Photo Credit: Tyler Nix,

Since becoming a Certified Life Coach, I’ve enthusiastically taken the opportunity to tell almost everyone I come in contact with about coaching and how it’s helped me to increase confidence and have a more positive mindset.

When I tell people that I’m a coach, I usually get two replies. “I love coaching!” or “What does a life coach do?” It’s actually difficult for me to articulate to others what coaching is and what the amazing benefits are. In fact, on a coaching Facebook page I belong to, one of the most frequent questions is, “How do I tell people what I do?” 

The truth is most of the coaches I know are so excited about the possibilities and opportunities that coaching offers, we kind of trip over ourselves talking about energy levels* and how we help clients to reframe self-destructive thought processes.

As a result, people tend to leave more confused about coaching than when they first inquired. Therefore my purpose today is to explain what coaching is–and what coaching isn’t. I’ll tell you what the benefits are, who might not be a good candidate, and how to discern who’s actually a Certified Life Coach.


First off, I’m going to explain what coaching is NOT.

Certified coaches won’t tell you what to do, what not to do, how to live your life, nor will they give you advice. A Life Coach isn’t similar to a sports coach.

We will not tell you what to do–ever! Certified coaches will ask you specific, empowering questions designed to help you take a deep dive into your subconscious so that you’ll answer your own questions. At that point, you have the liberty of making your own decisions based on your new insights, circumstances, and life goals.

Coaches believe that the client has the answers. We’re just a vehicle to help the client find their strengths, purpose, and vision. Coaches don’t pretend to know what’s best for you. We believe that you have the answers and our questions will help you to get in touch with and trust your own intuition. 


You may have noticed that I’ve used the term “Certified Coaches” in this article. Did you know that anyone can call themselves a coach? You can, your neighbor can, and your Aunt Lilly can. That doesn’t make them a coach–nor does it make them have any idea of how to hold a coaching session.

To receive my coaching certification, I went through a rather difficult and emotionally-taxing nine-month program. I received mentoring from a Certified Professional Coach, online and in-person coaching classes, video classes, coaching calls and lots of homework. After receiving my CPC (Certified Professional Coaching Certification) from iPEC (Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching), I tested and completed my requirements for ACC (Associate Certified Coach) from the International Coaching Federation.

When searching for a coach, look for those certifications and accreditations. If someone says they’re a coach, ask them what certified coaching school they attended and if it’s sanctioned by the ICF. Furthermore, look for a Certified Professional Coach. Life Coach, Parent Coach, or Teen Coach, isn’t necessarily a coach who had coach training.


Not only does coaching help clients to unlock their potential and develop confidence, coaching helps clients to develop needed skills to deal with adversity. Being able to navigate rough waters in new situations is a key to success in life. Many young people have embraced the techniques they’ve learned in coaching sessions to be able to deal with tough situations in college life and in new careers.

Coaches also help clients to look at how negative and judgmental thinking impacts how they look at the world and interact with others. Many clients aren’t even aware of the judgments they hold until they experience coaching. Clients of all ages benefit from exploring how their current thought patterns can hold them back from success and mastering self-confidence. Making even minor changes can bring about major shifts in relationships, self-awareness, and happiness.

Who wouldn’t benefit from coaching?

People with suicidal ideation, severe depression, or mental health issues which wouldn’t enable them to focus on techniques and strategies inherent in the coaching process. Many coaching clients present with anxiety and depression, as well as ADD/ADHD. The techniques and empowerment learned in coaching greatly benefits these clients. Clients can see both a psychiatrist and coach simultaneously, as long as each professional is aware of the other.

Importantly, the relationship between the client and the coach has to be a good fit. This is why most coaches offer a telephone “discovery” session to make that determination. Both the coach and the client have to be able to have open communication and feel comfortable with the each other.

One of the best benefits of coaching is that sessions can be held successfully via phone, Facetime, or Skype–which makes it perfect for busy executives, college students, or those who don’t have certified coaches in their geographical location. 

Interested in hearing how coaching can positively impact your life? See my website:

*Energy Levels-this is an iPEC teaching tool and Attitudinal Index developed by Bruce D Schneider.

Photo Credit: Tyler Nix,