What does a life coach do?

I’m going to level with you. I really dislike the term life coach. In the UK, it doesn’t have such a great reputation. For some people, it has become synonymous with:

· ‘Woo woo’ processes that have zero scientific grounding

· Advice giving

· People who think they live a perfect life

And probably many more things that I’m not even aware of!

The truth is, a life coach is none of those things. However – and this is a big, huge ginormous however, as coaching (all aspects of non-sports coaching, including executive, personal, corporate, business) is totally unregulated, anyone can call themselves a life coach. And they may be any or all of the above, or someone trying to be a good life coach but with no interest in investing in qualifications, training, supervision or even getting to grips with what coaching is and what it isn’t.

There are many problems with this and there are two that impact on potential coaching clients directly. 1) You may not really know what coaching is and therefore either discount it as a tool for self-development or actively loathe the very idea of it. 2) When you get to the stage of thinking of coaching as something you could embrace, you have a very diverse range of coaches to choose from, many of which may not have done anyform of training.

The first step around the latter issue is to check that your coach is accredited by a professional body such as the International Coaching Federation (ICF) or the European Coaching and Mentoring Council (EMCC). Coaches that are accredited by one of these bodies have to have had high quality training, proven their knowledge and be working towards or already conducted a set number of hours of coaching (depending on the level of their accreditation).

The International Coaching Federation is dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high ethical standards, providing independent certification, and building a worldwide network of credentialed coaches across a variety of coaching disciplines. They define coaching as:

‘partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potenti