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A life coach helps a client make changes in life towards reaching specific goals, generally within a time specific period. A life coach does not spend much (if any) time examining the past, but rather looks at how making certain changes today can result in desired outcomes in the near-future tomorrow.

Life coaching is a client driven process. Your life coach is there to help you realize the goals that you set for yourself – not to give you advice on how to improve your life in areas that you don’t choose to work on!

Some of the stages of a typical life coaching relationship include:

  1. A life coach listens to her client’s current problems, ideas and hopes for the future
  2. Making goals - Many of us know that we’re unhappy or dissatisfied in some area of life, whether at work, in relationships or with our habits – what we don’t yet know is how to make the changes necessary to improve the situation, and often even what it is exactly that we seek as a solution or a goal to work towards! A life coach helps through focused listening and pointed questions - challenging the client to come to an understanding of the current situation and helps the client to make a clear and realizable goal for the future.
  3. Helping to identify road blocks to success and helping to devise strategies to overcome these challenges – and then holding the client accountable for following through on planned actions.

How Does Life Coaching Work?

Life coaches typically charge by the session and sessions typically range between a half an hour and an hour in duration. Clients will generally meet with their coach, or converse over the telephone, once per week, and may exchange additional emails on top of that once weekly phone call.

Do People Go to School to Become Life Coaches?

At the moment, any person, with any amount (or none) or training, can call themselves a life coach.

Because there is very little standardization and no formal educational benchmark to rely on, finding an effective life coach may be challenging and you are wise to carefully consider any prospective life coach’s background, education and relative experience before deciding to enter into a coaching relationship.

Although life coaching is not therapy, like a therapeutic relationship, it’s very important that you feel that you can trust and relate to your life coach and you must feel that your coach likes you and has a real desire to see you grow and succeed in all areas of your life.

Choosing a Life Coach

It’s very important that you feel comfortable working with your coach and confident in his or her abilities to help you realize change in your life.

Most life coaches will offer a trial session or two for no charge, and since coaching can be expensive, you should be sure to try out several coaches on a trial basis before selecting anyone for a continuing relationship.

Can a Life Coach Help Me With My Depression or Anxiety?

People with mental health issues should not consider a life coach an appropriate choice for a therapy relationship. Anyone with serious mental or emotional health challenges should contact a qualified and certified mental health professional for assistance.

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Page last updated Dec 10, 2010

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