Life Coaching – What is a Life Coach?

Life coaching is a synergistic relationship between a life coach and his or her client designed to reach your full potential by helping you to better use your talents, add needed skill sets, see things more objectively, improve finding and using creative strategies, set and accomplish your goals holding you accountable and helping to keep you on focus.

Just as Olympic athletes or pro boxers wouldn’t think of training without the added insight, objective perspective and encouragement or behind the scenes support of an athletic coach, many of today’s most successful entrepreneurs, business leaders, executives, professionals and CEOs use the services of a life coach to take their own lives, relationships, careers and businesses to the next level.

Part consultant, part motivational speaker, part therapist and part rent-a-friend, coaches work with managers, entrepreneurs, and just plain folks, helping them define and achieve their goals — career, personal, or most often, both.

– Newsweek

Why does life coaching work?

Coaches have the ability to view things from afar — in what some call ‘helicopter vision’ — and to shed new light on difficult situations. Often they can act as a sounding board through tough decisions, help sharpen skills, and motivate.

– CFO Magazine

The nature of investing time and money in ourselves and the effect that commitment has on our own mindset and the way we see ourselves can’t be underestimated. Similar investments in training, classes, certifications, higher quality equipment and such have been proven to be highly profitable and give an excellent ROI (return on investment) otherwise no one would still be buying them. Personal coaching, whether life coaching, business coaching, career coaching, executive coaching, relationship coaching, spiritual coaching or even youth coaching consistently shows itself to have the highest ROI of any of the other investments into our own or our teams personal development and production.

An article in Public Management revealed a study where training alone was compared to life coaching combined with training. The study showed that training alone increased productivity by 22.4% while training combined with weekly life coaching increased productivity by 88%. Here is why:

1) Expertise. The trained life coach may not know all the answers, but he or she knows the right questions to help you know yourself, find your purpose and figure out what changes to your life will make you happier and more fulfilled. They then know how to help you set the right goals, improve your relationships, make more money in less time and structure your personal and professional life to achieve greater productivity with less effort. You’ll achieve more in less time while living a more balanced life with the input and encouragement of a Life Coach.

2) Delivery. A well-trained coach knows how to facilitate you in figuring out your own strategy, best course and goals so that you are naturally motivated to see them happen. It doesn’t take brow-beating or nagging when you have invested your own time, money and you’re creating the life of your own dreams.

Coaching typically works best with a weekly or bi-weekly call or meeting so you have time to integrate new ways of thinking and take action each week towards your goals. Most life coaching is done by phone and delivered in half hour to one hour coaching calls, although it’s not uncommon for the first meeting or “emergency” meetings to go as long as two hours.

The experience is challenging but uplifting, and there’s nothing as motivational in the long-term as seeing yourself make consistent and intentional progress towards your goals and the life you dream of. You’ll look forward to your weekly calls with your life coach and often see more accomplished in a month or two than over the previous year or years.

3) Accountability. The regularly scheduled weekly or bi-weekly calls will prompt you to get more done than you normally would if left to your own devices. You’ve not only invested money and time into this process, but have to talk about it each week with your coach, someone who was there when you figured out your strategies and goals. No one likes to show up to a meeting with someone they respect and have to talk about why they didn’t get things done, it does happen of course, there’s resistance, but the vast majority of the time you’ll record wins and show your tasks completed on time.

As weekly tasks get done better and faster each week, not only does your investment increase but so does your confidence and self esteem. When you slack off that one week, you find that you’ve in fact let yourself down more than anyone.

Eventually you’ll see the incredible power and payoff of getting daily, weekly and monthly tasks accomplished as they compound and then when you’ve accomplished something that was evading your and beyond your earlier reach you’ll know that you ate the mighty elephant one bite at a time. After that, each cycle of new dreams and goals will push you a bit further, building on the previous success and supporting your faith that you’ll keep improving so long as you keep reaching and procrastination will have been severely weakened.

4) Speed. Most people find that things start to happen very quickly after hiring a life coach. Again, each success builds on itself, so as faith, self-confidence and focus rise…so do fear, worry, distraction and ultimately procrastination fade and lose strength as well.

Some coaches look to pace the growth process so that you will keep them as coaches longer, but this often backfires and instead manifests as mediocre results. Instead, once you’ve spent 2-4 sessions assessing your situation, starting point and where you want to reach next, we suggest at least trying some “power coaching”. This produces results fastest, but it’s important for your coach to keep an eye on your process and slow down in some instances.

Even with the more aggressive “power coaching” format, you will either return to your life coach as new dreams and goals show themselves to be “a bit of a reach” or sometimes to move to a once per month format for more long-term ongoing  “inner game” coaching.

This is much like a boxer, who trains slow and steady most of the time, often on their own. But there are also hyper intense periods of training and focus in preparation for a big match…then the recovery phase directly after during which the fighter looks over future offers and figures out their next move before committing to it fully. During this last stage the boxer’s coach is still a part of his or her process, but just not as intently as during preparation for the big event.

Who works with a Life Coach?

Entrepreneurs, business leaders, executives, small business owners, creative people, musicians, managers, start-ups, professionals and even home makers can all reach their goals faster and more efficiently with the help of a life coach. If there is a gap between where you are now and where you want to be, there is room for life coaching. Not only will your coach help you close the gap, but they will help you break through your limited beliefs and challenge you to think bigger. When you succeed, truly, your coach also succeeds!

What would you work on with a life coach?

  • Setting and achieving goals and objectives
  • Planning for your business, career and life
  • Blasting through mental blocks and fears
  • Clearing clutter, getting organized and focused
  • Financial security and time independence
  • Balancing business and personal life for endurance
  • Making key decisions and designing strategies for success
  • Communicating powerfully and succinctly
  • Making your life and business into a problem-free zone
  • Building powerful relationships that are win-win and last
  • Breaking through the glass ceiling and getting promoted
  • Finding a career or business that makes you happy doing it
  • Finding the ideal partner or spouse for quality life together
  • Getting out of a rut, coping with change or making a life transition
  • Starting a business, growing or selling a business with excellence
  • Building, living and maintaining a life you love to live and fulfills you
  • Identifying core values and passions that make up your DNA
  • Fulfilling your physical, emotional and spiritual needs
  • Make more money and have more time to enjoy it
  • Playing, having adventures, and a lot more fun!
  • And much, much more…

Frequently asked questions

How does life coaching differ from consulting, therapy, sports coaching, a best friend?

Consulting. Life coaching can be considered a form of consulting. However, consulting is often information and expertise based. For example, you might hire a consultant to help your business with a specific problem. In which case, you’d expect your consultant to have knowledge and experience in that particular area. Life coaches, on the other hand, may or may not have a background or experience in your field. A coach is a life specialist, an expert on helping you develop all areas of your business and personal life. Unlike many consultants who propose a solution and leave you to implement it, the life coach stays with you to help you integrate the changes, new skills, and goals to make sure they really happen. This is one reason why coaching is so effective–it is one thing to have the information and quite another to actually make the change!

Therapy. Life coaching is not therapy. Coaches don’t work on past-based issues or traumas. Life coaches are not psychologists or psychotherapists. If you start the process of life coaching, and have not resolved a past issue, then it is very likely you will be referred to work with a therapist to resolve the issue. It is very common for unresolved traumas to stop us from getting what we want in our lives. Life coaches focus on the present and the client’s goals for the future. We help people move forward and set personal and professional goals that will give them the life they really want. Most life coaching clients are healthy, successful people who might be a bit stuck or simply want to make a big change in their lives and want the support of their own personal coach to do so.

Sports. Life coaching often includes principles from sports coaching, such as being your best, doing more than you think you can, working with a team, going for the goal. But unlike sports coaching, most professional coaching is not a competition. Your life coach will help you win in your own life!

Best friend. A best friend or two or three is wonderful to have. But is your best friend an objective professional who you can trust to advise you on the most important aspects of your life or business? Sometimes our friends can’t tell us the truth as much as they would like to because they don’t want to risk losing the friendship. A good life coach is never afraid to tell you the truth and is willing to be fired at any time. Why not have a best friend and a life coach?

Our basic philosophy of life coaching:

If there is a gap between where you are now and where you want to be, then there is room for life coaching. Why struggle on your own when you can get what you want out of life in a fraction of the time with the structure, support, and tools of a skilled life coach?

Who hires a life coach and why?

The ICF puts it nicely:

“People hire a life coach because

  • They want more.
  • They want to grow.
  • They want it easier.

It’s as simple as that. Life coaches help a client get all three. Quickly.”

What are the benefits of hiring a life coach?

  • You start taking more effective and focused actions immediately
  • You stop putting up with petty annoyances
  • You create momentum so it’s easier to get results
  • You set better goals that are based on what you really want
  • You have more time and energy

Do life coaches work on personal goals or business/professional goals?

Usually both. The life coach is the only professional trained to work with all aspects of your life. This is handy because very often, if something is bothering you at work, it is affecting your personal life as well and vice versa. Some clients prefer to spend more time focusing on their business goals, while others may want to focus on personal goals. How you use your coaching call is up to you!

Where does the life coach focus with an average client?

We focus where the client wants us to focus. Your goals are our goals, although we might have some radical suggestions for how to reach your goals more quickly. Sometimes, in order to be more successful in business, you need to do some personal work. So don’t be surprised if you get some personal assessments and quizzes!

Why does life coaching work?

Life coaching works for several reasons:

  • Synergy between the life coach and client creates momentum and enthusiasm.
  • Better goals are set— ones that naturally motivate the client.
  • The client develops new skills, which lead to greater success.
  • Life coaching provides a structure of support. Left to our own devices, we start out with the best intentions and then, we hit a snag and it can derail us completely or cause a long delay. A life coach can help you quickly break through blocks so that more is accomplished with less struggle and less effort.
  • Your life coach is an objective, positive supporter. Not everyone is lucky enough to have such a friend or colleague to provide this. If you’ve been doing it solo, try seeing how much more you can accomplish with a life coach!

Why is life coaching so popular?

  1. People are tired of doing what they “should” do and are ready to do something special and meaningful for the rest of their lives. Problem is, many can’t see it, or if they can, they can’t see a way to reorient their life around it. A life coach can help them do both.
  2. People are realizing how simple it can be to accomplish something that might have felt out of reach or like a pipedream. A coach is not a miracle worker (well, they are, sometimes) but a coach does have a large tool kit to help the Big Idea become a Reality.

Shouldn’t I be able to reach my goals on my own?

We’ve been taught that “hard work and doing it on your own” are the keys to finding life, success, money, or happiness. Most people believe they must sacrifice something to attain what they want. Some people sacrifice their health, their time to enjoy life, or their relationships. None of this is necessary. You can have it all, but maybe not all right this minute! And, with life coaching, you’ll find you don’t have to sacrifice anything to get what you want. You may need to change a few things, true, but clients find they have more time with their families and friends, more money, more opportunity, and are more successful at work when they work with an accredited life coach.

Athletes, performers, CEOs and presidents know that they can’t do it alone. They know they need a trained professional or even a team of experts to help them determine the best direction and to provide objective support and feedback. Without this, it is almost impossible to achieve excellence. No athlete would consider going to the Olympics without the support of a coach. The extra edge the coach provides makes all the difference. Why shouldn’t you have this same advantage?

Why would people who are already successful hire a life coach?

Nobody really needs a life coach, but many people want one! Are you doing what you most enjoy? Are you tolerating or putting up with anything? Is life easy or are you struggling? Are you on the path to financial independence? Do you have what you really want? Most people can expect a lot more out of their lives. I thought I’d start writing when I retired at sixty-five. I wrote my first book at 30! Life coaching really speeds things up so hold on to your hat!

Can a dependency be created between a life coach and coaching client?

No. The client may need the life coach in order to maximize an opportunity or accelerate their personal growth, yet not be dependent on the life coach. Anyone who has big goals can benefit from the structure, advice, and support of a life coach, so in that sense, a coach is needed. As far as creating an emotional or psychological dependency, not to worry. Life coaches work with people who are healthy and successful on their own. Life coaches do not resolve therapy issues. If you start to feel dependent on your life coach, get a therapist.

Can life coaching hurt someone?

No. The client is always responsible for their own life. Clients makes their own decisions and takes their own actions. Life coaches provide positive support and encouragement. While a life coach might challenge you to think differently or suggest that you try a different or even radical approach than you would normally take, the client must decide whether to take the advice or not. Life coaches do not in any way control the client’s thoughts, actions or life. If you feel bad after a coaching call, for any reason, let your life coach know about it. It is probably a miscommunication or it could be that this coach’s style is not working for you. If this happens consistently, try a different life coach. You should feel uplifted and motivated to take action at the end of each personal coaching call. You should certainly feel good about yourself and your accomplishments.

Can I hire a life coach for a short-term, special project?

Yes. Some clients hire a life coach to help them achieve a specific objective or project. Many clients choose to continue working with their life coach after their initial goals are accomplished because there are even more interesting things to do!

How long must I commit to working with a life coach?

One month. Although on average, most people find life coaching more beneficial than they realized and stay on longer than they initially anticipated. Many life coaches ask for a three to six month commitment but usually let you stop immediately if the coaching is not working for you right now. Some life coaches might ask you to sign a contract or an agreement. This is fine, however, all the coaches have agreed that you can coach on a month-by-month basis for as long as it is working for you.We never lock you into a fixed term for life coaching.

This does not apply to corporate contracts which may be for a specific term or project and are negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

How much does life coaching usually cost?

Most life coaches working with individuals charge about $300 to $700 per month for a 30 to 60 minutes call 3 or 4 times a month. Executive coaches charge more and some clients work with an executive coach for an hour or two a week. It all works out to about to about $100 to $300 per hour. Corporate coaching is more, and may cost $1,000 to $10,000 per month, and usually starts at $500 an hour. Corporate coaching may include on-site programs as well as individual executive coaching.

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