Life coaching as we know it today began in the 70's. A tennis coach called Tim Gallwey discovered that he was most effective when he helped clients attend to their own internal mental processes; he enabled clients to 'get out of their own way'. Among his students were business people who could see the relevance of his approach to the challenges they faced in corporate life. (This led to his best selling book, 'The Inner Game of Tennis' which was eventually followed by others).
During the1990s the approach developed into a more structured and learnable discipline. The International Coach Federation and European Mentoring and Coaching Council were formed, with a view to enhancing the standards and standing of coaching.
Life coaching gives people the confidence and ability to move forward in a positive way in the areas of life where they crave change. Coaching sessions usually take the form of conversations between the coach and coachee. During these conversations the coach uses a combination of observation, questioning, listening and feedback to assist the coachee's learning and progress.
Progress comes from setting appropriate and achievable goals. Throughout the process the coach encourages motivation and commitment to the goals and helps the coachee find ways to overcome barriers and setbacks. Goals might be being more organised and effective at work, gaining confidence in certain situations, or simply relating to people more effectively.
Among the most common people report are improved sense of direction and focus; increased knowledge of self/self-awareness; greater ability to relate to and influence others; increased motivation; improved personal effectiveness, e.g. focused effort; increased resourcefulness/ resilience, e.g. ability to handle change.