Most people have heard of life coaching. But how many of us really understand what it is? Or even what benefits it may have for us?

What is life coaching?

The term coach in this context is thought to have been first used in the world of sport, possibly as far back as the 1860s. Life coaching began as a profession in the US in the 1980s and is currently an industry estimated to be worth $2 billion worldwide.

According to an article published in the International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring in February 2016, 1 description of life coaching is that it's a motivational and behavioural change approach that helps people to set and reach better goals, leading to enhanced wellbeing and personal functioning.

The UK-based Life Coach Directory uses a less wordy definition. A life coach, it says, is someone who aims to help and empower others to make, meet and exceed personal and professional goals.

Even more simply, life coaching can help you reach a tangible goal or make a change in your life. What life coaching is not, on the other hand, is counselling or therapy. Life coaches are not psychologists or psychotherapists, and they don't investigate the underlying causes of emotional health problems. Instead, they focus on the present and your plans for the future, rather than working on issues or traumas based in the past.

A life coach also doesn't aim to offer solutions. But they can help you find the answers you need yourself, and make it easier for you to realise what you really want and then develop a plan to get it. They can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, and to focus on what you're good at while eliminating the areas that aren't working in your life.

What happens during a session?

You can talk to a life coach in person, on the phone or by email, and sometimes also via Skype and instant messaging. How long your sessions last will depend on the life coach you choose, but typically you could be talking to them for 45 - 60 minutes. Different coaches use different methods and techniques, but during your first session they're likely to ask you lots of questions, such as:

  • What do you want to get out of life?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What do you think is holding you back?
  • What areas of your life are you unhappy with?
  • Where would you like to see yourself ending up?

They may also use a variety of processes and techniques such as visualisation, relaxation, meditation, exploring limiting beliefs and even hypnosis and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). As your life coach gets to know you better, they may change their methods to suit you and your goals. All of your sessions will also be confidential, which means you can explore your thoughts and feelings fully.

How many sessions you'll need and how often you'll need them is up to you. And because many life coaches offer their services over the phone or online, it means you can have a session whenever it suits you.

What can it help with?

Life coaching has the potential to help with many areas of your life. For instance, it may help you achieve a better work-life balance, excel at work, achieve your ambitions and career goals, or explore your potential. It may also help you become happier and more fulfilled at home, or help you find your purpose, boost your confidence or become more motivated.

Other areas such as health and fitness, hobbies and relationships are also some of the things life coaches offer help with. To put it simply, any area of your life that feels stuck or blocked, anything you're unsure of or changes you want to make could benefit from life coaching.

It's a good idea to choose the right kind of life coach if you have a clear goal you need help with. Many life coaches specialise in different areas, including careers, finance, relationships, family issues, and health and wellness. You could even work with more than 1 life coach if you find it useful. But most importantly, try to find a life coach you feel comfortable with and connect well with. 

CABA's telephone life coaching

We offer telephone-based life coaching for ICAEW members and their families who need emotional support or help with their career development.

If you're struggling with anything at home or you're feeling uncertain about things at work, our telephone life coaching sessions can give you the support you need, when you need it.

Your life coach will help you define your personal and professional motivations and goals, and then help you develop a plan and put that plan into action.

For more information about our life coaching and how it could benefit you, phone us on +44 (0) 1788 556 366.

Was this article useful?