What Life Coaching Is, And What It Isn’t

People often bring up the differences between life coaching, consulting, mentoring, counseling, and therapy. There are many reasons why these things are nothing alike. You need to understand why life coaching isn't like anything else.

What Life Coaching Is

Life coaching is aimed at helping you reach a personal goal through creative thinking and solutions. The life or personal coach is a partner that helps you realize that you're the one capable of generating those creative thoughts, and that you're the one who can follow through to those solutions.

Coaching itself is a broad term that encompasses many approaches towards helping someone to achieve a personal or professional goal. In general, when it comes to life or personal coaching:

  • The goal is specific
  • The focus is on the present and future
  • The approach is non-prescriptive

Life coaching is about looking into the future, seeing where you want to be, and then acting that vision out in the present. Your life coach will develop a personal approach to aid you in coming up with your own answers.

In this capacity, life coaches are ideal as sounding boards that can reflect the information you give them. This in turn allows you to hear your own thoughts aloud, but with a vibrant and positive spin on them. That will help you gain perspective on your goals while helping you refine them as well.

What Life Coaching Isn't

Life coaching is not the same as other forms of personal and developmental support.

Life coaching does not focus on the past or previous situations such as some forms of therapy and some forms of counseling. Life coaching is all about the future and the now.

Life coaching is not a tool for healing, like therapy. Although, it is possible the positive affirmation that comes from realizing a personal goal can break down some mental barriers and heal some old psychological hurts.

Life coaching doesn't attempt to provide you with answers like consulting. You hire a consultant to hammer out solutions to problems.

You hire a consultant to analyze your life or business structure and figure out how to fine-tune it or leverage it. You hire a life coach to help you come to your own conclusions and figure out your own answers.

A life coach is not a mentor. A life coach will likely not have a background in your type of business. Even if your particular life coach does have a background in the same industry as you, it's not the life coach's purpose to mentor you.

They are there to help you develop as an individual to achieve a goal. If that goal relates to your business, then your mentor will help you figure it out. He or she won't mentor you in how you should run or operate your business.

It's All About Realizing Your Potential

Life coaching, or personal coaching, is all about you. It's about you right now, and you and the future. It's about getting from the now to the then.

Sometimes all it takes for you to realize a personal goal is to have someone to ask you the right questions. That discussion can help you to realize what it is you can accomplish.