Coaching is a relatively new field, so as you look to hire your first coach, you might be surprised with how many variations of coaches there are to choose from.
There are life coaches, executive coaches, business coaches, career coaches, confidence coaches, fitness and nutrition coaches, swag coaches, female empowerment coaches, life stage based coaches, and so on. While some of these are self-explanatory, you still might be a little confused on which coach you want to spend your money on and invest your time with. The good news is, a good coach can help you with almost anything and the primary differences are boiled down to marketing.
Here’s why I think you should consider a life coach above all (granted, I’m biased) as well as a look at some of the other types of coaches that are out there:
As a life coach, I recognize that the patterns and behaviors that drive success and improvement in one area of your life are the same patterns and behaviors that often drive success in another part of your life. Whether it be romantic relationships, family relationships, career goals, or otherwise, I want to find where you are, figure out where you want to go and why, and then connect that powerful why to some specific steps we can take.
As humans, we are not singularly focused. Our private life affects our business performance and vice versa. So if you are a top performer at work and your performance slips, you or your employer may pair you with a specific business or executive coach. While there are obviously valuable things a business or executive coach can help you with, the root of the problem might be that the usual top performer is sleeping on the couch at home due to constant fighting with his wife. In that case, the solution to a business problem is to improve relationship skills with his wife.
If you’re trying to change your body by losing weight or gaining muscle or changing your dress size, a fitness and nutrition coach might be the right answer. While the fitness and nutrition knowledge that niche coach brings might be the difference maker, what your success usually comes down to is whether or not you can find and alter your destructive patterns of overeating or failing to create habitual workouts. There are great fitness coaches that can help you here, but they are pulling from a general “life coach” playbook by doing so.
Other types of coaches
Executive Coaches: These are essentially life coaches for executives. While business coaches do often have more general knowledge of the business world, they are separating themselves primarily by marketing. After all, they aren’t specialized consultants that know your field as well as you do whom you are paying for business knowledge that you don’t currently possess, they are still coaching you the individual human being standing in front of them. Executive coaches ARE experienced at building rapport with strong personalities and high-worth individuals so they often have an advantage there. They also tend to have a focus on effective leadership business operations that can be helpful in many situations.
Career Coaches: Career coaches tend to really drill down on the specific tasks related finding employment and advancing your career. They specialize in writing resumes, interview skills, and skill assessments. They may be very good at helping you learn how to negotiate. The best career coaches will also possess some of the skills of a life coach. They should be able to ask probing questions to discover your hidden goals and conflicts to help steer you down the optimal career path. Career coaches will often have an extensive background in corporate HR and you will see HR departments absorb a lot of the strategies used by career coaches.
Fitness and Nutrition Coaches: It is rare that people don’t actually know what to do in order to be healthier (though there is always new information in this field), but frequent that people will not do what they know to be good for them and their health goals. A good fitness and nutrition coach will definitely steer you in your health choices, but their main job also overlaps with that of a life coach. They are going to discover your destructive habits and replace them with new habits. They are going to find your “why” and keep you motivated. As with anything, once the why is gone and the purpose is unclear, the goal is lost. They are going to hold you accountable to a plan and a measurable goal. All of these are foundational coaching skills that every coach should have, but you get the bonus of niche tips and tricks.
All coaches are beneficial
What you’ll realize as you work with coaches is that, no matter how specific the marketing or niche, the skillsets are (or at least should be) essentially the same. Life coaches like me try to stay general and practical so we can flow from one area of your life to the next effortlessly (and by hiring a life coach as compared to any other coach you give us license to do so which is very important). Niche coaches will have similar skillsets, but they will also have detailed knowledge and experience with their niche which is also valuable. Their downside is that they sometimes get locked into their particular system of thinking and like to stay in their world where the solution may or may not live.
For those with a lot of resources, you don’t need to limit yourself to one coach. It may serve you to have access to many coaches with different perspectives and angles. For those of you with limited resources, make the title second priority and your ability to connect with a potential coach your top priority.
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Your life coach.