Here’s Your Answer to the Burning Question “What Is a Life Coach”?

Do you struggle to get clear on what direction you want your life to take? Or do you sometimes feel discouraged when seemingly unsurmountable obstacles block your path? Perhaps you just wish you had a cheerleader by your side to give you some perspective? If so, a life coach may just be what you’re looking for.

But what is a life coach, anyway? And how can they help you? Keep reading to find out!

What is a life coach?

If you’ve been told you could benefit from hiring a life coach, it can be really confusing to dip your toes into this world when you’re first learning about this profession. And there’s nothing simpler to explain what a life coach does than to compare them to the types of coaches we understand the most — sports and fitness coaches!

So what do fitness coaches do? They take the time to understand where each individual client is at the moment on their fitness journey. They also take their short-term and long-term goals into account. Finally, fitness coaches do their best to understand each individual’s strengths, limitations, and preferences.

Using all that information, a fitness coach will then come up with a fitness plan and help their clients implement the plan. They’ll work alongside them during their workouts, correct their position, answer any questions or concerns, and make changes to the plan as they make progress.

Life coaches aren’t that different. However, instead of executing these steps for fitness goals, they help people with other aspects of their lives. 

A life coach can help people:

  • Clarify their short-term and long-term goals
  • Understand their strengths, shortcomings, and what works best for them
  • Make progress with their goals to achieve fulfillment in their lives

Not only will a life coach help create a plan to achieve your goals, but they’ll guide you along your journey and help you overcome all the obstacles you come across.

What do life coaches do?

So what does a life coach do exactly? How do they help you achieve your goals? And are they worth the investment?

Luckily for you, there’s a life coach for every budget and every personality type. If you don’t want to invest in one-on-one coaching services, many life coaches offer group programs instead.

Whether a life coach works with you in a group or one-on-one, they’ll usually implement one of several coaching styles to help you get where you want to be. Here are some concrete examples of what a life coach may do depending on their coaching style:

  • Autocratic coaching style: With this style of coaching, the client usually has a set goal they want to reach. There’s less space to change directions. In this case, the coach will help you identify your obstacles to reaching that specific goal and guide you through your obstacles during coaching sessions.
  • Holistic coaching style: As the name implies, holistic life coaches will consider you as a whole, including your personal life and your work life. During your sessions, these types of coaches won’t just help you with specific goals — they’ll provide a safe space for you to share anything related to your well-being, spirituality, goal-setting, and so much more.
  • Inspirational coaching style: An inspirational (or motivational) life coach will help you by raising your energy levels and giving you perspective on the bigger picture of your life. If you feel like you struggle to keep going during challenging times, this coaching type may be for you.
  • Solution-oriented coaching style: With a solution-oriented coach, you’ll come to your coaching sessions with predefined problems you want to overcome. Based on those problems and what goals you want to achieve, your coach will work with you to find actionable solutions.
  • Mindset coaching style: Also known as transformational coaching, the mindset coaching style is an approach in which your coach will help you uncover some of your limiting beliefs and help you achieve clarity in your belief system. This type of coach will usually guide you by asking thought-provoking questions that give you a new perspective on your situation.

A life coach can use one or more of these coaching styles when working with you. The best style that works for you will drastically depend on your personality and the types of challenges and goals you have.

What can life coaches help with?

Just as fitness coaches can help with different sports or disciplines, a life coach can help you with different aspects of your life. Here are five common examples of what a life coach can help you with!

1. Financial issues

A financial life coach will help you define your financial goals and help you achieve them by:

  • Teaching you vital money management skills
  • Establishing the best debt payment strategy for your situation
  • Showing you how to build your savings
  • And much more

Keep in mind that financial coaches are different from financial advisors. A financial advisor can give investment advice and even invest on your behalf. On the other hand, a financial coach can improve your financial literacy and help you break the cycle of living from paycheck to paycheck.

But financial life coaches don’t just help you manage your money. A money mindset coach may also help you remove some blocks, especially if you have a negative relationship with money. 

2. Forming healthy relationships

Do the same dysfunctional patterns keep appearing in every relationship you begin? Or do you struggle to establish healthy communication with the significant people in your life?

Life coaches can help you improve your communication, set clear boundaries, and much more, so that you can form healthier and happier relationships.

Relationship coaches can help with much more than romantic relationships, too! What you learn from this type of life coach can be applied to all your important relationships.

3. Health and wellness

A coach who guides you with health and wellness is different from someone who’s just a sports coach. Typically, a health and wellness coach will use a more holistic approach to your health instead of focusing only on your fitness routine and diet.

What approach they take will drastically change depending on their philosophy and your goals! But usually, they’ll help you achieve wellness in all areas of your life, not just physical health. This can include mental and spiritual health, too.

4. Finding fulfillment in your life (and achieving your goals)

If there isn’t one specific aspect of your life that you need help with, you may instead just want to get more fulfillment out of your life in general. Life coaches can help with that too.

A life coach will ask you the right questions to find out more about you and help you get clear on what you really want. Once they have a clear picture of you, your personality, and what you truly want, they’ll create both micro and macro steps to get the desired outcome. 

What this looks like will vary depending on your own life and personality.

5. Making big life changes (career, starting a business, etc.)

Taking a big step can be scary on your own. Whether you’re making a career change, want to move across the country, or want to start your own business, life coaches can help you outline a plan of action to get you there.

Not only will you feel more confident once you have a plan of action, but it’ll also be much less scary to make a big change when you’ve got someone you can trust cheering you on!

What’s the difference between a life coach and a therapist?

Finding a life coach isn’t the same as finding a therapist. Although both these professionals cost money to hire, they don’t have the same approach at all — even if they’re frequently mistaken for one another.

Both professions help people get more fulfillment and happiness out of their lives. However, therapists will usually focus on resolving past trauma and living with mental illness. They’ll also support their patients as they learn to cope with a wide range of emotions.

On the other hand, life coaches focus on what’s ahead of you. They’ll help you get clarity on what you really want and guide you along the path that will get you there. 

It’s important to note that therapists must be licensed. A therapist can be a psychologist, who isn’t a medical doctor, but who can still provide talk therapy. Therapists can also be psychiatrists. These professionals can prescribe medication and diagnose mental illnesses. 

On the other hand, life coaches don’t require a license. However, they can still get certified at internationally recognized organizations like the International Coaching Federation (ICF). Keep in mind that a life coach doesn’t legally need a certification to run a business. This means it’ll be up to you to research their credentials before you make a hiring decision.

If you’re wondering whether you need a life coach or a therapist, here’s what to keep in mind:

  • If you have unresolved trauma or need support with your mental health, consider looking for a therapist first.
  • Once you feel like your trauma or past has been resolved, you can work with a coach to work on your future vision and goals.

Just remember that one cannot substitute the other. Choose the most fitting professional for your current situation.

Find a life coach that resonates with you on CoachCompare

Now that you know what a life coach is and what they do, you’re probably wondering how to find one! If you’re overwhelmed with all the options available — or simply don’t know where to start — you can use CoachCompare for free to find your ideal life coach! 

What is a life coach?