What exactly does a life coach do, and who do we help?
How does life coaching compare to therapy, and how might a coach be able to help you?
In this episode, we dive in to what life coaching is all about, why I’m so passionate about my work as a coach to moms, creatives and entrepreneurs, and the 10 common reasons clients come to me for coaching.
I bet at least one will resonate with you!
The full episode:
Welcome! How are you today? I hope you’re having an amazing day, whatever you’re up to. What I’m excited about today is the fact that I’m recording this episode a WEEK in advance you guys! It feels good. May it continue this way. I’m Becky Hoschek and this is Beyond Happy episode 7, Who Needs a Life Coach? I have to tell you something. Just the other day, I heard a statistic about podcasts. It said that the majority of podcasts don’t make it past episode 7. Whaaat?! Can you believe that? Maybe I’ve jumped in to listening to podcasts when they’re further in and have been around awhile, but I had no idea that this was the case. But good news around here, right?! Because not only are we on episode 7, but I have an unending list of ideas and topics to share with you so I don’t think we have to be concerned about becoming a statistic.
My whole vision for creating Beyond Happy has been to get these life-changing tools out into the world. I want to serve you with valuable content that will change your life, and your family’s life. Every time you share this podcast with someone, every time you leave an iTunes rating and review, you are helping me in my mission to do this so THANK YOU. I believe in these tools and I believe in your ability to do things in your life you might not yet realize you’re capable of. That’s what’s driving me to create these episodes. My belief in what applying these tools and doing thought work can do.
I was thinking last night about health and wellness in general. Isn’t it funny how we don’t blink at the idea of going to the doctor when we’re not feeling great, or joining a gym to help take care of ourselves. We are very prone to seeing the value in investing in the health of our physical body. Yet. When it comes to our mental and emotional health, it’s a little iffy, right? Many of us make that idea mean something negative, and we shy away from it. Personally, I’ve been to therapy and I’ve worked with a life coach as well, so I can say that I’ve utilized that type of resource in my life, but as a society, we still have a LOT of apprehension about mental and emotional health AND the idea of seeking help to improve it. Now, there are people out there working diligently to change this view – to modernize our thinking about mental and emotional health so that we are more open to learning and growing and understanding what an important aspect of our wellness it is.
It seems like it used to be that therapy was synonymous with someone having a serious mental illness. More and more, we’re hearing about preventative mental health and wellness, which I love. Not all of us have a medical diagnosis for anxiety or depression, for example, but ALL of us at one time or another will experience some anxiety and some depression. I love that the idea of preventative mental and emotional health speaks to the idea that you don’t have to be in the middle of something that feels catastrophic to prioritize your mental and emotional well-being. You don’t need to wait til you’re in a crisis to start doing this important work. It’s going to start working to make positive change in your life as soon as you being to apply it – no matter what season you’re in. We are all works in progress, and the progress we can make as healthy humans when we really make this work a part of our everyday life is tremendous. And just think, if you start doing this work for yourself when you’re in a pretty comfortable season of life, where maybe you’re feeling content and overall healthy, imagine how much more equipped you’ll be to handle the next thing in life – the next challenge?
Therapy vs. Life Coaching
Life coaching can really be a vague term to many of us, it may even be brand new to you, so let’s talk a bit about what it is, and isn’t. Often coaching is confused with, or compared to therapy, so let’s take a look at those two. First and foremost, I’m not a therapist, and I don’t want to be mistaken for one. But let’s take a look at what therapists are.
Therapists are typically classified as psychologists or counselors. They tend to have master’s and doctorate degrees and are licensed by their state. Some specialize in an area of work, such as marriage and family therapy, or addiction, or anxiety, while some see a variety of clients. Therapists are healthcare professionals. They often determine illnesses and pathologies so their patients can be clinically treated. Therapists analyze their client’s past as a tool for understanding present behaviors.
An article published by the American Counseling Association describes therapy and life-coaching like step-siblings. They share similar traits, but by using different approaches.
Now, there are varying views on this, but I’ll try to generalize as much as possible. Life coaches do not diagnose clients; we aren’t healthcare professionals. Many life coaches, including myself, are forward focused. They’re looking at your life right now and helping to move you forward. What forward movement looks like is different for everyone, but their work is generally future-focused. For me personally and my coaching work, I like to tell my clients that we’re not concerned with who you were, because we can’t change that, right? We’re concerned with who you’re BECOMING.
By contrast, a lot of therapy – and not all, but a lot – does involve significant time spent looking at someone’s past and finding emotional resolutions to those past experiences in order to move forward. I’d also say that there is a more of a medical aspect to therapy – as I mentioned a bit ago, therapists ARE healthcare professionals. For example, my husband is a physician, and he often refers his patients to counselors and therapists to help them with depression, anxiety or addiction. While life coaches can also help people struggling with these specific issues, I personally tread very carefully here. If I client comes to me because they want to stop overeating or overdrinking, this is for sure something that I, as a coach, can help them do. But the instant I suspect addiction, for example, I am very open to my clients in letting them know that I feel we’ve reached the line where I can’t help further, and I encourage them to seek medical help. That example is a pretty rare happening. And honestly, most people who are seeking the help of a life coach are generally healthy people who just really want to work through some things or work toward a goal and want the insight, connection and accountability of a coach as they do the work.
Either way, both therapy and coaching do their part to help clients establish better mental and emotional wellness in daily life. Both are extremely important work; it’s really more about what your needs are and what you hope to accomplish when you’re considering therapy and coaching. There can be a lot of crossover. I’ve seen licensed therapists who opt to go through life coach training, and I’ve seen life coaches who decide to become therapists.
As I’ve mentioned before, my clients usually work with me for one of two reasons. The first is that they have a specific problem or issue they’d like to change. This might be at home, at work, in a relationship, or just that they want to feel better. The other is that they do have some type of goal or result they’d like to make happen. With my approach to coaching, we always go beyond action to the thoughts and feelings involved. When a coach uses this type of coaching, and is incorporating thought and feeling work, it does start to resemble therapy more, and does serve to improve overall mental and emotional wellness vs. just giving you a series of steps to take to reach a goal. I hope that makes sense.
So, with those descriptions explained, Who Needs A Life Coach?
I laugh when asked this because if you’re human, and breathing, you qualify. Congrats!
I do genuinely believe that anyone can benefit from working with a life coach when you have a desire to change your life in some way. When you’re wanting to show up differently in life.
One of the most powerful aspects of coaching to me is the perspective it gives. There’s a saying that says it’s really hard to read your own label. Meaning, there are times when it’s incredibly helpful to have someone ELSE take a look at your situation and give you feedback and guidance. As an unbiased third-party, a coach not only offers a judgment-free environment, which is really tough to find when we’re talking to family and friends, but a coach can often see what you can’t. Because of this, a life coach can help you get unstuck in ways you might not be able to on your own. Even coaches work with coaches for this very reason. Yes, we’re trained with tools and we know what to look for and help with, but our human minds make it really tough to read our own labels sometimes. Coaches can help us to think differently about circumstances and other parts of our lives by offering us a new perspective and reminding us of the power we have to make change.
Another powerful part of coaching is the accountability. Sometimes we think we’re in this alone, in life. And sometimes, if we’re working from home or parenting at home, we’re even more isolated from day-to-day. For many of us, communication with those in our lives has been reduced to text message and social media posts. But there is so much to gain just by opening up to someone and communicating. Sharing what you’re going through and struggling with. By nature, we’re social creatures, so having someone to listen and talk with, someone to be accountable to as we process and move toward change, can be so encouraging in itself. There is an element of connection that in itself is therapeutic. And whether you’re going through a major life change, such as divorce or a move or kids starting school, or you’re just wanting to change the way you handle everyday problems that arise, you’re entire life begins to transform. See, when you’re doing work at the thought level, like we talk about here on Beyond Happy, when you’re rewiring your brain and training it to believe new and different things, what begins as you seeking change in one area of your life starts to seep out into all of the other areas. Because subconsciously, your brain is applying what you’re learning and how you’re changing, and all parts of your life are influenced by this – for the better. This is why I refer to your brain as your superpower! It’s influence over your life is truly amazing.
So, we talked about everyone being a candidate for coaching as long as there’s something in life you’d like to change. Let’s talk about some of the 10 common themes that I see clients asking for help with. Some of them may resonate with you.
Not only is this a big one guys, but it’s one I’ve personally navigated as well. More than once, for sure. Feeling stuck. Feeling stuck usually involves making decision between several options. Maybe it’s what to do about a relationship. Maybe it’s whether or not to move, to go back to school, whether to start a family, which job to choose, or many is just this all-encompassing feeling of “What am I supposed to be doing with my life?!?!” I get you. As someone who works with people often in this very same place, I can confirm that you. are. not. Alone.
As a life coach, I help by “stuck” clients by really getting to the heart of what’s going on. Feeling stuck is always a symptom of something else going on, and so much growth happens as we do the work of discovering what that is.
Yes, yes, yes. So am I and so is everyone out there. We’re afraid. We’re afraid of making the wrong decision, afraid of failing, afraid of succeeding, afraid of being vulnerable and afraid of not being our authentic selves. We’re afraid of the dark, what other people think of us, and we’re afraid of a future that we can’t see. We’re afraid of being uncomfortable and we’re afraid of getting too comfortable. We’re afraid of going to the doctor and we’re afraid of not-going to the doctor. We’re afraid of letting our kids get away with too much and we’re also afraid of being too strict. We’re afraid of living a life where we don’t follow our dreams and we’re super scared of chasing the dreams. Do you sense a theme here? Yep.
In every case, fear is tied to a false belief we have about ourselves and when we start exploring it in coaching, it’s so fun to watch my clients free themselves from the grip fear has over them. That that is even an option for them is often mind-blowing. Because that’s what happens when we understand that our thoughts are optional and we can CHOOSE them. Have you ever heard someone day, “I just went for it – I did it scared?” This is what happens when you do this work. It’s not that fear ever disappears from your life completely, but it’s that it becomes secondary to what you most want to do in your life. You don’t let it hold you back.
Okay, a number three in these reasons why clients come to work with me.
We have a LOT of thoughts about change in our lives – when we know our brain wants to keep us comfortable, it’s easy to see how any idea of change would cause some discomfort. These seasons of transition really tend to bring these uncomfortable feelings to the surface. These transitions include so many different life experiences like a relationship ending, losing a loved one, starting (or ending school), getting married, becoming a parent, sending a child off to college, going back to the work force after being a stay-at-home parent, becoming a stay-at-home parent after years of working outside the home, becoming empty nesters, becoming grandparents, moving to a new place, setting an huge goal or starting a brand new career. We know that change is just part of life, and when we’re able to do work on our thoughts about change, we can grow from it rather than letting it hold us back.
Maybe you just want to feel better. Happier. Often, when we feel unhappy in life our instinct is to think that something needs to change. But it’s often US that needs to change. A coach’s role in this situation is to help you pinpoint what is creating this unhappiness. Usually, you’ll think it’s one thing and then discover that it’s really another. There are so many things can lead to feelings of unhappiness, and you’d be surprised how many of them AREN’T circumstantial at all, but have everything to do with the narrative we’re writing – the story we’re telling ourselves – about our life. This is an awesome example of why the outside perspective of a coach can help you change everything.
Yes, you heard that correctly. A time in your life filled with positivity and little discomfort in the season you’re in can be a great time to work with a life coach. Why? Your mindset may be more open to growth and change and pushing yourself or trying something new simply because your mind isn’t focused on many problems or challenges. Not only this, but there is no bad time to improve your mental and emotional health. The tools you learn are ones you’ll carry with you throughout life, and they’ll be a recurring blessing as you navigate the ups and downs.
Feeling lost often coincides with a uncertainty about a calling or how you can contribute to the world in a meaningful way. Maybe you feel like you’re going through the motions of life and getting by, but you feel a nudge to reach for more. Maybe the way you’re spending the day, being working in a traditional job or parenting or something else is leaving you less than fulfilled, and not only do you struggle with that, but there’s the guilt that comes along with it. This is another struggle that so many of us face at one time or another, so just know this is very common. The role of a coach here is to really help you comb through the thoughts and the desires at play here, honing in on what’s currently missing for you, and how you can get clear on your values as you seek greater fulfillment.
You struggle with follow through.
Some of us set out to make changes in our lives, but, left to ourselves, we just don’t stay accountable. We lack follow-through. Clients who are working through stopping overeating or overdrinking, reaching a health or weight loss goal, eliminating a bad habit, reaching a financial goal, working on their business or tackling a long-term goal, such as writing a book, often find success when partnering their efforts with the encouragement and accountability of a coach.
You want to level up.
There are times in life we want to grow. We just want to take ourselves to the next level. It’s not than anything in our life is bad per se, we’re just wanting to reach for more. This might be wanting to earn 6 figures, or 7 figures in a business. This might be wanting to really reach for a big weight or fitness goal. Maybe it’s an at-home parent who wants to start a side gig, or an entrepreneur who wants to expand their business by making their first hire. Maybe it’s a couple who wants to not just to have a good marriage, but an extraordinary one. These are all ways life coaches might help clients and the awesome thing is, you don’t have to find a coach specializing in finances or business or relationships. Why? Because a coach focused on finding the cause, and helping you through managing your thoughts and emotions doesn’t need that expertise to tell you WHAT to do. They get you to a place where your limiting beliefs are no longer obstacles to getting there, and you’re always the #1 expert on what’s best for you.
You want to be more confident.
Belief in yourself and your capability is an asset that can change every aspect of your life. Making change in life always involves some discomfort, but so does growth. Self-confidence plays a huge role in either propelling ourselves forward when chasing dreams and creating what we want our lives to be, or really holding us back from what is possible. As a coach, I see how many of us struggle with what we truly believe about ourselves. The great news is that beliefs are just thoughts that we tell ourselves over and over. And, since we know thoughts are optional, this is something we can completely rewrite.
You’re moving forward after therapy.
Investing in life coaching after therapy can be a great option on your personal growth journey. As I said earlier, therapy is very powerful work, but it’s also work that tends to focus on the past. A therapist will help you uncover and heal issues from your past, and for many, this is important work in forgiving and moving forward. Some people do get to the point where they feel the work with their therapist has run its course, and they wonder, “What next?” It may be at this point they feel they can really look to the future in a new way, full of opportunity and possibility, and this becomes the time they seek the help of a life coach as they look to who they’re becoming.
Let’s recap these 10 common reasons you might seek the help of a life coach:
- You’re stuck.
- You’re scared.
- You’re transitioning.
- You’re unhappy.
- You’re happy.
- You’re lost.
- You struggle with follow through.
- You want to level up.
- You want to be more confident.
- You’re moving forward after therapy.
If life coaching in general is a new concept to you, I hope these real-life examples of why clients invest in life coaching are helpful. Maybe some of them resonated with you personally. I hope this episode has been helpful in really describing what a life coach is and we serve clients on a variety of levels. I feel so grateful that I get to work with clients and serve them as they navigate some of these ways they seek to make their lives better. As always, if you have any questions about life coaching in general or anything I’ve talked about here today, send me a DM on instagram where I’m @beckyhoschek.
If this episode was helpful to you, could I ask you to leave a rating and review, wherever you’re listening from? It’s a little thing but it means so much to a new podcast like Beyond Happy. It helps people just like you find the podcast. Thank you for being here, I hope you have THE best day, and I’ll see you back here next Tuesday when we talk about Fear. Bye for now!