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Mind

Do you need to seek guidance? The new crop of life coaches that are gaining popularity

When it comes to getting a little help in life, the options are numerous.

By Monique McKenzie
Lifestyle coaches were once reserved for celebs or those of a certain social status and income.
Today, however, there are life coaches of every stripe, and more of us are using them.
The International Coach Federation now has more than 1400 members in Australia and New Zealand, compared with 150 back in 2000.
So what's driving the rise? Are we more connected via social media yet more physically isolated than ever, with friends and family who are too time-poor to offer tea and sympathy?
Or is it simply, as US life coach Stephanie Ziev puts it, that "we are at a time in history where we have the luxury to ask what will make me happy" – and more determined in pursuing it.
Here's just a sample of the types of coaching now on offer.

Confidence coaching

Believing in yourself is a highly coveted asset, with books like The Confidence Code holding up assertiveness and overcoming self-doubt as a way for women to get ahead in their lives and careers.
So it's no wonder there are now coaches specialising in confidence.
They can take people out of their comfort zone and guide them towards their goal.
People may typically hire a confidence coach if they want to become better leaders, are terrified of speaking in large groups, or want to feel empowered.
Confidence coaches can take people out of their comfort zone and guide then towards their goal. (Image: Shutterstock)

Envy coaching

In a society in which people are feeling increasingly isolated and social media creates a false sense of reality, there are coaches who specialise in helping people to stop comparing themselves to others, whether it's envy about other people's careers or their partners, salaries, tropical holidays or designer wardrobes.
There's a reason for the saying 'compare, despair'.
This is where a specialised coach comes in.
For those who suffer the green-eyed monster, the coach guides clients towards their own goals, helping them plan. If people find themselves comparing themselves negatively to their peers, a coach can help them check this inner dialogue.
They may also buy clients gifts and experiences – journals, surprise dinners, and tickets to workshops – to help them feel less alone.
Comparison coach Lucy Sheridan helps people to "live life on their own terms", not aiming for success as defined by others.
She guides clients by switching the focus onto their own life, helping them to visualise the life they want and giving advice on moving forward.
For those who suffer the green-eyed monster an envy coach guides clients towards their own goals, helping them plan. (Image: Getty)

Clarity coaching

A clarity coach's aims are similar to those of the 'anti-envy' coach.
Being clear about what we want in life can save us from chasing the things we think we should want.
When a person knows what they want and why, it's easier to navigate their way, and they'll know when to say yes to opportunities.
And it's not just social media envy that's holding us back.
The sheer range of options open to us nowadays – in everything from eating plans to career choices – can be overwhelming.
While having too much choice may be a first world problem, there's no denying that option overload can be stressful.
In his book The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz looks at how having too many options can harm our emotional and psychological wellbeing.
A clarity coach offers to help people understand themselves, their values and challenging situations, to clear a path through the muddle.
As a result of their 'clarity conversation' with their coach, a person may radically change what they're going to do or how they'll go about it – sparing them the heartache and struggle of doing something that isn't right for them.
Clarity coaches may use subtle techniques; a good coach should have a sense of when to ask more questions and when to listen.
The right question asked in the right way may open people up to entirely new ways of looking at life, and coaches can help set up a safe environment where clients can answer the big questions without being judged.
The person may then realise they're stuck for an entirely different reason.
Often, once the client understands the underlying issue, the next move is obvious. A skilled coach – of any specialty – should be able to pick up on nuances and hear what people aren't saying, instead paying attention to their tone and the emotions behind their words.

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