Over the past 25 years, life coaching has exploded into a $3 billion industry and many have at least heard of coaching, even if they don’t have personal experience with it. Life coaching, which has its roots in psychology, is a powerful process through which we can address our identity and purpose. However, there’s still some confusion about the differences between life coaching and therapy.
What is life coaching?
In a broad sense, life coaching is a partnership or collaborative relationship between the coach and the client. Coaching comes from a different perspective than other professional relationships, such as therapy or mentoring, do. In the therapeutic relationship, the person receiving therapy is seen as a patient and sometimes given a diagnosis that requires treatment. In a mentorship, the mentor provides guidance and often directives to the mentee.
However, in the traditional coaching-client relationship, the coach sees the client through a more empowered lens and believes that the client has the answers within. From this perspective, both the coach and the client are on an even playing field. The coach sees the client as the expert on herself while the coach is the expert on the process that allows the client to uncover the wisdom that she already has inside. The coach takes on the role of facilitator and can help their client gain a fresh, informed perspective on problems.
In short, life coaching helps people to identify the obstacles that keep getting in their way, to find motivation, and to zero in on any resistance to change. Unlike a therapist, a life coach does not provide a clinical diagnosis and he or she focuses on what is to come instead of looking at the past.
Do I need a life coach?
Typically someone comes to life coaching with a specific problem or issue that they need support with. Most people seek out a coach when they feel unable to get past a certain point in their life. Someone might seek out a life coach for guidance in navigating a significant life change, such as taking on a new career. Life coaches might provide general coaching or specialize in an area such as career, finances, business, weight loss, and dating. The coaching process is future-focused and goal-oriented. Through asking important questions, the coach can help a client to clarify her goals, become aware of potential blindspots, discover internally-resourced strategies and solutions, and provide accountability. Coaching is a way to help you move past anything that might be keeping you stuck in your career or other areas of life.
What should I look for in a life coach?
When working with a life coach, you’re trusting an individual to guide some of your important life decisions.
God can work with and through anyone. However, with so many options for life coaching these days, it’s easier than ever to find a coach who shares your beliefs and values. A coach who understands your motivations will help you achieve your goals in a manner that honors your values.
A coach who shares these values will not only nurture your mental and emotional needs, but your spiritual needs as well. For example, in my coaching practice, I pray for my clients and ask the Holy Spirit for guidance before a session or consultation. Aligning our goal-setting with our faith can move us closer to identifying our purpose.