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What is Life Coaching? What Life Coaches Do (& Examples)

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If you’ve been asking yourself, “What is life coaching?” you’ve come to the right place.

Today, we will explore:

  • What a life coach is
  • How you might benefit from working with one
  • What to expect from coaching 
  • How to become a life coach
  • And much more

Ready to find out?

Let’s get started!

What is a life coach? 

A life coach helps their clients achieve life goals, whether that’s a promotion, finding love, or getting healthier. 

However, the most effective life coaches focus on a specific niche (health, career, finances, relationships…) based on their own experience. 

A few ways coaches can help you include: 

  • Developing or changing your career
  • Becoming healthier
  • Losing weight
  • Building better relationships
  • Overcoming limiting beliefs and obstacles
  • Managing and reducing stress

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  • Improving confidence
  • Becoming a better parent 
  • Finding ways to manage your money better
  • Handling and getting through the grieving process
  • Developing your spiritual side 
  • Becoming more productive in any arena of your life
  • Improving your leadership skills 
  • Helping you perform better at work

And much more. 

With that, you see just how focused life coaches are on helping you achieve a goal

How does a life coach differ from a therapist? 

You might be wondering how life coaches are different from therapists…Or if there are any differences at all. 

Yes, they are different. 

Life coaches and therapists don’t offer the same services. Therapists treat mental health conditions and are licensed mental health professionals. Life coaches help their clients reach their goals. 

Here are a few differences between life coaching and therapy: 

What a life coach does 

  • Helps you achieve goals 
  • Supports you based on their own experience reaching the same goals
  • Uses coaching techniques and tools to help you overcome challenges
  • Provides a roadmap to success
  • Acts as a mentor 
  • Is a trusted partner you can talk to about every part of the journey
  • Does not give you a diagnosis or prescribe medication
  • Does not treat mental health or health issues 

What a therapist does

  • Fulfills proper qualification criteria, including licenses and education
  • Diagnoses any mental health issues you might be experiencing
  • Might prescribe medication (or refer you to someone who can)
  • Focuses on mental health treatment 
  • Uses different therapy styles and techniques to treat you 

As you can see, therapists and coaches don’t offer the same services.

So, what are the benefits of life coaching? Let’s find out. 

The top benefits of life coaches 

There are a ton of benefits to working with a life coach. After all, it is a billion-dollar industry that sees thousands of online searches each month.

Here are some of the statistics that show how life coaches help clients get results.

  • 80% of people working with a coach say their self-confidence has increased
  • 70% of those who receive coaching see an improvement in their work performance, relationships, and communication
  • The median coaching ROI is seven times the investment
  • 68% of coaching clients make back their investment
  • 73% of those who hire a coach report that it has helped them improve their work performance, communication skills, interpersonal skills, relationships, work/life balance, and wellness
  • 99% of coaching clients are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their experience
  • One-on-one coaching has been shown to improve clients’ psychological well-being and help ease excessive and prolonged stress, low resilience, and poor satisfaction with life

Those are a few of the ways life coaches help their clients. But what types of life coaches are there? 

That’s what we’ll look at next. 

Different types of life coaches 

“What is life coaching?” is a broad question with a broad answer. 

The reality is that life coaching is a broad topic filled with hundreds of niches.

Essentially, there’s a life coach for everyone.

Whether you need some help with general life skills, family issues, life transitions, or your career, that type of coach exists. 

Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular types of coaches.

Career coaching

When you work with a career coach, you’ll get help advancing in your career. Your coach helps guide you through any career-related challenges, whether you’re transitioning careers, landing a dream job, or asking for a raise.

I helped my student, Emily Liou, become a career coach in 2016. Since then, she’s helped countless clients get a better job, land a promotion, or even switch industries.

Screenshot of Cultivitae website

Health coaching

A lot of people think health coaches are just there to help people lose weight, but that’s not true! While they can help with that, they can work with anyone looking to improve their overall health, including reducing stress or hitting a fitness milestone.

I have several clients who are health coaches – and they all specialize in something different. 

For example: 

  • My student David Alsieux helps people improve their health with the use of herbs
  • Jamie Ballew helps women experiencing high stress improve their energy levels
  • Lisa Stigliano specializes in helping women over 40 stay fit

Financial coaching

If you’ve ever felt like you need help getting your personal finances into better shape, a financial coach might be for you.

Financial coaches are always extremely knowledgeable and can help you do everything from creating a budget to figuring out how to invest more wisely.

There’s no limit to what a financial coach can help you do.

Just look at my student Ryan Chaw, a real estate coach, who helps people build and manage real estate portfolios that generate a steady stream of passive income.

Ryan Chaw website screenshot

Relationship coaching

When I say relationship coach, you might be thinking that you have to be in a relationship to work with one. That’s not true!

Relationship coaches are as great for helping those in the dating scene as they are for helping people improve the relationship they’re already in. 

It’s also important to note that a relationship coach doesn’t have to focus solely on romantic relationships.

If you’d like to find a way to improve the relationships you have with your family or friends, they can help with that, too.

My student Ruby Lee helps her clients find high-quality dates while Brianna MacWilliam helps her clients delve into attachment in adult relationships. 

Communication coaching

Communication coaches help clients hone their skills to become more effective communicators, whether it’s at work or in their personal lives.

For more, I’ve put together a list of different types of coaches.

With that, let’s take a look at what you can expect when working with a life coach. 

What to expect from a life coach 

We’ve covered some of the things that a life coach can help with and what the benefits of working with one are. But you might be wondering what your time together will look like.

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Let’s dive into it!

This type of coaching will help you the most

Traditionally, coaching involves a Socratic form of teaching. 

When you work with a traditional coach, you’ll get asked several probing questions that will guide you to the correct answers and, eventually, your overall goal. 

You’ll get questions like, “How do you feel about that?”

But the coaching industry has evolved. 

Today, the best type of coaching is more along the lines of what I like to call coach-sulting, where coaches act as a mentor and consultant.

Instead of asking you questions, a coach-sultant will actually give you some of the answers and examples from their own experience to help you get better and faster results. 

So for the best results, ask potential coaches what their coaching looks like. Someone who adopts this approach is going to help you reach your goals more quickly. 

How to spot a great coach 

A great coach has qualities that I like to refer to as the ABCs of coaching.

They’ll provide you with actionable advice in the form of a roadmap that clearly outlines how you’ll reach your end goal.

They’ll believe in you. 

This is one of the most important parts of working with your coach – after all, you’re far more likely to achieve your goal if you’ve got someone in your corner, rooting for you. 

Finally, they’ll offer candor

This might be tough at first, but the truth is that your coach isn’t there to tell you what you want to hear – they’re there to help you reach your goals. Expect them to offer some tough love and tell you what you need to hear when you get discouraged.

You can learn more about the ABCs of coaching in this video:

Of course, there are other qualities that make a great coach, including the ability to lead, provide a vision, and guide you through your coaching journey. 

You can learn about those things here.

What happens during your life coaching sessions

Every life coaching session is designed to help you get one step closer to your overall goal. 

Your coach will structure your journey so that each month is focused on a sub-goal that builds until you’ve reached your final goal – and those sub-goals will be the focus of your calls.

During your call, your coach helps drive the conversation by asking purposeful and effective questions such as:

  • “Where can I give you some extra support?”
  • At the beginning of our journey, you mentioned you had fears around X. How are you feeling about that right now?”
  • What do you want to focus on during this call?”
  • “What did you do this week?”
  • “How do you feel about that?”

These types of questions will help you get more comfortable reflecting on where you are in your journey and taking control of your experience.

If you’re curious about what kind of questions you might be asked in your call, check out this list of 60+ questions that I recommend to my clients.

But what if you want to become a life coach?

That’s what we’ll look at next. 

How to become a life coach 

There are plenty of reasons to start a coaching business, but the biggest perk (aside from the flexibility and freedom that comes with self-employment) is getting to support people and help them reach their goals. 

Sound like something you’d like to do? Let’s talk about what it takes to build your own life coaching business. 

How much do life coaches make?

According to the International Coaching Federation, the average salary for life coaches in North America is $67,800

But that’s the average – and these coaches work part-time. Many life coaches make even more than that. 

Most life coaches work as self-employed business owners and can bring in over $100,000 per year. 

It all depends on factors like your niche and the number of clients you serve each month – so  there’s no real limit on how much you can earn as a life coach.

Several of my own students have grown their life coaching businesses to six to multiple six figures.

Do you need a certification as a life coach? 

Coaching is a largely unregulated industry, but at the end of the day, it all depends on your niche.

While some health and mental health niches do require certifications, most don’t. That’s because, as I mentioned earlier, coaching isn’t counseling. 

Counseling calls for mental health experts who have had the proper education to give diagnoses. 

But what you need to become a life coach is experience in your field and your coaching methodology to help clients get results.

Sure, you could get a certification, but the reality is that certifications are an unregulated industry. They’re expensive, time-consuming, and don’t offer as much experience as you’d get just working with your own clients. 

You can become a life coach without a certification, but if you’d like to get certified, make sure you choose a reputable program. 

I’ve put together a list of the best life coach certifications in 2023, which you can read here.

Finally, let’s look at the steps you need to take to set up your life coaching practice.

How do you become a life coach? 

There are a few steps to becoming a life coach with a profitable business under your belt.

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6-Figure Coaching Business so you can achieve more freedom!

1. Pick a profitable niche

To become a successful coach, you’ll need to have a niche, or specialty, to attract your ideal clients. To find it, you’ll need to figure out which problem people will pay you to solve.

Check out this list of 100 profitable coaching niches to learn more.

2. Create a coaching package

When they’re just starting out, I encourage my students to find a price that’s not too high but not too low. 

I’ve found that $1,500 for a three-month package is the ideal coaching price for new coaches. As you get more clients and scale your business, you can increase your prices.

You can learn more about how to price your coaching services in this article. I also talk more about creating a coaching package here: 

3. Land your first paying client

Once you’ve nailed down your package, it’s time to find your first paying client! 

Some potential strategies you might use include exploring social media groups within your niche or tapping into your existing network. Of course, there are endless ways to find clients – check out my favorite ways to do so here:

Next steps 

For those of you who have wondered, “What is life coaching?” – there you have it! 

Life coaching can be an incredibly fulfilling career, while offering flexibility and freedom. 

And if you’re looking for the next step to build your own life coaching business, get your own copy of my free PDF that shows you exactly how to build a six-figure business: 

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When you sign up, you’ll also receive regular updates on building a successful online business.

Learn more: 

How Much Does It Cost to Become a Life Coach?

The Best Life Coach Online Courses

The Best Life Coaching Schools

Frequently asked questions

What does a life coach actually do? 

A life coach acts as a guide and mentor to those trying to achieve a certain goal. “Life coaching” is the catch-all phrase for different niches like health, career, mindset, and business. 

Who needs a life coach? 

Anyone who wants to improve their life, regardless of what their goals are, can use a life coach. Remember, there’s a coach for everyone, including those looking for help in their relationships, finances, health, career, and more.

About Luisa Zhou

Luisa Zhou has helped thousands of students build and scale their own profitable online Freedom Business. Fun Fact: She used to work as an engineer for the Space Station and holds a B.S.E. from Princeton. Click here to learn more about Luisa.

Hope you enjoy this blog post.

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2 Responses

  1. Thanks for explaining that life coaches can have varied niches. I’m interested in looking for a good life coach soon because I’m thinking about making drastic changes to my career. As such, it will be important to make sure that my life will also be able to adjust accordingly for that.

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