What are the different types of coaching (and which is right for me)?

We explain more about the different types of coaching, and how working with a coach can help to increase your confidence, redefine your goals, and guide you towards your true potential.

The coaching industry has exploded in popularity in recent years. In the US, life coaching is the second fastest-growing industry after IT. In the UK, there are now over 370,000 coaching professionals. Yet despite the growing interest in coaching, many people aren’t sure where to start. With so many different types of coaching available (and just as many different price points for single sessions, packages, and block bookings), how do you know the right coaching style for you?

What is coaching (and what can it help me with)?

Coaching (often referred to as life coaching) can refer to any process where a coach helps support you in making positive changes, learning new skills, and setting or achieving goals. A coach may work with you in person, online, or over the phone. Ultimately, a coach aims to help you make progress in one or more areas of your life (personal or professional).

A coach is there to help you make changes, discover more about yourself, and set goals, through using techniques such as questioning, active listening, observation, and reflection. The idea is that, over time, this helps you to gain a greater sense of self-awareness and personal insight, thanks to working with a non-judgemental, unbiased coach.

With help and support, you can discover a sense of clarity, direction, and focus. Many find that coaching can help boost their confidence, self-worth, and self-esteem. By working with someone, it can be easier to feel motivated, as you create a sense of accountability. You can also learn new skills, and discover new techniques and approaches to help you improve different areas of your life, from building emotional resilience and setting healthy boundaries, to setting career or financial goals.

What can’t coaching do?

In order for coaching to work, you need to be committed and open to the process. If you aren’t ready to make changes, or aren’t willing to put in the time and effort needed, you aren’t going to see the results.

If you’re in the right mindset, and find a coach that you feel comfortable being open and honest with, coaching can be a life-changing experience offering numerous benefits.

It’s important to remember that, while many coaches can help with wellbeing issues, coaching and counselling are not the same. If you are struggling with ill mental health, addiction, trauma, or other serious concerns, it is important to work with someone who is trained to help within that area.

Here we share more details about the different kinds of coaching on offer, and how you can figure out which one is right for you.

Health and wellness coaching

When you think about improving your health and wellbeing, what first comes to mind? Practising mindfulness, working with a nutritionist, talking with a therapist? There are so many different kinds of professionals, and different wellbeing paths you can take. But have you considered working with a health coach?

Health coaches can help you to feel motivated and supported in living a healthier life. Acting as supportive mentors, they can work with you as you make changes to your food choices and overall lifestyle. A type of life coaching, health coaches can also help with a wide variety of issues, including weight management, career development, managing relationship issues, stress, and general wellness.

Working with a wellness coach can also offer you clarity, motivation, and accountability, which many people find can be particularly beneficial in getting started on their journey. While some coaches use the terms health and wellness coach interchangeably, wellness coaches in particular take a more holistic approach, while health coaches tend to focus more on physical changes (e.g. improving fitness or managing your weight).

Personal development coaching

If you’re looking to increase your self-awareness, set new or reassess your life goals, personal challenges, or long-standing aspirations, personal development coaching could be for you.

The goal of personal development coaching is to help you to assess your strengths and weaknesses to improve specific areas of your life, whilst setting or working towards specific goals, challenges, or aspirations. You may also be encouraged to assess your emotional wellbeing, considering other areas such as your happiness, state of mind, and relationships.

As with other areas of coaching, a personal development coach isn’t there to directly tell you what to do, but they can help guide and support you through developing a tailored personal development plan, allowing you to set more realistic, attainable goals you can work towards outside of your sessions.

If you are looking to improve your confidence, self-esteem, motivation or energy levels, be happier, develop specific skills, or learn how to communicate better, personal development coaching could be for you.

Financial coaching

Talking about our finances can still seem pretty taboo. Many of us lack confidence in our financial literacy or find ourselves feeling higher levels of stress, anxiety or disturbed sleep due to worrying about our finances. Money worries can affect our overall sense of security and wellbeing – especially if we have subconscious limiting beliefs, that may affect how we view our own money and ability to manage it.

A financial coach offers an outside perspective to talk confidentially about any areas in which you may feel uncomfortable or need additional help. They can help you to better understand your relationship with money, helping you to feel more comfortable and confident in your knowledge and understanding of your finances.

It’s important to remember that a financial coach is not a financial advisor. They aren’t there to tell you how to spend or invest your money. Instead, they can help you to discover self-limiting beliefs, and support you in identifying and fixing any gaps in your knowledge.

Financial coaches cal also help you to set goals and learn how to plan for your financial future, help you to better understand your financial needs if you are looking to start or expand your business, tackle finance-related anxieties or fears, help you to better understand things that may be affecting your credit score, as well as to feel more confident in your understanding of your finances.

Coaches can also help you when faced with redundancy by helping you to clarify your career direction, set meaningful goals, and figure out the next steps to take. If you are considering retirement, a coach can help you to plan how to make the transition from work to retirement, talk through your feelings and expectations about this upcoming change, as well as set goals and figure out what changes you hope to make once retired.

Career coaching

Starting the path towards the career we want is a great first step, but many can feel lost when it comes to developing their career. Perhaps you have been stuck in a specific role or level for a while, have returned after pregnancy or illness, or are unsure of how to make the next steps.

A career coach can help you to understand what you want from your career, uncover the skills that you will need to succeed, and help you to create a plan on how to develop and move forwards within your career. A coach can also help you to identify if it might be time for a career change, as well as to recognise if you are actually happy in your role.

Creative coaching

A form of coaching designed to help develop your creative skills and work through barriers that may be holding you back, a creativity coach isn’t just for those you would consider ‘traditionally creative’ (eg, writers, artists, and musicians). A creative coach can help anyone who has elements of creativity in their job, those who wish to launch a creative business or turn a hobby into a business, those who need support in learning how to market existing creative endeavours, as well as those who want help expanding on their creativity through more casual means.

Different creative coaches may have different specialities, so it’s important to find out more about your coach before getting started if there is a specific area you feel you would most benefit from. A creative coach can help offer support and guidance as you explore your ideas, whilst providing accountability, and sharing techniques to help you focus, gain clarity and momentum to turn your ideas into reality. They can also support you in overcoming feelings of self-doubt and fear, help you to push past creative blocks, and help introduce you to methods of self-care to avoid burnout.

Relationship and family coaching

Relationship coaches can help with a broad variety of relationship types, including romantic partners, family members, friends, and colleagues. They can particularly help if you are looking to improve an existing relationship, want to try and understand someone better, are worried that you may not currently have healthy boundaries in a relationship, are feeling betrayed, or are worried about confrontation.

A coach can help you to identify specific problems and better articulate them, provide marriage or relationship coaching, dating, friendship or family support, as well as workplace relationship support. Some coaches do specifically offer separate family coaching (working with individual family members to identify any problem areas where changes may need to be made), parenting coaching (helping to identify family strengths and challenges for new and experienced parents, as well as providing tools and techniques to help raise and educate children and teens to the best of your ability), or friendship coaching (helping you learn how to maintain existing friendships, recognise signs of a toxic friendship, deal with conflict, and make new friends).  

Spiritual coaching

Based on the idea that we are all here for a reason, and uncovering this reason can lead to happiness and wellbeing, a spiritual coach can help you to create a plan based on your specific goals and desires. A spiritual coach can help you to tap into your higher purpose, as well as to better understand, discover, and embrace your true self.

Not all spiritual coaches focus on religion. While some may, others may focus more on energy, manifestation, and holistic approaches between everyday life and purpose. They can help you to gain a better understanding and focus on what you want to do with your life, how to manage stress, exhaustion and burnout, how to reach your full potential, moving past life roadblocks or feelings of being lost of stuck, as well as tackling feelings of self-doubt and fear.

Business coaching

Business coaching can help a number of different people in different ways. Generally speaking, a business coach can support both in working on your business (helping put plans and strategies in place), as well as in your business (the day-to-day work). They can help you to explore your strengths, build on weaknesses, and learn new skills to excel in your specific field.

This could include helping you to develop your public speaking or communication skills, offering guidance if you are creating a start-up, helping with team management, leadership skills, offering mentoring, team coaching, executive coaching or general staff coaching.  

Team, executive, and staff coaching can all help members of your company to improve their teamwork skills, focus on shared business goals, strengthen role-specific skills (e.g. those in leadership roles helping to mentor and guide more junior team members), and more.

How do I know what type of coaching is right for me?

There are many different types of coaching available, each offering different types of guidance, accountability, and support. Generally speaking, for coaching to be successful, it requires a willingness for you to explore and challenge existing assumptions, ideas, and beliefs. Without a willingness to engage with your coach and the coaching process, any kind of coaching cannot be effective.

Life Coach and Positive Psychology Practitioner, Daria Ermolenko, explains more about how coaching can benefit you. “Coaching puts you in the driver’s seat. It helps you get from A to B in an organised and confidential setting which holds you accountable. However, this also means that coaching isn’t therapy: It is not designed to treat or heal mental health disorders. One key benefit of coaching is its advocacy for decomposing large-scale visions into week-to-week plans and actions. Another is its encouragement of routines.”

To find out more about different types of coaching and if coaching could be right for you, visit Life Coach Directory. Ready to start working with a coach online or in person near you? Use the search bar below to find qualified, experienced coaches.

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