The task of the life coach is not to analyse the client, but to work with the client to understand his or her perceptions, the underlying beliefs and attitudes that may be creating barriers to personal well being and contentment. In this work, the life coach needs to harness the cooperation of the client, who may initially resist all suggestions of faulty or limiting perceptions. Some reasons that we resist changing our perceptions are:

  • laziness (because it takes effort)
  • confusion or uncertainty
  • fear of conflict with those who share our old perceptions
  • fear of change itself
  • desire for certainty
  • psychological comfort


We are all more comfortable dealing with our established views of the world and ourselves, even when we understand that they limit us. Our established, comfortable perceptions are referred to as our “comfort zone”, and if we choose to believe that there is only one way of looking at things, we can avoid the discomfort and work of stepping outside our comfort zones. However, the basic principle of life is change, so refusal or unwillingness to change denies us the benefits of growth and change, and severely limits our ability to manage and enrich our lives.


The successful life coach is able to nurture the client’s confidence in their ability to cope with change, and foster their desire for purposeful change. To do this, the life coach is best to use the client’s own motivation to change their current situation and experience. Once the client has begun to understand how their own thoughts and actions have contributed to building their present circumstances and experiences, they are much more likely to seek to change them.


The next step would be to explore with the client his or her options. The more options that are considered, the more a client can begin develop his or her decision-making skills. For instance, you might help the client separate work goals from personal or relationship goals, and plan how to achieve them without sacrificing any one area of their lives. You might help a client explore their thinking to identify barriers and plan strategies to change to thinking that supports personal growth, achievement, and balanced well being.


A life coach’s task is to unlock clients’ potential for taking charge of their lives and for seeing the possibilities for change that they may not previously have seen. It is not up to the life coach to decide which changes are best, or what is the best thing for the client to do. Therefore, life coaching is always personal, and may be confronting, even to the coach. It will require persistence, patience, a non-judgmental attitude, and lots of encouragement and support.


Want to learn more and Qualify as a Life Coach?

Study Life Coaching with ACS and qualify for membership of the Association of Coaching click here
Suggested Reading
Visit the school's online book store to see a large range of print and electronic books, including dozens of titles written by our principal (John Mason) and staff.
The following titles are particularly useful in developing a better understanding of health and wellbeing.