What Can a Life Coach Do For You and What They Can't

Learn what can be expected from working with a certified life coach and what they cannot do for you.

What Can a Life Coach Do For You and What They Can't

Coaching is not focused on the past; rather, life coaching focuses on the present and creating the future that a client hopes to achieve. A good life coach will not tell clients what to do or prescribe specific courses of action based on their own wishes. It's easy to confuse a life coach with a therapist because of some similarities in the way they go about their work. Both professions involve talking to the customer to get to know them better and prescribing solutions based on the client's situation. However, there is a big difference.

Therapists focus on digging into the client's past to discover why the client is in their current situation and then provide a solution that will help them improve in the future. In addition, therapists are professionals trained in providing mental health treatment, while a life coach may not be, unless they also take a degree in psychology and have the appropriate credentials. Life coaches focus more on the present and evaluate how they can help you improve in the future. You don't go to a life coach when you have a mental health problem, and neither should a life coach try to provide such treatment. This is where training clearly differs from mental health counseling.

Life coaches primarily work with clients on issues related to their current and future lives. Together, the coach and the client define a vision for the future and develop a tactical action plan to achieve the client's specific objectives. Think of them as an action-oriented mentor who can help you achieve your goals. Coaching is about helping people identify obstacles that stand in their way, helping them find motivation, and identify any resistance to change. Life coach is a broad term in which you can also find business advisors, executive coaches, leadership coaches and health coaches, but a life coach is usually more useful when you think about your overall future.

A common misconception is that life coaches provide advice, says Kate Bathras, certified professional coach and member of the ICF. In that sense, a coach is an impartial brainstorming partner, you're still the one doing the heavy lifting. Coaching can be therapeutic, but there are some important differences between life coaching and therapy. A session with a life coach will feel very different than one with a therapist: one provides structure and responsibility, while the other is more open. Nor are you going to a life coach to get a diagnosis. That's not to say that life coaches don't have tools and skills for specific aspects of life, but there's no healing work, he adds.

Anyone can hang a tile and call themselves a coach, he says. Look for people who have received training through a certification body, such as the ICF or the CCE. Actually, you don't have to choose, it's OK to see both. But “many people seek training after or in conjunction with therapy, since it is based on the healing that can take place in the therapy process,” Bathras adds. The important thing to keep in mind is that a life coach will not address clinical issues. You DON'T have to train other coaches or companies to make it work.

All training skills are excellent to learn and very beneficial, but monetizing them is something completely different from what NO training program is going to talk about because it hinders your growth. Life coaches distinguish themselves from therapists more clearly in their focus on helping clients progress toward concrete, specific, and action-oriented goals. This means that certified life coaches choose to be held accountable by the organization that certified them. There's a reason no one has created a corporation full of life coaches who generate billions of dollars in profits per year. If you are a coach struggling to get clients, check out my Uncage Your Business program, where I help you to be clear about your niche, message, packages and online content that will help you get noticed in the coaching industry and get clients sooner. Many people who sign up for life coach training have heard countless times that they are “excellent listeners.” Many life coaches end up guiding their clients through these gray areas when their clients are not clearly depressed, dealing with trauma, or showing other symptoms of mental health conditions. It CAN BE a business but it needs other things combined with it to make it successful (because an unsuccessful business is just like having a hobby).

Sometimes, life coaches' work environment can be confused with other professions such as therapists or motivational speakers. Not everyone can figure out how to make it work and not everyone really wants to be a life coach when they realize what it takes. Instead, life coaching must be genuine and anyone in the industry must have an earnest desire to help other people. It's essential to know what a life coach can do for you and what they can't so you don't have wrong expectations.