Wellness coaching, also referred to as life coaching, helps individuals maximize their personal and professional potential through directing, instructing, and discussion to establish and accomplish personal goals. Unlike therapy, wellness coaching and life coaching are not aimed at treating mental illness. Life coaching programs are about developing and reaching a client’s goals, and organizing their lives.
Drawn from methods used in management consulting and leadership training, life coaching also stems from these various fields of study:
- Sociology: the study of the development and functioning of human society
- Psychology: the science of the mind/mental state processes
- Positive Adult Development: satisfaction with life, contributing to society and good health
- Career Counseling: career exploration, personal career development, and career related issues
The personal life coach often employs these five techniques (sometimes more) when working with a client:
- Values assessment
- Behavior modification
- Behavior modeling
- Goal setting
The client and their wellness coach have a personally designed life coach program. Reflection, questions, requests, and discussion help the client identify their goals. Plans of action and strategies are then determined. Everyday choices, whether profound or miniscule, are discussed and decided to best balance, fulfill, and satisfy the client. The life coach monitors the client’s progress and keeps them accountable in terms of their action plan. The action plan grows and evolves as the client’s needs and desires change. Observations and unbiased advice are necessary tools for a life coach, and the insights and skills to motivate the client. Positive affirmation is also important when a client reaches a goal or high point. However, a clear boundary must be drawn- the client takes the action and the life coach motivates it.
Life coaches usually specialize in one or more of the following areas:
- Relationships, Dating, Marriage, and Intimacy
- Entrepreneurial and Business Development
- Stress Management and Balance
- Time Management
- Spirituality and Personal Growth
- Career Planning and Development
- Family and Parenting
- Recovery and Researching Recovery Treatments/Recovery Programs
- Creativity for Artists, Writers, Musicians, and Performers
- Health, Lifestyle, Self-Care, and Aging
- Finances and Budgeting
- Conflict Management
There are no state or government regulations regarding life coaching standards or certificates. In the eyes of the law, anyone can claim the title of a “coach.” There are, however, four internationally self-appointed councils of coaching:
- The International Coaching Council (ICC)
- The International Coach Federation (ICF)
- The International Association of Coaching (IAC)
- The European Coaching Institute (ECI)
Individuals pursuing a career in life coaching usually attend a certified life coaching school. Often schools demand hundreds of hours of face-to-face training, and personal references.
Finding a good match between life coach and client is not difficult, but may require direct contact. Individuals looking for a potential life coach or sober companion will schedule a few sample sessions, speak over the phone various times, and determine whether they can build the trust and comfort with the potential life coach. Many life coaching programs offer a complimentary coaching session for guidance-seeking individuals.