Chapter 3 Understanding Clients and Their Needs

Knowing “Typical” Coaching Clients

There are various reasons why people seek out life coaching. Both individuals and organizations seek out coaching and they have very different reasons for doing so. But before we delve into this lets explore what a “typical” coaching client looks like. You may be asked to describe the typical coaching client to your prospective clients and by people who are curious about life coaching in general.

There are many misconceptions about what life coaching is and what it is used for. One of the most common is that life coaching is only for those people who cannot reach their goals and who underachieve in their lives. However, this is generally untrue as successful people who desire to be even more successful are the usual audience for life coaches. Other people believe that only the rich and famous can afford life coaching, and this too is false. People from all walks of life use life coaches to become the best they can be in their life. Another myth is that life coaching is only for people who have serious problems or issues. But most people go to life coaching in order to grow and learn rather than to fix problems. As you can see, these misconceptions about life coaching make it difficult to define the “typical” client. But generally, the typical client is someone who desires to get more out of their life.

Here are some of the most common reasons people seek out life coaching: 

People who come to break a habit or develop a new habit
People who come to accomplish a specific goal like getting a degree or a promotion
People who desire self-discovery and personal breakthroughs like achieving more confidence
People who want coaching to become a regular part of their lives in order to live their best life<
People who desire accountability in their lives

Reasons Why People Seek Life Coaching

People desire life coaching for a wide variety of reasons. But the underlying factor that unites them all is that all coaching clients desire to change in some way or another.


Here are some of the most common reasons client’s desire life coaching:

  • To talk to someone who is objective
  • To talk to someone who is supportive and concerned about their wellbeing
  • To get support when going through life changes
  • To achieve a goal that seems unattainable
  • To help problem solve or find new ways of approaching a problem
  • To deal with a challenging relationship (business or personal)
  • To grow their business
  • To improve their health
  • To live a life that’s more fulfilling
  • To develop their strengths and grow personally
  • For spiritual development
  • To explore and build their identity
  • To develop self-confidence and belief in the self
  • To increase motivation and inspiration
  • To foster self-awareness
  • To disocver their purpose in life
  • To cultivate happiness
  • To deal with stress, anxiety, and depression
  • To deal with life changes
  • To overcome failures
  • To achieve their full potential
  • To discover inner peace
  • To create a higher quality of life

Reasons Why Organizations Seek Life Coaching


There are a wide variety of reasons that an organization might seek out a coach. Some of them involve developing their talents and teams. Others involve developing the business as a whole.

  • Facilitate change within an organization
  • Restructure the organization
  • Management coaching for executives
  • Aide in hiring and finding high quality new employees
  • Expand the business and foster growth
  • Improve performance of the organization as a whole or specific individuals
  • Develop the talent of specific individuals within the company and help them take on more responsibility
  • Build up future leaders
  • Increase creativity and outside of the box thinking
  • Help motivation, inspiration, and morale
  • Improve employee retention
  • Increase profits
  • Aide in developing marketing plans and other strategic plans

Coaching Specialties/ Niches

There are many different niches within the field of coaching. Each of these different niches has a different focus and purpose. In this section we will explore each of these niches in more detail so that you have more in depth information so that you can choose which niche may fit your future coaching practice best.


Personal Development Coaching


Personal development coaching is focused on helping client’s develop themselves and grow on a personal level. It also helps address any issues, habits, thoughts, beliefs, or behaviors which are getting in the way of their growth and development. It helps clients achieve their aspirations and goals and can be helpful for clients seeking to expand their self-confidence, social skills, relationships, and engagement in life.

Business Coaching


Business coaching can have several different focuses. Primarily, business coaching is focused on helping a business to grow, become more profitable, and more strategic. It can help any business from those just starting out to those that have been in business for many years. Business coaches help business owners create accountability in their business, marketing plans, sales goals, future vision for the business, setting up systems and practical frameworks for the business, increasing motivation, and aiding in accountability. Business coaches can also help organizations grow, retain and hire employees, help resolve problems or profit loss, and manage employee stress.

Career Coaching


Career coaching involves helping clients discover and pursue new career paths. It often involves exploring different job possibilities that will fit an individual, their desired lifestyle and salary, and their skills and abilities. Career coaches can help clients who are just starting out on their career path or those who are switching roles or fields. They can also help those who are reentering the working world after an absence or help employees find a better career fit to increase satisfaction and quality of life.

Executive Coaching


Executive coaches focus on helping upper management, executives, and managers in the corporate world to increase their own performance, which ultimately affects and increases the organizations performance. Executive coaching helps by designing strategies to help with time management, employee management, increasing interpersonal skills, brainstorming, stress managment, work-life balance, increasing motivation and inspiration, providing encouragement and support, and supporting outside the box thinking to solve novel problems.

Health and Wellness Coaching


Health and wellness coaching is focused on helping clients to achieve health and wellness goals. These goals may be increased fitness, weight loss, resolving, supporting, or recovering from disease, supporting healthy choices, increasing motivation, increasing knowledge of nutrition, improving positive outlook, creating a self-care plan, and reducing stress and a balance between work and home life.

Spiritual Coaching


Spiritual coaching involves helping clients to understand their spiritual beliefs, gain self-acceptance and inner peace, increase contentment and well-being, and improve relationship to a “divine” other. This can involve helping clients to explore the meaning of life, understand their role in the universe, find their life purpose, find what gives them inner peace, and to live a life in line with their values and morals. A non-judgmental attitude and acceptance of your client are especially important in spiritual coaching.

Relationship Coaching 


Relationship coaching can have several sub niches. One type of relationship coaching is parenting coaching. These coaches help parents to manage their children better, to achieve life/work/family balance, and to feel more at ease in their role as a parent. Intimate relationship coaching is focused on the relationship between partners and making this partnership strong and healthy, improve communication, solving problems within the relationship, and enjoying the relationship. It can also involve overcoming or dealing with intimate relationship obstacles such as infidelity or divorce. Family coaching is helping a family feel united and bound to one another, to find time to do things as a family, to discover different roles that each family member fills within the family, and to help each family member achieve fulfillment within the family. Relationship coaching, at its core, is focused on improving interpersonal relationships and helping everyone get their needs met.

Chapter Review Questions

Descriptive Questions

  • List the difference between an executive and career coach.
  • List five reasons why individuals might seek coaching. 

Multiple Choice Questions

1. Which of the following is NOT a reason why individuals seek Life Coaching?

  1. To grow and develop their strengths
  2. To deal with anxiety, depression, or stress
  3. To discover what it’s like to be a coach
  4. To find inner peace

2. Business coaches provide assistance to their clients in all of the following EXCEPT:

  1. Develop strategic plans
  2. Set up marketing plans
  3. Develop and retain employees
  4. Give sales leads

Answer Key:

1-c, 2-d