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What Is a Life Coach and How to Become One

What Is a Life Coach and How to Become One

If you’ve ever wondered what a life coach is or how to become one, this is your guide. Learn about the responsibilities and rewards of the profession.

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The pandemic has made people across the world re-evaluate their priorities. Many have left their jobs, and many more have considered alternative careers. At the same time, now more than ever, life coaches are in demand.

In this article, we’ll explain the role of a life coach, and the benefits of this kind of coaching. We’ll leave you with tips on how to guide your clients towards their goals and their best lives.

What is a lifestyle coach?

Life (or lifestyle) coaches provide personal support and advice to their clients. They, however, don’t diagnose or treat mental health conditions and instead focus on actionable steps to reach specific, typically personal, goals.

Mental health and personal well-being rank high on people’s priority lists these days. As more of us search for ways to promote personal growth, a little help goes a long way. Life coaches help clients take control of their lives and direct them towards personal fulfillment.

While coaches and therapists must both plan and prepare for client sessions that might look similar from the outside, therapy usually requires formal studies or a degree, while coaching does not. Compared to coaching sessions, therapy tends to help clients manage the present and past through deep personal insight. In contrast, a life coaching description may look result-oriented with actionable steps for a client, with a focus on the future.

6 benefits of life coaching for clients

When it comes to personal development and achieving goals, life coaches can be of great help. Here are a few ways in which clients benefit from this style of coaching:

  1. It reinforces positive changes and habits: Two heads are better than one when it comes to problem-solving, which is why a professional coach can be so helpful when negotiating a life change. While a client may already have ideas about what changes and habits they’d like to incorporate into their lives, a life coach can provide a fresh perspective and creative strategies for overcoming roadblocks.

  2. It promotes mental health: Life coaches aren’t mental health professionals but can be a source of emotional support. Regardless of qualifications, coaches can act as a sounding board, a shoulder to cry on, and a personal cheerleader and guide, as well as a person whose focus is on re-framing issues their clients are facing.

  3. It helps foster better relationships: Interacting with coaches can be a test run for real-life relationships. If clients want to improve their social skills, life coaches can work on communication skills such as active listening, practicing empathy and patience, and conflict resolution with their clients. Lifestyle coaching doesn’t just have to be about starting a new career — often, clients use these sessions to set goals for improvement in their personal lives in smaller steps.

  4. It helps in setting and achieving goals: We’ve all been there: When a task seems difficult or uninteresting, we’re likely to procrastinate and put it off. A life coach helps us set goals and keeps us accountable to our objectives. A coach can help break down an intimidating goal into small, manageable action steps. They also check in with us to make sure we’re making progress.

    When clients hit a roadblock and become discouraged, coaches can help them regain their self-confidence and motivation by offering words of support, insights, or advice.

  5. It helps you stay accountable: People are more likely to commit to goals when they feel accountable about it to someone else. Accountability is a powerful tool for getting clients past the inertia of starting a task, especially if the coach regularly checks in on the client’s progress.

  6. It improves self-awareness: To help clients reach their full potential, coaches provide feedback. They help identify strengths to capitalize on and weaknesses to work on. With this cycle of targeted improvement, clients better understand what methods work for them and become better at creating roadmaps to reach their goals.

Types of life coaches

Broadly speaking, there are three types of life coaches: general life coaches, career coaches, and relationship coaches. Let’s go into the details of each.

1. General life coaches: Those feeling lost or lacking purpose usually seek out a general life coach. Such a coach helps clients set and achieve personal goals and get a clearer view of what they value. They help their clients identify their skills and move forward with intention.

2. Career coaches: These coaches focus on helping their clients carve out a career path. From making a career switch to landing the first job, clients rely on their coaches for mentoring in their new fields, for expert opinion, or for learning how to find a work-life balance. Business coaching is also an important subset of this category for entrepreneurs wanting to take their company to the next level.

3. Relationship coaches: These coaches primarily focus on helping clients improve their relationships with friends, family, and partners. Clients who seek out relationship coaches usually like to focus on social and communication skills and learn strategies for conflict management.

When do people need life coaching?

Having a life coach is useful for anybody, but there are specific times when their expertise makes a huge difference. So, when do we need life coaches? Here are a few situations:

  • You’re stressed: When you’re not operating at your best, it seems counterintuitive to look for life coaching sessions and add another obligation to the mix. However, this is exactly when life coaches can be the most helpful. When you’re feeling stressed, it means something isn’t working in your schedule, and it may be hard to get a clear picture of what’s wrong. Life coaches can help identify the problem and brainstorm and implement solutions to alleviate the stressor.
  • You lack purpose or motivation: If you feel like life has no meaning, a coach can help regain the lost spark and motivate you by helping identify the areas that need work. Once this is done, you can set up an action plan to correct the situation.
  • You frequently feel stuck: Getting stuck in your head is never a good thing. A life coach can help you see things from a different perspective. Perhaps you need a break. Maybe pivoting to a new role will bring back the enthusiasm. Whatever the case, having a coach allows you to bounce ideas off them and consider different solutions.
  • You’re dissatisfied with work or personal life: When you feel like something is off at work or with your relationships, but can’t quite pinpoint the problem, it may be time to call on the services of a life coach. A coach can help you become more self-aware and proactive in solving your problems.
  • You’re stuck in bad routines or habits: Life coaches help in breaking bad habits and integrating positive ones into their clients’ lives. When you’re stuck in a seemingly vicious circle, it can be hard to break out of it alone. A reliable supporter and a source of accountability will do the trick.

How to get started as a life coach

Now that you understand the many benefits of life coaching, are you wondering how you could become one? Here are a few things to know if you’re considering a career in life coaching.

Certifications

Looking for programs is a significant first step to qualifying as a life coach. A few recognized institutes to get an accreditation include:

  • Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC)
  • International Coach Federation (ICF)
  • Institute for Life Coach Training
  • Health Coach Institute

Have a strategy

Before you start taking clients, iron out your strategy. Know what your process will be, what questions you’ll ask, and what tools you’ll need. We recommend creating a first coaching session template before getting started. This will help you be prepared and serve as a reference for future sessions. Additionally, having a written log of the work completed during sessions is a great way to demonstrate progress and hit milestones.

Remember, it’s personal

Lifestyle coaching is intensely personal. Build great rapport with your clients and establish trust early on so that they’re comfortable sharing information with you. Remember to use session time well — ask great questions and ensure that clients are aligned with your plans and invested in their improvement.

In conclusion

The skills and expertise of a life coach are valuable in our present times. If you’re interested in pursuing life coaching as a career, we’ve got great insights from this field for you.

If you’re already in the business and want to amp up your influence with clients, try our all-in-one client management software.

Free coaching contract templates

We worked with our lawyers to create coaching contract templates, free for any coach to use. Plus, a couple of sample agreements.