When you hear the word coach, you probably think about team sports and athletes. Although you are correct, the practice of coaching actually extends well beyond sports coaching. A coach is someone who supports a person in achieving their personal or life goals. There are coaches in every industry and all walks of life; business coaches, music coaches and life coaches to name a few.
What is life coaching? If you’ve found this page, you’re probably curious about life coaching and how it might help. Continue on to learn what life coaching is, what life coaching is not, and how life coaching can help you.
If you’re not here for life coaching, I welcome you to continue reading anyway 🙂
Life Coaching Definition
A life coach helps you identify and achieve personal goals through the development of skills and self empowerment, as well as overcome challenges which prevent you from achieving your goals.
How Life Coaching can Help You
Life coaches can specialize in many different types of life coaching. Some focus on particular groups of people, such as young adults or new mothers. Others may focus on different aspects of life, such as careers or relationships.
My focus is empowering women in their relationships and lives. Personal life coaches for women such as myself have a unique approach to life coaching which caters to the barriers that women commonly face, including social anxiety, bottling up emotions, and personal identity.
I will teach you how to get to know yourself and define your personal goals, as well as how to break through the barriers that are holding you back such as social anxiety and bottling up emotions.
Life Coaching Techniques
That’s great, but… how does it all work? There are several vetted techniques that life coaches use to help their clients reach their goals. The ones I use to help you include behavioral and cognitive psychology, mindfulness, and neuro linguistic programming techniques.
Behavioral and Cognitive Psychology
Behavioral and cognitive psychology uses principles of human learning and development to essentially change how you respond to emotional triggers. I use this in my practice to help with anxiety, to help you control your anxious reactions so that they don’t limit your potential. In combination with behavioral cognitive psychology, I use mindfulness to help you identify environmental and internal triggers that cause mental blocks, like anxiety, so that you can train your brain to respond differently.
Mindfulness is frequently practiced within the realm of meditation and yoga, but it actually goes beyond that. It is a practice used in psychology that has actually been found to have overall health benefits. Mindfulness is a tool that grounds you by teaching you how to be aware of your mental and emotional environment without letting it get in the way of your life. Mindfulness helps you become aware of your emotions and yourself so that you can better navigate through problems like social anxiety.
Neuro Linguistic Programming Techniques
What do we do with all this practicing of mindfulness? Neuro linguistic programming is the concept that there is a neurological response (“neuro”) to language (“linguistic”) which shapes your life experiences (or “programming”). It focuses on changing your perception of social situations so that your experience improves in any given situation. I use neuro linguistic programming techniques to help modify your response to triggering situations, breaking through the barriers that hold you back in life.
What Life Coaching is Not
It is not traditional therapy. A life coach is defined as someone who helps you identify and achieve your personal goals through various therapeutic and coaching techniques. You won’t sit on a chaise lounge (unless you want to!) while I take notes of your deepest, darkest secrets. I won’t focus on decoding your past traumas or diagnosing you with something or another.
You will focus on the present and future in most life coaching programs. You may talk about your past, but only as a framework for understanding yourself. It is not a solution to a problem. Rather, is all about helping you the tools to solve problems in life. Life coaches are not psychologists or therapists, although we may use some of the same techniques and want the same outcomes for you.
Life Coach vs. Therapist
You may be wondering whether to choose a life coach vs. therapist based on your personal goals and what you need help with. There is a lot of overlap because life coaches use many of the same psychological techniques that therapists use, and our end goal is ultimately the same: to help YOU.
The major difference between a therapist vs. life coach is that life coaches are not medical professionals. We cannot write prescriptions and we cannot refer you out to doctors. There are certain therapeutic procedures we are not licensed to practice.
Some people might find a life coach less intimidating as the relationship is typically more casual than with a therapist, and your sessions won’t end up on your medical record. On the flip-side, since life coaches are not medical professionals, it is not typical that healthcare insurance would cover the cost of sessions (although sessions, on average, are far less expensive for a life coach vs. therapist).
In truth, there is no catch-all rule to choosing. Ultimately it comes down to your personal needs and whether you feel you “jive” with the person. With any type of personal therapy, it is important to feel comfortable. Making appointments can be a huge stressor and mental barrier to getting help. I aim to offer the most comfortable and least intimidating environment for my clients by offering online sessions at the time of your choosing. This is atypical of traditional therapy as therapists often work within set office hours and may not be able to offer online sessions due to regulations.
Is Life Coaching for You?
If you’ve read this far, you might be interested in life coaching. It can teach you how to get to know yourself, how to find yourself again, how to develop confidence and how to develop self esteem—all things that can help you succeed in life.