Life coaching, different than mentoring, counseling, and psychotherapy, is a goal-oriented partnership between a coach and client where the personal, interpersonal, and professional development of the client is maximized to its full potential and his/her overall life is improved. Clients’ role in the relationship is sole expert of their lives while coaches act as a resource for ideas, encouragement, problem-solving frameworks, and accountability. Life coaching differs from therapy, mentoring, and consulting because clients are the experts, the primary goal is creating effective methods of accomplishing specific achievements, and clients are trusted to generate their own solutions.
The coach’s job is to inspire thought-provoking growth and self-awareness in the client through objective assessment, active listening, challenging ideas, and encouragement. The client is in charge of the agenda, creating goals and incorporating the coach’s assessments and observations, having a vision and utilizing tools provided by the coach to bring the vision to life. Clients reach their full potential and reap all the benefits of coaching when they’re focused on themselves, observant, willing to challenge current thought processes and behaviors, open to change, forgiving of one’s self, and committed to their goals.
Depending on the client’s needs, the alliance typically lasts between three and six months. Coach-client compatibility is the client’s decision. One should select a coach whom he/she feels would be a good fit. A good fit can be determined by communication style, approach to accomplishing goals, and flexibility. An interview with the coach is usually how the process begins, followed by assessments to determine the client’s goals and progress evaluation. Next, the coach provides the client with a foundation for reaching his/her goals, which incorporates the use of concepts, models, and principles from various educational resources and cultural traditions. Coaching is tailored to meet clients’ needs, so each individual is encouraged to approach personal opportunities and challenges based on what works for him/her.