If you feel stuck and want to improve some aspect of your life or career, then you might have heard that working with a coach is the way to go. But you might be wondering if career coaching or life coaching services can really help you and if life coaching services are really worth the investment.
In this article I want to give you the information you need to help you decide if career coaching or life coaching services are the way to go, and if so, how to go about selecting the best life coaching services for you.
What Is Coaching?
Before you can decide if life coaching services or any other coaching service is the best option for you, it’s important to first understand exactly what coaching is and what it isn’t.
If you ask anyone “what is coaching?” then you’ll get lots of different answers depending on who you ask. Here are just a few examples of how coaching has been described:
According to Whitmore, J, 2004
“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them learn rather than teaching them”
“The hallmarks of coaching are that it is personalized and customized and that it is usually done one-on-one and over a period of time, and with a specific business objective in mind. Coaching is similar to, but distinct from, mentoring….…it is a process of guiding the person being coached from one level of competency to another.”
According to Parsloe, Eric 1999
“Coaching is a process that enables learning and development to occur and thus performance to improve. To be successful, a coach requires a knowledge and understanding of process as well as the variety of styles, skills, and techniques that are appropriate to the context in which coaching takes place’.”
And finally, according to the ICF ( International Coach Federation)
“Coaching is ‘Partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”
So clearly, there are many different ways that coaching can be described. My definition of coaching is this:
Coaching is the process of working with a client in a way that helps them to unlock their fullest potential, and achieve their goals, faster than they would do without coaching. Through the coaching process, the coach helps the client to overcome any obstacles and blockers and facilitates them through the journey of increasing their self-awareness and improving their performance.
While these definitions are different, there is one core theme that runs through all of them. That is that coaching helps people to reach or maximize their full potential.
How is Coaching Different from Teaching, Training, Counselling, Mentoring, and Consulting?
Although the definitions above explain what coaching is, they don’t give you a clue as to how life coaching services work and how coaching can help you achieve your full potential.
One question that I often get asked is how does coaching actually work and what does it involve? To make this as clear as possible here is are the descriptions of teaching, training, counseling, mentoring, and consulting and a description of how coaching works, in comparison.
Teachers impart knowledge. Typically teachers are experts in their subject matter. The mode of learning is mainly theoretical, using textbooks, etc.
To teach is to provide knowledge, instruction, or information.
In teaching the session is led by the teacher.
While teaching and training are sometimes used interchangeably, they are different; Training is more practical and serves to put knowledge into practice. An example of this is “on-the-job training” where you learn to do a job or certain aspects of it, by doing.
While teaching takes place in classroom settings, training can take place in the work environment.
To train is to develop abilities through practice with instruction or supervision
In training, the session is led by the trainer.
Counseling is more of a therapeutic intervention. It focuses on the past with the aim of helping the client work through the challenges they are experiencing so that they can move forwards.
The purpose of counseling is to help the client to overcome psychological challenges and barriers that may be impacting their lives.
The focus could be internal or external.
Consultants offer advice and expertise, typically to organizations. The aim of consulting is to help the organization improve in terms of its operations, profitability, management, structure, and strategy.
Consulting is the polar opposite of coaching. The consultant is brought is as the expert with the answers. While it is the organization that must put the advice into practice, advice is still, given, which is not the case with coaching.
Mentoring is a one-one conversation between a mentor and a mentee. The purpose of mentoring is to help the mentee to develop, learn and progress, typically in the workplace.
The CIPD ( Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development) describes mentoring as a relationship in which a more experienced colleague shares their greater knowledge to support the development of an inexperienced member of staff. It calls on the skills of questioning, listening, clarifying, and reframing that are also associated with coaching.
One key distinction is that mentoring relationships tend to be longer-term than coaching arrangements.
So mentoring is about learning from someone who is more experienced in a particular area, and has been there before. A good mentoring relationship encourages open discussion rather than just being directive and both parties will be able to take something away from the experience.
Finally, we come to coaching.
You now know that coaches don’t typically give advice and are not directive. They won’t tell you what to do, they won’t do things for you, and they don’t train or teach their clients in the way that teachers and trainers do.
So what on earth do coaches do and what value do career and life coaching services provide?
At the heart of coaching is the fundamental belief that all the answers lie within the client, and it’s the coach’s role to help you, as the client to uncover these answers.
They do this by using powerful questioning techniques. And while there are many different coaching models, they’re all based on the use of powerful questioning to help you unlock your potential and achieve your goals.
Coaching is goal-focused, and while through coaching the client can overcome obstacles, it’s not focused on the past as it is with counseling or other talking therapies.
What Do Life Coaches Actually Do And How are Career Coaching Services Different from Life Coaching Services?
One of the biggest questions people have is what do life coaches actually do? And I get it, it can seem pretty vague when you’re not in the know, so I’ll explain this in detail. But the short answer to this question is that a life coach will help you to achieve your goals in whatever aspect of your life you wish to work on.
When coaching first took off most coaches called themselves life coaches. They worked generally with their clients and helped them in a variety of different areas of their lives. But as the coaching profession has grown most coaches now specialize in a specific area and help their clients to achieve goals in one or two specific areas.
Some different areas of coaching include:
- Health coaching
- Weight loss coaching
- Confidence coaching
- Career coaching
- Leadership coaching
- Spiritual coaching
- Wellness coaching
- productivity Coaching
- Business coaching
- Relationship coaching
- Sales coaching
As you can see there are lots of different areas of coaches. The difference between these coaches and life coaching services is that a life coach would work with you on a personal level, helping you to get clear on what your goals are and helping you to achieve some kind of clarity and balance in your life, but they wouldn’t be deeply focused on any one specific aspect of your life like the other types of coaches listed above.
Therefore, life coaching services is a term that describes a broad coaching service, that’s not focused on one specific area.
The difference between career coaching services and life coaching services is that a career coach will help you achieve your career goals.
This could be finding a new job, changing careers, getting promoted, long-term career planning, increasing your confidence at work, or some other area of your career.
Some career coaches will offer career coaching services focused on one area, while others will support you with a variety of career topics depending on their background and skills.
Who Can Benefit from Career Coaching Services and Life Coaching Services?
Everyone could benefit from coaching. Because coaching can help you in every aspect of your life. From getting a new job faster to reaching new levels of health and fitness to improving your relationships to being more confident and so much more.
But there are some important requirements for working successfully with a coach.
- You must be open to change
- You need to be open-minded
- You need to be willing to take action
- You need to want coaching
If you know you’re not willing to change anything, that you’re not willing to consider different ways of thinking or doing things, and that you don’t want to take any action, then now is not the right time for you to invest in life coaching services or any other coaching services for that matter.
When it comes to career coaching services, you can benefit from working with a coach, whether you’re just starting out in your career or whether you want to hone your leadership skills.
In fact, lots of companies hire coaches to develop the skills and capabilities of their managers and leaders, so you’re never too experienced to work with a coach and the most successful people always do. Because there will always be a new layer of learning and development available, no matter what stage you’re at in your life or career.
How Will Life Coaching Services Help Me and Does Career or Life Coaching Actually Work?
Now that you’ve got a thorough understanding of what coaching is and what it isn’t, let’s move on to how coaching can help you and the many benefits of coaching.
Coaching Helps You Set Goals Effectively
I’m not sure about you but for many of us, goal setting can be tricky. This is one of the reasons that we set goals, and struggle to accomplish them. Something is not right with our goal-setting process.
If you work with a coach, then you’ll be sure to set goals much more effectively. This means that you’ll be in a much better position to achieve them, however big or small.
Coaching Helps You To Gain Clarity
Feeling lost and stuck, then coaching will help you to gain much-needed clarity. That’s because the coaching process is very effective at helping you to reflect and think deeply about things in a new way.
So whether you have no idea what you want to do with your life in general, or you’re not clear on how to move forwards with your career, or you’re just not sure who you want to be in your relationship anymore, the right coach can help.
Coaching Will Help You Generate New Ideas And Identify New Options
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. With our actions and with our thinking. But you know the saying:
You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it
When you work with a coach, they will provide new input, and challenge you to think differently. They will help you to consider ideas and options that you might not have identified or considered on your own.
Coaching Will Help You Overcome Blocks, Barriers, and Challenges
The biggest reason that most people don’t achieve what they want is mindset blocks.
It’s that little voice that tells you it’s not possible. You can’t, it’s never been done before, what are you thinking. It will be impossible. You’re too young. You’re too old. It’s too late.
This internal chatter can stop you in your tracks and hold you back from doing the things you want.
The worst part is, we’re not always aware of this.
Working with a coach will help you to see where you might be blocking yourself, as well as help you to learn new ways of overcoming these blocks.
Of course, other potential obstacles could stand in between you and your goals. For example, you could be struggling with time management and unable to fit things in, or you might not have all the resources you need to move forwards. Coaching will help you to work through all of these.
[If time management is a challenge for you, check out The Ultimate Guide To Time Management: 38 Time Management Techniques That Will Have You Using Your Time Wisely]
Working With A Coach Will Give You Accountability
Another big reason that many of us don’t achieve our goals is that we have no one holding us accountable.
At work, your boss will hold you accountable for not completing projects or other tasks that you’re supposed to. This is why things at work always get done.
When it comes to changing careers, on the other hand, there’s no one to hold you accountable for the steps you need to take.
But a coach will do just that. When you work with a coach, they will be there every week to hold you accountable through the process, to make sure that you keep taking action towards your goals.
Your Coach Will Give You Support and A Listening Ear
Everyone is super busy and sadly this means that often we don’t get listened to. Because our coworkers, friends, and family all have their own busy lives to deal with. A coach will give you a non-judgemental ear and will listen to you fully.
This alone can help you to gain clarity!
You’ll have a Clear Plan And Process
Yet another reason why we sometimes don’t achieve our goals, is because we get lost along the way. We can double back on ourselves, go round in circles, and find ourselves at a dead end.
A coach will typically work with you through a well-defined process ( while still tailoring each specific session). This means no more confusion and time-wasting. Instead, you’ll be following a clear plan, path, or step-by-step program.
You Will Achieve Your Goals Faster
Ultimately, the role of your coach is to help you to achieve your goals faster than you would do alone. By holding you accountable, being there to support you when you need it, helping you create a clear plan of action, and providing you with structure, you’ll soon find yourself achieving your goals, and then some!
What Service Do Career Coaches provide?
If it’s career coaching services you’re considering, here’s a summary of some of the ways a career coach can help you and the services they provide:
- Helping you figure out what you want from your career
- Helping you change careers
- Job search support, which includes Resume writing support, LinkedIn, Interview coaching and preparation, and overall job search strategy
- Coaching in the first 90 days of a new role
- Career Planning
But remember a coach won’t necessarily write your resume for you ( Although some might), they will help you to write it yourself. Likewise, they won’t tell you exactly what to say in an interview, word for word, but they will help you to understand how to answer any interview question that’s thrown at you, which is way more valuable in my opinion.
Is It Worth Investing In Career Coaching Services or Life Coaching Services?
So we finally come to the ultimate question, are career coaching services or life coaching services worth the investment? Or any other type of coaching service for that matter?
If you’re still not sure if it’s time you invested in career or life coaching services there are a few questions that can help.
- Do you have a specific goal or goals in mind? Or even just something you’d like to change or achieve? ( What this is will determine what type of coach is best placed to help you)
- Have you been stuck for a long time?
- Have you tried different solutions to your problem, but nothing has worked?
- Do you struggle to stay on track when working towards your goals?
- Would you like more one-to-one support and a cheerleader in your corner?
- Do you want to resolve the issue as soon as possible?
- Are you committed to solving the problem and achieving your goal soon?
- Do you want to be happy in your life and to stop feeling stuck?
- Are you fed up with how you feel?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then it’s worth considering investing in a coach. And it sounds like now’s the time to go for it.
The sad truth is that most people will go years before taking action when hiring a coach could have helped them achieve their goals a long time ago.
Ultimately, only you can decide if career or life coaching services are worth the investment and if it’s worth it. Ask yourself, What are your goals? What’s important to you right now? What do you want to achieve in your life or career? and what kind of life do you want to live?
No matter what you decide, I hope that this article has given you the information you need to make an informed decision of whether or not to invest in career or life coaching services in order to finally move forwards and achieve your goals. Whatever they may be.