Gary Fink, MA, is a Masters Level Life and Executive Coach
WHAT DOES A LIFE COACH DO? A life coach definition can vary depending on what your specific goals are. A Life Coach encourages and counsels clients on a range of professional and personal issues. Life coaching is distinct from giving advice, consulting, counseling, mentoring and administering therapy. You would hire a coach to help you with specific professional projects, personal goals and transitions. A coach helps you grow by analyzing your current situation, identifying limiting beliefs and other potential challenges and obstacles you face and devising a custom plan of action designed to help you achieve specific outcomes in your life. The relationship between a client and their lifestyle coach is a creative partnership that seeks to: Identify, clarify and create a vision for what the client wants Use coach’s expertise to modify goals as needed Encourage client’s self-discovery and growth Nurture and evoke strategies and a plan of action based on what fits best with the client’s goals, personality and vision Foster client accountability to increase productivity These aspects of the process all work together to allow the client to maximize his or her potential, and research shows that coaching and training is a far more effective combination than training alone. In fact, training alone can increase productivity by 22.4%, but when combined with weekly life coaching, productivity is boosted by 88%.
LIFE COACHING MISCONCEPTIONS Now that you know the life coach definition and what one can do for you, it’s time to examine the many misconceptions and myths out there about life coaching. Here are some of the most common. “Anyone can be a life coach and coaches do not require training.” This isn’t the case. Great life coaches must possess the right blend of expertise and skilled delivery. This ensures that they can properly encourage clients while determining and resolving the core issues that merit attention in each case. Tony Robbins Results Coaches receive over 250 hours of training so they have all the skills needed to help you transform your life. What’s more, Tony Robbins Results Coaches are people who have already achieved proven success in their own lives and are the types of life coaches that put Tony’s principles into practice on a daily basis. “Coaching is like unlicensed therapy.” Those looking for a life coach definition often wonder about the difference between this and therapy. Life coaching is focused on your present and your future. Coaching accepts your current reality and looks to improve your outcome moving forward. Life coaches are not health professionals, and they do not diagnose you. In contrast, therapy focuses on your past and looks to delve into past actions and patterns. It is analytical, but not action-oriented. Check out our infographic on the differences between a life coach and a therapist to learn more. “Coaching is only for people who have problems or who can’t succeed on their own.” Going back to the athlete analogy, life coaching is for anyone who wants to improve their performance – whether you’re trying to advance at work or make more meaningful personal connections. Even the most skilled, successful people can benefit from coaching and there are a variety of different types of life coaches who can help in all different arenas of life. “Coaches let you vent, then they offer advice.” Coaches do need to have great listening skills, but delivering high-quality coaching is far more than giving advice. It demands that the coach be able to draw on a deep base of knowledge, experience and training to craft unique solutions for each scenario and work with the client to implement them. Coaches are objective and will offer unbiased opinions about how to move toward accomplishing your goals as well as work with you to identify and resolve inner blocks so that you can eventually coach yourself.
WHY WOULD YOU WORK WITH A LIFE COACH? People choose to hire life coaches because they want to do more tomorrow than they can do today. They want to improve their output and see more growth, and they want to do those things quickly and to the best of their ability. All kinds of people use life coaches, including actors, business leaders, creatives, entrepreneurs, executives, homemakers, managers, professionals, small business owners and start-up pioneers. These people all identify a gap between where they are and where they want to be, and turn to coaching when they want help reaching their goals. When you ask yourself what is a life coach and why should I work with one, you’re asking yourself why you’d want to unlock an extraordinary life.
WHAT A LIFE COACH CAN DO FOR YOU? The definition of a life coach is a professional who can help you excel in all areas of life. Some of the most common steps clients take while working with life coaches include: Identifying goals and defining a vision for success Creating professional and personal growth plans Identifying limiting beliefs Working toward financial independence Obtaining work/life balance Learning to communicate more succinctly and effectively Fostering more powerful connections professionally and personally Getting promotions Achieving weight loss and/or fitness goals Starting a new business or growing an existing one Managing an important life or business transition Articulating core values
HOW DOES LIFE COACHING WORK? Although different types of life coaches may work in a variety of ways, life coaching typically works in a specific, structured format, although your coach will ultimately work with you to create a custom action plan. First, you will work with your coach to define your vision: What is it that truly drives you? What’s at the basis of your goals? After answering that question, you’ll work alongside your coach to identify barriers and limiting beliefs that have been holding you back. What negative things have you been telling yourself? How have these patterns gotten in your way and how can you move past them? Finally, you and your coach will set challenging, but achievable, goals. Your coach will ensure that you are not settling for limited goals or being too negative as you assess your position by helping you calibrate your long and short-term goals against your core values. Assessing your current position helps you and your lifestyle coach measure your progress and identify current and potential obstacles. After this important step, you and your coach will review your resources and all courses of action available to you in order to create a plan of action. You’ll then decide which specific steps you will take and when you will take them. You will prepare for potential obstacles and decide how to cope with them. At this time, you will ensure that each step supports your end goals, while your coach will help you stay on track and monitor your progress. If your plan needs modification at any point, your coach will help you with this as well, which will empower you to stay committed. There’s a reason that life coaching is the second-fastest growing profession in the world – because it works for people. The true life coach definition is a committed professional who has the right training and tools to help you achieve any goal. Few people can honestly say that they are already performing at the top of their game each and every day. If you are ready to truly maximize your human potential, and take your life to the next level, then it’s time to seek out a life coach.