In Australia, life coaching has become increasingly popular over the last decade or so. It's a term you'll probably have heard multiple times — but how many people actually know what it means? What is life coaching exactly? Who needs it and why? Who provides it?
To answer the 'what is it?' question — life coaching is about getting help to identify professional or personal goals and work out (and on) the strategies needed to achieve them.
Simple — right?
Not really, hence the 'coaching' part of 'life coaching'.
Luckily, Superprof is here to untangle the ins and outs of life coaching and provide a little advice on what to look out for and where to go if you feel you need some life coaching in Melbourne.
Are There Different Types of Life Coaching?
As with sports coaches, life coaches have specific areas they specialise in, so knowing exactly what area you need 'coaching' in will help you narrow your search.
Some of the specialty areas covered by life coaches include:
- health and wellness coaching
- relationship coaching
- career coaching
- business coaching
- executive coaching
- life stages coaching
Coaches can work with you over a short period of time, or maintain contact for a year or more.
Some coaches may work with an entire team of people, providing training courses and development targeted at specific skills or group outcomes; others may only work with individual clients.
Each coach's approach will be different, however, at all times, the experience will be tailored to best meet the needs of the clients.
Why Would I Need a Life Coach?
First and foremost, life coaching is not therapy. While some of their training in grounded in psychology, a life coach is not a replacement for a psychologist in that they are generally not equipped to deal with mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety or trauma.
What life coaching offers is an insight into personal or professional issues that may be preventing clients from reaching their full potential or achieving their goals when it comes to health, wellness, business, leadership or relationships. The coach's job is to help clients with the development of strategies to overcome blocks to success.
If you are looking for someone who will provide you with the answers to your questions and tell you what you should do, then you'll be disappointed. Odds are, you'd be better off with a business consultant, a personal trainer or a mentor.
On the other hand, if you're looking for someone who offers support, asks you guiding questions and encourages you to arrive at a solution yourself and then initiate it, then you're definitely in the market for a life coach.
Life coaching is a great option for people who want a little more motivation to move forward with their career or health goals but don't have the experience or training to do it themselves. This type of learning may involve anything from skills development to positive mindset coaching.
What Qualities Should I Look for in a Life Coach?
Once you've made the decision to engage a life coach, regardless of the area in which you need support, the most important thing to remember is that this person is someone with whom you will be sharing your goals, your fears, your concerns, your challenges and, ultimately, your successes. For this reason, the life coach you choose must be, above all else, someone you feel comfortable with and can trust.
Other factors to look for to ensure you get the most out of your life coaching sessions include:
- type of interaction — does the coach work online, face-to-face, via email or a combination (and which method suits you the best)?
- availability — is the coach flexible with meeting times AND will they get back to you in a timely manner?
- membership — is the coach a member of a professional association, such as the International Coaching Federation (ICF)?
- credentials — what qualifications or experience does the coach have?
Regarding the latter two points, the life coaching industry in Australia is largely unregulated — meaning that anyone can call themselves a life coach. Even the wording, 'certified life coach' doesn't necessarily mean much in professional terms as there are multiple online courses, easily accessed for less than $100, that apparently give the students a level of training. If you're willing to pay for the service, professional accredited life coaches usually have Certificate IV, Diploma, Bachelor or Masters qualifications in coaching and may also have degrees in relevant disciplines, such as psychology.
That being said, there are also many 'certified' coaches with vast personal and professional experience in areas such as the health and fitness industry or in small business, who, through their experience and approach, and the rapport they can build with clients, are excellent life coaches as well.
As a rule of thumb — trust your instinct a little. If you feel positive after your initial meeting with a potential life coach, you may find they are the right coach for you, regardless of price.
Where Do I Start Looking for a Life Coach in Melbourne?
With the abundance of life coaches out there, choosing the right coach for you may seem overwhelming. Just try entering 'life coaching in Melbourne' into your internet browser, and you'll be hit with page upon page of professional looking websites — both coaching companies and individuals — claiming to be the best people to help you.
How do you choose?
Word of mouth can be a great way to find a life coach. Mention that you're looking for a coach and people will talk — if people you know have been working with a life coach, ask them what their experience was. Quiz them on the coach's approach to sessions. Ask if they feel they are getting value for money. If people have had a fantastic experience with their coach — they'll want to tell you about it. And the same if they haven't.
Ask to see testimonials from past clients.
A written testimonial is nearly as good as a personal conversation with former clients, and often much better than relying on the business owner saying how brilliant they are.
Tutor profiles on Superprof often include testimonials from past students or clients. At the time of writing this article, there are 28 offers on the Superprof platform from people, in and around Melbourne, who are working in the life coaching field. The type of life coaching listed includes:
- religious, spirituality and moral belief coaching — $75 an hour, online or face-to-face
- health, diet and body image coaching — $60 an hour, in person and online
- mindfulness and holistic therapy coaching — $40 an hour, online and at your home
- business and career coaching — $36 an hour (plus $15 per session, travel fee), online or at your home.
Life Coaching Melbourne
This company has a team of 21 life coaches, specialising in a range of fields, including resilience, relationships, positive psychology, business, career, leadership, parenting, empowerment and health and wellness. They will analyse your needs through an initial series of meetings before matching you with a coach.
Specialising in corporate and leadership coaching, Inspire Tribe and their coaching team have undertaken the development of a unique program, The EQ Code, which seeks to reduce the friction of relationships in the work and team environment and maximise growth in leadership.
Carolyn's key words as a coach are: vitality, clarity and energy. More than a personal trainer or nutritionist, her goal as a 'health and wellness designer' and mind/body coach is to help men and women live the best version of their life.
Low Cost or Free Options
We acknowledge that not everyone is in a position to be able to afford personal life coaching — which often requires a 6-12 month commitment at the outset. This, however, does not mean that you have to miss out.
Group Classes or Courses
Many life coaches will offer group sessions, meaning you are not only sharing the cost of each session but also learning from valuable group discussion and building a network of like-minded people.
Speak to your supervisor or boss about organising team and individual coaching sessions to help meet professional company goals — free for employees, beneficial for the company.
Small Business Networks
If you're a small business owner, joining a small business network is a great way of getting some informal coaching in all aspects of your business.
Your local community college or centre may run low cost or free sessions with health and wellness coaches, relationship coaches or other areas of community interest. In addition, groups such as U3A or youth groups also run free or nominal cost seminars and workshops on a regular basis, many of which will be about relevant health issues or lifestyle choices.
The future depends on what we do in the present.
~ Mahatma Gandhi ~