What is Life Coaching and Why Should You Work with a Life Coach?

What is Life Coaching and Why Should You Work with a Life Coach?


Aya Fubara Eneli. M.A., J.D.


Life coaching is one of the fastest growing industries today. The Harvard Business Review reports that coaching is a $1 billion a year industry. In a 2009, the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) in a study of the professional coaching industry found that coaching was used by 90% of organizations surveyed and that even in the economic downturn, 70% report that they are increasing or maintaining their commitment to coaching. The statistics definitely prove that Life Coaching is widely used and fast becoming an essential in certain circles but there are still many who have no clue what Life Coaching entails or why they should consider a Life Coach for themselves.

A Life Coach is a person who helps others maximize their potential to achieve their goals faster, more efficiently and with more joy. Through a process of strategies and principles, the coach provides guidance to individuals to help them focus on their goals, identify solutions to their challenges, create action plans and hold them accountable to achieve the same. The International Coach Federation (ICF), known as 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.” A great Life Coach will promote self-reliance, not dependency. Life coaching helps you learn how to make choices that create an effective, balanced and fulfilling life.

A Life Coach can help you clarify your purpose and core values and transform your passion for your dreams into action for your life. Life Coaches are highly trained as generalists and can coach superbly on any aspect of life. However, a coach may also choose to specialize in one or more of the following areas:

Relationships and Intimacy

Family and Parenting

Stress Management and Balance

Spirituality and Personal Growth

Entrepreneurial and Small Business Development

Career Planning and Development

Motivation and Time Management

Finances and Budgeting

Health, Aging, Lifestyle and Self-Care

And much more


If you are considering hiring a coach, here are some factors to consider:


#1: Is the coach you are considering certified?

Before you hire coach, inquire as to the nature of their certification.  Jennifer Corbin, the president of Coach U, one of the largest and oldest coach training organizations in the world, has said, “Technically, anyone can hang up a shingle as coaching is not regulated. Many people ‘coaching’ have no idea what coaching is as they haven’t been trained or haven’t been coached by a professionally trained and credentialed coach. There are ‘schools’ that will offer a credential after three hours of training and people read a book or watch a TV program and decide ‘I’m a coach!'” Not surprisingly, the quality of your coach could be impacted by the training they have received. I recommend that you consider only coaches who have been accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF). The ICF provides independent certification that is the benchmark for the professional coaching industry. You can also ask a potential client for references.


#2:  Is coaching worth it?

What do professional athletes and top executives invest in coaches? The return on investment (ROI) for coaching is well-documented.  In a study of Fortune 100 executives by the Manchester Consulting Group, the Economic Times reports “coaching resulted in a ROI of almost six times the program cost as well as a 77% improvement in relationships, 67% improvement in teamwork, 61% improvement in job satisfaction and 48% improvement in quality.” A study of Fortune 500 telecommunications companies by MatrixGlobal found executive coaching resulted in a 529% ROI. The CIPD concludes “coaching is not just perceived as a nice-to-have intervention.”  What works for top executives could work for you too. A good coach will focuses on your strengths to help you achieve the life you imagine for yourself.


#3: How much does coaching cost and for how long?

Fees for coaches, like attorneys, have a rather broad range from $35 to as much as $3500 an hour. A coach will work with you for as long as it takes to reach your specified goal or outcome. Some coaches may require a contract for a specific period, while some let you decide month-to-month on whether to continue with coaching or not. Many coaches recommend a minimum 3 month commitment to begin. This helps ensure that the coach sets aside sufficient time in their schedule to consistently meet each client’s needs. You may choose to work weekly, bi –weekly or monthly with your coach. Most coaching is carried it over the phone or via Skype thus making it convenient for both parties, but a coach may also choose to meet with a client face-to-face.  Coaching sessions typically vary from 20 minutes to one hour in length.


#4: What’s the difference between a coach, a counselor and a good friend?

Your coach will be friendly, but they are not your friend. Your coach will hold you accountable and challenge you to grow and do more than you think you can do. They may push, pull, and stretch you in ways that may feel uncomfortable. And unlike a friendship, the coaching relationship is exclusively focused on you and your goals, not the coach, his family, his golf handicap, or what she did over the weekend.

Dwight Bain explains the difference between coaching and counseling:

Counseling is more focused on solving painful problems from the past

Coaching is more about finding creative ways to reach your potential in the future


Counseling guides clients toward experiencing relief through recovery

Coaching is driven by one word- results in people’s lives


Counseling helps people to build supports to stabilize their life

Coaching guides clients toward strategic ways to maximize their life


Counseling develops healthy emotions and relationships to experience peace

Coaching builds healthy patterns with accountability to experience personal power


#5: Is coaching right for me?

Are you motivated to create a better life? If so, coaching may be for you. Did you know that the online shoe and clothing company Zappos.com, known for their outstanding commitment to creating a culture of unparalleled customer service, has a full-time goals coach who works with any employee on helping them create better lives? They make that investment in their employees because they know it pays dividends at work.

Do you really want to change, or are you just wishing it will magically happen?  If you are not motivated, you will just waste your and the coaches time and it will be an unfulfilling experience for you both.

Are you coachable? Coachability is essential to coaching success. Do you tend to resist people who are in a position to give you direction?  What is your track record when it comes to learning? Coachable clients are forthcoming and honest. They readily share their strengths and weaknesses. A coach is not designed to be the expert in your life. You are the only expert in your entire life who truly knows who you are and what you need. You are in the best position to know what’s best for you. A great coach will help you discover your own personal “best.”


aya pic


About the Author – Aya Fubara Eneli is the CEO of Aya Eneli International, the premier provider of biblically-based success strategies. She is a certified Christian Life Coach, an attorney, the best-selling author of Live Your Abundant Life and the publisher of the online success resource, Xtraordinary You Magazine.  Follow her at Twitter/AyaEneli or facebook.com/AyaEneli.