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Frequently Asked Questions

Deciding to see a life coach is the first step in your journey to discovering the power you hold within yourself.

But it can be overwhelming, confusing and frustrating if you haven’t experienced coaching before. Our FAQs are designed to give you an insight into what a life coach is, how to find a suitable coach and what to expect in a session. If you do need further help, please don't hesitate to contact our customer services team for more information.

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 strength and abilities: this can include excelling in the workplace, becoming happy and fulfilled at home, exploring your potential, managing health conditions such as ADHD and achieving life ambitions.

By harnessing techniques based on core psychological principles and intuition, life coaches empower clients and provide a toolkit of teachings to confidently face difficult challenges and overcome emotional barriers.

A life coach won’t tell you what to do (chances are you already know the answer!) but what they will do is provide an objective and empowering environment, rather than instruction or indoctrination.

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, which include:

Where can I find out more about the life coach industry?

How did life coaching become an industry? How successful is the life coach industry today? To find the answers to these questions and more, head over to our history of life coaching page.

What happens during a life coaching session?

Life coaching sessions will typically last between 45 minutes and 60 minutes (depending on the life coach you choose). Often after an initial assessment, sessions can be conducted over the phone, face to face, over email, via Skype and occasionally through instant messaging.

During the session, your life coach will ask you a number of 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 life 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.

Life coaching is often seen as a partnership between you and your life coach, who will gently encourage you to explore how to make positive changes in your life based on your aspirations. A life 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.

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, please visit our full information page about NLP.

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 life 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.

How is life coaching different from counselling?

Life coaching focuses more so 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 again 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 develop coping mechanisms and strategies for the client to move forward with their life.

The main difference between counselling and life coaching is that counselling can investigate the underlying causes of mental health problems. Life 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.

What’s the difference between a life coach and a 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?

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.

Life coaches utilise techniques to help their clients in all aspects of life. If you've ever struggled with something - whether it be sticking to a diet, learning a language, moving out of your comfort zone, improving your confidence or self-esteem, then consulting a life coach could help you.

A life coach will approach things pragmatically. Through questions and exercises, he or she 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 life coach might divide ultimate goals into smaller bite-sized pieces. Other people may get impatient and lose interest. In this situation, a life coach might suggest introducing stronger reminders and incentives to keep them on track.

However you approach life, your life coach will be able to tailor your sessions to fit. Subjects life 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 life 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. Life coaches can help build confidence, develop leadership skills, enhance decision-making and asses 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 will-power 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, life 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 life coaches deal with, head over to our types of coaching section.

How many life coaching sessions will I need?

You can have as many or as few life coaching sessions as you like. Because many life coaches operate over the phone or via the Internet, the sessions can easily fit around your schedule. Some people hire a life coach once every few months, some people have a session once a week. Often, it is entirely up to you to decide.

Do life coaches need to have qualifications?

Life 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 do I search for a life coach?

In the top left-hand corner of this page, you’ll see a box that says ‘Find a business or life coach near you’. All you have to do is type in your postcode, town or county and hit the search icon. This will take you to a list of all life 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 have a specific area of focus you want a life coach to help you with, use our advanced search which will help you narrow down the type of coaching (career coaching for example) and type of session (eg telephone or face to face) you are interested in.

Can I have coaching online or by telephone?

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.

How can I train to become a coach or NLP practitioner? 

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 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 this site?

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.

I have a problem with your site - what shall I do?

If you come across a problem with our site please contact our helpful customer service team and they will get back to you as soon as possible.

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