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Hooray! I've got a life coach. But what exactly does that mean?

Updated: Oct 21, 2023

Well, let's start with a few straight-forward questions, that will hopefully unravel this coaching thing in a nano-second. It means you can get some extra confidence, motivation and stop procrastinating. Life sorted ;0)

Do you know what you really want in life?

Ahhh well you might say . . .ooh well ... I know what I don't want in life? I don't want to feel depressed that I'm missing out on life, and I don't want to be labelled or trapped, and I don't want to feel fed-up or overworked in the wrong job or role all the time.

Ok, so that's a great start! Coaching will look at this with you, as a sort of unique and empowering catalyst or facilitation exercise that puts this into some positve statements. Everyone's fears and what they don't want translate into a powerful motivating force for what they do want when this is really explored. And before you ask, I blend career and life coaching as this is where many people struggle. Something like ...

"I used to love my work, but something isn't right. I really need to sort my life out"

Or maybe you do know what you want exactly, but have lost sight of it in the mayhem of paying mortgages, sorting out the project at work, organising the family or trying to build a life full of wonderful like-minded people to do loads of amazing stuff with. You're too overwhelmed to write any plans down in a consistant accessible SMART goals, let alone put them into action. Either way, coaching is a place to get everything out, not feel judged, but to open out all the possibilities and give them a thorough audit and airplay.

As you explore your thoughts, (and we'll use quite a few life and career assessments, personality profiles and scientific neuroscience tools), you start to look at the impact of your decisions or the behaviour needed to alter your direction in life, and navigate through the complexities of life. You start to see a future path for yourself that you feel more sure about.

Do you want to do more of the stuff you like doing and stop procrastinating?

Yes, of course! But many of us look around at our lives and realise that we have almost forgotten how to enjoy ourselves, we are so busy living our lives. Or we can remember what we like doing, but haven't set up our lives so we can do them any more. We don't have that kayak anymore, or we have moved away from the connections that made a huge difference to our lives, and can't see how to make new friends and an alternative 'urban family'. We kind of know what we want, but struggle to make it happen. The vision is there but hazy . . .

"I'd love to travel but don't have friends anymore that want to come with me, and how can I still work?"

Are you racing or sleep-walking through life?

If you were planning a journey or a trip, you wouldn't probably just jump in the car and race off. You'd research great places, check visas, ask your networks for recommendations. Same with life. If you simply hop in and drive in one direction - well, you'll get somewhere fast. But will it be the right place? You'll probably end up as hyperachiever, but unfulfilled, wondering why you aren't happy, and flinging effort at things to correct a life built that's basically going in the wrong direction.

Alternatively, if you are sleep-walking through life, driving round in circles, you will end up in a career you drag yourself out of bed for, a relationship you are dragging your feet about, or a life that feels like it's dragging you down - not inspiring you and motivating you. You need a plan. Your coach will act like a very savvy travel expert, helping you find the right places, checking out alternatives and double-checking your plans.

So what is coaching again?

Coaching spans life coaching, mentoring, career coaching, mindset coaching, accountability couching and personal development coaching. Crucially, it's positive. It looks forward and helps you see a life that starts to become more real as you work out the details. You move towards this life, rather than running round in circles trying to get away from your existing life, but without a plan. Some people need big changes, others just small tweaks. And living and working to your values, are the key. We all think we know our values, but it's actually a lot deeper than just being eco-conscious and compassionate. Are they intrinsic or extrinsic? Do they balance with your career or conflict? Were they handed down from other lives or workplaces and don't actually fit you properly now? Can you 110% trust your decisions and know they will be right, that you’ll ‘do the right thing’.

There are hundreds of books around coaching and a great article by the Guardian on 'Can coaching shake me out of my pandemic enduced ennui', but a picture tells a thousand words. So .. da-dah! This is coaching.


Is coaching a science or an art?

I think coaching is a blend of science and art. I use a lot of different techniques from positive psychology, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). These pull together theories from a multitude of disciplines such as linguistics, gestalt theory and existential philosophy. It touches on many science-informed interventions and approaches, with layers of meaning and insight uncovered as we work through the sessions.

Trained coaches will have a structured evidence-based framework for aligning your skills and values, to bring your passions and creativity to a business or career that really works for you. I use various tools and models, from the metaphor and story-telling narrative of the Hero's Journey, based on Carl Jung's archetypes to the Japanese ikigai 'reason for being'.

who goes to a coach?

A huge variety of people. Initially, I thought I'd niche to a specific 'type' of person. But that just didn't happen, and my client base spans professionals, workers in the NHS, people whose family are now at university, students working on their dissertations or starting to look at career ladders, business owners, corporate executives, officers in the Forces, you name it. They all have one thing in common. A desire to do something about their lives, or a specific challenge that they are facing, that they can't do by themselves.

The singer Goldie, Leonardo DiCaprio, Serena Williams, Hugh Jackman are all fans of life coaching. Oprah Winfrey's coach, talks about 'how to avoid going back to a job that makes us miserable', in our post-covid rush for normality, but points out that we have to put our happiness before societal expectations. This is crucial. Coaching is about inspiring people to take action - ultimately to be happier, by illuminating and removing the barriers that are stopping them.

You may be mid-career, a post-graduate feeling depressed or anxious, or reassessing how much time you want to spend working, and how much living. You may have specific areas that you want to look at - children leaving home, a new path in your life to explore, a new relationship. Or maybe you’ve reached a peak or plateau and not sure of the next step and wondering is a career change at 40 is possible.

Do I need life coaching or career coaching?

​ I like to work at the intersection between our working identities and our other identities or roles that we find ourselves in. A mother, a professional doctor, a 'black sheep', someone who is a 'people pleaser' or an 'avoider'. This is where we start to find out what the barriers are around why you feel you can't quite work something out with your life. If you are feeling bored, stressed or experiencing difficulties at work, coaching can give you insight into how to turn this around.

The people and interpersonal relationships at work are fundamental to your happiness. Dedicating time to review all aspects of your work as well as life, whether paid, voluntary or an entrepreneurial start-up, can hugely improve your confidence, as well as your peformance at work. The impact of covid has also created an epidemic in unhelpful work life balance - with people at the two ends of this continuum. People languishing - not quite depressed, but not exactly flourishing and people who are workaholics, and lack the right work-life balance. There are often more options than you realise, and combining your passion with your career where you feel fulfilled and in the right place, is absolutely possible. It does takes a bit of work, but I will help you create a framework to get there.

I’m liking the sound of this. What do I do next?

Please just book a free call. Like all relationships, there has to be some chemistry, and booking a free call will help you find out if you like my approach, and feel a rapport. There's no obligation, it's confidential, and you might just find youself feeling a whole lot better after just 20 minutes. Why not try it out.

"Ella had all sorts of tools up her sleeve to aid me in finding my own answers and solutions. She has an ability to hear beyond what is being said. She balances professionalism with warmth and kind heartedness"

Health professional, NHS


Ella is a trained, accredited Life Coach & licenced Firework Career Coach. She has a background in marketing, internal and change communications, with experience across large corporates to smaller charities. She uses a positive psychological approach to coaching & consultancy 07597157194


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