FAQ about Life Coaching

By Olivia Antonic

Here some of the Frequently asked Questions about Life Coaching answered. Click on the question below to go straight to the answer or just read through this page.

What is Life Coaching?
What does life coaching do?
How does coaching achieve what it claims it does?
How is coaching different from Counselling?
How is coaching different from Consulting?
How is coaching different from Mentoring?
What is the philosophy of Coaching?
What do most clients focus on with their coach?
Can coaching hurt someone?
What about people who are already doing well?
How is coaching delivered?
How do I know if I need a life coach?


What is Life Coaching?

Life coaching is a tool for people wanting to maximise their personal and professional potential. Translated from the sports coaching concept in the 1990s by American psychologist Thomas Leonard  (founder of CoachU Coaching Academy), life coaching includes several principles from sports coaching, like fostering teamwork, striving for personal mastery, achieving goals and learning the art of positive thinking.

But unlike sports coaching, most professional coaching is not competition-centred.

A life coach teaches you to be the best you can be without needing to beat anyone else.

You learn the philosophy of win/win.

A personal coach does just what an athletic coach or music teacher does, only in a more complete and cohesive way.

A coach challenges you, inspires you and helps you to ignite your fire, your passion, your spark. A coach will help you to discover what winning in life means to you. A coach is your partner, helping you to live the life you know you can accomplish, personally and professionally.

A coach is someone to hold you accountable for your life, to make sure you really do live up to your potential.

Coaching is about unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is about helping people to learn rather than teaching them.


“Coaching is the number two growth industry right behind IT,

and it’s the number one home-based profession.”

Start-Up Magazine


What does life coaching do?

Coaching is an interactive process where the coach guides and facilitates your progress towards defined goals. These may concern relationships, career, self-confidence, financial matters or, a more general goal of “getting life back on course”.

For many people, the trigger for a life coach can be as specific as a new job, relationship breakdown, illness or simply feeling that life is moving so quickly that you’ve lost control. Life coaching is oriented towards finding and creating the future you want and helping you take the action necessary to achieve your life transformation. Coaching motivates people to push themselves further than they’ve gone before. A life coach will:

  • Encourage you to be the best you can be;
  • Challenge you to dream bigger than you’ve ever dared;
  • Identify goals and support you as you reach those goals quickly;
  • Facilitate changes to limiting thinking and behaviour patterns;
  • Provide the structure, tools and perspectives to help you along;
  • Cheer from the sidelines while you chase your dreams; and
  • Expect more of you than you expect of yourself


“Therapy is essentially about helping people with broken legs walk again.

Coaching is really about helping people run the four-minute mile”.

Dr Anthony Grant,

School of Psychology, University of Sydney


How does coaching achieve what it claims it does?

1. By helping you to set powerful, compelling goals so that you are clear about your life’s direction;

2. Providing the structure to help you stick to your guns, even when the going gets tough;

3. Focusing you on where you are now, where you want to be, and the best way to get there;

4. Helping you to think laterally to create options and opportunities, and then think deeply about the choices you wish to make;

5. Giving you a step-by-step process that avoids the overwhelming feeling of “where do I start?”;

6. Setting deadlines to give the whole process more urgency and importance;

7. Working within specific time frames (long enough to complete the project, but short enough to stay focused and motivated);

8. Encouraging you to identify and eliminate old obstructive, destructive habits and teaching you how to develop new productive habits instead;

9. Asking you the hard questions and holding you to what you say you want and will do; and

10. Helping you to stay committed to yourself and your goals

“Between 25 percent and 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies use executive coaches.”
The Hay Group, International HR consultancy


How is coaching different from Counselling?

Coaching is not therapy, nor is it a substitute for counselling, although the two can work well together.

Counsellors are in the business of recovery, whereas coaches are in the business of development.

A counsellor’s primary focus is in healing a single or specific problem by examining the past.

A life coach will concentrate on enhancing the present and shaping the future.

Goal setting is at the heart of life coaching. Coaching doesn’t begin until a goal has been identified.

Coaching doesn’t depend on the resolution of past issues to move the client forward;

How is coaching different from Consulting?

Consultants tend to assess situations, provide solutions and often implement plans.

A coach doesn’t offer any solutions. Coaches believe that clients possess all the necessary resources to do, be and have anything they want in life

How is coaching different from Mentoring?

Most mentors are limited to their field of expertise. Mentors reflect on their own experience, provide knowledge on “tricks of the trade” and pass on short-cuts to guide their student to a specified result. The mentor will be expected to know the answers to a task related situation.

A coach works with you so that you discover the questions and the answers for yourself, not just for a particular task, but also for all your life situations “I never cease to be amazed at the power of the coaching


What is the philosophy of Coaching?

Life coaches believe that all human beings have vast stores of untapped potential.

Coaches recognise that each individual has differing sources of motivation, separate skills, individual aspirations, contrasting professional skills, unique personal qualities and singular talents.

They also recognise that most people have self-imposed limitations which prevent them from achieving their potential.

“All coaches have one thing in common – they are ruthlessly results-oriented.”

Fast Company Magazine


What do most clients focus on with their coach?

For many people, coaching commences with a specific target:

you may need help with relationships, communication, assertiveness, time management or emotional intelligence.

However, it’s often not long before clients are moving into deeper territory. Discussions will often lead towards:

Determining your life purpose;

Establishing a set of goals and targets based on your personal vision and values;

Improving personal and professional relationships; and

Eliminating the limiting habits that hold you back.

People will often embark on a coaching program with the specific purpose of improving their office communication skills, but find themselves more interested in improving their relationship with their teenager or finding a job with heart.

Can coaching hurt someone?

No. Coaches aren’t in the business of providing psychological counselling. They are not trying to control anyone’s thinking.

A life coach will never tell you what you should or shouldn’t do.

However, while the client is always in the driver’s seat, the coach is never just along for the ride.

A life coach will listen and question with such skill that you will come to your own realisations and learn how to make your own best choices.

What about people who are already doing well?

Why would they need a coach?

You might not need a coach. But it is helpful to find out:

~ Are you doing what you most enjoy?

~ Are you tolerating anything?

~ Is life easy?

~ Are you going to be financially independent within the next 15 years?

~ Do you have what you most want? We’ve discovered that, often, people need to expect more out of their lives.

A coach can help in this process. We’ve found that the people who gravitate towards coaching tend to be successful, well-balanced achievers already. The winners, who want even more out of life.

Coaching tends to attract people looking for that extra edge, it’s about enhancing performance or one’s life experience rather than treating dysfunction.

How is coaching delivered?

The system of coaching delivery varies from coach to coach.

Finding a method that suits you is imperative. Some life coaches work face-to-face with their clients and offer telephone and email back-up and support. Other coaching sessions are conducted solely over the telephone or via email.

Some coaches provide group coaching such as tele-classes (a weekly group coaching call).

Sessions can be anything from half-an-hour to two hours at weekly, fortnightly or monthly intervals depending on the coaching program being offered and your specific needs. The best coaching programs include “homework” – essentially course work designed to lock-in the learning between sessions.

NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE IN THE WORLD, as long as you have an Internet connection and a phone, you can receive coaching from at Excellence For You Life Coaching, using the unique BEYOND SUCCESS system, which will get you to where you want to be in life and live it to your full potential.

How do I know if I need a life coach?

You might hire a life coach if you find yourself:

Motivated but lacking support or direction;

Lacking in motivation and needing a push;

Wanting to take the next step in your career or relationship;

Looking for clarity;

Finding it hard to set and reach your own goals;

Feeling overwhelmed and needing some balance; or

Wanting someone to chat to who has only your agenda and best interests at heart.