What Is a Life Coach?

Business woman working together and sharing a computer.
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When it comes to finding more fulfillment, working with a life coach could help you make progress. A type of wellness professional, life coaches aid their clients in improving their relationships, careers, and day-to-day lives.

Life coaches help you clarify your goals, identify the obstacles holding you back, and then come up with strategies for overcoming each obstacle. In creating these strategies, life coaches target your unique skills and gifts.

By helping you to make the most of such strengths, life coaches provide the support you need to achieve long-lasting change.

Many individuals seek out life coaches for guidance in navigating a significant life change, such as taking on a new career. In plenty of cases, however, people turn to life coaches simply for help in building a happier, more meaningful life.

In recent years, life coaches have acquired a considerable presence in the mainstream. Indeed, a growing number of creatives, executives, and entrepreneurs are now teaming up with life coaches to attain success in their professional and personal lives.

What Can a Life Coach Do for You?

One of the key benefits of working with a life coach is the ability to gain a fresh, informed perspective on problems that you’ve long faced. In addition to offering new insight into such challenges, a life coach can help you to zero in on negative patterns that could be standing in the way of your success.

Many people view working with a life coach as a means of bridging the gap between your current circumstances and the life you’d most like to lead. Here are some of​ the positive outcomes that could result from joining forces with a life coach:

  • greater financial security
  • a better work/life balance
  • elimination of long-held fears and anxieties
  • stronger relationships with friends and family
  • improved communication skills
  • a more satisfying work life
  • enhanced creativity

Additionally, people frequently pair up with life coaches in order to work through barriers that may interfere with finding a partner/mate. Many individuals also look to life coaches for help in identifying their passion and carving out their ideal career path.

For a great number of clients, accountability is one of the prime advantages of working with a life coach. Since sessions typically take place on a regular basis over a prolonged period of time, life coaches can ensure that their clients are implementing what is necessary to experience significant change.

Along with providing the support and motivation essential for maintaining momentum, coaches can observe when a client is stuck or needs to recalibrate her goals. As a result, clients often achieve those goals more quickly and efficiently than they would if working on their own.

Who Should Consider Working with a Life Coach?

There are a number of indications that working with a life coach could be helpful for you.

These signs include:

  • an inability to break bad habits
  • frequent irritability
  • high levels of stress and/or anxiety
  • a persistent feeling of dissatisfaction at work
  • a lack of fulfillment in your social life
  • a sense of blocked creativity

The Difference Between a Life Coach and a Therapist

Although there may be some overlap in the benefits of working with a life coach and undergoing therapy, each of these professionals has a very distinct role and serves a unique purpose. Unlike life coaches, therapists and other mental health professionals focus on healing and aim to help their clients work through trauma and other issues from their past.

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While working with a life coach may help you to deal with certain unresolved issues, life coaches cannot treat mood disorders, anxiety disorders, addiction, or any other mental health condition. To that end, a life coach should never be considered as a substitute for a mental health professional.

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If you’re experiencing symptoms of a mental health problem (such as feelings of hopelessness, difficulty concentrating, sleep disruption, and mood disturbance), it’s crucial to consult a mental health professional as soon as possible.

What You Need to Know Before You Work with a Life Coach

Life coaching sessions can take many different forms. For example, some life coaches meet with their clients in person, while others conduct their sessions over the phone or by Skype.

If you’re thinking of working with a life coach, keep in mind that it’s up to you to decide what you’d like to focus on in your coaching sessions. Each session should leave you feeling empowered and uplifted, so it’s critical to find a coach whose style and philosophy resonate with you.

For help in finding a qualified life coach, try consulting an organization such as the International Coach Federation.

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Sources:

Ammentorp J, Uhrenfeldt L, Angel F, Ehrensvärd M, Carlsen EB, Kofoed PE. Can life coaching improve health outcomes? A systematic review of intervention studies. BMC Health Serv Res. 2013 Oct 22;13:428.

Hawksley B. Work-related stress, work/life balance and personal life coaching. Br J Community Nurs. 2007 Jan;12(1):34-6.

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