Plenty of movies feature a protagonist on a journey to better themselves. Perhaps they excel at playing a sport, but they hit roadblocks and need help overcoming them. After struggle and sacrifice, they emerge a champion. But do you see the athlete dealing with these slumps alone? Not really. There’s always a mentor or coach who plays an integral role in bringing this character across the proverbial (and literal) finish line.
We relate to these stories even if we’re not the best athletes because they mimic life. Just like a sprinter’s hurdles, obstacles keep us from reaching our short- and long-term goals or becoming a better version of ourselves. Sometimes, we find a way forward by tapping into our strengths. But other times, even after trying hard to find motivation, we need to seek guidance. And just like in the movies, a coach can support us.
Life coaches help clients identify goals, discover strengths, and pursue true passions. These coaches also encourage clients to introspect and recognize the unsatisfying aspects of their lives, and based on clients’ inferences, coaches guide them toward a more fulfilling life.
So why get a life coach? Learn more about this profession and how to find a life coach who’s right for you in this guide.
How can a life coach help me?
Life coaching services challenge clients to combat limiting beliefs and get out of their comfort zones. Coaching programs pose tough and sometimes time-consuming work to keep clients engaged and defeat negative thoughts.
Life coaching programs promise a more fruitful future. Invest in this coaching if you:
- Feel lost or can’t understand your purpose in life
- Don’t have clear short- and long-term goals
- Are ready for a career change but not sure which direction to turn
- Feel stuck in your personal, professional, or creative lives or relationships
- Lack motivation or struggle with procrastination
- Lack self-esteem or self-confidence
- Struggle to find work-life balance
- Quickly give up on goals when you hit a roadblock
- Are ready for a life change but afraid to take the leap
- Unsatisfied with your life but can’t pinpoint what’s wrong
How to get a life coach
More often than not, it’s difficult for clients to open up their hearts, especially when they already feel insecure. However, life coaches make this communication easy. They create a safe environment for clients and ensure every conversation is confidential.
Some coaches ask if you’ve sought services from other coaches and how the sessions went to learn why you need life coaching again — wise coaches are honest about whether their services are right for you.
That said, it’s equally important for a client to find the right coach who meets their expectations. Here’s how to look for a professional who’s a good match:
- Set a budget: Analyze your monthly budget to check how much you’re willing to spend on each session. However, always value a coach’s years of practice and client base. Also, visit the coach’s website to check if they offer discounted packages and group rates.
- Tap into your network: Although the internet helps find coaches near you with positive customer reviews, consider asking people in your network for referrals. Another wellness professional in your life, like a therapist or career advisor, may have a name for you.
- Check another network: Search for a coach using a directory. Coaching directories, such as Noomi, house long lists of professionals providing life coaching services in your area.
- Read reviews: Of course, one bad Google review doesn’t define a business, but if you see comments from several dissatisfied people, try redirecting your search. Set standards for your search by using our coaching fit checklist (more on that in a bit).
- Get in touch: Reach out to coaches you’re interested in working with to see if it’s a good fit. Always remember to ask about the coach’s availability before you get your heart set on working with them, just in case your schedules don't align. Once you pay for the first session, the coach sends you an intake form to better understand your background, personal information, and the issues you’re dealing with.
- Not finding a fit? Stay the course: In case your preferred coach doesn't have a spot in their schedule or they aren’t a good fit, keep searching. If you need to expand your search outside your geographic area, look for online services.
What kind of guidance do you need?
Before contacting coaches, think about what goals you want to reach and which problems you wish to tackle. Although a coach helps you set formal goals and pinpoint distractors in your life, you can still go in with an idea. Knowing what you want to focus on directs you to the right coaching niche. Here are a few life-coaching specialties to consider:
- Personal development coaching: Personal development coaches help you overcome confidence and self-esteem issues, learn the art of empathy, and manage time. These coaches also aid with relationship problems.
- Health and wellness coaching: If you want to improve your physical well-being, achieve a health goal, or reduce stress, consider this type of coaching.
- Career coaching: If you find trouble identifying your career goals or resolving conflicts with a team member, seek guidance from a career coach. These coaches help you take the next step in your professional life.
- Transitional coaching: No matter how organized and driven you are, life might surprise you with a significant change. Whether you’re a parent to a teenager-turning-adult who is moving out or a workaholic who just got transferred to the company’s new headquarters in a different country, change is sometimes overwhelming, and you need someone to guide you through it. Transitional coaching is all about how to navigate and cope with life-altering changes.
What to look for in a life coach
The right fit makes or breaks a coaching relationship. We explained that savvy coaches ask questions to determine if you’re a good fit for their services, but here’s your chance to do the same. As you review options, ask yourself these questions about what makes a good life coach:
- Does the coach have the right background and qualifications?
Head to the coach's website and check their credentials. Remember that there’s no mandatory life coaching certification, so if the coach of your dreams doesn't hold this credential but possesses extensive experience in the field, they’re worth a shot. That said, a related degree or a life coaching certification is always a significant plus.
- Do you like the coach’s methodology?
Read up on how the coach works with their clients. And don’t hesitate to ask if the coach doesn’t advertise this information. Alternatively, if the coach uses a standard, non-proprietary method, look up what it entails.
- Do you feel comfortable interacting with the coach?
When working with a coach, you’ll have to open up about intimate issues, such as what’s not working in your life or personal relationships you’re struggling with. You’ll need to be vulnerable and feel like you’re in a safe space. So if a coach takes weeks to get back to you or your first conversation doesn’t flow well, trust your gut, and continue your search.
Learn more about the range of coaching options
Life coaching is just one branch of an extensive field. If you’re interested in seeking coaching services but don’t know where to start, we’re here to help. At Practice, we’re all about coaches and coaching. Check out our vast library of blogs that includes content on professional and personal development –– from business coaching to health coaching –– and case studies and research.