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What is life coaching?

Life coaching is aimed at helping people meet goals in their personal or business lives by guiding them in the right direction — much like a sports coach might do for a sportsperson — although the methods used by individual life coaches will vary greatly.

It might seem that the concept of turning to a coach outside of a sporting context is something that many people would shy away from — but the more you think about it, the more you may realize that people have been turning to friends and family for help and guidance for years. Life coaching is just a professional extension of that help.

Most of us turn to a friend who we consider to be ‘wise’ when it comes to certain circumstances such as making key decisions or overcoming problems. But our friends may not always have the answers or may not be sufficiently objective about a situation to give decent advice. This is where life coaching has role to play, by helping people see their life from a different perspective and giving them the confidence to move forward.

Life coaching is a form of counselling...to help people solve their problems and achieve ambitions.

Life coaching is a form of counselling which uses a series of individual sessions — which are sometimes carried out over a telephone or even via e-mails, as well as through face-to-face sessions — to help people solve their problems and achieve ambitions. It draws from a number of disciplines, including sociology, psychology, and numerous forms of counselling.

While life coaching is frequently associated with the business world, there are also coaches who deal with individuals and their personal lives by helping them to explore the underlying causes of their problems as well as helping to find routes to success. This more personal kind of life coaching is frequently done face-to-face.

The aim of life coaching is to help people break their negative belief patterns, act more decisively, and set clear goals towards achieving what they want from life. Most coaches are highly trained as generalists but many also specialise in areas such as relationships, stress, personal growth, business, careers, motivation, finances, creativity, and family — among many others.

Does life coaching work?

While some people may be a little skeptical about turning to a coach to help them with their life issues, the fact is that people are turning to life coaches in increasing numbers — which is a sure sign that they must be serving some useful purpose.

The success or failure of the coaching often depends on people finding the right life coach for them — whether it’s someone to help kick-start a new career path or someone to help with more personal issues.

A coach can help people to organise their priorities and decide which directions they want to go in. From their sessions, a person will agree strategies with their coach to help themselves solve problems — and in this way they will become much clearer about what they want out of life. A life coach will effectively act as a sounding board for ideas — rather like a brainstorming partner.

Anyone visiting a coach needs to be open to new ideas and ways of doing things and needs to commit to the process.

However, life coaching is not a miracle cure for people’s problems — particularly if a person isn’t open to the possibility of closing the gap between where they are and where they want to be. Anyone visiting a coach needs to be open to new ideas and ways of doing things and needs to commit to the process. Life coaching is also not a solution to people with more deep-rooted problems such as depression, as these require more specialist help and therapy.

Can I benefit from going to a life coach?

Anyone can benefit from working with a coach. Those that are stuck in a rut can become clearer about reaching new goals, and those who are already successful may achieve even more. The bottom line is that by working with a coach, you can set better goals and reach them faster than if you tried to reach them under your own steam.

Ultimately, you can only really measure the success of life coaching if you achieve the success or happiness that you’re seeking — and that relies on you committing to the process and acting upon it.

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