What makes life coaching different?

How Life Coaching Compares to Other Forms of Self-Improvement

The terms ‘coaching’ and ‘consulting’ are often used interchangeably, although they are two entirely different disciplines.

Coaching vs. consulting

Consultants provide services based on their expertise in a certain area. They often make recommendations for the client to follow in order to achieve a specific result. For example, a restructuring consultant may help a business reconfigure its operations to improve both profit and efficiency.

Life coaching on the other hand, refrains from giving recommendations and advice, as a life coach’s philosophy is that the client knows the answers to their own questions. The job of life coaching is to highlight those answers and help the client put together a solution.

For example, a certified coach could work with the executives of a restructuring company to help them create their own approach based on their personal knowledge of the company itself and business outcomes in general. A coach could also work with a consultant to help employees deal with the changes via group or one-on-one coaching.

Using scientifically-proven tools and techniques, coaches work in partnership with their clients to come up with a solution, the assumption being that the outcome is more likely to be sustainable if the clients help create their own solutions. Instead of telling you, for example, what to put in your business plan and how to structure your new enterprise, life coaches would work with you to create a plan and business that tallies with your knowledge and expertise.

Now let’s take a look at how life coaching compares to other self-improvement resources.

Coaching vs. Motivational Products

Motivational products exist in a variety of mediums, from MP3s to webinars to seminars. While many life coaches use them as part of a services package, they are more of a value-added resource. No product can ever replace the skills and customised strategies of a professional coach, who will help you determine your priorities and stick to them. Life events will get in the way from time to time, but a life coach can help you get back on track more quickly than if you went it alone.

Coaching vs. People in Your Life

One of the essential skills for a life coach is the ability to refrain from judging the goals, actions, and traits of their clients. While our friends, family, and even employers generally have good intentions, it is nearly impossible for them to not react personally to what you tell them. Imagine, for example, telling your boss about career options you are considering, especially if it is in a different field. A life coach, on the other hand, will put your success first. They are nonjudgmental, allowing you to freely express yourself without worry of future retaliation, and they support you completely.

Coaching vs. "Do It Yourself"

People today are juggling more responsibilities than previous generations. Work, family, community involvement, and other commitments consume our lives, resulting in one postponed goal after another. We tell ourselves we will do this or that after this or that happens, but something always appears to take precedence over our own goals and dreams. Life coaches hold us accountable, motivate us to continue, and provide unfaltering support. They are our partners, working with us to transform goals into achievements.

This is not to say that you are incapable of achieving important goals on your own. Many people have been self-motivated enough to enjoy success. However, when a coach provides that extra bit of support, change can come faster and be more sustainable over the long-term.