What is Life Coaching?

11 March 2020

What is Life Coaching?

Life coaching is a relationship between a coach and a client that helps a client progress and achieve personal goals. It is a collaboration which uses positive psychological techniques focussing on motivation, wellbeing and growth.

It is a holistic approach which encourages reflection, self-awareness, clarity and accountability.  Through exploration without judgement, it allows for the analysis and challenge of any limiting beliefs, which may be hindering the client in some way. 


Coaching differs from other disciplines, in that its primary purpose is to help clients find their sense of purpose, and set relevant and realistic goals.  It supports them in taking action, often through kinaesthetic learning and non judgemental exploration using insightful questioning and reflection. 

It is different from mentoring, in that mentoring focusses specifically on the expertise of the mentor, structured as an expert - learner relationship, usually in the dissemination of knowledge.  It is also not consultancy, which instead focusses on the provision of expertise and advice, in order to solve a particular problem.  A coach does not provide advice, but instead harnesses the individuals own characteristics in order to support them in achieving realistic goals.  Coaching also differs from counselling, which typically focusses on dealing with traumas.  Often, counsellors are referred clients from other disciplines, as they are specifically trained to deal with emotional issues, mental health issues, or dependancies.


The traits typical of a successful coach, include the following:

  • They are active listeners.   They support a client in this way by ensuring they feel heard, and validated. An example includes summarising the clients situation, demonstrating a clear understanding of the points which have been made.
  • Coaches enable.  They support and encourage, rather than dwell on any negatives.  They focus in the clients strengths, and motivate them towards their goals. Examples would include focus on what’s going well, and positive activities the client should continue doing.
  • Coaches invest in learning and development.  This includes research, membership of associations, or continuous personal development (CPD).
  • The are organised, and well prepared.  Examples include timekeeping for meetings, which also supports professional boundaries, and the secure filing of confidential information and documents, and having useful resources in close proximity.
  • They are objective in their feedback, and non- judgemental.  They have empathy, as clients may be at a sensitive stage in their lives, so they need to feel listened to. Feedback techniques such as “the hamburger effect”  may be used.
  • They are authentic and inspiring. They are able to demonstrate understanding through their own observations, or life experiences, and be able to share real examples of achievement, which can be motivating. 

A life coach can help you overcome limiting beliefs, find clarity, and achieve goals you have been unable to manage on your own.

Cognition offers personalised life coaching in West Sussex, that will provide you with a deeper understanding of these unseen elements that are holding you back.


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