Empowerment coaching

Last updated 17th April 2023 | Next update due 16th April 2026

Empowerment coaching focuses on helping people grow in confidence, self-esteem, autonomy and a sense of inner strength. It can also support people who are or feel disempowered by society.

What does it mean to be empowered?

Empowerment is an incredibly nuanced word and likely means something different to each of us. Things which help create a feeling of being empowered typically are confidence, clarity, autonomy, self-determination and having control over our own lives. 

Empowerment is feeling capable and confident in clearly expressing what you want and need, and knowing you have the ability to change things in your life, even if you’re not sure how or where to start.

- Charlotte Dover (ICF accredited coach)

What is an empowerment coach?

An empowerment coach helps individuals create and express their own definition of feeling empowered. While empowerment means different things to different people, an empowerment coach will typically support clients to feel more confident in their skills and abilities, to become trusting of themselves and their own decisions and needs and to be self-assured in talking about these.

Empowerment coaches help people who feel they don’t have autonomy or control over their own lives. A coach will support you in feeling confident in your choices, making decisions with conviction and grant you the courage to take the steps forward, even when you aren’t certain of the outcome or how a particular decision will be received.

Empowerment coaches typically support clients who struggle with conflict and fears of judgement and criticism. Coaching can help you become more resilient so that when navigating these situations, you feel able to approach them confidently, rather than avoiding them and thus leading to increasingly negative outcomes over time.

How to find your purpose

Coach Sohailia Sophia has a great formula for working out your purpose: 

Your purpose = your passion + your strengths + your compassion

Want to know more? Read How to find your purpose.

The difference between a life coach and an empowerment coach

Life coaching will focus on what you would like to achieve; how to take the steps towards this while working through any obstacles that come your way. ‘Life coaching’ is an umbrella term, typically used to describe the various forms of personal coaching. 

Empowerment coaching focuses more on the self-concept, developing your own sense of agency and autonomy - perhaps after years of being told that you make bad decisions (or not being allowed to make your own decisions) by parents, a partner or simply falling into patterns of not choosing because it felt easier.

Although on the surface, empowerment may seem like just another word for confidence, it is more focused on the overall development of your own sense of self, rather than confidence around a particular subject or event.

An empowerment coach may also fill the space of a personal cheerleader, encouraging you to recognise your own strengths and achievements and helping you develop a practice of celebrating who you are, helping you find your inner strength.

The different types of empowerment coaching

There are many kinds of empowerment, including:

  • gender empowerment
  • sexual empowerment
  • cultural empowerment
  • psychological empowerment
  • physical empowerment

In all these contexts, feeling more empowered leads to an individual being able to express themselves fully and honestly, without shame or fear.

How can you benefit from working with an empowerment coach?

Working with an empowerment coach can help you to become fully aware of your own needs, preferences and desires. A coach will support you, helping you to communicate your wants and needs clearly, without fear of being judged, criticised or excluded.

Empowerment creates inner resilience and the confidence to create positive change in areas of your life where you may be affected by external influences or personal circumstances.

You may also benefit from building a ‘personal toolkit’ - a physical list, or even daily or weekly habits that act as reminders of the ways you can support yourself in times when you feel disempowered or when your self-doubt is high. 

What can clients expect from sessions?

By working with a coach, you can gain an in-depth exploration of the areas in your life where you would like to feel more empowered. This may include your past experiences, as well as a focus on how you would like things to be in the future. Your coach will listen carefully and help you form ideas, beliefs and plans which reflect how you want to feel by asking questions and encouraging you to express yourself fully. 

You may find your coach uses specific tools to help guide the conversation and uncover some of the experiences which have led to your feeling disempowered. Over a course of several sessions, you can expect to grow in self-belief and confidence in advocating for yourself and your needs, feeling empowered to break away from feelings of what you ‘should’ be doing and instead focus on what you really want.

Finding the right coach for you

There are many different coaching styles and approaches and the coaching industry remains unregulated. It’s important that the coach you choose to work with communicates in a way which makes you feel heard, understood and supported in a judgement-free environment.

You may wish to view several coaches before committing to ‘the one’ - take your time with your search as it is important that you feel the coach is right for you. Many coaches will offer a free “discovery” call to help you learn more about them and their way of working, and determine whether you are the right fit.

A good place to start is using a directory such as the Life Coach Directory, where coaches are verified before being accepted.

It is also a good idea to find an accredited coach (eg. ICF or AC) as this means they work to guidelines and ethics which are set by an external body, and they have demonstrated a minimum required level of training and competency.

Quick tips to feel empowered

  • When facing a situation you feel uncertain about, ask yourself what you already know and what has helped you previously. Remembering you have overcome challenges in the past can help you feel more capable.
  • Self-knowledge is incredibly empowering. Regularly exploring what you really want for yourself can be very effective.
  • Surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself and valued for who you are. The more you’re comfortable with expressing yourself without compromising your true values, the more empowered you will feel.

This page was written by ICF-accredited coach Charlotte Dover in April 2023.

Search for a coach
Would you like to provide feedback on our content?
Tell us what you think

Please note we are unable to provide any personal advice via this feedback form. If you do require further information or advice, please search for a professional to contact them directly.

You appear to have an ad blocker enabled. This can cause issues with our spam prevention tool. If you experience problems, please try disabling the ad blocker until you have submitted the form.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA, the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Find an empowerment coach

All coaches are verified professionals

All coaches are verified professionals