What Is A Life Coach?

What Is A Life Coach blog image

Ever wondered “What is a life coach?” or What does a life coach do?.

With so many misconceptions around what life coaching actually is, these can be tough questions to answer.

Maybe you’ve heard positive things about being a life coach like:

  • “It can be a rewarding career path both emotionally and financially”
  • “You can be your own boss and have flexible working hours”
  • “You can help people make positive changes in their lives”

But on the other hand, there are also a few misconceptions around life coaching such as:

  • “It’s just unlicensed therapy”
  • “It doesn’t require training”
  • “It’s only for people who have problems in their lives”

To help you clarify this, we wrote this short blog post to help you gain further insight into what life coaching is about.

What Do Life Coaches Do?

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Just like doctors can either be general practitioners or specialise in certain parts of the human body, life coaches can also be generalists or specialists in particular modalities of coaching.

So to say what all life coaches do is a near-impossible task.

However, to define what a life coach does is in a way that encapsulates all forms of life coaching, we can look to:

The International Coaching Federation (ICF), the world’s leading credentialing program for coaches. According to the ICF, a life coach:

Partners with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential

Tony Robbins, potentially the world’s most famous life coach. According to Tony:

A coach helps clients grow by analyzing their current situation, identifying existing and potential challenges and obstacles they face, and devising a custom plan of action designed to help them achieve specific outcomes in their lives.

In other words, life coaches work together with their clients to help them define their goals and achieve them by developing an actionable plan. This includes giving them clarity, confidence and encouragement to help them succeed.

Life coaches come in all shapes and sizes. For example, they could be a:

  • Productivity coach
  • Dating and relationship coach
  • Health coach
  • Wealth coach
  • Business and career coach
  • Mindset coach

Just to name a few of the possibilities.

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Related article: Want to know what coaches do on a daily basis? Here’s a breakdown of a day in the life of a coach.

What’s The Difference Between Life Coaching And Therapy?

So how is a life coach different from a therapist? The most common point of confusion when it comes to life coaching as a profession is the difference between a life coach and a therapist.

That’s because the sorts of problems that life coaches and therapists work on occasionally overlap, even though their work approach isn’t necessarily the same.

Here are the most common differences:

A Therapist A Life Coach
 Focuses primarily on... Past traumas to change self-destructive habits and improve quality of life by removing emotional pain Motivating, offering emotional support and creating confidence to bring more joy and fulfilment into everyday life
Aims to... Diagnose and help clients analyse and recover from past traumas/issues Give direction by clarifying goals, identifying obstacles and creating action plans to achieve desired results
Encourages... Introspection and analysis Self-discovery and growth
Values... Healing Empowerment
Prescribes... Standardised clinical therapeutic processes Action plans in line with clients’ values, visions, personalities, and goals
Tends to work with clients... seeking solutions for devastatingly negative emotional experiences seeking to further improve their lives in general. Some of the world's most successful people hire coaches
 Usually works with the client... Long-term Short-term or Long-term
Is certified after... 6 years of education and training (in Australia) Sitting an ICF-accredited life coaching course and undergoing 100 practice hours

Both therapists and life coaches are respected professions that at the end of the day, look to better clients’ lives.

As for which one people choose – ultimately, it all comes down to personal preference.

Becoming A Life Coach

If you’re interested in becoming a life coach, and you’d like to learn how to turn that into your career, check out our step-by-step.

We hope we’ve helped you answer the question, “What is a life coach?” and opened your eyes up to a potentially fulfilling career where you can empower others to make positive changes in their lives.

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We would also like to invite you to attend our FREE 1-day event across Australia and New Zealand called, “How To Become A Highly Successful Coach”. We’ll show you how you can make a difference and make a great living from being a life coach. Register here.

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Read more about: Coaching

Ben is the Difference-Maker Mentor and Co-founder of Authentic Education. He is exquisite at inspiring people to share their message, make a difference in the world and live abundantly on purpose.

Ben has been featured in media such as the Today Show, Inc.com, Entrepreneur.com, Huffington Post and News.com.au.