Questions About Life Coaching:
Life Coaching Questions
Thinking about getting involved with life coaching services? If so, congratulations — you’re closer than ever to achieving your goals and building a happier, more fulfilling life for yourself. But if you’ve never worked with a life coach before, you probably have a few life coaching questions too.
Like, what is a life coach exactly? What does a life coach do, and how does coaching work? What are the different types of coaching? What are the differences between a life coach vs therapist? How much does a life coach cost, anyway? Does insurance cover coaching?
And there are still more extremely important life coaching questions, like, how do I find a life coach who really knows what they’re doing, rather than someone with zero qualifications (but really great social media)? Is meeting in person for Denver life coaching better than working with an online life coach? And possibly the most important question of all: Do I really need life coaching, or would therapy be a better fit?
So. Many. Questions.
All valid, and all very important to know the answers to, in order to be able to make empowered and informed decisions. Taking the time to educate yourself about life coaching is the first step in ensuring that if or when you do begin working with a coach, it’s going to be the right coach… and you’ll have a great experience. That is what you deseve!
So, let’s dive in.
What Is a Life Coach?
If you’re new to coaching, you the first life coaching question you might have is… what is a life coach exactly?
Simply put, a life coach is a helping professional dedicated to working with you to helping you learn and grow, and essentially “optimize yourself” so that you can achieve your most important goals. These coaching goals can range from developing your career, to finding a life partner, to improving your health, to having more fulfilling friendships, to earning a black belt in taekwondo.
Whatever outcome you have in mind, your coach will help you gain a deeper level of self understanding, develop a clear plan of action, and then offer guidance, motivation, accountability, and support as you carry it out.
Of course there is much more to this story, and important things to be aware of about what a life coach is not, too.
Check out, “What is a life coach?” for the full scoop.
What Does a Life Coach Do?
First, your coach will lead you through an exploratory process to understand your life as it is now and the changes you’d like to make. This assessment will bring you some insight into your personality and your values so that the work ahead truly reflects who you are and what matters most to you.
Next, your coach will help you set clear goals that are ambitious yet attainable, and aligned with your values. You’ll then work with your coach to identify the obstacles in your way, the personal strengths that will come in handy as you work to overcome them, and the areas where your skills could use a little honing.
Finally, your coach will help you create a detailed, step-by-step plan of action and begin to guide you through it. At this stage, you’ll be making incremental progress and then meeting with your coach to discuss what’s working and what’s not, making adjustments as needed.
None of this is set in stone; if you need to change your timeline, approach, or even your goals along the way, that’s all a part of the coaching process. As you move along your coaching plan, your coach will serve as your personal cheerleader, outside observer, and trusted advisor to help you stay motivated and push you toward achieving your goals.
At the end of the coaching process, you should not only have some achievement to show for your time, you should have greater clarity about who you are and the life you want, as well as more confidence, energy, and optimism about creating it.
Of course this is the simple version and there is much more to this process. Learn more about “what does a life coach do?” right here…
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What Are Some Coaching Goals?
What are the kinds of issues that a life coach can help you with? There are as many coaching goals as there are coaching clients, and that’s why it’s important to choose a coach that creates a unique plan designed just for you, rather than pushing one-size-fits-all coaching packages on everyone.
That said, there are some popular goals that people commonly enter coaching hoping to achieve. And, depending on what your goals are for life coaching, it will be important to find a coach who specializes in that thing, specifically. Just like you wouldn’t go to a football coach for help with golf, personal coaching is the same.
Different Coaching For Different Goals
Singles often get frustrated with the dating scene, and feel motivated to figure out how to find “their person.” Many, many people choose to work with a dating coach to help them understand their patterns in relationships, and improve their dating strategy. Working with a dating coach who is a true relationship expert can help you achieve your goal of finding love, and building a healthy relationship.
Learn more about dating coaching.
Coupled clients often work with relationship coaches to deepen their bond and keep their connection as satisfying and healthy as possible.
Individuals often seek out relationship coaching in order to figure out how they can be better partners, have healthier boundaries, or feel more confident in relationships.
Premarital counseling is essentially a type of relationship coaching for couples wanting to learn and grow together, in order to have the very best marriage they can.
Learn more about relationship coaching.
Parenting is always a challenge, and given that babies don’t come with an instruction manual, literally every parent is faced with a steep learning curve. Then, of course, as soon as your kids move on to the next phase of development you have to figure it out all over again.
Couples often struggle to achieve unity around parenting, and it gets even tricker in blended family situations. Enlisting the support of a great parenting coach helps you grow into the parents you want to be.
Learn more about working with a parenting coach.
Many people enter coaching to figure out their career path and work towards career goals.
Some of them are genuinely trying to figure out what to do with their lives, and are feeling overwhelmed and in need of direction. Others have launched a career only to realize that they’re not happy with their work and want to change careers. Others feel they’re on the right track, but they need some help with professional development or becoming a better leader.
Whether you’re ready for a new job, or the next level, a great career coach is an invaluable partner in your success.
Learn about career coaching.
Emotional intelligence coaching
People often think of “emotional intelligence” as it relates to career success. While it is absolutely true that understanding and being able to manage your feelings (as well as having the ability to understand and manage the feelings of others) is truly vital to a successful career… it’s more than a little bit important to the rest of your life and relationships too.
Intentionally focusing on building emotional intelligence helps you feel happier, less stressed, more emotionally resilient, and less reactive. It is also essential to having high-quality, satisfying relationships with your partner, friends, and family.
If your coaching goals include figuring out how to create love, happiness, and success, emotional intelligence coaching is the way.
Learn more about emotional intelligence coaching.
Divorce and breakup recovery coaching
Going through a bad breakup or a divorce is a very difficult life transition, and most people need support to get through it. Working with a divorce coach or breakup recovery coach can help you release the past, and rebuild a bright new chapter in your life.
Learn more about divorce and breakup recovery coaching.
In the above examples, people with specific coaching goals reach out to coaches to specialize in specific things. But a “life coach” is more of a generalist, and a great choice for you if you’re interested in general personal growth or self-development goals. If you don’t have goals yet, that’s okay too.
Many people enter coaching with a vague sense of dissatisfaction, but without a clear idea about what they’d like to change to create a happier life. If this is the case for you, consider working with a life coach on “holistic life design,” a form of coaching that’s aimed at getting to the heart of what being a force for good in the world and living a happy life looks like for you, and setting goals based on what you find.
Learn more about life coaching goals here.
How Do You Find a Life Coach?
Coaching can be valuable and transformative, but not all coaches are created equal. With a plethora of options to choose from, you’ll want to find a life coach who has the right training to truly support your growth. Unfortunately, many do not.
That’s because the coaching industry is completely unregulated. There is no training, education or credentialing required to be a life coach. There are thousands of self-anointed “coaches” hawking their services online, without so much as having attended a weekend training seminar or reading a book on the subject. These coaches would be happy to take you on as a client, but the results they deliver are unlikely to be worth your time or money.
Try not to be seduced by a nifty website or slick Instagram presence. Good marketing and good coaching are not one and the same, and just because a coach appears successful or popular online does not necessarily mean they’re qualified to coach you.
Your best bet is to choose a coach who is also a licensed mental health professional, so that they’ll not only be able to spot any serious issues that may be holding you back, like depression or anxiety, but they’ll have the educational background to apply the most effective, research-backed coaching techniques to your work together.
All of Growing Self’s life coaches are therapists, who utilize coaching strategies too.
More on how to find a good life coach (and avoid a bad one) here.
What Are the Benefits of Life Coaching?
Of course having a supportive person by your side as you work toward your goals sounds great, but what are the tangible, proven benefits of life coaching?
While coaching itself is still a pretty young profession, many common coaching techniques have their roots in the more-established field of clinical psychology. And a growing body of research suggests these evidence-based techniques can offer major benefits when applied to coaching.
A number of studies show that, after coaching, clients can experience improved motivation, better coping skills, enhanced emotional intelligence, and increased confidence about their ability to accomplish goals, more awareness of their subconcious mind, and have better relationships, among other benefits. This is all in addition to whatever specific personal goals these clients accomplished through coaching.
Of course, you’re more likely to get results like these if you work with a coach who uses effective, evidence-based techniques, which is why it’s important to find a true professional, and avoid self-professed “coaches” who are really just winging it.
Learn more about the benefits of life coaching.
What Is Evidence-Based Coaching?
Research from the realm of counseling psychology serves as the backbone of coaching psychology too. That’s because psychological insights are not only useful for treating clients with mental health conditions, they’re effective at spurring personal reinvention, healthy relationships, and career development too. Effective coaching, like effective therapy, is evidence-based, with a growing body of research shows that it works.
For instance, many ideas and strategies developed over decades for use by couples and family therapists, like Family Systems Theory, Attachment Theory, Emotionally Focused Therapy, and The Gottman Method, as well as Solution Focused Family Therapy, Structural Family Therapy, and Strategic Family Therapy, are now widely applied in evidence-based relationship coaching to help couples create a healthier, more fulfilling connection.
Similarly, Mindfulness Training, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Positive Psychology, and other approaches often use to treat symptoms of mental health conditions are also a cornerstone of effective evidence-based coaching.
Learn more about evidence-based practices in coaching here.
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Do You Need Certification to Be a Life Coach?
If you’re thinking about getting involved with a life coach, this is among the most important life coaching questions to ask. Here’s why: Unlike becoming a therapist, you do not need any certification to become a life coach, or any particular educational background, training, or license, for that matter.
The pool of available coaches ranges from highly qualified clinicians with thousands of hours of experience working with clients in therapy and coaching, to people whose coaching “expertise” isn’t backed up by any relevant credentials or experience whatsoever.
These self-professed “coaches” often charge exorbitant rates for their services, which amount to little more than pushing clients through cookie-cutter coaching packages that the coach invented based on their own passionate opinions, rather than evidence. Without a solid foundation in evidence-based coaching and the right training to guide clients through the coaching process, these fabulously expensive coaches are unlikely to deliver the results you want.
That’s why it’s important to choose a coach who’s completed a reputable coach training program — or better yet, a licensed mental health professional who also offers coaching.
Learn more about the reality of “becoming a life coach” here.
How Much Does a Life Coach Cost?
The cost of life coaching varies widely across the industry, and a high price tag doesn’t always indicate a quality coach. The type of coach you need and where you find them will affect what you spend. You may be able to get some free career coaching sessions from a local workforce center, for instance. Or you may choose to shell out $1,000 per session to work with a popular executive coach.
To make sure you’re spending your money wisely, look past a potential coach’s marketing, and look at their actual resume. How long have they been doing this? What degrees do they hold? Do they hold a coaching credential, and if so, from where? How exactly have they been able to help other clients like you?
Growing Self’s coaches, who are all also licensed mental health professionals, charge between $105 and $160 per session, depending on who you work with in our practice. Sliding scale rates are also available on an as-needed basis, starting as low as $65 per session. If you’d like to see what coaching is like, you can try a one-time solution session.
Do I Need Coaching or Therapy?
If you’re unclear on the difference between coaching and therapy, know that one of the greatest risks of the life coaching industry is hiring a coach to do a therapist’s job.
That’s because many coaches don’t have the training or experience to recognize when clients are struggling with something more serious than what can be addressed through coaching, like anxiety, depression, or PTSD.
Using coaching techniques on clients who are in need of real mental health treatment is ineffective at best and dangerous at worst, delaying them from getting the help they really need and possibly making their symptoms worse.
More on the difference between a life coach vs therapist here.
If you’re wondering whether you need life coaching or therapy, ask yourself what you’re hoping to get out of the experience. Therapy is first and foremost intended to diagnose and treat mental health conditions, while coaching is intended to help clients achieve personal growth.
If you’re hoping to get relief from symptoms, to process difficult emotions or traumatic events, or simply to gain greater insight into yourself and your history, therapy is likely the best route for you.
If you’re a high-functioning person who’s just looking for some help achieving your goals for personal growth, relationship improvement, getting better outcomes in dating, or to figure out your career path, coaching is likely the better fit.
Your Life Coaching Questions, Answered
I hope that this article helped answer at least some of your questions about life coaching, but please do dig into all of the other informational articles I created for you to get the full picture. (All the “life coaching questions” articles I referenced throughout this one are also available for you in at the bottom of this page).
Thanks for taking the time to educate yourself on the life coaching landscape, and learning about all the many facets to consider before getting involved with a coach. I sincerely hope that this information helps you achieve clarity about whether this might be the right approach for you, and how to connect with a genuinely helpful coach if it is.
Wishing you all the best,
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self. She is a licensed psychologist, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and a board-certified coach, as well as the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.
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