Many people have benefited from the services of a life coach. These wellness professionals perform work that covers a lot of ground. But still, this field remains the subject of much confusion and many assumptions. What they do is not the same as therapy and does not require the same stringent requirements as therapists. That said, it’s not a competition. Each of these counselors serves specific purposes that can often complement one another.

People who feel stuck in counterproductive patterns and are unable to find a sense of purpose can find powerful solace in the work of a life coach. I’ve written about this topic before, but let’s dig deeper.

Life Coaches Come in Many Forms

“Life” is a broad category, so logically, life coaches tend to refine their focus more specifically. For example, they may work with individuals dealing with issues in areas like:

  • Career
  • Dating and relationships
  • Finances
  • Fitness, sports, eating choices, and other health/wellness concerns
  • Family life
  • Separation and divorce
  • Spirituality

Life coaches don’t diagnose, nor do they “treat” in any strict sense of the word. Rather, they inspire positive changes through proven techniques like:

  • Choosing a path and setting goals
  • Getting and staying motivated
  • Building confidence and self-esteem
  • Dealing with setbacks
  • Increasing your self-awareness, e.g. recognizing your strengths while identifying where you need to put in more work.
  • Holding yourself accountable

photo of a smiling man wearing a business suit standing in an alleywayIs All of This Better Than Therapy?

Again, it’s not an either/or proposition. Still, it is quite useful for a general sense of where the differences lie. Generally speaking, a therapist will diagnose but will rarely dole out financial suggestions or exercise advice. Life coaches are typically more likely to have you thinking about the future. With therapy, the onus could be on the past.

What it comes down to is that if you know or think you have a mental health condition, call a therapist. If you feel too stuck or scared to take steps toward a dream, a life coach is a good place to start.

How Do I Find a Good Life Coach?

There’s no single path to find a good life coach, plumber, personal trainer, or auto mechanic. The best thing you can do is get informed and be discerning. When seeking a life coach, this process may include:

  • Checking Credentials: Life coaches are not required to have any specific type of education or certification. So, for starters, you might want to begin your search by zeroing in on those who completed some kind of verifiable training program.
  • Gauging Experience: Some people are born to be life coaches. Thus, their experience may not be the key qualification. That said, as with any such search, it makes sense to prioritize experience to some degree.
  • Looking for Testimonials: this is probably the gold standard. Any reputable life coach will have a website that features testimonials. Read this closely. Do the reviews sound like they were all written by one person? Are the testimonials relevant to the issues you want to address? Will the prospective life coach allow you to contact a previous client to ask questions?

What Exactly Is Life Coaching?

Answering this question is a complex task. Every coach is different. Every client is different. How two people align in such relationships can be a very particular dynamic. Life coaching can be a very helpful and meaningful experience — but in a unique way.

So, in the name of learning more about life coaching and if it’s right for you, reach out to learn more.