What Is Life Coaching & How Does Life Coaching Work?

January 4, 2022

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Some stunning highlights to come out of the comprehensive 2020 ICF Global Coaching Study 

  • Coaching is a highly flourishing industry which had an estimated worldwide revenue of $2.84 billion in 2019, an increase of 21% since 2015 
  • The global market value of the coaching industry was over USD 15 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 20 billion by the year 2022  
  • There are over 71,000 certified coaches practicing across the globe 
  • More and more people are inclined towards hiring a coach, with over 95% clients (both individuals & companies) satisfied with their post-coaching results 
  • Life coaching statistics state that it is the second fastest growing industry globally with an estimated yearly growth of 6.7% 
  • In fact, even the post-Covid life coaching business trends project healthy growth figures of 5.4 %  
  • Globally, there has been a 33% jump in the number of life coaches from 2016 to 2020 with over 90% life coaches who were part of the survey stating that they all have a sizable number of active clients  
  • In the survey, 70% clients who availed the services of a life coach, stated that hiring a life coach made a positive impact in major aspects of their lives including personal & professional relationships, communication skills, health, and work-life balance  
  • Almost 37% of the clients who opt for life coaching are between the 35-44 age group   
  • The survey reported that life coaching is now mostly an online venture than an in-person one, the major consequence of a post-Covid business environment  

The statistics above have established the fact that coaching, and especially life coaching, is a thriving profession. With more people choosing to get coached than before, both for personal & professional development, the role of a life coach assumes great significance.

So, what are life coaches? What to expect from a life coach? How does life coaching work? Are there meaningful benefits of life coaching? Let’s find out.

What Are Life Coaches? What To Expect From A Life Coach?

Many of us have gotten stuck or confused as to which direction to steer our life in. Questions that many have often asked themselves include, “Am I choosing the correct path (career/individual)?”, “Am I pursuing the right goal?”, “Is my approach to achieving the target the proper one?”.

With indecision and multiple ideas clouding your thought process, it can get difficult to identify challenges, chart out a systematic roadmap, and have clarity on how to achieve those objectives. This is a situation where an experienced & professionally trained life coach can make all the difference. 

So, what to expect from a life coach? In much the same manner that a sports coach helps the team figure out their strengths and weaknesses and encourages them to work on the negatives and build on the positives, a life coach similarly can help an individual focus on their present situation and needs, identify obstacles that are holding them back, help them realize the options that are available to them to bridge the gap from problem to solution, and generally facilitate a journey of self-discovery. 

How Is Life Coaching Different From Therapy?

A life coach will differ from a therapist in a very fundamental way. Unlike a therapist who tries to understand what happened in your past to help guide you to a better today, a life coach evaluates & gains insights from your present to chart out a clear, successful future. 

A coach is also a trusted friend/advisor, who has extensive professional training in their respective field – they ask tough but necessary questions, understand their clients’ needs, establish trust via good communication, devise specific plans to help clients achieve objectives, push them to realize their true potential, hold them accountable for fulfilling set goals, and guide them towards achieving their desired outcomes. 

To sum up, a life coach-client relationship is more of an innovative partnership in the client’s journey of self-discovery, where the life coach encourages and aids their client to become a better, more all-rounded versions of themselves. 

How Does Life Coaching Work?

Although life coaching may seem to be a hands-on process with the life coach donning multiple hats of friend, trusted advisor and more, all rolled into one, the actual life coaching process works in a systematic, structured manner. But what does a life coach do exactly? Well, here’s typically how a life coaching engagement is structured:

  • Outline the vision: At the outset the life coach will ask their client pertinent but detailed questions to ascertain their true goals  
  • Identify the obstacles: Once the life coach understands the real aspirations of their client, the next obvious step is to work with the client to identify the barriers, obstacles, negative thoughts, detrimental habits that are limiting their growth 
  • Set achievable objectives: Now that the life coach has a fair handle on the hurdles of the client, they can help them set small but realistically achievable goals that will boost their confidence to reach for their long-term targets  
  • Assessing present conditions & available resources: Gauging the current situation of the client helps the life coach analyze the available resources and options that will help set in place the best plan of action 
  • Chart out an action plan to achieve goals: Creating a plan of action that best suits the client’s requirements involves deciding when & how to take specific steps that support their end goals, being prepared for any eventualities, and devising measures to deal with them 
  • Monitor & track progress: Regular monitoring & tracking of the action plan (to check whether the steps taken are working or not) is an important task that the life coach must fulfill in the coaching process to ensure that their client stays on course to achieve their set objectives   
  • Implement modifications (if required): While monitoring the plan if the life coach feels that the action plan can work better with certain adjustments, then they will do so to further inspire the client to stay dedicated to their agreed course   

How Is A Life Coaching Session Structured?

As mentioned earlier, the life coach-client relationship is a trusted partnership to help the client move ahead in their life. So, keeping this fundamental rule in mind a life coaching session is also structured around making the experience as positive as possible for the client. 

  • Session duration & medium: Generally, a life coaching session will be approximately 45-60 minutes long and will be conducted either in-person or via online mediums (video calls are the more popular option currently) 
  • Assessment: At the outset, the life coach will conduct an initial assessment of what the client needs by asking questions about their present situation in life – what they want to achieve in the near future, if they are happy in their current condition, figuring what are the areas that are proving difficult, where they see themselves in their personal lives & career in the next 5 years, etc. This could be a pre-cursor to the formal first coaching session, and is usually called a Chemistry or Discovery Session, to help the life coach understand if the client is a good fit for them and vice-versa. 
  • Action plan & self-discovery: A life coach-client partnership is a trusted collaboration where the life coach, in successive sessions, will encourage the client to explore their potential, identify hurdles to their growth, support the client’s aspirations, guide them towards reaching those goals, give tasks & homework, provide honest feedback, encourage self-awareness and more. 
  • Positive, safe environment & confidentiality: A professional life coach will accomplish their job by making the client feel comfortable & safe about the coaching process, ensuring strict confidentiality and respecting the privacy of the client during and after the coaching session 

What Are Some Key Benefits of Life Coaching? 

Although the outcome of coaching will vary from client to client, there are some broad areas where life coaching can prove beneficial. Essentially, life coaching can help individuals maximize their potential for all round growth. 

  • Better communication – more precise and effective  
  • Improved relationships, both personal & professional  
  • Enhanced ability to identify problem areas 
  • Improved capacity to lessen negative and limiting habits  
  • Novel, out-of-box, and more expanded thought process 
  • Creating growth plans that can deliver quantifiable results  
  • Taking positive steps to achieve financial stability  
  • Achieving goals, both professional (like a long overdue promotion) and personal (getting in shape and cultivating healthier eating habits) 
  • Clarity & firmness in decision-making  
  • Accepting responsibility for self-development  
  • More rounded work-life balance  

What Type of Clients Can Work With a Life Coach?

If one wants to be better tomorrow than what they are today, then they are the ideal client for life coaching. 

Any individual who aspires to grow, has certain ambitions to fulfill, is keen to learn new skills, wants to improve their productivity and do all these in a defined time frame is an ideal candidate for life coaching. 

Any person who wants to break away from their cycle of negativity, fear of failure, self-destructive habits, excessive tendencies, anxieties resulting from stressful life events that hinder growth can all reach out to a life coach to make a transformation to their personal/professional lives. 

CEOs, artists, sport persons, business persons, executives, homemakers, small shop owners – anyone and everyone who feels that they are stuck in a rut and need help to move forward and attain their life goals constructively can benefit from life coaching.  

How Can You Build a Successful Life Coaching Business? 

As of now, the coaching industry does not have set regulations in place, so a lot of life coaches are individuals without formal training but do have the knack of man-management skills and thus in great demand as life coaches. 

But having professional training, qualifications and accreditations is a definite value addition to your CV in your mission to becoming a successful life coach. Being a member of a recognized professional coaching organization can only boost your credentials. 

With demand for good life coaches only growing with each passing day and the coaching industry, on the whole, showing positive developments, this is a great time for anyone who wishes to make a career in this industry to get into the life coaching business. If you are smart and intuitive enough to keep track of market trends, have an instinctive ability to deeply understand and solve people’s problems, are focused on creating your niche in this highly competitive segment, and bolster yourself with better coaching tools, training, constant learning and regular upgrades to your skills, then you will definitely succeed in building out a prosperous life coaching business.  


1. What to expect from life coaches?

The ICF (International Coaching Federation) defines a life coach as, ‘a person who partners with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential’

Just as a fitness trainer can help their client achieve physical fitness, a life coach is a professional who can set their client on the way to personal & professional fulfillment.

A life coach partners with their client to understand their life aspirations, identify their problem areas, devise strategies to overcome those obstacles and hold the client accountable for fulfilling those set goals and achieving long lasting transformation.

A life coach can help their client improve their communication, thought process, and work & individual relationships by making them aware of their true potential and skills. Life coaches also make a difference to their clients’ lives by boosting their confidence, self-esteem, and helping them find true purpose to their lives. 

2. What problems do life coaches solve?

Life coaches take on multiple roles of being a trusted friend & advisor to their client and have a good grasp on principles of success and how they can be applied in real life. 

Life coaches help clients deal with and overcome a lot of their personal as well as professional problems, such as stress, anxiety, job troubles, relationship conflicts, workplace tensions, etc. by listening to & discussing their issues and then guiding them on how they themselves can search for options and resolve their issues successfully. 

About Simply.Coach

Simply.Coach is an enterprise-grade coaching software designed to be used by individual coaches and coaching businesses. Trusted by ICF-accredited and EMCC-credentialed coaches worldwide, Simply.Coach is on a mission to elevate the experience and process of coaching with technology-led tools and solutions.  

About the author

An avid reader with love for books on history, sci-fi and popular fiction, Pallavi is a gifted content writer. She is also a keen listener of Indian semi & classical music. Currently, she juggles her duties of being a full-time mom with part-time content writing.

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