Life coaching is a process to help you achieve your potential. Find out what exactly life caching is, how it’s different from psychotherapy and mentoring and what it involves.

What is life coaching?

Life coaching is a process that aims to improve performance. Coaching focuses on the ‘here and now’ rather than on the distant past or future. Coaching can address goals specific to your personal life as well as your professional career. It can help you explore what you want in life, how you might achieve your aspirations, and fulfil your needs. Coaching is about bringing out the best in you and inspiring you to act on your potential.

What are the common areas discussed?

  • Personal coaching – provides support to individuals wishing to make some form of significant changes that happen within their lives. For example, managing a difficult transition.
  • Business coaching – offers guidance and insights to individuals or groups looking to improve their skills and performance within their workplace. For example, after someone achieves a significant career transition or promotion to aid one’s adjustment to the new role.

How is coaching different from mentoring, and psychotherapy?

People can often get confused about those three forms of support. That’s because there can be an overlap between their aims and methods, but there are also some crucial differences.

Life coaching focuses on helping the individual to unlock their potential. The coach is not an expert in any particular field but rather can support you to improve your skills, including problem-solving. Although similar, the aim of mentoring is to develop your skills to help you achieve specific goals, usually career related. Typically, a mentor is someone who has experience of how you can achieve your career objectives. Psychotherapy and counselling can help you understand your past, and the impact it has on you know. Some types of psychotherapy can also be present-focused, but the psychotherapist is expected to be knowledgeable in matters of mental health. Broadly speaking, in coaching, the focus of the sessions is on the “here and now”, rather than the past (psychotherapy) or the future (career/life mentoring). Coaches without proper mental health therapy accreditation should not attempt to treat people with mental health problems.

Who can benefit?

Life coaching is for people without mental health problems. It is for anyone who wants to make further improvements in their life skills. Coaching aims to help people make changes in their lives, including help to stay motivated on particular goals and support to change or develop certain behaviours.

What does life coaching involve?

Life coaching makes use of positive resources, such as hope, resilience, and optimism, to help you overcome barriers and fill fulfilled in your personal and professional aspects of living. Coaching typically consists of straightforward, supportive, solution-based counselling. With the right coach, you will be able to explore ways to reduce stress, cope with challenges and changes in your life, and make more positive choices in your personal or professional life. With a life coach who is also knowledgeable in mental health therapy, you can also address any mental health conditions that may have been undiagnosed an are holding you back from reaching your true potential.

What are the key factors that make coaching effective?

  • Trust between you and your coach
  • Open and honest communication
  • A clear plan and structure for the sessions
  • The coach’s understanding of and ability to manage emotions brought in to the sessions
  • The coach’s ability to facilitate and help your learning and development to reach goals

Coaching is an ongoing process between two people based on trust to build awareness, skills and an action plan that allows the desired changes to become a reality.

How long does coaching take?

Coaching is generally short-term, but the number of sessions depends on individual needs and goals.