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Understanding Life Coaching: What It Is and What It Isn't



Do you find that many things still need to be clarified about life coaching? In fact, anybody can consider themselves a life coach if they have navigated through some life challenge. Challenges open us up to learning. The discomfort of finding ourselves in challenging situations will undoubtedly have two outcomes: we collapse under the weight of the challenge, or we rise and adapt.


So how can a Life Coach support us?


Before going into what Life Coaching is and isn't, I want to preface the conversation by saying that choosing the right coach to support you is pivotal to finding guidance that aligns with your goals.


There are many coaches out there, some with extensive training and certifications and others relying heavily on their life experiences and ability to connect with people.


You will ultimately choose the coach who best fits your goals, and I have met great coaches who fit into both categories. If you work with an accredited coach, you can have some certainty that this coach has dedicated a great deal of time and resources to mastering their craft.


With that said, there are various types of coaches, such as business, health, trauma, personal development, and leadership coaches. Finding the proper support can be transformative. As an equine-informed coach, certified by the International Coaches Federation and supplemented with Certifications from the HeartMath® Institute, the support clients get spans many domains of life and focuses on becoming connected to an emotionally regulated way of being.


This article aims to alleviate some confusion about life coaching. It discusses five things that life coaching is and five that it isn't, shedding light on its transformative potential and the misconceptions surrounding it. So, whether you choose a certified coach or not, remember that coaching is all about you and can offer you many benefits.


First! What Life Coaching Is


  1. Empowerment: Life coaching empowers individuals to realize their full potential, overcome obstacles, and make significant life changes. It serves as a catalyst for transformation, guiding, motivating, and supporting clients on their journey to personal and professional fulfillment. Your goals are important, and a life coach can encourage you to achieve them, tease them out and get focused.

  2. Guidance and Support: Life coaches work with clients to set and achieve realistic, achievable goals, providing ongoing support and helping clients build personal accountability. They offer insight and new perspectives to help clients see challenges and opportunities in a new light. The best thing about a life coach is that they can help you identify 'blind spots,' these are actions you may be taking or beliefs about how things are that might be holding you back. This work will open you up to new possibilities that have not been seen before. This work in itself can be transformative beyond belief.

  3. Diverse Specializations: Life coaching encompasses various specializations such as career, health and wellness, relationship, financial, spiritual, personal development, and executive/business coaching. Each specialization focuses on empowering individuals in different aspects of their lives.

  4. Personal Growth: Life coaching leads to personal growth for both clients and coaches. Coaches report immense personal growth, especially in niches like spiritual or personal development coaching, where the coach's journey mirrors that of their clients. This experience can create a sense of 'we are in this together', leaving the client feeling fully supported in their journey to their best life.

  5. Transformative Impact: Life coaching extends far beyond individual sessions, positively affecting the lives of clients and the communities around them. Coaches help build stronger, more resilient individuals, creating a ripple effect that benefits entire communities.


What Life Coaching Isn't


  1. Therapy: While life coaching and therapy focus on improving people's well-being, there are important distinctions between the two. Life coaching is focused on personal and professional development, guiding clients toward their goals and offering support, but it does not offer clinical mental health care. Coaches do not provide mental health treatment or clinical care. In Equine Guided Coaching, I have had many clients report having a therapeutic experience, but it is still essential to know that coaching is not considered therapy.

  2. Mental Health Treatment: Life coaching is not a substitute for mental health treatment or clinical care. Coaches help clients build and utilize tools to reach their goals but do not diagnose or treat mental health needs. Therapists require specific educational and license prerequisites to provide mental health care treatment.

  3. One-Size-Fits-All: Success in life coaching isn't one-size-fits-all. Success metrics and outcomes vary widely depending on the coach's specialization and the client's goals. For instance, success for a health coach might mean improved physical health metrics for a client, while for a business coach, it could be about increased revenue or team productivity.

  4. Quick Fix: Life coaching does not promise immediate solutions or quick fixes. It's a journey of personal and professional development that requires dedication, commitment, and continuous effort from both the coach and the client. Sustainable, long-term change is the ultimate goal of most types of life coaching and may require a longer-term commitment. The outcomes will largely depend on the commitment of the client to try new actions after the coaching sessions and, thereby, generate new results. This 'trial and error' is a powerful part of the coaching experience.

  5. Limited to Specific Issues: Life coaching is not limited to addressing only specific issues or challenges. It's a holistic approach that considers all aspects of a client's life, aiming to bring about sustainable, long-term change in various areas. Coaches focus on achieving goals, behaviour changes, shifting perspectives, and self-improvement.


Life coaching is a transformative partnership that nurtures growth, instills confidence and drives meaningful change for individuals and entire communities. The right coach can support individuals in various aspects of their lives, making coaching a life-changing experience for those willing to do the work.


To conclude, remember that finding the right life coach can be pivotal in your journey toward personal and professional fulfillment.


If you're ready to embark on a life-changing experience and are willing to do the work, I encourage you to explore the possibilities of life coaching.


Take the first step toward realizing your full potential and positively impacting your life and the lives of those around you. So what are you waiting for? Now that you know what life coaching is and isn't, you can choose what is right for you and go for it!

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