Read to explore everything a life coach is (and isn’t), what sort of problems and goals they can help you with, and how to find the right coach for you.
“So… what does a life coach actually do?”
It’s a question I’ve been asked more than a few times. And it can be a hard one to answer on the spot, because what a life coach does is tailored specifically to the individual they’re working with.
As a life coach and mentor for women in tech, I often find myself helping amazing and highly capable women learn to own their strengths and expertise, grow their confidence, and plan out a career path that excites them.
But if you’re here, it’s because you’ve heard of this little old thing called “life coaching,” and want to know if it could help you. The truth is, coaching can have benefits for anyone, and is utilized by people from all walks of life, from CEOs and star athletes, to entrepreneurs and stay-at-home parents.
However, not every coach is right for every client. A mismatch in expertise, history, technique preference, and personality can cause frustration, so it’s important to know what to look for so you can get the most out of your coaching experience!
That being said, let’s explore the ins and outs of coaching!
What is Life Coaching?
Put simply, life coaches help their clients uncover ways to bring more happiness, success, and fulfillment into their lives, relationships, and careers, and help them achieve their goals.
Although each coach is going to have their own unique style, areas of expertise, and preferred “toolbox” when it comes to coaching techniques, coaches typically help clients:
- Identify patterns of self-sabotage and limiting or false beliefs holding them back
- Work to rewrite their self-image
- Eliminate negative self talk
- Build confidence
- Strengthen communication skills
- Move through big transitions (e.g., divorce, losing a job, dealing with loss, choosing a new career path)
- Achieve specific goals (e.g., getting a new job, reducing stress, developing clarity of purpose, figuring out your next steps or life goals)
In general, life coaches help their clients feel better about themselves, their careers, relationships, and daily lives.
However, the ways in which life coaches help clients accomplish these can vary widely.
Types of Life Coaches.
Like I said, while almost all coaches are there to help you accomplish your goals, there are as many types of coaches as there are dreams.
A few examples of different types of coaches include:
- Confidence coach
- Career coach
- Personal development coach
- Happiness coach
- Dating and relationship coach
- Financial coach
- Executive or leadership coach
- Team coach
- Nutrition coach
- Fitness coach
- Spiritual coach
- Addiction or sobriety coach
- Accountability coach
- Life transition coach
The Benefits of Working with a Life Coach.
While coaches serve a wide variety of specialties, their clients often experience:
- Reduced stress and burnout
- Decreased anxious and negative thought patterns
- More purpose
- Clarity on goals
- Better communication skills
- More energy throughout the day
- Decreased fatigue
- Improved motivation and productivity
- Increased self-confidence
- Better work/life balance
- More satisfaction at work
- Stronger relationships with coworkers and loved ones
Frequently, coaching in one area will clear up issues or offer support in other areas of life.
For example, if you’re working to uncover the next steps for your career, you might discover unconscious beliefs that have been stopping you from considering the path that would truly make you happy. As you work to change those beliefs, you might find your relationships improve alongside your levels of happiness and fulfillment.
What’s it Like Working with a Life Coach?
Most coaches offer some sort of discovery call, to explore whether the two of you will be a good match. Because as I’ve said before, not every coach is right for every client.
The coach will listen to your experience and ask you questions about your goals, current challenges, and what you’d like to get out of your coaching. If you two decide you’re a good match, you’ll determine how often you want to meet, and for how long.
Then, you’ll begin regular sessions! In these sessions, the coach will typically listen to their client and ask questions before offering suggestions or giving advice on next steps.
Coaches may also offer text or email support between sessions for added accountability and motivation.
For how long will you have to work with a coach?
A lot of people wonder how long they’ll have to work with a coach, or if they’ll become codependent.
The answer to that is a big old NO!
The role of the coach is to help you solve your problems and build a life that makes you happy. While that journey takes as long as it takes, our goal is to help you get there as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Ultimately, we want to help you reach a place where you no longer need our support and are thriving all on your own.
Coaching can last as long as you like, with services often bundled in 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year timeframes.
Life Coaching is NOT the Same as Therapy.
This is a really important distinction to touch on.
Life coaches are not therapists, which is distinguished by a few key differences.
- Offer support for people struggling with mental illness, poor mental health, and psychological distress
- Are bound by HIPPA to preserve patient confidentiality
- Must be licensed in the field and have a degree
- Cannot advise on mental health conditions and are NOT mental health professionals
- Can be accredited by numerous certifying bodies, although certification is not necessary
- Are not bound by health privacy laws
To sum it up, life coaches are NOT mental health professionals. Rather, life coaches help their clients achieve their goals and cultivate lives that excite and fulfill them.
If you are experiencing a mental health condition, hopelessness, depressive symptoms, or mood disturbances, it’s best to seek the help of a licensed care provider.
How to Find the Right Life Coach for You.
When you’re looking for a life coach, there are a few things to look out for:
- Do they create a safe space where you’d feel comfortable being vulnerable, taking risks, and growing?
- Does their expertise match your goals?
- Do you feel like you can trust them and would be willing to try their suggestions?
- Do you like or resonate with them?
Ultimately, the best thing you can do is get really clear on what you want to address in your life, so you can see which coach feels best suited to support you on your journey.
What Life Coaching is Not:
It’s important to have clear expectations going into coaching, so you don’t become frustrated or impatient by the process.
- Coaching is NOT about immediate results. Often, it can take a few sessions or more to get clear on goals and to figure out and implement the best steps to achieve them.
- It should NOT be considered primary treatment for mental health conditions.
- Coaching is NOT “just” talking. It is having empowering and strategic conversations to prompt action and change.
- Coaching is NOT “just for people who can’t succeed on their own.” Far from it. People from all walks of life — star athletes, CEOs, business executives, entrepreneurs, stay-at-home parents, and more — benefit from coaching. Coaching is best suited for anyone who has the desire to elevate their life, whether that’s in their relationships, careers, or daily life.
Coaching with Me, Rachel Leeman-Munk.
I consider myself a life and career coach for women in tech, although lately I’ve been calling myself that little angel on my client’s shoulders.
I leverage my experience as a full-stack senior software engineer to help my clients:
- Find mentors
- Build relationships with coworkers, and higher-ups that support career development
- Improving communication and networking skills
- Learn to take action, even in the face of self-doubt and fear
- Give themselves permission to dream again and uncover opportunities that excite them
- Boost self-confidence and learn to own their strengths
- Build career plans
- Set goals and identify steps to achieve them
- Uncover false or limiting beliefs holding clients back from their full potential
- Learn positive ways of dealing with stressors, to reduce stress, burnout, and anxiety
- Develop new, more positive and empowering mindsets that invite greater clarity, fulfillment, and happiness in my client’s lives
My mission as a coach is to help my clients build thriving careers in tech that make them feel confident, empowered, and excited to wake up every day.
If we work together, here’s what you can expect in our times together:
Lots of joy and laughter.
I believe it’s empowering to laugh at our mistakes as it makes life not as stressful or pressure-inducing. My clients often take life and themselves very seriously, so I like bringing joy and laughter that can ease the pressure and show them they can feel good without sacrificing their goals.
A “no such thing as mistakes” approach to coaching.
You are absolutely magical. When we work together, I aim to create a safe space where you can be 110% yourself. There is no judgment, just support. Consider me your biggest cheerleader, spurring you on from the sidelines.
I help you learn to trust your inner compass.
No one knows you better than you know yourself. You already have all the tools, expertise, and capabilities to grow your career in whichever way you choose within you. My job is to ask incisive questions so you can find the answer that’s right for your career path, and to give support and actionable advice to help you actualize your dreams.
Advice based on first-hand experience.
As a woman in tech myself, I’ve been through a lot of the experiences my clients have. Imposter syndrome, perfectionism, people pleasing, feeling lost in my career, feeling unvalued and burnt out, struggling to find a mentor, and more.
Deep listening, visualizations, reality checks, and more.
I use a variety of techniques to support my clients as they free themselves from negative cycles of thought and cultivate self-trust and the confidence to build the career of their dreams.