Tools for Personal Growth

What Does a Life Coach Do?

What does a life coach do? It’s a question that many people have asked at some point in their lives, and ever since I began my career in coaching, it’s a question I have faced many times.

It can be hard to find the right words to describe the role of a life coach, but recently, while I was on a long road trip with my family, it occurred to be that a life coach is basically a GPS app for your career, relationships, or personal development in general. Like a GPS device, a coach helps you figure out where you are now, where you want to be, and what specific steps you need to take to get there.

Sometimes, I’ll be talking with someone about coaching, and they will say, “So it’s like… counseling?” It’s a fair question, but it’s important to make the clear distinction that coaching is not the same thing as counseling. A life coach is different from a therapist or counselor, because they do not diagnose clients or treat mental health conditions.

A therapist might help someone who has anxiety, but a life coach will help someone who wants to quit smoking or who wants to improve their relationships with their children or spouse by identifying what they want and how they’re going to get there.

A therapist will listen to what you say and help you sort out your emotional responses; a life coach will help you take action on what you want and need, based on the information that comes out of that conversation.

A good way to think about it is that a counselor listens, while a coach, well, coaches. A counselor helps you look back and process things from your past that are affecting your life in the present. A coach helps you identify where you are, where you want to be, and how you’re going to get there. Both are supportive, caring professionals who want to see you succeed; the main difference is that a counselor helps you work through why you may feel stuck, while coaches focus on helping clients move forward toward the future they envision for themselves.

If you are interested in seeing whether working with a coach would be helpful for you, I’d love to chat! Set up a free Initial Coaching Conversation starting here.

There is still time to register for tomorrow’s webinar, “Putting Technology in its Place!” Click the image below for more information and to sign up.

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