What is Life Coaching and How Can it Help?

“Self Help” is a big buzz word in our American culture and an even bigger business.  According to Marketdata Enterprises, in 2008 Americans spent $11 billion on self-improvement books, CDs, seminars, coaching and stress-management programs.  At that time, they had predicted a 6.2% annual growth through 2012. 

What is it that people are looking for in all of these products to improve their lives?  What they seem to be looking for is hope—hope for something different, something better.  It turns out that most of the customers of these products will purchase similar items in another 18 months.  That seems to indicate that they did not get what they wanted so they decided to try a different approach or a different program to create this desired change.   They needed a new dose of hope.              

So, since information doesn’t necessarily create change which drives this hope, what does?  What is that key component necessary for knowledge to become follow-through?  This chart may help to illustrate one specific tool that can help.

                Action taken                                                                              Probability of Completion

1.       Hear about an interesting idea to adopt                                                     10%

2.       Consciously decide to adopt this idea                                                        20%

3.       Decide when to act on the idea                                                                   40%

4.       Design a plan to act on the idea                                                                  50%

5.       Make a commitment to another person to implement the plan                         65%

6.       Have a specific appointment with another person

to help implement the plan                                                                                 90%


 A Life Coach is not a psychiatrist or a counselor who deals with the past and handling emotional pain, but deals more with the future and devising an action plan toward a specific goal.  A therapist often seeks insight and understanding of a person’s psyche, whereas a coach focuses on strategies and life plans.  Past patterns that have been formed may need to be addressed if they are hindering moving forward, but only in regards to how they may be affecting growth.  But, a coach can bridge this gap between purely hope and action.

So, what does a coach do?  Coaching offers a new approach to basic human needs: partnership, support and know-how.  Partnership and support is a key component as shown in the above chart.  Personal support makes programs like Weight Watchers successful vs. dieting alone and why even professional athletes at the top of their game still work with coaches for accountability, encouragement, and to challenge them when necessary. 

The third need met by a coach is know-how.  This is an interesting part of the coaching process because who knows what the client needs to do in order to create lasting change but the client themselves?  The assumption is that the individual is capable of generating their own solutions, while the coach provides a supportive, discovery based program.  The coach can help by asking questions to lead this discovery process and can offer various resources that the client can choose to use or not, but the client determines the agenda for the process.   Instead of the coach telling the client what to do, the coach prompts the client to discover what they want to do.  Then, the support, accountability, and resources kick in to help the individual to really be able to follow through on the goals that they have created. 

So, is Life Coaching for You? 

·         Are you ready to experience real life change instead of temporary behavioral changes?

·         Are you open and willing to partner with someone who is willing to help, even if it brings some constructive criticism and requires time and energy to make a change for the better?

·         Are you willing to let go of limiting beliefs and acknowledge shortcomings that have held you back from reaching your goals?

·         Are you willing to “die” to the things that you need to “die” to so that you can develop the best parts of yourself?

·         Are you ready for a more fulfilling and purposeful life?

Not everyone needs help with their lives but most of us could probably use some from time to time.  Some areas that coaches can help are in relationships, wellness and weight loss, spiritual growth, career and business, family and parenting, divorce, pre-marital and marriage, grief and loss, retirement, addictions, trauma, and life transitions.  A coach can be helpful in any area where there is a desire for change. 

One really good reason for people to be able to live the life that they desire to live is so they can give to others out of that fullness.  Our success in life can become a conduit of impact on everyone we come in contact with and influence.  One of my favorite quotes is by Harold Whitman.  He says, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive.  And then go and do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” 

Is it time for you to come fully alive?  Maybe a Life Coach can help you to do just that.