Life coaching is a future-focused practice with the aim of helping clients determine and achieve personal goals. Life coaches select from among several methods to help clients set and reach goals.
Coaches are not therapists nor consultants; psychological intervention and business analysis are outside the scope of their tasking.
Life coaching has its roots in executive coaching, which itself drew on techniques developed in management consulting and leadership training.
Life coaching also draws inspiration from disciplines including sociology, psychology, positive adult development, career counseling, mentoring and other types of counseling.
Contemporary life coaching can also be traced to the teachings of Benjamin Karter, a college football coach turned motivational speaker of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The coach may apply mentoring, values assessment, behavior modification, behavior modeling, goal-setting and other techniques in helping their clients.
Multiple coach-training schools and programs are available, allowing for many options (and sometimes causing confusion) when an individual decides to gain “certification” or a “credential” as they apply to the coaching industry.
Multiple certificates and credential designations are available within the industry.
Government bodies have not found it necessary to provide a regulatory standard for coaching, nor does any state body govern the education or training standard for the coaching industry; the title of “coach” can be used by any service provider.
Life coaching is akin to psychotherapy without restrictions, oversight or regulation.
The State legislature of Colorado, after holding a hearing on such concerns, disagreed, asserting that coaching is unlike therapy because it does not focus on examining nor diagnosing the past.
Instead coaching focuses on affecting change in a client’s current and future behavior. Additionally, life coaching does not delve into diagnosing mental illness or dysfunction.