June 18

5 Things Coaching Is Not


Life coaching as a career has grown exponentially in recent years. More and more people are being exposed to the power of coaching to help produce results in their lives. Increasing numbers of professionals are drawn to this career field because of the many opportunities to help others while being in control of your own success.

Coaches may be more prevalent than ever before; however, there are so many misconceptions about what it is a coach can and cannot do for their clients. If you are a coach, you’ve probably had to correct many people who mistakenly think you’re a therapist or counselor. These misconceptions can make it hard for people to truly understand if coaching will meet their needs both as a coach and as a client.

In order to gain a better understanding of life coaching, let’s explore five things that coaching is not.

Coaching is not…


Many people mistakenly believe that coaches are the same as mentors. The definition of a mentor is a person who provides guidance to others based on their own experiences. Many people seek mentors in the business world from others who have forged paths in entrepreneurship, marketing, finance or other disciplines. Students also seek mentors to help them identify their career and purpose. 

Coaches do not provide advice or guidance to clients. Rather, they help their clients come to their own solutions through a series of tools and techniques. The coaching relationship is more about working together to help the client make the right decisions for them. 

Counseling or Therapy

One of the most common misconceptions is that coaches are the same as counselors or therapists. Therapy often deals with the past. Therapists work with clients to explore past experiences and achieve healing and understanding. Coaches tend to focus more on the now and the future. The discipline of coaching is all about helping people from where they are at this moment, and supporting them as they develop and achieve goals for a brighter future.


While clients are likely to learn quite a bit about themselves throughout the coaching process, coaching is not focused on learning. Training, on the other hand, is a learning discipline in which students receive information and knowledge to guide them in better understanding a topic. Coaches focus on the overall development of the individual through the use of tried-and-true tools and techniques.

A Quick Fix 

Clients seek coaching because they need support in overcoming obstacles, achieving goals and making positive changes in their lives. These are lofty tasks that cannot be achieved quickly. Many people mistakenly believe that they can see a coach for one or two sessions and make the progress they want. While there may be circumstances where that’s true, it is not typically the case. The coaching relationship is not a quick fix and requires a great deal of time and energy to truly make the changes that one wants.

For Everyone 

Finally, life coaching is not for everyone. If you are someone who is thinking about getting coaching, you want to ask yourself some very important questions: 

  • Am I willing to put the time and work in to achieve results? 
  • Am I willing to invest time and financial resources into my progress?
  • Do I need support in identifying and creating a strategy to achieve my goals?

If you answered yes to these questions, a life coach may be the right choice for you. If you are wanting success for your future and are willing to put in the time and energy, life coaching can provide you with valuable results. If not, consider if a counselor, therapist or mentor may be better suited to your needs.

Life coaches partner with clients to make changes in their lives. Coaches act as accountability partners and supporters who cheer you on, but also let you know when you are failing to live up to what you’ve committed to. For both those who are seeking a coach and those who are considering becoming a coach, having a better understanding of what coaching is and is not can help guide you in your choice.

Life Purpose Institute is one of the leading life coaching certification programs in the country. To obtain more information about our certification programs, contact our team today to learn more about our flexible education options.

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