What is a life coach?
A life coach is an objective outside eye who takes a client’s best interests to heart (less biased than friends & family). They help you find out exactly what you want for your life and hold you accountable to that best version of you, and point out when you are betraying yourself, your goals or vision.
A coach cheers you on, celebrates your wins, and guides you, either through a customized program made just for you or through their signature process/system, which worked for them and for their clients before. They are often the bridge between where the client is and where they would ideally like to be.
What is coaching, exactly?
Coaching is a broad industry. It is not as regulated as therapy or medicine, but this also allows coaches to serve their clients with fewer barriers and infuse their own style and unique support skills.
Pure coaching, as defined by the ICF (International Coaching Federation), is about powerful listening and questioning of the client that allows them to access their own inner wisdom to find their own answers. It does not give advice or recommendations and specifies that the client talks >70% of the time.
However, many coaches do a blend of coaching, consulting, and mentoring, and DO give advice to guide and support the client towards their goals.
Dr. Toni’s style incorporates all these elements. She prefers the word “holistic healer” over “coach” because she is a healer, hypewoman, wingwoman, confidante, spiritual teacher, and integrative practitioner of both Eastern & Western medical training. However, coaching is NOT medical advice. Due to insurance laws & restrictions, she does not practice medicine through her coaching services.
Is hiring a coach necessary?
In my opinion – no, it’s not necessary. But I do believe that everyone benefits from having a coach, an unbiased, professional change-facilitator who can help them reach their goals faster than they could on their own.
It’s like having an outside eye to read the label on a jar; you cannot see it from inside. A coach often has an astute eye for the client’s strengths, weaknesses, and patterns.
Change is really hard for humans since we like to stay in our comfort zones, and it’s much harder to change without good quality support. We often sabotage ourselves subconsciously, because the primitive survival part of our brains are threatened by growth, even if we work really hard consciously towards our goals, and we may not even be fully aware of how. A coach helps clear these blockages.
How is coaching different from therapy?
Both forms of support can include exploring emotions, past experiences, memories & traumas that shaped us, nervous system regulation, and future planning.
However, coaching focuses on the future more, not just the present or past. The coach & client co-create the client’s ideal future through setting goals, intentions, action steps, accountability, frequent check-in’s, and powerful questioning that lead to insights & breakthroughs during and between sessions.
Coaching can also offer a higher level of support, without barriers from insurance or licensing limitations. Coaches typically work with fewer clients more closely, so they can really give them the time and energy that would most support the changes they want to make (unlike doctors and therapists, because they get to keep what insurance companies take from the fee).
You may also have access to your coach on demand via speed dial or text, ask questions anytime, arrange an emergency session or move it up to sooner more easily. Some coaches offer text analysis support too.
It depends on the level of support you need. Some people need more hand-holding to reach their goals, a service that many therapists cannot provide because of their patient load.
How is coaching different from an accountability partner?
Is a life coach just a glorified accountability partner? No, a coach has had specific training to bring out the best in people and facilitate change.
Unfortunately in an unregulated industry, you can have a wider range of skill levels and expertise, however just as in highly trained fields such as therapy and medicine, there still is a wide range of providers.
Make sure you choose someone you trust and get along with. Some offer a sample session, chemistry call/consultation, refund policy on unused sessions, or satisfaction guarantee.
Also, a coach focuses on only the client’s life, whereas accountability partners help each other in a more balanced way. Coaches also dive deeper due to their training, experience, and expertise.
Why is coaching so expensive ($100+/session)?
Because life coaches are deeply dedicated to their clients; many only take 3-5 clients max at a time, and often they do work in between sessions for their clients, creating custom resources, worksheets, session summary notes, and text support for hours.
Some may offer other mid-level or lower tiers of support, but the support is generally very intimate and high-touch/frequent contact.
It’s because it takes this level of effort and dedication to facilitate change. Change is hard! Both coach and client are fighting uphill battles against the client’s habits, fears, current beliefs, and comfort zone.
Most insurance companies cannot cover coaching unfortunately. Single sessions range from $100-500, and monthly packages/programs can vary from $500/month to $1500/month. Some coaches offer sliding scale or scholarship options.
It also benefits the client because studies have found that when they don’t invest enough financially, they are less likely to complete the work needed to reach the changes they want. What they pay for is their own results, which are often priceless.
It can be hard & scary to invest in yourself, so if this is the biggest or only barrier for you, I’d recommend to set aside a part of your budget automatically for your health, education, and growth each month, and save up over time so that you can work with the person you really want to. There will always be cheaper alternatives, but the quality might vary.
How much can I expect to lean on my coach?
Coaching is a co-creative process, meaning your coach can’t do your work FOR you, but they work WITH you to bring out your best so that you can make the changes you’ve been wanting to make.
You will discuss together what structure works for you but may include daily check-ins, extra emergency sessions, unlimited text support, video or phone calls. Each coach has their own tools and processes such as customized journaling exercises, meditations, somatic work, movement, reflection questions, activities, further reading and resources.
Also, during the course of the coaching program or package, which is typically 3 months minimum to make a real, lasting, significant change, client & coach are always in open communication about what’s working, not working, and tweak the process along the way.
What results does a coach help with?
It depends on the coach and their niche or specialty, if they have one. Some coaches focus more on external goals/outcomes/results (starting a business, making money, changing lifestyles, etc), and others focus more on internal or less tangible results (feeling better, improved relationships, better mental health, etc).
For some clients who grew up with emotionally immature parents, a coach is the mirror, encourager, and unconditional positive regard they always needed to develop into their best self.
Some are lucky enough to have amazing family & friends who do that for them. For those who don’t, there is no shame in hiring a coach, therapist, mentor, or other kind of support person to be dedicated to you, your growth and healing. In fact, it’s a thing to be CELEBRATED, that you value yourself that highly to invest in you, your health and the things you want for your life!
For more information, you may review this sample coach-client contract HERE.
Apply for a consultation or free sample coaching session with Dr. Toni below: