What is a life coach and why would I hire one?

Wondering what a life coach actually is and why you’d hire one? Here’s what you need to know!

You're probably reading this because you've heard the term 'life coach' thrown around, but you're wondering what that means exactly. I don't blame you, it seems a little bit airy fairy…


After all, how can someone be a coach for "life"? I mean, aren't we all equally as confused about this whole life business and simply trying to do the best we can? What could a life coach possibly know about life that's different to anyone else?


So, let's cover what a life coach actually is, what they do exactly, and why you'd hire one.


Just like athletes have sports coaches to help them become better athletes, and business owners hire business coaches to help them take their business to the next level, life coaches help you to cultivate a better life, whether that's in your career, relationships, personal goals, or all of that combined.


A life coach is someone who is completely objective in your life. They are mentors who are often exceptional at strategic planning, goal setting and taking action, and their job is to ask the right questions and truly listen to you to help you work out what it is you really want in life, why you want it, what's holding you back, and help you to step into the best possible version of yourself.


Life coaches are essentially personal growth mentors


A life coach is someone who has expertise in personal growth and development, and their job is to support you with your own personal growth by developing in areas that are most important to you. This could include progressing in your career, improving your relationships with others, improving your mindset and relationship with yourself, building your self-confidence and realising your self worth, and so much more.


A life coach's job is to help you identify the areas of your life you want to improve and the true reason why, then help you to create goals that inspire you and a plan for reaching them.

Then, they help you to stay on track, overcome obstacles that arise, help you see your blind spots and look at the world differently, and encourage you along the way when things get tough.


A life coach is not a therapist or a counsellor.


Therapists work with people who are dealing with mental health issues or trauma, and life coaches will always refer clients to a mental health specialist if they think what the client needs is outside the scope of what a life coach should do and requires specialist help.


However, life coaches can still work with people with mental health problems, providing they are getting treatment and know that life coaching is solely for their personal growth and development for the future, and it is not a replacement for therapy.


To put it simply, therapy is largely based on what's happened in the past, while life coaching is all about the future.


Why do people hire life coaches?


People of all ages (generally 18+) hire life coaches for various reasons, so here are a few of the most common.

  • You feel stuck in life and lack direction or motivation and want help getting unstuck.

  • You struggle to deal with stress and often feel overwhelmed. You want to learn how to manage emotions better.

  • You want to develop a more positive mindset.

  • You're an overthinker and want to get control over your thoughts.

  • You want to improve your self confidence and your relationship with yourself.

  • You want to develop positive habits that you actually stick to.

  • You're feeling unhappy or unfulfilled in your career.

  • You struggle to stay motivated and need an accountability partner.

  • You feel like you're having a bit of a mid-life or existential crisis.

  • You want to find out what will give you the most purpose and meaning in life.

  • You want a great mentor to help you grow and improve all aspects of your life.

And so much more!


In a nutshell, people hire life coaches because they want to improve their lives in some way or another and would like guidance from a trained professional.

What qualifications do life coaches have?


There are a range of certifications that life coaches can do to become certified by various life coaching schools around the world. The certifications cover similar learnings in their curriculums: goal setting, types of questioning, mindset, beliefs, cognitive behavioural therapy principles, forming habits, processing emotions, thought work and self-awareness, and much more.


However, life coaching is unregulated, so there isn't yet an industry standard, but life coaches work to a code of ethics that ensures they keep to the scope of coaching and do not try to be therapists or counsellors. They are personal growth mentors focused on the present and future, not the past.


How long do people have life coaches for?


Often people only need to hire a life coach for 3-6 months with a session weekly or fortnightly, as this is usually enough time to get a desired result or form new habits and ways of thinking. Then, usually the life coaching sessions are much more infrequent, like once every month or so as a catch up and check in to make sure things are still going well.


Some people enjoy having a life coach so much they stay with them for years, but this isn't usually necessary. A life coach's job is to give their clients the tools and confidence to be able to self-coach over time, which means the client should never become reliant on the life coach.


They should finish their coaching package feeling like a new person: confident, independent, inspired and ready to take on the world. But it's always great to have a mentor in life that you can count on to tell you like it is, help you see things differently, and to help you grow personally, professionally and spiritually. Even if that's just a person you see a few times a year, you will always leave with a fresh perspective and feeling inspired.


So, that quickly sums up what a life coach does!


Looking for a coach?


If you'd like to find out more about life coaching or if you're interested in hiring a life coach yourself, you can contact me by filling out the form below with any questions, or book a free 1-hour consultation with me here - no obligations, just a one-on-one chat with a certified life coach about where you're at, where you want to be and how coaching can help you to get there! Who wouldn't take that opportunity?!


Thanks for reading, come back for more again soon!


About the author, Janelle Kee-Sue

@janellekeesue

Janelle Kee-Sue is a certified life coach, accredited cognitive behavioural therapy practitioner, writer, storyteller and marketing specialist based in Wellington, New Zealand. She’s been to 47 countries, is a former professional bikini bodybuilding athlete with a world title under her belt, and is passionate about helping people to unlock their potential and live their lives by design. In her spare time you’ll find her at the gym, working on her novel, or hanging with her Samoyed Yuki and her husband Ricky. Learn more.