What Is Life Coaching?

by - February 20, 2018

What is Life Coaching?

With coaching becoming more and more widespread, people are beginning to wonder if it's the right therapy for them. So how is it different from counselling and what can it do for you?

positive existential coaching

Life coaching is a process by which a variety of approaches can be applied, combined with techniques, tools and interventions by the coach.

Defined by the Coaching Federation as "the systematic application of behavioural science to the enhancement of life experience, work performance and well-being for individuals, groups and organisations who do not have significant mental health issues or abnormal levels of distress" - Grant (2006)

It’s a professional conversation between coach and coachee which allows you the space you need to express what’s going on for you. Be it your career, your relationship or your direction in life in general - the bigger, existential questions are there to be explored. Where your friends are there to offer you advice, guidance and support in life, a coach is like a friend who has no agenda, who is completely impartial and will not tell you what to do. You are the expert of your own life who really knows what’s best for you and what you will do, at the end of the day. The coach helps you to find the key to unlock your potential.

Will the coach tell me what to do?

A coach who does tell you what to do is more of a mentor. Coaches range from those who’ll give you a full step-by-step action plan, more like a business consultant or mentor, to coaches who’ll let you lead the conversation and give you plenty of space to reflect and think aloud without inputting too much, more like a counsellor but not entirely. Coaching is not used so much to treat major depression; your coach may refer you to a doctor or counsellor if they deem it necessary. Unlike counselling, coaching delves only a little into your past, if necessary. It's more concerned with where you are now and looking forward.

OK, so what can it do for me?

Coaching can help with:

  • self-esteem, confidence & self-efficacy (identifying limiting beliefs)
  • changing negative thought patterns: addressing anxiety, anger and frustration
  • authenticity - finding out your true essence and passions
  • stress management & reduction
  • relationship problems
  • career change
  • health and well-being - developing a nutrition or fitness programme as well as looking at health in a more holistic way
  • spiritual exploration
  • juggling work/life/you balance
  • discovering your strengths and optimising these to live your best life
  • finding out what needs are driving your behaviour
  • self-care plans

How does it work?

Interventions can include writing activities, talking activities and even drawing activities and some interventions are more physical, such as exercise like yoga or meditation.

Techniques can include cognitive behavioural coaching (CBC) which involves the identification of thinking errors and the process of re-framing thoughts from irrational to rational. Some coaches and therapists are trained especially in Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) which does what it says on the tin and re-programmes your neurology through the awareness of language.

Cool, so where can I find a coach?

A major plus point of coaching or talking therapy is that you can do it from the comfort of your own home using methods such as Skype to connect with your coach. Furthermore if you want to even exclude video it’s now possible to talk to a therapist reliably via text or messaging such as the Talkspace app. Since we are mostly glued to our phones these days and it seems to have become shamelessly so, we might as well be reaching out to beneficial people who have our best interests at heart (and not texting that person who you know is bad for you!)

But it's really expensive, right?

The downside of coaching is that it can be expensive which lots of coaching starting upwards of £100 an hour. That’s why it’s refreshing to know people are around who, like hair stylists just starting out who need to practise, can help you for a discounted rate. As well as the Talkspace app mentioned. Check out my new website, www.livingintentionally.co.uk to book a free session with me as I embark on my second year of my MSc in Applied Positive Psychology & Coaching Psychology or email me by clicking here.

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