Maybe you have that friend who swears by their life coach, and whose life has improved dramatically as a result. Just the job title—*life coach*—and we have to admit: we’re intrigued. But to be honest, it still conjures up images of self-help books and Oprah’s Master Class. So what exactly is a life coach? And do we need to add one to our roster of health and wellness professionals?
With that in mind, we sought out two of the internet’s favorite life coaches, Lauren Zander, founder of The Handel Group and Handel Method, and frequent guest on shows like Celebrity Life Coach (yes, that’s a show) and author of the upcoming book Maybe It’s You, and Gabby Bernstein, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Universe Has Your Back, international speaker, and self-proclaimed and branded “Spirit Junkie.” With that out of the way, are you ready to discover why we’re signing up for a session stat?
Life coaching has long been a buzzy way to live your best life, so let’s set the record straight: what exactly does a life coach do?
For starters, accountability is key. “People often come to Handel Group for life coaching, looking to put real change into place—to lose weight, find love, fix a fractured relationship, land the job,” Zander explains. “It’s my job as a life coach to fight for you—to help you break into your own life. To make uncommon knowledge common. To eradicate lying from your life, and teach you personal integrity, which is how to keep a promise to yourself.”
Bernstein puts it this way: “A life coach is someone who guides you personally or professionally based on your own unique needs. A coach is meant to hold their client in a safe container for healing and growth. The role of the coach is to hold space for someone’s inner growth and development.”
We see it as having an extra supportive, professional mother—who’s there for you when you need her most.
“WE TEACH YOU HOW TO DREAM IN EVERY AREA OF YOUR LIFE. AND HOW TO NOT ONLY BELIEVE IN YOUR DREAMS, BUT TAKE THE RIGHT ACTIONS TO REALIZE ALL OF THEM.”
How does a life coach differ from a therapist, a marriage counselor, or a holistic coach?
There are blurred lines when it comes to the different types of coaches and therapies available, so Zander breaks it down: “Let me start with a warning label: Therapy has its place, and life coaching has its place. They overlap in many goals. Because we aren’t trained to treat illness, we work best with people who are already healthy, but are struggling to be successful or happy in one or more areas of their life.”
The main differences between life coaches and therapists? Action. Zander clarifies: “Life coaches focus on action as the main access to shifting patterns. We teach you how to dream in every area of your life. And how to not only believe in your dreams, but take the right actions to realize all of them.”
“NOW MORE THAN EVER, WOMEN WANT TO HAVE BETTER LIVES, TO KICK ASS, AND TO REALIZE THEIR DREAMS.”
The common narrative among women today is that life is too short—they want to ensure they’re doing what they love. Do you agree with this YOLO belief?
“Though, of course, I coach many men—the majority of our clients are women. I think now more than ever women want to have better lives, to kick ass, and to realize their dreams,” says Zander. “I believe inside each of us is our ideal life—our true north. But, bit by bit, we veer off course. My method helps you course-correct. Also, interesting that you mentioned this, I just led a business course for Mind Body Green on how to build your own personal brand. So yes, I’d say living true to one’s own personal mission is certainly on people’s minds right now.” Bernstein adds: “These days, it’s hip to be spiritual. More people (mostly women) are finding their own path of personal growth. People are more conscious of their inner well-being and they’ve become unapologetic about their happiness. I’ve also witnessed many people want to live more passion-driven lives. This desire has led folks to seek success coaches or business coaches to help them achieve their goals.”
“A LOT OF THE SECURITY AND CERTAINTY WE ONCE RELIED ON HAS BEEN TAKEN AWAY DUE TO POLITICAL TURMOIL AND WORLD ISSUES. WITH THAT LEVEL OF UNCERTAINTY AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH, PEOPLE ARE TURNING TO COACHES FOR GUIDANCE.”
Are you finding that post-election stress and the current negativity is leading women to seek out a life coach?
“Yes. I’m finding that women are more and more fed up. Their frustration with what’s going on today creates a level of urgency and they are turning to life coaching as an action-based alternative to therapy,” Zander explains. And Bernstein agrees: “A lot of the security and certainty we once relied on has been taken away due to political turmoil and world issues. With that level of uncertainty at an all-time high, people are turning to coaches for guidance.”