What is a Life Coach?
Life coaching is a practice with the stated aim of helping clients determine and achieve personal goals. Life coaches use multiple methods they say may help clients with the process of setting and reaching goals. Coaching is not targeted at psychological illness, and coaches are not therapists nor consultants.
Coaching vs Therapy
Supporters of life coaching say that even though coaching and therapy have similarities, they are not the same thing. Coaching and therapy both focus on helping clients discover their own solutions. Some types of therapy are more similar to life coaching than others. Some therapies are problem-focused, like treatment of a phobia or addiction.
Treatment typically ceases when the symptoms disappear or become manageable for the client. Analysis is another type of therapy. It is long-term and works at uncovering the roots of issues—understanding the client's emotional history and possible past psychological trauma—in order to enable the client to move forward. Thus, there are a wide variety of therapeutic options, ranging from quick and narrowly focused to long and broad-scoped and everything in between, but all are regulated in some countries.
Those life coaches who are part of the evidenced-based coaching movement support the use of coaching techniques based on proven concepts in clinical psychology/counseling. Coaching techniques, like based on the work of Alfred Adler, Gestalt Coaching is based on Gestalt psychology and Reality Coaching based on the work of William Glasser, are emerging based on traditional counseling approaches.