What is a life coach? The International Coach Federation (ICF) –the leading global coaching organization and professional association for coaches defines coaching as ‘partnering with clients in a thought provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.’
The Oxford dictionary simply defines it as ‘a person employed to help people attain their goals in life.’ Whatever the definition, it appears the phrase ‘life coaching’ can encompass a broad range of modalities and techniques.
There are almost 50,000 life coaches world wide, and approximately 16,000 in the US. According to projections by the Bureau of Labor Studies. The coaching and consulting industry is responsible for the majority of employment growth in professional and business services. The industry is becoming more mainstream, is increasing by 4.7% annually which is one of the largest and fastest growth rates across industries. Many people have enrolled for training in the last five years, into what is becoming a flourishing industry that excites some trend watchers.
“If you are feeling stuck and unable to pull yourself out of feeling powerless to change your life, then it’s time to hire a life coach; self improvement, personal growth and self help is exploding. That is one reason why there has been a boom in the number of people offering their services as life coaches”, says Certified Life Coach and host of Coach Café’ Radio, Kathleen Martin, LOACC.
Clients who hire a life coach are usually dissatisfied in certain key areas of their life. These include, but are not limited to, career, relationships, and health. They need help finding their life purpose, but because they feel they don’t want to go into traditional therapies, that can sometimes have negative stigmas attached to them. For these people life coaching is the perfect fit.
They are the ‘worried well’ and know they are meant to be happy but just don’t feel they know how to get there.
Modern life is fast-paced, high pressure and very often incredibly overwhelming. The structured approach of life coaching offers a refreshing break from some of the more invasive therapies.
Kathleen Martin explains that life coaches are a new option for those whose lives feel out of balance. They don’t need a diagnosis from a psychotherapist who delves into the painful past. A life coach becomes a partner in defining a better future. Using a variety of proven and effective tools and daily practices, a life coach keeps you focused on the solution, rather than the problem, and on track to go from where you are to where you want to be.
“It’s about helping people become self empowered” says Kathleen Martin, who became a life coach after years of experience as a Wellness Consultant.
Kathleen explained, she came to realize that the problems most people were experiencing had to do with their mindset. She then went on to become a certified life coach which included intensive training in a variety of modalities.
She says, “We are given an education that is very left brain oriented and doesn’t include the necessary life skills that creates a powerful, positive mindset. If we were helped to understand our power to create our lives from a very young age, we would have less people struggling and more people thriving on all levels -body, mind and spirit”.
Some of the latest life coaching trends include coaching for teens, parenting coaching and relationship coaching. There are a lot of specialty niches.
From its infancy, coaching has grown and gone from the sports field to the boardroom as a motivational and success tool for the corporate world. It didn’t take long after that, for coaching to move into the home, dealing with real life problems including relationships, health and career.
People are probably familiar with early self help motivational pioneers such as Zig Ziglar, Napoleon Hill and Dale Carnegie and present day leading self empowerment influencers such as Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, Steven Covey and Jack Canfield, to name a few. Some of these experts also offer life coach trainings based on their philosophy.
All successful people know the value of life coaches. Oprah Winfrey surrounds herself with coaches in her life and even has a life coaching column in her O magazine!