What is a life coach?
A life coach is a trained professional who aims to help and guide individuals to make, meet and exceed personal and professional goals. They support clients on a journey to rediscover their own strengths and abilities; this can include excelling in the workplace, becoming happy and fulfilled at home, exploring your potential, managing health conditions and achieving life ambitions.
By harnessing techniques based on core psychological principles and intuition, coaches empower clients and provide a toolkit of teachings to confidently face challenges and overcome barriers.
A coach won’t tell you what to do, instead, they will use questioning techniques to help you uncover the answers yourself. They'll also provide an objective and empowering environment for you to explore any challenges you're facing.
At the heart of it all lies the idea that clients must be given the power to help themselves. Offering advice, opinions and judgements would undermine some of the basic principles behind life coaching.
You can learn more on our "What is coaching?" page.
Find a verified coach today
What happens during a session?
Coaching sessions will typically last between 45 minutes to an hour (depending on the coach you choose). Often, after an initial assessment, sessions can be conducted face-to-face or remotely, usually over the phone, over email, via video calls and occasionally through instant messaging.
During the session, your coach will ask you some questions, such as what you want to achieve in life, what areas you're unhappy with and where you'd like to see yourself in the future. Although a coach will work with you, it’s often up to you to challenge or reflect upon certain ideas you have to help you move forward with your life. You will never be forced to make any decisions you don't feel comfortable with and all sessions will be confidential, allowing you to explore your thoughts and feelings privately in a safe space.
Coaching is often seen as a partnership between you and your coach, who will gently encourage you to explore how to make positive changes in your life based on your aspirations. A coach should also offer support and feedback to help you to stay focused on your goals and will occasionally set you tasks and objectives to work on outside of sessions.
Here, life coach Alex Bowman discusses some of the key benefits of coaching.
What is NLP?
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is thought to be one of the most effective and accessible self-help methods to come from modern psychology. Many life coaches use NLP techniques to help 'reprogramme' clients' patterns of thinking and behaving. NLP works on the basis of assessing a client's perception of the world and adapting our behaviour and reactions to enable us to live a happy, desired life.
To find out more about what NLP is and how it works, visit our NLP page.
Are there different types of coaching?
There are many coaching styles used to address different situations and to direct a coaching session. Depending on the client’s goals and how they wish to achieve these, a coach will assess each individual and determine a coaching style from there.
To find out more about styles of coaching, head over to our coaching styles page.
Coaching or counselling?
Coaching focuses more on the client in the here and now and conducts sessions with the future as the central point to encourage personal development and self-improvement. Counselling is a form of talking therapy associated with assessing the individual in the here and now, but working to determine past events that have contributed to their client’s current struggles. A counsellor will help clients develop coping mechanisms and strategies to move forward with their life.
The main difference between counselling and coaching is that counselling can investigate the underlying causes of mental health problems. Coaches are not (unless specified) qualified to diagnose or treat any health-related problems, although if the situation arises they may suggest you see a GP.
Learn more in this article, Do I need a counsellor or a coach?
Life coach vs business coach
The term ‘life coach’ encompasses a range of areas. Within these areas, a coach may choose to hone in on a specific topic such as health or spiritual coaching.
Business coaches have expertise in the business world and therefore choose to coach individuals looking to excel in business. This could include entrepreneurs, company owners, CEOs or even employees. To find out more about what a business coach could offer you, please visit our business coaching page.
What can a coach help me with?
Coaches utilise techniques to help their clients in all aspects of life. If you've ever struggled with something - whether it be moving out of your comfort zone, improving your confidence or starting healthy habits, then consulting a life coach could help you.
A coach will approach things pragmatically. Through questions and exercises, they will try to get an idea of how you perceive the world. From this, they will be able to identify the most effective route to your goal.
Some people feel intimidated by the idea of change and so need to take things slowly to fulfil their goals. In this situation, a coach might divide goals into smaller bite-sized pieces. Other people may get impatient and lose interest. In this situation, a coach might suggest introducing stronger reminders and incentives to keep them on track.
I have since become a much more content person, achieving fulfilment, self-value and restored self-confidence in my own ability.
- Jane, life coach client.
However you approach life, your coach will be able to tailor your sessions to fit. Subjects coaches deal with include:
- Relationships - Do you wish you had the confidence to approach someone you like romantically? Do you struggle with commitment? Are you struggling to cope with a divorce? A coach could help you to understand your love life and work towards improving it.
- Business life - Starting and running a business is tough work. Sometimes we get so absorbed in hard work we neglect ourselves. Coaches can help build confidence, develop leadership skills, enhance decision-making abilities and assess your work/life balance.
- Personal life - Do you feel like you're not making the most of life? There's so much to see, do and learn in this world, but often a lack of confidence, time and willpower can cause us to stay inside our comfort zones, doing nothing. Life coaches use specialist skills to motivate their clients to do the things they want to do, see and achieve, so they can finally fight the urge to procrastinate.
- Performance - Improvement is at the heart of life coaching. Whatever your skill, coaching could help improve it. Whether you're an athlete, an artist, a writer, a performer, or a musician - adopting specialist techniques will help you to push your limitations and exceed expectations.
For a full list of subjects that coaches can support with, head over to our types of coaching section.
How many coaching sessions will I need?
You can have as many or as few coaching sessions as you like. Because many coaches operate over the phone or via the Internet, the sessions can easily fit around your schedule. Some people hire a coach once every few months, some people have a session once a week. It is entirely up to you to decide.
Do coaches need to have qualifications?
Coaching is currently an unregulated profession in the UK, meaning anyone can essentially call themselves a life coach. Because of this, it’s wise to do your research. On Life Coach Directory, you’ll only find life coaches who have either provided us with evidence of a membership with a recognised professional body or sent us copies of relevant qualifications and insurance cover.
Still, qualifications and memberships mean little if you don't get on with your life coach. Rapport is one of the most important parts of life coaching. If you feel uncomfortable with your professional, you are unlikely to gain much from the session. It’s advisable to get in contact before you book a session to meet your coach so you can gauge how comfortable you are in their presence. Never feel obliged to continue if you don't want to - you should never feel like you are listening to a sales pitch.
How much does coaching cost?
The cost of coaching will vary from coach to coach, but on average you can expect to pay somewhere between £50 and £100 per session. Of course, some coaches will offer cheaper sessions and others more expensive, this will depend on a variety of factors. Often coaches will have packages where you can purchase a number of sessions upfront for a reduced price.
Many coaches will also offer a free call to start with so the two of you can get to know each other better and find out how the coach can support you. These calls (sometimes called ‘chemistry calls’) are your opportunity to see if the coach you’ve chosen is likely to be the right fit and if you’re interested in working with them further.
If you have any queries about the prices a coach is advertising, send them an email or give them a call to discuss - they’ll be more than happy to explain what the cost includes and what you could get out of the sessions.
How do I search for a coach?
Simply visit our find a coach section, fill in the various fields and hit the search icon. This will take you to a list of all the coaches working in your area. To find out more about each life coach, simply click on their name. This will take you to their profile, where you can find contact details, price lists and a description of who they are, what they do and how they can help you.
If you'd like a little more support, let us guide you through the process of finding the right coach for you.
Can I have coaching online?
Lots of coaches offer online and telephone coaching for individuals who are unable to meet them face-to-face or find these services easier and more convenient. Online and telephone coaching can be offered in addition to one-on-one meetings or as the primary method of coaching. To search for a coach who offers this service, use our online and telephone search.
In this video, career and business coach Carly Ferguson explains the benefits of online coaching.
How can I train to become a coach?
Making the decision to become a coach or NLP practitioner can quickly turn from exciting to overwhelming when you discover the number of training courses available. To help you shift back to excitement, we’ve put together a training page and a guide with a few pointers on what to look for in a course and professional organisation. We’ve also listed some training affiliate organisations that run courses that will enable you to join Life Coach Directory once completed to help get your business off to a flying start.
How do I use Life Coach Directory?
For a guide on how to navigate this site and get the most out of our many features, simply head over to our "Not sure where to start?" page. If you do need further help, please don't hesitate to contact us.