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Life Coaches


Life coaching is a fairly new profession, gaining popularity in the late 1970s and 1980s, and possibly stemming from the field of sports coaching, which shares the aim of encouraging and motivating people. It also has origins in business coaching, which began in the late 1950s. Life coaching is a form of mentoring, and mentoring in all fields and industries has been around for centuries. There is no official history about when and how life coaching started, however, professionals in the field have often noted several informal founders of life coaching practices and techniques.

Many people cite Werner Erhard and his Erhard Seminars Training (also known as EST) as having a significant influence on the origins of life coaching. Erhard introduced the EST workshops starting in the 1970s, focusing on intensive workshops to help people empower and transform themselves. Thomas Leonard is also among those noted for introducing the practice of life coaching. He was an American financial planner who, in the 1980s, came to realize that his clients frequently sought his help in achieving goals that went beyond planning their finances. He had completed the EST program and was interested in working with people to help them reach their potential. Leonard started helping his clients with organizing and setting goals in other areas of their lives. He developed techniques and practices for what he termed "life planning" in the late 1980s, and co-founded the Coaches Training Institute in the early 1990s. Now known as the Co-Active Training Institute, the organization continues to offer education, training, and certification programs in coaching and leadership. Leonard also contributed to the establishment of other coaching organizations in the late 1990s.

Since the 1990s, the demands on people's time has increased, due to technological innovations which enable people to work longer hours from any location. This has resulted in a growing number of people consulting with life coaches to help them work more efficiently and effectively, and to help them create a more balanced, rewarding, and enjoyable life. Today, life coaches with a bachelor's degree, years of experience in business, management, or other related fields, and certification in life coaching have the advantage in the job market.