Life coaching has its roots in psychology, it is different to counselling which focus on helping people gain more functionality in their lives. Contemporary life coaching appears to have emerged from humanistic traditions of psychology, such as Maslow, 1954. First, life coaching uses approaches linking thinking, feeling, behavioural and the external environment, with similarities in cognitive behavioural approaches. Second, life coaching is solution focused, focuses on goals rather than the past. Life coaching usually involves the coach who has a specialised subject knowledge in that area in which the coaching takes a personal, holistic approach to personal change and development. Here the client spends some time examining and evaluating his or her own life and then makes life enhancing changes with the support of the coach.
Some examples of the key issues a client may want to address are work-life balance, dealing with stress or incorporating more fitness and healthy eating into one’s daily routine. The client will normally have a goal they want to achieve and the role of the life coach is to conduct conversations in which the coach asks direct and sometimes challenging questions which help the client focus on clarifying and exploring ways to achieve their goals. Some life coaching takes place via skype which has proven successful and is very time efficient or face-to-face sessions. The first session will focus on a goal. Research undertaken by Williams and Davis, 2002, suggest clients could focus on one or two goals. Often, the coach will ask the client to complete a pre-prepared form in detail outlining the benefits and then tailor the session according to the client’s preferences. After the session, a goal-action plan is designed, together with targets, monitoring and evaluation.