more healthy financial habits, and even improve their credit score.

They also work with people who have money blocks – they work hard but never really achieve the financial success they think they want. A life coach can help you to unpick this, set authentic financial goals and decide on a plan to finally go and achieve them.

12) Be a good parent

It’s quite normal to wonder sometimes if you’re a good parent. Or to feel unequipped to deal with parenting situations that can arise, such as helping a tricky teenager.

Life coaching can help you get a more objective view on your family dynamics and parenting skills, talk through any emotions you may have, and identify opportunities and strategies for positive change.

It can also help to iron out any differences or conflicts in the way that you and your partner approach parenting, or the parenting styles you use. So you can work together, with more confidence, in raising your family.

Do you need a life coach?

If you’ve read through these examples and feel that you may benefit from help, do look for a life coach near you. It’s all too easy to struggle on alone, either hoping a problem will go away, or assume that we should be able to work through it ourselves.

But sharing your problem with a life coach can do more than just halve it – it gives you the opportunity to work out what you want your life to look like going forward, and give you a plan to go out and make it happen, with support and accountability.

Mike Bundrant is the author of Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage and co-founder at The iNLP Center which offers online certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and life coaching.

Photo by Volha Flaxeco