Written by Katherine Nicholls
Katherine Nicholls
Life Coach Directory Content Team

Last updated 7th December 2023 | Next update due 6th December 2026

Have you ever felt a little… lost? When we lack motivation, everything can feel difficult. Here, we’ll delve deeper into the idea of motivation, understanding where it comes from, why we lose it and how working with a coach can help us find it again.

Understanding motivation

To start with, it’s important to understand what motivation really is. Motivation comes from within ourselves. It is our purpose or reason for doing something, whether that’s to launch a new business or make changes to our exercise routine.

In this video, therapeutic coach Emma Humphrey explains the role of motivation in our lives, and how a coach can help if you're finding it difficult to stay motivated. 

Our motivation for something stems from our values and beliefs. When you have a strong sense of your personal values and beliefs (for example, kindness towards others), this forms a basis from which your motivation can grow.

We all have different motivators. For some, they may include having a clear mission, wanting to help others and being inspired. For others, they may include personal power, career success and money. Neither is right or wrong, however, many find external motivators like money or perceived success less powerful than internal motivators that work in alignment with your values.

A motivator that can help all of us is accountability. This means telling someone about your dreams and having them check in with you to see how you're doing. This is a key part of coaching and for many, just having regular conversations with someone about a project/dream/desire is enough to motivate them into action.

The difference between motivation and inspiration

When someone gives a ‘motivational’ speech, what they’re really doing is inspiring their audience. Motivation has to come from within ourselves, and this means that in reality - no one can motivate you. It has to come from yourself.

Inspiration comes from the outside world. Speakers, writers, mentors and others we look up to can inspire us. Films, art, books and music can also inspire us.

If we imagine motivation to be the fire in your belly, your purpose, your ‘why’, then inspiration can be seen as fuel for that fire. The two work together very well, and inspiration can certainly be a tool to help increase your motivation, but it cannot replace the fire of inner motivation.

Motivation coaches

Why we lose motivation

Motivation can come and go throughout our lives. We may have seasons where we feel incredibly fired up, motivated and excited about everything we’re doing. We may have slower seasons where we need to rest, rejuvenate and seek out inspiration.

Sometimes there are clear causes for our lost motivation. Below are some examples, have a read and see if any resonate with you.

You’re burnt out

This can happen when you push yourself too hard for too long. Perhaps you were feeling that fire of motivation and ended up working all the hours under the sun. Maybe there’s simply a lot going on in your life and you’re overwhelmed.

When this happens, everything can feel like it’s too much and motivation feels like a forgotten dream. If this is happening to you, don’t try to push through it. Instead, take it for what it is - a sign that you need to rest. Book some time off, spend lots of time resting, and allow your body and mind a break. Taking care of yourself will be the best way to invite motivation back into your life.

You’re struggling with your mental health

Mental health conditions like anxiety and depression can rob you of any motivation. Be sure to visit your doctor if you think this may be the case and get support from a counsellor. You will be able to find motivation again, but learning to manage and cope with your mental health must take priority.

You have negative/limiting self-beliefs

Many of us live with limiting self-beliefs. These are beliefs we hold about ourselves that limit us, such as “I’m not creative” or “I’m not worthy of that job”. These beliefs are rarely based on fact and come from a variety of different sources (including our childhood).

You’re procrastinating

You have one task, glaring at you from your to-do list, but somehow you manage to fill your day with anything but that task. Sound familiar? Procrastination can often stand in the way of progress, even when our motivation is strong. This is often because our procrastination comes from a place of fear.

When we really care about something, we get scared about it going wrong. We worry what others will think, we worry about it failing - and sometimes, we even worry about it succeeding. This fear can manifest in different ways, and procrastination is common.

Getting past this fear can take time, self-reflection, self-investigation and self-awareness. Working with a coach can help you uncover what you’re really afraid of and help you push through it.

You haven’t found your ‘why’

Sometimes we lack motivation because we simply haven’t found our ‘why’, or our purpose behind what we’re doing. Maybe you’re working towards a promotion because you think you should be climbing the career ladder, but it’s not what you want deep down. You may therefore struggle to find the motivation to do what’s required for the promotion.

Once you’ve established an internal reason for doing something - your ‘why’ - you can nurture it. You’ll find decision-making easier as you’ll have your purpose guiding your way. You’ll feel excited to work on your project as you’ll recognise why you’re so passionate about doing it.

What is motivation coaching?

Motivation coaching, also known as motivational coaching, involves working with a motivational coach.  A motivational coach can help you to work through problems you may be experiencing in life, identifying roadblocks which may be causing you to feel stuck or held back. 

While a coach is there to help you find your motivation, they don’t have the power to motivate you - only you can find your motivation. Instead, they may challenge you and help you approach problems, situations, or ideas in new ways.

What does a motivational coach do?

A motivational coach can help you with the following:

Assessing your current situation

This could mean looking at where you are in life, where you want to be, and what is holding you back from getting there. By working with an impartial, experienced professional, you can better understand your situation and feel more comfortable opening up about any issues.

Helping you set clear, achievable goals and milestones

While having a big goal in mind is a good starting point, figuring out how to get from where you are now, to where you want to be without losing motivation can be tough. A motivation coach can help you set small milestones along the way to achieve bigger goals while staying motivated.

Sharing strategies and tools

A coach can help introduce you to new ways of working, thinking, managing stress, time management, and more. Your coach can help you learn the tools and techniques to help you make the next steps confidently.

Holding you accountable and tracking your progress

Having a goal in mind is easy. Sticking to your plan to achieve that? That can be hard. A coach offers a sense of accountability. They can be someone to bounce ideas off of when things get off track, and to help celebrate your successes along the way. Working with a coach can help you see your progress more clearly, identify when something isn’t working, and keep moving towards your goals. 

Motivation and sports coaching

Motivation for athletes is another popular form of coaching. A motivational sports coach may be able to help encourage and support you in preparation for specific sporting events, competitions, and general sporting improvement. A sports coach helps you find your motivation and offers guidance and training, whether sports are part of your hobby, career, or event. Find out more about sports coaching and how it could help you. 

Is a motivational coach right for me?

Working with a motivation coach can help a variety of people. Recognising that you could benefit from working with a coach doesn’t mean you’re incapable of doing it alone, or that you’re failing. It means that you’re able to admit that support could be the answer to helping to learn, grow, and achieve your goals.

Whether you’re aiming for something that seems big like starting your own business, or you want to readdress your work/life balance and put your well-being first, a coach can help you to set – and exceed – your goals. 

Working with a motivational coach 

As we’ve explored here, no one has the power to motivate you, but you. This doesn’t mean a coach can’t help, however. A coach’s role in your search for motivation is to help you uncover what your ‘why’ is and what’s diminishing your motivation.

They can help you identify what’s stopping you and work with you to overcome any obstacles. They may suggest new perspectives and offer inspirational resources. Different techniques may be advised, like meditation and journaling. Their job won’t be to motivate you but, instead, to help you discover your own motivation and give you the tools you need to keep the fires burning bright.

Once you’ve unearthed your motivation, they can help you create clear goals to help you achieve what it is you’re trying to achieve. With motivation as your driving force, this part is all about taking action and making things happen.

Talking to you during regular sessions, they will also offer a sense of accountability. Helping you set targets and goals, they’ll likely encourage you to complete certain tasks before your next session. Just having this encouragement along with the increased self-awareness that naturally takes place during the coaching process can be incredibly powerful.

We wish you success, wherever you are in your hunt for motivation. If you want support from a life coach, you can use our search tool to find a coach to suit you.

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