I often get asked what is the difference between what I do as an emotional wellbeing coach and what a life coach does and it’s a question that I struggle to answer. The reason for this is that there is no straight forward answer due to the fact that most coaches, whatever area they specialise in, will have their individual niches. Take business coaches for example. Where one may specialise in helping their clients with marketing and growing their customer base, another may focus on the mindset of their clients, helping them to develop the confidence to achieve their business goals. Life coaches are no different, they will all have areas that they focus on, and these could include (but are not limited to) identifying goals, accountability, brainstorming, encouragement and advising on any number of personal or professional problems.
What Google says…
If you type “what is a life coach?” into Google the first answer comes back as “a person employed to help people attain their goals in life.” Now this is a pretty broad description and, in actual fact, could be used for any kind of coaching to a certain extent, which is why it is important that, as coaches, we are clear on exactly how we help our clients reach those goals. It is also the reason why you may find that a particular coach refers you to someone else initially. I often receive referrals from business coaches whose clients need help dealing with underlying emotional blocks before they are able to take them any further towards their business goals. These emotional blocks can look like procrastination or not taking action on their accountables for example. Once the client has understood where these blocks came from and can move through the block on a visceral level they are able to take action. It may result in a slight deviation of course, a different strategy, but once aligned joy AND success can be achieved.
In short, there is no one size fits all for any kind of coaching and so I don’t want to assume that I know what every life coach does or doesn’t do. However, I do use the skills and principles I learnt in my training as a life coach to support what I do as an emotional wellbeing coach, such as life purpose, values and beliefs.
“I also practise genuine listening and the art of questioning, skills that I believe every coach must be able to do regardless of their area of expertise.”
But, whilst my life coach training included working with the mind and spirit, what was missing, and perhaps this is where the difference lies, was how to access this via my body and what happens when emotions and goals or beliefs are not aligned. A problem that is all too common and can be what holds people back from achieving their goals or being truly happy or content. After going through my own emotional healing process in 2009/2010, I realised that I wanted to develop a coaching practise which included the body and the emotions, and this is now a very important aspect of what I work with as an emotional wellbeing coach.
When I read Google’s description of a life coach of course I can relate to it to a certain extent and I absolutely want to help people to achieve their dreams in life, but in order to do this I believe we must first work through any conditioning or emotional blocks in order to align with our OWN TRUE goals, our OWN TRUE and authentic, empowering beliefs and our OWN TRUE values. And this is exactly what I help people to do.
“It was only when I was able to break free from my own conditioning that I was able to realise true joy and choose my own goals.”
Goals I believed I could achieve and were in alignment with what I really wanted (my values), fulfilling my true purpose. It’s this personal experience that guides me in the way I work with and help my own clients.
With this in mind I believe that a good life coach will be able to identify what is currently preventing their client from achieving their goals or dreams and guide them in the direction to overcome that. This may mean temporarily referring them to someone who can help them in that particular area and if it’s emotional healing that is needed then this is where an emotional wellbeing coach like myself would come in.