Table of Contents
- What is a Life Coach
- The History of Life Coaching
- Types of Life Coaches
- Does Life Coaching Work
- What Are the Benefits of Working With a Life Coach
- Who Should Work With a Life Coach?
- Life Coaching vs. Self Coaching
- When to Seek a Therapist
- So, What is the Purpose of a Life Coach?
Did you know that in the past three years, the number of life coaches has risen by over 17,000? Life coaching is becoming more and more mainstream. Even with all the media coverage around them, it can be hard to define what a life coach’s purpose is.
Beyond that is the question of whether or not you need a life coach. So we’re going to break it all down, so you don’t have to wonder anymore about what is the purpose of a life coach.
What is a Life Coach
A life coach is someone who helps you with your future goals, happiness, and relationships. They are a cheerleader who empowers you to figure out where you want to go, skills, and gifts you may overlook.
Most importantly, they provide support for long-lasting changes in your life and help you be accountable for the actions you take to get there.
There is no school for life coaches like there are for therapists or doctors. There may be online courses, but many life coaches are self-taught.
The History of Life Coaching
Life coaching is derived from mentorship and coaching in other areas of life like sports, music, and how no matter what, it’s always great to have the support of someone who wants the best for you.
It all started in the 1980s by, or all things, a financial planner. Thomas Leonard is considered the “father of coaching” and is the pioneer of today’s life coaching practices.
When meeting with his clients, Leonard found that they wanted more than just financial tips from him. They wanted to help organize their lives and achieve their goals.
As the years passed, he slowly shifted from being a financial planner to figuring out the process of life coaching or what he called “life planning.” He wanted something that complimented therapy, mentorship, and consultants but was quite different in its methodology.
From there, things slowly branched off into what we know about coaching today.
Types of Life Coaches
I’m sure you’ve heard of career coaches or relationship coaches. These people are specialized life coaches dedicated to helping in a particular area of your life.
There are plenty of generalized life coaches out there. Still, if you’re struggling with career, family, leadership, spirituality, you name it, there’s probably a coach for that.
Even those who specialize in helping others with addiction and sobriety or health and wellness, but remember that they aren’t licensed therapists or doctors. They can help you more clearly define your goals, but they can’t diagnose or prescribe medicine for you.
Does Life Coaching Work
Yeah, that’s great, but does it work?
You have to remember that while a life coach is there to help you, they cannot solve all your problems. You have to want to help yourself.
There’s not going to be a magic wand that they wave, and presto, things are magically better in your life. That’s not the way it works.
But if you want help and are willing to work for it, then the answer is yes. After all, life coaches are popping up left, right, and center, so there must be something working.
Similar to finding the right therapist or doctor, finding the right life coach could take a couple of tries and a bit of time, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t seem to find the right fit. Be patient and keep working, and you’ll find someone that you mesh well with.
Henry David Thoreau is well known for his saying:
“I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
The experiment he is referencing took place in 1845. He went to the edge of a lake and built himself a home—far from his neighbors—and lived in it for two years. It is there that he wrote his autobiography: “Walden: Into the Woods.”
What Are the Benefits of Working With a Life Coach
So what can you gain from working with a life coach? There are many benefits and which ones you’ll receive is up to what you want your life to look like.
Here are just a few of the many benefits of working with a life coach.
It should be no surprise that one of the main benefits a life coach brings is having someone else there holding you responsible for your own life choices. They can cheer you on, but they also expect you to do the work and show the progression on the things you’d like to do.
Create a Balanced Life
It’s tough to find time for everything. You have work, family, friends, hobbies, downtime. Some even have school. How do you cram everything into a busy day or week?
Sometimes all you need is someone to help you sort shit out. When you find that you’re working too much and don’t have enough time for your relationships, a life coach can come in and help you find the time you need to take care of your personal life. Or vice versa.
Suppose you’re feeling unbalanced or unable to juggle everything on your plate. In that case, a life coach can help rebalance and prioritize what you want to accomplish.
I’ve spent a good portion of my life wondering what my life’s purpose is. We get pulled in so many different directions. Should we follow what we love to do? Do we love it, or is it just a phase? You read about finding your passion and following it, but they never tell you how.
Or should you follow the money? Go to school and get a good job in something that maybe you don’t love but is financially secure.
A coach can help you find the clarity of what you want to do with your life. This lifts you as you get that ah-ha moment of something clicking into place.
Happiness is this ever-elusive goal that we strive towards. It has a different meaning to every person out there. A life coach helps you figure out what would make you happy and then helps set up a plan to achieve that happiness.
They will help you continue to refine and change it as things change in your life and are there every step of the way.
Mahatma Gandhi once said:
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.”
The purpose of a life coach is to help you with all the things you want and need to have a fulfilled life. However, it’s you that’s doing the work. And as you do the work and complete the steps to get you where you want to go, your self-confidence will improve.
Life coaches lift you up, and that’s all that’s needed to give you a boost to how you see yourself sometimes.
A life coach is there to help keep you on track so that when you have your bad days, they can set you on the right path and help keep you moving forwards. They help uplift you and inspire you to do your best day in and day out. They’re counting on you, so you work hard to make sure you’re up to snuff.
As Thomas Leonard said so well:
“Inspiration is being motivated by a person or idea. Motivation is being inspired by an object. When people are inspired, they don’t need motivation.”
Who Should Work With a Life Coach?
For those who need a little pick-me-up in their lives, a life coach could be perfect. If you have a busy workload, are stressed about your relationships, or feel like you’re not reaching your full potential. Life coaching is a great way to help overcome those fears and blocks.
If you are looking for future improvement and getting into the habit of doing the right thing, then yes, life coaching is for you.
Thomas Leonard again:
“Coaching doesn’t make sick people well… it helps healthy people become extraordinary.”
Now, there is something called self-coaching. This is where you take what a life coach does and do it yourself.
You are accountable for yourself as you explore what would make your life better, make you happier, and create a more balanced life for yourself. There’s no one else there for you to depend on, but you can honestly say you’ve done all the work on your own.
Ralph Waldo Emerson was famous for his quote:
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
Life Coaching vs. Self Coaching
Depending on what you need to reach your full potential will depend on which is better for you. If you have trouble making yourself accountable and seeing the good in yourself, life coaching would be the better choice.
Pros of life coaching:
- Someone to hold you accountable
- Have an unbiased opinion
- Can find gifts that you don’t see
- Someone to encourage you
- Someone you can share your worries with
Cons of life coaching:
- It can take time to find the right coach
- They can be pricey
If you find that the time constraints of a life coach don’t give you what you’re looking for or you’re feeling burnt out by searching for the right coach, then self-coaching may be for you.
Pros of self-coaching:
- You learn to balance your life yourself
- You know yourself best
- Better problem-solving abilities
- More in tune with yourself because you’re putting in the work
- You are always available to coach yourself
Cons of self-coaching:
- There’s no one to hold you accountable
- Possible to overlook issues you’re not aware of
Either way, choosing the best option for you is your choice since you know what you need to get the most out of your life.
When to Seek a Therapist
Suppose you’re suffering from depression or any other form of mental illness or are dealing with past traumas. In that case, a therapist is probably a better solution.
Therapy focuses on dealing and healing with the past, while life coaching focuses on obtaining goals for the future. There is some overlap, of course.
A therapist can diagnose you with an illness and provide you with medicine, while a life coach can’t. Also, while a relationship life coach can help guide you to a better relationship, relationship therapy would be the better option if you’re having severe problems.
So, What is the Purpose of a Life Coach?
The answer to that question,what is the purpose of a life coach, is simply this. Life coaches help—and inspire—their clients to be the best they can possibly be.
A life coach is a fantastic person with skills to help people better their lives, but they aren’t miracle workers. They are only human and can and can make mistakes.
But if you find a life coach that’s a good fit for you, you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Well, almost anything. I still haven’t been transported to the world of Harry Potter yet.