What is a life coach?

by Amy  - December 15, 2022

In my opinion, there is no correct or incorrect answer to this question. 

Life coaching is a completely unregulated field. Anybody can say that they are a life coach. 

I am a certified life coach. 

This means I took a course to learn how to be a coach. 

Certification is totally unregulated and many many many people offer these certifications. 

Some organizations take themselves very seriously and try to present themselves as official keepers of a standard. 

That is a total fabrication that they have set out for themselves. There’s not an agency or group that I know of that sets standards for any of this. 

It’s very loosy-goosey. Like the wild west. 

Grab my book, Blend! by Amy Stone

What does it mean to be a certified life coach?

Now I’m going to talk about me as a life coach. What do I mean when I say I’m a certified life coach?

I was certified by the University for Life Coach Training. This program was created by my mentor Susan Hyatt. 

When I say that I’m certified it means that I completed the curriculum. 

Completing the curriculum. I completed the coursework, I attended the classes and did the assignments. I demonstrated that I understood the work and I completed practice coaching hours.

That’s what it means when I say that I’m a certified life coach.

I have not taken all the available certifications but my guess is that each one is a little different.

Before I was a life coach I did running and triathlon coaching as a side-hustle. I had worked with life coaches as a client. I had hired life coaches for myself. I experienced a wide-range of results. Some were amazing, some not so great. Some were expensive and some were cheap. 

In my personal case, I started this process to learn about life coaching because I wanted to learn tools to help clients on things like motivation, and feelings of personal satisfaction when they achieved goals. These are things I wanted to do and didn’t have tools. That’s what got me in the door. I learned that and much more. 

The way I selected my coaching program was that I chose one of the people who I most respected as a coach and I went to her school of coaching.

The impact of what I learned during my certification and how I apply it is also connected to my life experience and all the things I have obsessively learned and studied as an adult. I think I have a big toolbox of things that I offer my clients as a coach.

One of the things that appeals to me about life coaching is that it can be result oriented. 

I work with my clients to get results. Sometimes this is called transformation. Not all life coaches may see it this way. This is how I do things.

Life coaching for me is driven by the client. The client determines what they want. As a coach I help you create your path to get there.

One of my mentors offered this as a lesson that before the word coach was used to describe work it was a vessel that moved people from place to place. A person would get into the coach…a stagecoach and go from one spot to the other. That’s a decent visual to understand the process. 

What does a life coach do?

What a life coach does is sometimes different from some other types of professions where you may hire a person to do the work for you. For example, If you hire a plumber they do the work. If you hired a plumber and you told them the drain was clogged and they handed you a list of suggestions for ways you could formulate a plan to unclog the drain … that may not make you happy. 

The answer to the question of what coaches do can vary from coach to coach. 

Some life coaches are very specific in how and what they coach. You can find coaches who work on decluttering spaces or changing dietary habits. It can be very specific. Other coaches are more generalists. To make this even more vague coaches often change their focus from year to year. It’s allowed. You don’t even have to ask permission.

Some life coaches are process-oriented. They may teach a process to their clients. This process may be a licensed program that they learned from the person who invented it. 

Some coaching programs train coaches in specific modalities. A modality is a tool that the coach uses. This is common in parenting coaches. They might coach a specific method of parenting like gentle parenting. You would hire that coach to learn that style of parenting. Many life coaches are cross-trained in other healing modalities like breathwork or energy healing. A well-known example of a modality is NLP.

There is nothing right or wrong about any of these. I simply offer them up to you for awareness.

I am a certified life coach. I created my own process that I use with my clients to get the results that they want.  I talk to my clients in person, over zoom and on the phone for 1:1 coaching. I also offer resources where the client can get the information and do the work themselves.

I’m always happy to talk to people about what I do, how I do it and whether I’m a good fit.

I think these are perfectly fine questions to ask before you hire a person as a helper. 

Whether or not I’m any good as a life coach is really a question for my clients.  I think that this is true for many things. This is why so many coaches share testimonials.

I hope that this was helpful in understanding what it means to say “I am a life coach.”

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Amy Stone (she/her/hers) is a life coach who helps adults in blended families. She is a mom, step-mom and a step-grandma. Other random fun facts include that She is a 7-time Ironman triathlon finisher and many many marathons and shorter races. She created amysaysso.com.

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