What can a life coach do to help me?
We speak with two life coaches on who life coaching is suitable for and why it’s so important for a successful future.
Hayley Wood, training manager at the Life Coaching Institute, says life coaches are trained professionals who help others to reflect on, discover and support their life goals.
“Some coaches are more generalised and help with overall self-development, others are more specialised and focus on business coaching, health and wellness coaching, career coaching and life-cycle coaching,” she tells Body+Soul.
While the profession is relatively new, it doesn’t mean practitioners are any less educated.
“Life experience doesn’t count as a life-coaching qualification,” says Claire Hall, a life coach and founder of Authentic Empowerment. In fact, to become certified, life coaches must complete a specialised course.
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A focus on the future
Where traditional therapy tends to be focused on the past, life coaching shifts the focus to the future.
“Life coaching is very much forward-looking,” Wood says.
“We review your strengths, goals and tools to help plan and reach professional or personal outcomes, [whereas] psychologists deal mostly with personal problems or mental illness.”
As Hall notes, some people even find it beneficial to see both a psychologist and a life coach at the same time. “This gives a balanced approach to mental health.”
Tailored to your goals
Life coaching doesn’t rely on a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, a practitioner looks at your goals and current situation to help formulate a plan, and tailors sessions to suit your circumstances.
“From there, you’ll work with your life coach to implement, monitor and change the plan as required, as well as learn different tools, techniques and strategies to help support your journey,” Wood explains.
Because life coaches are widely accessible for both in-person and online sessions, Hall recommends trialling several professionals before you make your final decision.
“Most coaches offer a free coaching trial to ensure you’re ready for the commitment of time, money and energy,” she tells Body+Soul.
And even though it might seem easiest to type “life coach” into Google, both Hall and Wood advise using the International Coaching Federation website (coachingfederation.org) to find an accredited practitioner.
What are some tips our life coaches would like to share with us?
Get help early: “It’s OK not to feel OK, but you don’t have to wait till things get really bad before you see someone,” Wood says.
Be realistic: “Perfectionism is a sneaky way of putting yourself down by moving the goalposts so you never quite win,” Hall adds. “Bin the unrealistic expectations and enjoy life.”
Stop competing: “Remember that you’re only seeing what others want you to see, and that life isn’t a competition,” Wood says.