When you’re stuck on the road, you need a car coach. We call him a mechanic.

When you’re days away from your 20th high school reunion and want to lose 20 pounds fast, you need a gym coach. We call her a trainer.

And if you’re trying to eat healthier or switch to a vegetarian diet, you need … yes … a cooking coach. They do exist!

But what exactly is a life coach?

In a nutshell, a life coach is someone who helps you live the life you want to live.

At first, some lovely people, like your parents or boss at work might seem like life coaches.

They’ll say things like, “Get an MBA” “Take the promotion,” “Buy a house,” or “Put in the hours to move up the command chain.” However, one small problem exists with this kind of coaching … it may have nothing whatsoever to do with what you want out of life.

When you end up pleasing others and receiving coaching from people who want the best for you, but ultimately want you to do what THEY want you to do, you’ll live a miserable life. You’ll live someone else’s life. You’ll live a society-prescribed life that won’t fulfill YOU.

A life coach is an agent who helps you tap into your highest self, discover what you want and figure out how to get there.

Once you work with a coach to discover what it is you want out of life, you will then begin the road to achieving it.

See, a lot of times in our lives, before we accomplish anything – a goal, a dream, a life-changing decision – we have to confront our beliefs, value systems and limiting thoughts.

Most of the time our minds crush our dreams and goals before we start.

A life coach can help you examine your beliefs, get aligned with your intuition and overcome the objections or obstacles in front of you.

A life coach can help you gain clarity by listening intently, helping you see what’s going on in your life and helping you shift your perspective so that you can move forward.

If you have no idea what you want to do with your life or what the reason for your existence is, a life coach can help.

If your professional career frustrates you and you want more control of your work life – a work life that’s more personally satisfying – a life coach can help.

If you need to stop moving in one direction and change course (while following an action plan that will help you do just that), call a life coach!

What can life coaching do for you?

Life coaching can help you face the resistance and limiting beliefs that prevent you from living your best life.

Life coaching can help you get to where you want to be. It’s like GPS for your life, without the annoying “wrong turn” messages your GPS machine barks at you.

Life coaching can help you evaluate your choices, clarify decisions and get super clear about your “why” in life – yes, your purpose!

Sure, you can “figure it out” on your own, but that could require the passage of several years, a number of therapy sessions and the emergence of dramatic circumstances that force you to take action. Or you can cut the crap, start being accountable to yourself and do what your heart desires today.

Will your coach hypnotize you or put you under a spell? (or, what tools do life coaches use?)

Most likely, your life coach won’t hypnotize you, dunk you underwater or cast a spell on you.

Life coaches rely on the power of listening, powerful questions and intuition (both theirs and your own) to move you toward the best course of action for your life.

It’s important to note that a life coach doesn’t tell you what you “should” or “need” to do with your life. A coach guides you so that you discover your values, goals and dreams, and then helps you bring them to life.

Life coaches challenge you when you feel you can’t, believe it won’t work or never thought of trying.

They re-frame and shift your perspective, ask what you can learn from a hopeless situation, show you how to move on in the face of failure and even help you discover the lessons you can learn from your current circumstances.

They help you brainstorm, stay accountable and stay true to your dreams when the going gets tough and the resistance creeps in.

They focus on helping you get unstuck and make those changes you desire in your life, relationships and career.

When is the best time to get a life coach?

There is no good or bad time for a coach.

Many people find coaching necessary during low points in their lives or when they face transitional circumstances.

If you’re stuck, if you’ve fallen down or if you feel knocked down by a roller-coaster set of life events (divorce, breakup, job dissatisfaction), you might consider coaching.

But you don’t need to be down on your luck or facing Godzilla-size problems to seek help from a life coach.

If you feel as though you’re not moving ahead in life, if you feel shackled by your fears, or if you simply trudge along without a purpose or mission, it may be time to get a coach.

If you know you could be doing a lot better than you are now and want to live a richer or more fulfilling life, consider life coaching.

What makes a good life coach?

A life coach should have three critical skills.

It’s my view that listening and presence are the most valuable tools a life coach offers. A coach must be capable of understanding what you’re saying and uncovering what you may be denying or resisting. They must be willing to shut up and listen so that they can get to the root of your frustrations and struggles.

A good life coach also knows the power of relevant questions and curiosity. They use questions to unearth your desires and discover your calling. Questions will help uncover your limiting beliefs and self-doubts.

Finally, intuition is an important part of the life coaching process. A good life coach can tap into his or her intuition and help you see things that might not be readily visible. Not only will you benefit from the life coach’s intuitive touch, you’ll find that your own intuition becomes clearer.

Those gut feelings are more accurate than you can imagine. Be prepared to tune in and let your strong internal whispers guide you.

How is a life coach different from a therapist?

In life coaching, you and your coach sit on the same couch.

Your coach does not interrogate, interview, examine or diagnose you.

You don’t delve into your past, heal emotional wounds or try to figure out what went wrong. A life coach can’t cure depression or anxiety, or offer a medical diagnosis.

Life coaches deal with the here and now. They take your life as it is and help you make improvements to it. It’s a collaborative and co-active process that helps you design and achieve your best life.

Life coaches believe that you have the answers and help you navigate your beliefs and values toward a place of fulfillment.

Therapists treat you for specific conditions and help you cope emotionally.

Life coaches help you navigate life and live the life you want.

Why did you need a life coach yesterday?

Sure, you might “figure it out” on your own or start on your dreams “someday,” but if that someday is long overdue, you needed a life coach yesterday.

If you’re stuck and frustrated because you haven’t made any movement in your life and you need a catalyst to get going, you needed a life coach yesterday.

If you decided to run a marathon, save the Bengal tiger or take some action toward a new career but didn’t get out of bed until noon, you probably needed a life coach yesterday.

Is now the time for life coaching?

If you’re tired of living a mediocre life or feel unfulfilled and trapped by the life you’re living, it’s time for you to coach up.

You can do it on your own, but a coach just might help you accelerate the process by a year or two or ten.

Are you ready for life coaching today?

*If you’re in need of coaching that will help you discover your purpose or transition out of a un-fulfilling career, visit my coaching page here.

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