7 min readPublished On: August 5, 2022Categories: Life Coaching

There are times when life gets a little too much. You know you want and need a change, but you don’t know what it is or how to get there. Or, you might have a dream which seems so big and impossible that you don’t even attempt to step toward it. There are also times when you simply want more from life. Yes, you have enough and could be quite happy as you are but being ‘quite’ happy is not enough. If you’re searching for an answer life coaching has likely come up. But what is a life coach? And are they really the answer?

How do you know what to do first and which direction to go in? Who do you know you can talk to who isn’t going to belittle your ideas or judge what you have to say? Who is going to encourage and support you all the way without getting side tracked by their own lives?

Enter a life coach who will help with all of the above plus more. 

A life coach is a wellness professional whose role is to enable progress in the lives of individuals, so they can achieve greater fulfilment in life. Life coaches empower their clients to improve their careers, relationships, and everyday lives.

They will help you gain clarity, reach your goals and make changes in your life, for the better so that you find meaning, fulfilment, success, well-being and happiness on your own terms.

But what is a life coach, exactly? Here’s all you need to know…

Life Coaches Aren’t Therapists

Let’s start with an important distinction. Life coaches are not therapists. It is understandable that there is often confusion between the two as they are both ‘talking therapies’ but they are very different. The main distinction being that life coaches do not treat issues like depression, anxiety or mental illness. If you do have any of these conditions please seek out a therapist who is trained and well qualified to help you.

Another key distinction is that a life coach will focus on the present and your future rather than dealing primarily with your past. Whilst a life coach will offer suggestions and ideas, they will not give advice. Instead, they will listen attentively and ask the right questions to tease out the answers, helping you gain clarity, finding your path and purpose. 

Another difference is that a therapist will focus on a certain problem you are dealing with, delving into the past and what got you there. A life coach is more solution focused, helping you to get from A to B more quickly and successfully with many wins (small and big) along the way. It is therefore about the here, now and the future. A life coach will obviously help you deal with problems along the way but the focus will be on finding new ways to act and think to achieve your goal.

Although there may be some overlap in the benefits of working with a life coach and participating in psychotherapy with a licensed therapist, these professionals have distinct roles and serve unique purposes.

Unlike life coaches, therapists and other mental health professionals focus on healing, treating mental health conditions, and helping people work through trauma and other issues from their past. While working with a life coach may help you to deal with certain unresolved issues, life coaches cannot treat mood disorders, anxiety disorders, addiction, or any other mental health condition.

In a nutshell:


  • Are qualified to treat mental health conditions
  • Have a relevant degree in psychotherapy (or the equivalent) and are licensed to practice therapy
  • Are bound by medical laws and follow an ethical codes

Life Coaches

  • Are not qualified to treat mental health conditions
  • Can practice without any academic training or formal qualifications (although it’s advisable to work with a certified or accredited psychologist)
  • Are not bound by health privacy laws

So, What Is A Life Coach?

Because a life coach is separate from family and friends, they are unbiased, looking objectively at your life. They will ask questions others wouldn’t think to ask, and they will help you see situations from all angles. They will identify the obstacles which are holding you back and will create realistic ways to help you achieve your goals.

Your life coach will be your motivator and your biggest cheerleader. Whilst not your friend, they will give you access to them throughout the life coaching process and be available to help along the way. A therapist on the other hand has very strict boundaries; there is no contact between sessions, and your time together is rigid. You generally meet at the same time and place each week whereas coaching can be more fluid.

Finally, whilst some people stay on for longer, the coaching process is generally short and succinct whereas therapy can go on for years.

What Will Your Life Coach Do?

Some coaches will specialise in particular areas such as relationships, health and wellness, business, finance etc. but a life coach takes a 360 degree approach and looks at all aspects of your life, as much or as little as you want them to. Coaching will help you to create proactive steps to live the life you want, rather than being mediocre and wondering, what if?

One of the many things I love about coaching is that it looks at the here and now, where you are and where you want to get to. 

Coaching will challenge your beliefs and values to ensure you are aligned with your true self. The right coach will help you identify which beliefs and thought patterns are holding you back with the aim to reframe them into ones which serve you. 

Through powerful conversation and questioning techniques, thinking outside the box, giving you space to be yourself, to feel and think, coaching focuses on helping you to discover the answers for yourself which is extremely empowering.

What’s The Point Of Life Coaching? 

The aim of any coach is to help you reach full potential and in doing so, you will gain greater self-awareness, self-discovery and clarity over what you want, improving your outlook on work, relationships and life. A coach will accelerate your progress by opening your eyes to possibilities whilst managing all of the things which get in your way.

Personally, I find coaching a highly positive experience; one which is insightful and enlightening and this is where you can feel the transformation begin. I love the time I spend with my coach, she doesn’t take any BS from me and challenges what I say. I always leave the session feeling invigorated and inspired, with a set plan of where to go next and always looking forward to my next session.

Who Will Benefit From Working With A Life Coach?

Generally speaking, everyone can benefit from working with a life coach at some point in their lives. The point at which it’s right for you is often when you find yourself rudderless. You’re unsure of your direction, you can sense a big change is needed but you’re unsure exactly how to make it happen, and you seek guidance. 

That said, many people seek the guidance of a life coach as a means of creating greater happiness and meaning in their lives. There is no major event to navigate, yet they feel there could (or should) be more to life.

If you find yourself experiencing any of these signs it may be a good time for some life coaching:

  • You’re frequently irritated
  • You’re experiencing high levels of anxiety or stress
  • You are unable to break bad habits you’ve fallen into
  • You are lacking social fulfilment 
  • You have a persistent feeling of dissatisfaction in your work
  • Your creativity is blocked or stifled

Working with a great life coach is often the kick you need to bust out of a rut, motivate yourself to make changes you know are necessary, and gain the support and sounding board of an impartial observer in your life. For a growing number of people – particularly creative types, entrepreneurs, and executives – a life coach is the means to attaining personal and professional success and fulfilment.

To learn more about exactly what a life coach does, sign up for a free discovery call and we can have a chat…