A Coach or Life Coach is a type of wellness, or business professional, who helps people attain greater fulfillment. Coaches aid their clients in improving their relationships, careers, health, spiritual connection, and overall day-to-day lives. They do not treat mental illness and are not therapists, however they are often an excellent compliment to therapy. Increasingly Gen Z and Millenials are discovering satisfaction and success on their own terms by working with a coach.
What exactly is a Coach?
“If you want to get good at something, get a coach,” Gawande advocates over and over in his 2017 TED Talk. Multiple studies show that learning best practices, having someone hold you accountable, and point out limiting beliefs or negative habits helps you grow, change, and reach a goal at exponential speed.
While coaching seems to be a new trend, mentorship, the original form of coaching, dates back to Ancient Greek, and has been woven into society throughout the ages. Life Coaching exploded in popularity with the swinging 1960s Human Potential movement, then steadily became more mainstream throughout the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Today we are seeing another surge in coaching amongst young people.
The earliest Life Coaches focused on life planning, but the field eventually grew to encompass other areas including relationships, finances, careers, health, and overall well-being. Empirical studies have tracked the benefits of Coaching in the business and leadership world for decades. A 2020 and 2016 study published in Frontiers in Psychology found that coaching-based leadership interventions can enhance well-being and improve functioning within organizations, as well as reduce procrastination and improve goal attainment.
Coaches help clients retrain their perspective and stay accountable to implementing new habits. Most coaches currently practice a holistic approach that helps clients balance the eight important areas of life:
- Career and Work
- Giving back
- Living Environment
- Planning Your Life
Additional benefits from working with a life coach include:
- Creating a conscious, loving relationship with a new or existing partner
- Energy and time management
- Understanding and overcoming fears and anxieties
- Enhanced creativity
- Greater earnings and financial security
- Improved communication skills and emotional intelligence
- Discovering your life’s purpose
- Stronger relationships with friends and family
Sessions typically are 60 to 90 minutes, and happen weekly. On Coaching apps like Blawesome, some Coaches offer voice-note or chat support between sessions. For significant results, most Coaches suggest three to 12 months of weekly coaching. Coaches often create group masterclasses, and for many clients, accountability, inspiration, and discovering a supportive growth-oriented community, are three of the biggest benefits they receive.
Coaches can observe when a client is stuck or needs to recalibrate their goals. As a result, clients often clarify and achieve their goals more quickly and efficiently than they would if working on their own. A Life Coach will ask often questions and provide insights that will help clients explore what they think about a situation and the world around them. Coaches will help clients find answers to questions they don't know or think they know. Even more valuable, they will provide processes or systems that can help with decision making, such as Human Design, Gallup Strengths, and more.
Why is Coaching so Popular Amongst Generation Z?
We typically think of older executives hiring coaches, but a recent article in The Guardian reveals Generation Zs are becoming the top generation to both hire and become coaches. Why? As social media creates a sense of loneliness, and exposes young people to different ways of living, hiring a Coach provides them with the guidance of a wise mentor and the encouragement of a supportive, loyal friend.
Bidvine, the professional marketplace for everything, recently reported a 280% year-on-year surge in Life Coach searches on its site, with 54% made by those aged 18 to 22. In 2017, the International Coaching Federation (ICF) discovered, in its Global Consumer Awareness Survey, that 35% of Generation Z respondents (those born after 1995) already had a coach.
Some case studies from the Guardian article illustrate why coaching is booming amongst Generation Z. Josh Dixon was excluded from school for antisocial behaviour. He was in his mid-teens, and had been bullied. “It felt like everyone had given up on me and that I’d either end up in a life of crime, like my other friends who were excluded, or in a dead-end job,” he said. By age 20 Dixon was running his own seven figure recruitment firm and credits the positive change in his life to working with a Life Coach.
According to Dixon, his coach helped him see the consequences of his negative compared to positive behaviours. “Little successes like finishing college were massive in building my confidence. [My Coach] also made me realise that I didn’t need social media; I didn’t need to keep comparing myself with other people and searching for approval,” he says.
The online world is a huge reason why young people are seeking Coaches. Hailey Yatros, a 26-year-old Life Coach says “This generation leans on social media as their means of connection to other people. A lot of them get a Coach to not be alone. I had a client once who had over 7,000 followers on Instagram and she didn’t have anyone in her life she could confide in if she needed to.”
Not only are Generation Z’s hiring Coaches. They are becoming coaches. They understand the challenges of being one of the first generations raised on social media, and know how to help one another. It’s a fulfilling career that has a flexible schedule, and unlimited earning potential - two aspects that are attractive to both Millennials and Generation Zs.
Life Coaching Should Not Replace Therapy
While Coaching and Therapy offer some overlapping benefits, they have distinct roles and serve unique purposes. Unlike Life Coaches, licensed therapists and other mental health professionals focus on treating mental health conditions, and helping people work through trauma and other issues from their past.
Life Coaches may help a client deal with certain unresolved issues, and can provide excellent complimentary care to therapy, however they cannot treat mood disorders, anxiety disorders, addiction, or any other mental health condition. The main difference between a Coach and Therapist:
- Treat mental health conditions
- Have a degree and are licensed in a related field
- Adhere to ethical codes
- Cannot treat mental health conditions
- Do not need any formal qualifications or academic training
- Are not required to follow health privacy laws
Therapists are licensed mental health professionals. Life Coaches are not governed by a board and should never be considered a substitute for a mental health professional. Often people go to therapy when they are experiencing difficulty and want support. Today, many people seek coaching because they want to amplify what’s working. Coaching is often more short-term and more goal oriented than therapy. “Coaching amongst young people is almost a badge of honour to show people you’re committed to getting the best out of your life,” says Bungay Stanier, a 51 year old who has been Coaching for over 20 years. The growth of Coaching amongst young people is also related to a mindset of asking “what do I truly want” which is a deep question, and requires thought. Previous generations may have taken a job because it looked good on a resume, or gotten married by a certain age because it was the right thing to do. Today, people know they can live a fulfilling life that feels vibrant, meaningful, fun, and free, and they are motivated to figure out how. Coaching is an excellent tool that can help.
For help finding a qualified, and reviewed coach, try searching the Blawesome community using keywords such as “career” “love” “alignment” “health” and more.