Before discussing what (life) coaching is and how it can help it is perhaps helpful to say what it isn’t.
Coaching is neither counseling nor psychotherapy. In contrast to counseling, which is often started after individual experiences a distressing life event, or psychotherapy in which a course of treatment is delivered with the objective of ameliorating some underlying mental disorder/problem, individuals usually seek coaching because they have a developing awareness that somehow their life has drifted off track.
Generally such individuals are in good physical and mental health and should this not be the case it may be the coach’s responsibility to point a prospective client in an alternative more appropriate direction.
Life Coaching came to the fore in the 1980s at a time when counselors and psychologists across the nation were beginning to see more people presenting with no specific symptoms or difficulties in coping, but rather a general unease and the belief that there must be something better out there. And such was the demand by this growing group of clients that a whole new profession, that of ‘life coach’, came into being.
Individuals, such as myself, who were already practicing in professions such as psychology and counseling also began to increasingly adapt and apply the skills that they developed in helping the distressed/unwell to helping intrinsically healthy people lead more fulfilling lives.
The process of coaching is interactive, goal driven and practical. That being said often a client is unsure of his goals and the first goal of coaching is to help the individual examine the various areas of their life, e.g. work, family & health, with a view to prioritizing the areas that they would most like to improve and setting themselves achievable goals.
Whilst a coach will not be able to solve your problems for you he or she will be able to help you objectively evaluate your own strengths, understand your options more clearly and develop and implement optimal strategies to achieve your goals.