A life coach is a wellness professional who works with you to create more happiness and balance in your life, career, and overall well-being.

Over time, many people find that their current job or life choices are not in line with how they hope to live. A life coach is skilled at helping people identify their values and what they really want and then bridging the gap between where they are now and where they want to be.

Anyone can benefit from a life coach, and the process of working with one can provide clarity and renewed purpose. The International Coaching Federation reports 65% of people who work with a life coach experience improved work performance, and 80% are more self-confident. (1) In fact, many of the world’s most successful people partner with life coaches, including Oprah, Bill Gates, and Serena Williams.

As Bill Gates says: “Everyone needs a coach. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a basketball player, a tennis player, a gymnast, or a bridge player.” (2)

How to Choose a Coach

The Role of a Life Coach

A life coach takes an objective role to assist you in evaluating your life and areas for growth or improvement. When done well, the process builds your confidence and self-esteem and points you in the right direction.

A good life coach will:

  • Identify your current values and what you really want. (2) This is a critical first step as often we get stuck chasing goals from the past that don’t align with our current values. To set reasonable goals, we first have to know what matters most.
  • Craft achievable, step-by-step goals that honor your values. This is where a life coach helps bridge the gap. It is sometimes easier to know what we want than how to get there. A skilled coach will aid in setting good goals to move you towards your life or career objectives.

Support you as you move through a time of change and transition. Change is both a constant in life and one of its most significant challenges. Having a coach in your corner provides essential support and encouragement.

How to Choose a Coach

Because the field of life coaching is unregulated, it’s wise to do your homework before committing. A few factors to consider:

  • Find out what certification the coach has and how long it took them to earn it. If they were certified in a weekend, proceed with caution. A good coaching program can take up to a year to complete.
  • Look for a coach who is a fit for you both personally and professionally. You need someone you can connect with. Ideally, do an initial consult with a few coaches to make sure you have the right match.
  • A referral from a friend or co-worker can help, but keep in mind different people need different things from a coach, so just because it was a fit for them doesn’t make it a fit for you.

Carefully consider whether you need a life coach or a therapist. Life coaches are not mental health professionals and should not be treated as one. If you are experiencing signs of a mental health issue, seek out a qualified health provider. It’s ok to work with a life coach as well, but they are not substitutes for a doctor or therapist.

The Role of a Life Coach

Live the Life You Want

At times, it can be hard to view your life objectively and see areas where you may be stuck. If you feel a desire for change or a new direction, a life coach may be just what you need.

We can all benefit from taking time to clarify our values and how we want to live. Bringing a partner alongside to provide guidance and support will increase your chance of living a life that matters to you and that honors your hopes, dreams, and best intentions.