What is a Life Coach, Anyway?

The Definition of a Life Coach

It’s probably safe to say that a life coach is not quite like anything else you have ever dealt with before. A life coach can help you reach your personal and professional goals through a well-defined program of exploration.

So what is the definition of a life coach? Simply put, a life coach is someone who helps you through a difficult period in your life, or helps you deal with a life situation, while helping you focus on a pre-determined set of goals. A life coach can specialize in certain fields or they can be a general life coach and you’ll find both specializations as you search for a coach to meet your needs It may sound a lot like therapy but it is extremely important to understand the difference between the definition of a life coach and a therapist. If you rely on a life coach to fulfil the duties of a therapist then you could be misunderstanding the different roles each can play in your path to well-being. A life coach can assess you to see if you would be a good fit for coaching or if you would be better served by a therapist.

Understand the Differences

Yes, it is the duty of any reputable life coach to remind you that they are not therapists but it is also important for the client to understand the difference as well so that there is no confusion on either side. While some therapists have been known to become life coaches a life coach cannot call themselves a therapist unless they have the necessary education and state licensing to prove it. Life coaching does not require specific licensing while most states require therapists to be licensed and with good reason. There is an international organization that licences life coaches called the International Coach Federation (or ICF for short) and it’s a good idea to ask your potential life coach if they are certified there. There are several levels of ICF certified coach status, each one depending on the coach to have completed a specific number of hours of study combined with relevant coaching experience. To learn more about the ICF, ask me as I am completing my coaching hours to obtain my licensing.

A therapist is someone that is trained to help people deal with psychological or social disorders that affect the mind and, in some cases, also affect the body. A life coach is someone that assists help people reach their personal goals through a series of motivational and organizational techniques. A reputable life coach can assess you to see if you would be a good fit or if you need a therapist. Talk with a professional to determine which of the two you need and make sure you make the right choice.