Karin Freeland

Motivational Speaker ~ Author ~ Life Coach

What is a Life Coach?

Updated: June 7, 2022

What is a Life Coach?

Great question! You’re not the first to wonder exactly what a life coach does for their clients and you won’t be the last. In a nutshell, a life coach counsels clients on challenges having to do with their career or other aspects of their personal life. I specifically focus on 8 key areas with the women I coach: Career, Relationships (including romance), Health, Finances, Physical Environment, Friends & Family, Recreation/Self-Care & Personal Growth. Imagine your life like a bicycle wheel. By taking a more holistic approach, I ensure clients don’t just fix one spoke, but improve the whole wheel, resulting in a smoother ride. 


A good life coach also encourages clients and helps them overcome limiting beliefs. A limiting belief is any thought that holds you back or closes your mind to alternative solutions. That could include self-doubt, negative thinking, self-sabotage or disbelief in your abilities. A seasoned life coach will spot these issues and give you tools and techniques to work through them, helping you advance and achieve the goals you want in life. 


Finally, a life coach will hold you accountable for the commitments you make to yourself during each session. By having this extra layer of support, clients are more likely to achieve success.

Who Should Consider Working With a Life Coach?

A life coach is for anyone that wants to make a sincere change and improve their life. I’ve personally chosen to focus my practice on women, but any gender will benefit. Additionally, there is no real age requirement, although each coach can set limits based on what they are most comfortable with.   

Life coaching is perfect for ambitious people who lack clear direction at that moment. Others going through a transition or life change will find a life coach extremely helpful. For example, if you were recently laid off or want to start a business. The best thing to do if you think a life coach might be the solution, is to have a conversation with a life coach and get to know them and their process. Then you can make a clear evaluation if you believe this will help you or not.  

Types of Life Coaches

There are a lot of different types of coaches out there, making selecting the perfect one a challenge. Here are some of the types of coaches you may encounter and how their focus differs from others:  

Business, executive, and leadership coaching: Generally, executives are helped to improve their performance and personal effectiveness while reducing stress. This can entail helping them brainstorm issues to a particular challenge on the job or setting boundaries so they can have more balance at home. These coaches can sometimes be paid for by the client’s organization or reimbursed as a business expense. (Though you should inquire about that for any coaching engagement.) 

Career coaching: There to help clients explore new career opportunities, learn how to find the right job for their needs and goals, and begin to decide what they want from a job. If you’re exclusively trying to find a new job, this could be a viable avenue. 

Dating and relationship coaching: Aims to improve their clients’ success in dating and relationships. Through self-assessment, role-playing, and behavior modelling, a dating coach trains clients to meet and attract romantic partners. They often focus on topics important to the art of dating: interpersonal skills, flirting, compatibility, and recreational activities. A relationship or marriage coach will focus on improving your current relationship and may include your partner in the sessions as well. The goal here is to help you manage frequent challenges and improve communication between you and your partner.  

Diet and fitness coaching: Supports clients by giving them nutrition guidance and encouraging physical activity specific to their body type and to meet their personal weight loss goals. Fitness coaches can also help with injury prevention and pushing you past your normal limits. They will often join you in the gym or during virtual workouts. 

Financial coaching: Teaches clients money management skills, such as how to build savings, create a budget or pay down debt. A financial coach can help improve your financial literacy, but they most likely cannot give you investment advice, unless they are also a certified financial advisor.  

Health and wellness coaching: Usually a health care professional who helps clients in setting and achieving their health goals around physical and mental health. These objectives might include losing weight or improving their relationship with their body or food. Health and wellness coaching is different from fitness coaching or personal training. 

Spirituality coaching: Typically, guides their clients to find inner happiness, peace and harmony while supporting them on their journey to finding their own sense of wholeness. This can involve religious beliefs and how they influence your belief system, helping you make better decisions going forward.

As you can see there are a lot of options when it comes to selecting a coach. I’ve personally chosen to call myself a Life & Reinvention coach because I help women discover their life purpose, own their unique power and build a pathway to freedom (whatever that looks like for them).  

Difference Between a Life Coach and a Therapist

There are a few key differences between life coaching and therapy that you should be aware of before choosing which route is best for you. First, a therapist is a trained and licensed professional. Life coaches are not equipped to practice therapy. If a life coach says they can, you should check their credentials carefully to be sure they are properly licensed.

Second, therapy often focuses on the past and healing trauma. It’s more heavily focused on your mental health and how you can heal from those events. Life coaching, on the other hand, is focused on moving forward and planning for the future given your current circumstances. 

Third, therapy often doesn’t have an end date, whereas coaching is more short-term. Some clients may go through years of therapy to work through issues. Life coaching is typically a 6 month – 1 year engagement. The goal of a good coach is to give you the tools you need to manage your life on your own going forward. 

Several of my coaching clients have seen a therapist at the same time and have found the tag team approach to be very beneficial, so you don’t always to have choose between one or the other.  

What a Life Coach Can Do for You

A main benefit to having a life coach is having a place where you can show up and authentically be yourself. Every thought, idea, dream and emotion can be entertained, validated and constructively dealt with. Additionally, you’ll be getting an informed outsider’s guidance to help you avoid blind spots and think differently about life. 

Other benefits include developing a growth mindset, improving confidence, achieving better work/life balance, improving communication, reducing stress and fears, and setting clear boundaries. 

Impact of Life Coaches

Everyone’s experience is different but the main ways a life coach will impact your life are the following: 

  • Achieve your goals in a reduced amount of time 
  • Less procrastination and self-sabotage
  • Improved work life, whether that’s in corporate or as an entrepreneur 
  • Clear path of direction and next steps 
  • Improved relationships and communication skills 
  • Hyper-self-aware so you can prevent old habits from resurfacing 
  • More joy and happiness on a day-to-day basis 

Tips

Here are a few final tips to keep in mind when selecting a life coach: 

Meet with several coaches before choosing the one you work with. Coaching is a two-way street and it needs to be a good fit between you and the coach and vice versa. Most coaches offer a complimentary or discovery session, so be sure to take advantage of that. 

Beware the coach that becomes too dependent on you! That’s a sign they don’t have a lot of clients and want to keep you on as long as possible. The goal of coaching should be to create maximum results in the minimum amount of time, based on what’s best for the client.  

Don’t make it all about the money. Life coaching isn’t cheap and it shouldn’t be – it’s your life!! Invest in yourself and make your coaching a priority. If you choose the right coach, it will be the best money you ever spend. 

Ask for references. A successful life coach should be able to share the names of a few people they’ve worked with that you can talk to and get a better idea if this is a good fit. 

Potential Pitfalls of Working With a Life Coach

Of course, there are some pitfalls to watch out for when working with a coach. 

  1. Don’t expect your coach to have all the answers. That’s actually not our job! Our job is to ask you questions and help you sort through your thoughts, based on your beliefs (not ours). If a coach is telling you how to fix things, that’s a sign they aren’t coaching. 
  2. Not following through. Some clients can be tempted to hire a coach, show up to all the sessions, but not actually do the work between the sessions. That’s actually where most of the magic happens. That journaling exercise was assigned for a reason. You need to do the work, sometimes hard work, that is suggested. That’s how you really create results.
  3. Don’t expect immediate results. Believe me, I’ve had clients that have had massive breakthroughs in session 1, but it’s not the norm. Other clients have taken closer to 3 months to have a breakthrough. Don’t get discouraged – trust the process!    

Life Coaching Misconceptions

Hiring a life a coach does not mean your life is “bad.” In fact, more times than not, clients come to me with a pretty good life. They just have a few areas where they are seeking more clarity or fulfillment. Don’t feel ashamed by asking for help! It’s actually a sign of strength when you can be bold enough to seek support. 

Think about it like sports – the top athletes in the world all have coaches. Ask yourself, why does Serena Williams have a coach? She’s arguably the best tennis player alive (maybe in the history of the sport). She has a coach because she always wants to be at the top of her game. She wants encouragement and accountability – all things a coach does.  

Are you ready to EDIT Your Life™?

If you’re ready to experience a transformation in your life, by discovering your purpose, owning your power and building a pathway to freedom, then let’s talk. You can learn more about my 6-month program here, or you can schedule your EDIT Your Life™ Jumpstart Call now.

You deserve to live the life you’ve always dreamed of – get started today!

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