The life coach school natalie bacon image

The life coaching industry is exploding.

Yet, if you’re not quite sure what a life coach is, you’re not alone.

Life coaching today is like the beginning of the physical fitness boom of the ’80s — it’s just getting started.

If you care about your emotional and mental health, this episode will help you understand how life coaching can improve your life.

I never thought life coaching would have such a profound impact on my life. But it has.

In the last year, I’ve gone from knowing nothing about life coaching, to getting coached, to becoming a Certified Life Coach.

It’s been nothing short of an amazing journey.

To learn how life coaching has changed my life and why you might need a life coach, listen to this episode.

Here are more of my favorite resources for this episode:

Full What Is A Life Coach Episode Transcript

Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life podcast where it’s all about designing your life on your terms and now your host, Natalie Bacon.

Hello welcome to this super, super special episode. What is a life coach? I am so pumped to talk with you today about it and I’m not even just saying that like normal, but I, I just feel like I am asked so often like what is a life coach now that I am a certified life coach that I really just want to do an episode about life coaching so you can understand what it is.

You may or may not have any experience with life coaching. But I’m telling you, life coaching is a game changer and I really think that this episode will help you understand more about life coaching and how it applies to you even if you don’t think that life coaching is something that you need or want. I think that you’ll get really good information in this episode that might surprise you.

So I want to back up and just tell you a little bit more about my story with life coaching. It kind of all started when I was going through a breakup at the end of 2017 and just feeling so sad and lost and I was going to therapy for it and she was great. My therapist was amazing. She was a psychologist, like brilliant woman, loved her, and I went to her for a couple months and then I randomly stumbled upon life coaching and I stumbled upon The Life Coach School podcast and literally binge listen to all 200 episodes in two weeks.

And I think like snapped out of my breakup like a week later, like it was night and day. The life coaching tools that I learned just and applied to my life just from that podcast alone shifted the way that I was thinking and the way that I felt in a way that like I had never experienced before and that I didn’t know was possible.

So immediately of course I went all in with learning about life coaching and this was just last year and I am now a certified life coach, which is something I never thought that I would be until I learned all the awesome tools about life coaching. Cause I always thought it was like a weird kind of like an airy fairy, very like um, spiritual sort of thing. And I’m just not really into that stuff.

So I just kind of stayed away from it and I didn’t really think I needed it. But it turns out that life coaching is not like that at all and it’s super fantastic and action packed and oriented and really can change your life for the better. So I spent the last year learning everything I could from The Life Coach School, which ultimately resulted in me going through the coach certification training program at The Life Coach School, which involved going to an in person training for six days, followed by three months of coaching where I did peer to peer coaching.

I was involved in like a course practicum. I had to pass two exams. I had to coach clients for free and submit recordings of them. I had to do video, I had to be coached by other coaches, and then I had to kind of be graded on my coaching, which was in front of a group, uh, multiple times.

So it was a really interesting process because I thought it would just be the in person training and that would be it. And the three months after was really where I developed so much as a coach, which I’m really proud of. And then at the beginning of the year, after going through all of that, I passed everything and became certified. So of course the reason I did this was not to have another certification because I just, I’m so over tests and certifications that I can’t even tell you how much I’m done with them.

But the reason that I did it was because I wanted to know exactly how to help people the way that I had been helped, like through this life coaching versus just through like reading books and going to therapy and learning personal development. Like I always felt like a good teacher of personal development, but I didn’t feel like I had the skills to coach kind of like, if you, know Tony Robbins or Brendon Burchard, or if you know Brooke Castillo, there’s a certain skill of coaching that’s a very different that these life coaches use that I was missing in my career.

So that is really why I went through the certification program and what I gained from being certified, which I’m super, super excited about. But this still kind of leaves the question that I get from a lot of people, which is like what is a life coach? People really think it’s like a very like pretentious or mysterious or only for like affluent people or something.

Like, it’s really, it’s really interesting when I say that I am a certified life coach or success coach. Something like that. The reactions I get. But what I want to start with is to compare life coaching to therapy because I think it will give you a better sense, uh, using that kind of analogy. So when you go to therapy in general, it’s very past focus. So you seeking to heal like wounds from your past and it’s usually diagnostic based, which means that you’re diagnosing a non-functioning problem that needs to be solved, right?

So you have a problem, you go to a therapist, they’re like in order for it to, you know, go through insurance and all this stuff, like they’re going to write down like what the problem is and seek a diagnosis and seek to solve the problem. It is focused on the past and how your past is affecting your present.

There are many different types of therapy and each type of therapy is different. But in general it’s a very past focused and the key is to kind of reveal the subconscious thinking and see how your past is affecting your life right now and kind of how to solve for that. It’s kind of like, I like to think of it as like going from dysfunctional to functional. So you’re likely to talk a lot about your childhood and past and it’s kind of like rolling around in the mud sometimes it kind of feels like.

But it is so, so useful and beneficial and I am a huge proponent of therapy and think it can be really, really helpful. What I see happening is because therapy is so mainstream, it’s like people who don’t necessarily need therapy don’t know about life coaching. So they go to therapy. That’s the problem that I see the most.

So contrast this with life coaching, which is a very, very future focused. So you’re going from functional to like exceptional, right? So with therapy it’s like dysfunctional to functional and then like once you’re functional, you use life coaching to go functional to like the next level.

You’re not going to talk much about your childhood or your past or your subconscious. In life coaching, it is very, very future focused. So again, I’ve gone to therapy, I love therapy. I think it’s really, really useful. But I think like in my opinion, going to therapy is really useful for whatever you need to like resolve in your past. Whatever you’re feeling like dysfunctional about to get you to that like functional place.

But then I think people just don’t know about life coaching. So what happens is they just stay in therapy thinking it’s going to like help and it really just doesn’t, it’s just like more rolling around in the mud. Like you need to like have life coaching that takes you from like functional to like exceptional. So it takes you to the next level.

And this is the mistake I see a lot of like my peers doing. It’s like there’s not like a diagnosis necessarily. They’re just not familiar with life coaching. So they’re going to therapy, but it’s like not really helping. Like it’s always helpful to, to have like talk therapy, just like talk to someone. I definitely think that’s like helpful. Um, but it’s nowhere near what you’re going to get with like life coaching.

So in my opinion, you go to therapy if you’re non-functioning and then once you’re functional you kind of go to life coaching. That’s where life coaching takes over. Something else that’s unique about life coaching is that it’s an unregulated industry. Pros and cons to this, right? It’s like a low bar to entry, which is amazing.

You can just start your life coaching practice and call yourself a life coach today. But also that means there’s a really high standard to pass for you to be like really, really good, right? So you know, you really want to make sure you are an exceptional life coach if you’re going to hold yourself out that way because anyone can do it and you want to set yourself apart.

And if you’re hiring a life coach, this just means that you have to do your research, you have to get a referral, you have to know what type of life coach you’re hiring. It’s going to be paid for out of pocket probably. It’s not, your insurance isn’t going to cover it, you know? So pros and cons to this, therapists are regulated. That’s a regulated industry. A lot of people like that and there’s like a sense of like security or something with that I think.

But totally different types of help. In my opinion. There are also many different types of life coaches. Each type is going to have a totally different approach. So for example, you might go to a life coach that’s going to encourage accountability and going to tell you exactly what you should do in your life.

That is not the type of life coach I am the type of life coach I am practices more of like causal coaching. So the, you know, type of life coaching session I would do would be more about finding the cause of your problem and finding what you’re thinking about your life so that you can start to, you know, coach yourself and see how your thoughts and beliefs are causing the results that you have in your life.

I think hiring a life coach or a therapist for that matter, it’s kind of like getting a car and you need to test drive. So just because you go to one therapist or one life coach and it’s not a hit, does not mean that therapy or life coaching is not working for you. It just might mean that it’s a bad fit. It’s not the make and model that you want to hire.

Everyone has a different personality and you really, really want to make sure that you’re matched with someone who you can connect with and feel like you’re moving forward with. So don’t think that you know, you’re just stuck with whoever you have your first session with. I think you should really make sure that you feel really, really good about it and that you’re getting a lot of value from it. So you know, just know that with life coaching and therapists and whatever else, just shop around until it’s a good fit. Okay.

Another thing that I want to point out about life coaching is this analogy with fitness. Before the 1980s no one was really going to the gym, right? There was this fitness like boom and the 80s and everyone started working out, and today if you don’t belong to a gym, you are part of like a very small minority of people. Gym is Gym Life is just part of our culture today, or exercising or fitness in some way, even if it’s not the gym, right?

It’s just a very common thing. Like the physical fitness is a big part of our lives. Well, I kind of think that’s how life coaching is for mental health today. And I think we are just at the start of, uh, the boom of life coaching and our mental and emotional health and wellbeing. I think that people will start to have life coaches and just like they have gym membership. Um, and here’s kind of why. So, and this kind of goes to to why you probably need a life coach.

We’ve like reached this point in our own like human evolution where we basically have it all so we don’t have to leave the cave and go kill for food. And we’re in general not like having to look over our shoulder to protect ourselves against, you know, killers or being attacked by a bear. Right?

We’re in air conditioned houses and we are contemplating what to do with our lives, but the brain is still the same. So we seek pleasure, avoid pain, and aim to be efficient. This is the way your brain is wired. It’s called the motivational triad. So at any time you are going to seek pleasure, avoid pain, aim to be efficient. This was actually really great when we were in the cave and we had to kill food and we had to protect ourselves from dying and we had to make sure that we were conserving our energy and all that stuff, right?

But the way that that manifests in modern society is that we are seeking pleasure to avoid emotional pain. So your brain doesn’t know the difference between fea that’s emotional fear and fear that is like a tiger is coming at me.

We don’t have to avoid physical pain that much anymore, but our brains just don’t know the difference. So we avoid feeling negative emotion by over eating, over, working, over, drinking over Netflixing, all that over screen time. Right? What’s the worst that happens if you don’t do that? It’s that you feel a negative emotion. So what’s happening is we’re becoming addicted to pleasure because we’re seeking pleasure, right? All of the, the things that we like, food shopping, you name it. Instead of learning how to experience negative emotion. So life coaching, at least the kind that I do is the solution to this problem.

It shows you how to live your life to the fullest from a place of inner wellbeing, not external pleasure. Okay? It’s a very, very different than anything I’ve ever experienced or learned about or heard of. And it is literally a life changer because I’m telling you, I see it all the time.

It’s like we don’t know how to experience negative emotion. And it’s so funny because that sounds so like quote unquote soft, but it is the opposite of soft. Because if you look around, most people, including the toughest people you know, are reacting, resisting, or avoiding all of their emotional pain, right?

So the guy who is really, really mad and yelling, he’s not experiencing anger, he’s resisting and reacting to that feeling of anger. So any emotion is just like a vibration in your body. That’s it. Isn’t that fascinating? So next time you feel a negative emotion, just notice yourself feeling it and separate yourself from that emotion and just notice it without reacting, resisting, or avoiding to it.

So it’s like that feeling of negative emotion and then you go and you binge eat or you feel like you need to go watch a show to make yourself feel better. You’re escaping the negative emotion. Well, life coaching, it teaches you how to experience the negative emotion and experience all your emotions so that you can create this inner sense of wellbeing and peace just the way that you want for your life.

And it doesn’t mean that you never experienced negative emotion. It means that you learn how to experience negative emotion and you don’t seek external pleasures to kind of mask it, if that makes sense. So here are some examples of why you would hire a life coach. So let’s say you feel like you’ve attained everything you set out for, but you’re kind of feeling blah and you don’t know what’s next.

This is what I see a lot. You know, you go to college, you might get married and have kids, you might switch jobs and like no matter what, it’s just not like you just like, you think you should be happy but you’re just like, not like what, like there’s gotta be more. That’s what I hear a lot. Like you just aren’t that fulfilled.

This is like exactly what life coaching is for. Like there’s really no like problem, like you might think there’s a problem but it’s like not really, it’s not a diagnostic problem in terms of like being dysfunctional. It’s just like you’re not that satisfied or it might be something like very specific that you want help with. You want to change careers and you know exactly which field you want to transition into, but you just need that push and that help to do it.

You want to lose weight so you could hire a life coach who specializes in weight loss. You want better relationships. It could be with your kids, it could be with your friends, it could be with your marriage. You want to improve your financial life. You want more work life balance. You know you want to start or grow a business, you want to improve your communication skills, you feel unfulfilled and want more for your life.

These are all examples of why you would hire a life coach, but you know the reasons why are kind of endless, it’s just something that I never even imagined we’d be applicable to me. And I can’t even tell you how much it has improved my life. Some of the most famous life coaches, in my opinion, would be Tony Robbins. He’s like the O G, the original gangster of life coaching.

Brendan Bouchard. Another guy, he calls himself a success coach. He’s a life coach, amazing. Brooke Castillo, founder of the life coach school. Okay, look those people up, they are fantastic, very good at what they do. So if you’re thinking about life coaching or kind of wondering what a life coaching session might be like each, you know, life coach is gonna run her program and session very differently.

You may find that your life coach does life coaching on the phone or over like zoom or Skype video, like a video, an online platform or they do it through email. Like it could be written. It doesn’t necessarily have to be through you know verbal communication. The first session might be totally introductory, just getting to know you, seeing if it’s a good fit. It could be something else. The following sessions might be part of a program.

If you’re doing one-to-one coaching, maybe you hire a weight loss coach. You might do like a six week program for a specific, you know, weight loss target or it could be more general like goal oriented just to work on whatever goal that you have. Could be like a money program, whatever it is.

Another way is to do it not through one to one coaching but to do it through like a monthly subscription based, you know, membership coaching program, which would be like group coaching. This is actually what I’m going to be doing. I am going to be launching a personal development coaching program for creative, ambitious women.

It’s going to be called Grow You. This is going to be a membership coaching program, so if you’re interested in getting on the wait list for that to get more information, you can go to and sign up for the waitlist there, but it’s basically going to be a membership program where you pay a membership fee and you get monthly life coaching on a different topic.

It’s going to be all types of personal development topics, so one month might be goal setting. The next month might be money mindset. The next month might be entrepreneurship, you know the next month might be relationships, whatever it’s going to be like that. So every month will be different and you’ll get access to me to ask me questions.

You will get once a month teaching lesson where you can get on the call. Everyone gets on the call and hear me teach. You will see me on video as well. You will get to be coached by me. You can volunteer to be coached and there’s going to be a lot more bonuses and content and it’s going to be in an online platform that’s actually being built right now. So again, if you’re interested get on the waitlist for Grow You. That is just another way to get life coaching.

It is like the field of life coaching is so vast and it’s growing so quickly. It just amazes me as part of being a certified life coach at The Life Coach School, I have access to hundreds of thousands actually even of life coaches who have all gone through this program and they are all so successful and all running their own businesses and it’s just so amazing to see all their businesses just like booming.

It’s super, super exciting and I am so energized by it. I think that life coaching is a total life changer. I think that if you are kind of feeling like blah, but you want to take your life to the next level and you want a coach to help you do it, life coaching is 110% the way to go. It’s something that I never thought I would be doing and something I’m so, so, so appreciative that I found, especially in the way that I found out.

Like I said, I’m not really into like more of the like the lighter and more spiritual guided meditative practices. So this type of coaching is very action packed and it’s done in a way that I feel like really, really strongly about and I am so, so grateful that it has come into my life in this way.

And I’ve been able to take my experience from being an attorney and a certified financial planner and kind of weave it all together to come up with what will now be probably a main leg of my business by this time next year. I’m thinking it really will be, which is super exciting. Um, so if you have any questions for me about life coaching, you can send them to [email protected] and we will absolutely get back to, I think that you know, there’s just so much out there about life coaching that people don’t know.

So I’m happy to answer any questions. And again, if you want to sign up from the wait list to hear more about Grow You later in the year, you can do that. All right. It is an honor and a privilege to be a certified life coach from The Life Coach School. And I hope that this lesson helped you understand a little bit more about life coaching. All right, I will see you in the next one. Make it an amazing

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