What Do Life Coaches Do?
A Day in the Life of a Life Coach
Are you someone who values making connections with people and helping them achieve their goals? If so, you might be interested in a career as a life coach. Life coaching is an ideal career for someone who gets along well with others, has experience in specific areas, and can help others actualize their dreams and goals. Your role as a life coach is to help guide others to achieve their highest potential in any given area of their life. People may seek out a life coach when they are unsure of what to do in some aspect of their lives or feel a bit lost and uncertain in general. Life coaches help people with business, nutrition, managing their finances, and fixing their relationships. They provide people with the tools and enthusiasm to succeed, especially when they have difficulty navigating their lives.
As a life coach, you could help your clients make decisions and find paths they feel good about in their lives. That said, what would you do on a day-to-day basis? This guide gives you more information on a day in the life of a professional life coach.
What Does the Life Coach Role Entail?
Life coaches take on clients whom they aim to help create and achieve life goals. These professionals help clients establish concrete targets related to their dreams or desired outcomes. Then, the life coach helps the person figure out the steps needed to get from point A, the client’s current situation, to point B, where the client wants their life to go.
Life coaches guide the process needed to achieve desired goals rather than just helping people come up with dreams for their lives. They want their clients to make changes in their lives, so they give the person ideas on meeting goals and offering motivation. Of course, the client can participate in the process by sharing the best ways they are likely to get things done and coming up with some of their steps that could lead to the end goal.
Life coaches can help people with all sorts of goals, so each client session may be unique. They talk to clients to get a feel for what is going on in their life and what they want to change. The focus will be on that specific client’s goals rather than a cookie-cutter approach. Moreover, some life coaches tailor their focus to one particular aspect of life. The following section provides more information on this topic.
Variations in the Field
Life coach duties can vary somewhat as many people in this field have a specialized focus. They may approach life and goals in different ways. The coach’s title can change to fit the direction, such as an executive coach.
General life coaches may help people with various goals, so their day-to-day careers may shift with each client. With one person, the focus may be on losing weight. With another, it could be on moving into a desired career position. Other goals may focus on improving relationships, bettering one’s self and so on. In many cases, life coaches assist people as they go through life transitions like job or relationship changes.
While you may like switching things up and helping people with a variety of aspects of life, you also have the option to specialize in this field. A career or executive life coach would center their work on clients wanting to make a change in their careers, with the goals and guidance targeting this aspect of life. So, this type of life coach may help people wanting to change careers, move up the career ladder or develop skills and traits that would help them in a career.
Some life coaches may also take a certain approach to life and goals. For example, you could work as a spiritual life coach. This would mean that you would view the client’s life in a spiritual way and seek out clients who are looking for this type of focus. For example, you might help clients figure out how to find more meaning in their lives or live a more holistic lifestyle that better balances physical, mental and spiritual aspects of life. Some of these life coaches also work through intuition, both by relying on their intuition and helping to unlock it in their clients. For example, they may aim to help the person tap into their inner self to better understand their nature and true desires for an elevated life.
You can find various specialties through the training organization International Coach Federation (ICF), which recognizes many types of life coaches. In addition to the business, spirituality, and health and fitness ones alluded to above, you could specialize as a relationship, life vision or another type of coach. Other training organizations may offer additional specialties. Also, you could coach in a specialized area without having special training or credentials in that area.
An actual day in the life of a life coach focuses on communication. The coach and client talk to one another, and the coach may provide guidance, resources and activities to carry out. The relationship is similar to that between a therapist and a patient. The focus is talking, and the professional guides the person towards their desired outcomes.
The difference is that a therapist has extensive schooling and credentials in mental health and tends to focus on helping a person work on mental health concerns, heal from past traumas or difficulties, and find ways to manage these concerns and have a healthier state of mind. A life coach usually does not hold mental health credentials and focuses more on achieving goals and helping a person move forward into the future rather than focusing on the past.
The life coaching process starts through a conversation or consultation between the life coach and a prospective client. Depending on the coach, the first visit may be a sample session and consultation to determine whether the coach and client are a good fit before moving forward. Once the partnership is agreed upon, the coach asks the client about their life and goals. Some clients may have a clear idea of what they want to achieve through coaching, while others may not. The coach may need to dig and encourage the person to draw out thoughts, feelings and true desires.
The beginning of the process includes determining the client’s goal and then developing a plan to achieve it. This plan can include objectives and steps to take to work toward the goal. This is similar to a business plan but focused on a person’s individual goals. So, the coach and client might work together for a weight loss goal. They might decide on a goal of losing 20 pounds. Then, they can determine the activities that would help the person reach this goal, such as exercising and eating healthily. The plan can include specific actions, with milestones, accountability steps and methods for motivation included. They may also identify obstacles and come up with solutions for overcoming them. The idea is to give specific, actionable guidance to help the person move toward and ultimately achieve their goal.
The coach can provide motivation and guide the person with challenges they’re facing in achieving their goal. A client may continue to have sessions with the coach, varying by each client’s preferences and needs. Ideally, the relationship continues regularly until the client reaches the goal, and then the client may decide to continue working with the coach on another goal. During ongoing sessions, the coach can check-in, document progress and see what other factors the client needs ongoing help with. Together, they can focus on achievements and the coach can offer accountability as needed.
How Do Coaching Sessions Work?
When working as a life coach, you have options for carrying out coaching sessions. You could conduct meetings in person, either through your own office or through a neutral site like a coffee shop. Another option is to use technology so you can coach people over the phone, through a video or text chat application or through email.
Technology offers the benefit of coaching people around the country and world rather than being limited by your location. Nonetheless, it may fit your personality better to provide in-person visits. You could also have a hybrid business using a combination of the two. One option is to meet with people in person for the initial consultation and then provide follow-up sessions over the phone or through video. Since coaching is your own business, the choice is yours and something you can decide upon with each client if needed.
Coaching sessions can range in length, often lasting for a half-hour to 90 minutes. Once again, this is something you can set depending on your business. You may also decide to offer a more extended session initially, followed by shorter follow-up sessions. Coaches may also provide quick check-ins separate from their longer sessions as part of a package.
A Coaching Business
You are generally self-employed with your own coaching business as a life coach. You may or may not have an office where you meet with clients. Coaches balance numerous clients at the same time. They may work with some clients once, while others become repeat clients for months or years.
This role includes the various aspects of running one’s own business and time spent with clients or working on clients’ plans. Consider that this profession includes business and administrative duties in addition to meetings. You may also spend time furthering your education and skills in the field to improve the services you offer your clients. There are also coaching professional organizations you can join to further your career and connect with other coaches.
As a self-employed coach, you would spend part of your time seeking out new clients that you would balance with maintaining your current clients. Finding new clients could include marketing efforts, such as posting on social media pages, maintaining a website and putting ads in local publications and online. Many life coaches also receive new clients through word of mouth from previous or current clients sharing their experiences. You could encourage clients to let friends know about your coaching services and to leave a review of your business on Google or one of your social media pages. In addition, you could have a referral network with other coaches. These coaches could refer clients your way who aren’t the right fit for them or who could use a different specialty than the coach provides, and you could do the same for those coaches in return.
For some people, being a life coach is their sole profession. For many, it is a part-time occupation on the side of another one, which may or may not relate to life coaching. Coaching may be an extension of or related to their other work for some people.
If you don’t like the sound of being self-employed, there are some opportunities for life coaches to work for employers. For example, these professionals may be hired by treatment facilities or other organizations that help people. Alternatively, you may find more stability in this career by contracting with a business’s employee wellness programs.
Overall, being a life coach can put you in a rewarding profession where you support and guide people. This role allows you to directly impact a person’s life, helping them better understand their goals and how to achieve them. You can help people with various goals or specialize in areas of particular interest to you, such as health or careers.
Keep in mind that there are challenges to this career. In general, you need to run your own business in addition to managing clients, and you need to seek out new clients and retain current clients to meet your revenue goals. While some cases may be rewarding, other clients may not be the right fit or may not take the necessary actions to reach their goals. If you keep these considerations in mind and are still interested in this profession, it may be the right one for you!