The differences between life coaching and everything else

How life coaching differs from other modalities of change is it's centred around helping people move forward with their lives—it's about progression.

There are differences between life coaching and many other modalities of change. First, life coaching is really centred around helping people move forward with their lives.

Inside life coaching there is a time to explore a little bit about what we’ve learned from our challenges in the past and maybe reframe something into a better way to experience it. And then we really want to focus on being in the present moment.

Some modalities might spend a lot of time talking about the problem. In life coaching we want to focus on the solution. 

We want to know what the problem is and get a little bit of clarity around what’s going on there and create a solid plan to be able to change that, heal it, solve it and fully forward in life.

Coaching is really committed to progression and as a result of this life coaching tends to attract people that really want to take responsibility in their lives.

This is great for the life coaching industry because it’s a joy to work with someone who really wants to create change.

I really feel for people that are in a business or practitioners working with people who have been forced to go see them, for example, sitting there with their arms crossed: ‘What can you do for me? Can you please change my life even though I’m not willing to do some work?’

Unfortunately nobody can create change unless they’re committed to creating the change. That’s just how we are.

We all have autonomy, and life coaching is really going to serve the people fully who are ready to takes responsibility, so that’s one of the major points.

Another really wonderful thing about life coaching that is different to other modalities is we don’t like to diagnose someone or give them a label for someone.

It’s not our industry to do that, so for instance we don’t generally work with someone experiencing mental health problems. That’s where psychology and psychiatry is phenomenal.

What we do work with is the general public, the ‘middle normal’, who experiences life challenges like feeling anxious from time to time, not knowing what to do with their relationships, not knowing how to get clarity, feeling emotionally stuck. Needing to learn how to set boundaries in their lives to grow their self esteem.

Now all of these fit within the category of something you could go see the other practitioners for as well, but with life coaching it’s taught in a really educational way.

You can work with your coach to be able to solve what you need to solve, get education where you need to get education then move forward.

Ultimately my goal for the clients I work with is they outgrow me in a certain amount of time—three, six, nine sessions, however long it takes for them to be able to achieve their goals.

Then they don’t need me anymore.

That’s something I really love, when I get a coaching session and they say, ‘You know what, I’m actually feeling pretty good, I’ve worked out what I need for things to work out. I have the relationship I want or the career I want, I’ve solved the challenge and now I’m good.’

So this is really attractive to people who are committed to being able to move forward in their lives, which is wonderful.

The other thing I love about coaching—and I know a lot of people who come into our school love about coaching‚is coaching attracts people who are working on themselves but are also saying, ‘Hey. I’m not perfect, just because I’m the coach doesn’t mean I’m the guru.

"I’m a human and I’m standing next to you as I guide you through this next phase of your life.’"

So there’s a lot of camaraderie.


One of Australia's leading coaches, trainers and speakers, and head facilitator at The Coaching Institute. In between mentoring thousands of coaches and leaders all around Australasia and helping others build incredible culture, Matt is passionate about fitness and music. His healthy office lunches whipped up in five minutes are the stuff of legend

Matt Lavars life coaching
Matt LavarsThe Coaching Institute