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What is a life coach, anyway?

According to the International Coaching Federation (ICF), “life coaching” is defined as

“partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

What does that mean (in English)?

When someone (a coachee) is trying to reach a goal, solve a problem, or become the best version of themselves, a life coach helps the coachee create that new life. Sessions can occur 1-on-1 (or in a group), and the life coach actively listens for what the person is saying (as well as what he/she is not saying), then asks open-ended questions for the coachee to generate new thoughts, perspectives, and solutions.

Do life coaches give advice?

Coaching, in the classical sense, is not about giving advice (because that’s what a consultant would do). Giving advice, typically, is not as helpful as asking open-ended questions because: 1) the advice-giver is not the expert in the coachee’s life (the coachee is) and 2) that would represent the coach imposing his/her/their values on the coachee.

Are life coaches like therapists?

Like a therapist, a coach asks questions; when the client's brain looks for answers, new and stronger neural pathways are made. A therapist typically is concerned with how the past impacts the present with the goal of getting the client to baseline functioning; once the client is there, a life coach is concerned with how the client's present impacts the future. Life coaching is all about designing an intentional future (as opposed to just, you know, bumping into it).

Can you see a therapist and life coach at the same time?

Of course. But remember, they serve different purposes. If an overweight person was struggling with eating issues stemming from childhood (and they were not at baseline), it would serve them to receive therapy first. The therapist might help the person gain clarity as to what childhood patterns have caused this behavior, but a life coach helps them with setting and achieving weight-loss goals.

Couldn’t there be overlap?

There could be. For instance, there are trauma-aware coaches who have received specialized training. But we shouldn’t confuse the coach and therapist. That’s why it’s important to know what issue you’re dealing with and identify what type of help you need.

Are sessions confidential?

Sessions should be confidential (mine are always); however, life coaches are not legally bound to the patient-client in the way therapists are. So, if a life coach were subpoened in a court case, they’d have to testify.

Do you need schooling to become a life coach?

It helps. I successfully completed the first part of my coaching education through JRNI Coaching School wherein I learned best practices and received a lot of training and experience. I intend to continue my education and become certified because I love this field and I want to know and learn more so to help more.

How do I know if it's for me?

Make an appointment and let's chat!

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