Interview Series with Life Coaches (Part 1 of 2): What is life coaching + why would I need it?

You may have a personal trainer, a dietitian or nutritionist, and perhaps a counselor or psychologist. Why would you ever need a Life Coach? What is life coaching? Aren’t they for woo-woo alternative types? How can they help you?

I’ve interviewed three fabulous and experienced life coaches to answer these questions for you. All three of the women featured on the blog today have genuinely inspired me and made a beautiful impact on my life. If you have ever considered getting a life coach, you can’t go wrong with one of these three incredible women. 

May I present: Julie Parker (Beautiful You Coaching Academy), Claire Baker (This Is Lifeblood) and Katherine Mackenzie-Smith. Please see more information on these lovely ladies at the bottom of the page, including the impact they’ve had on my life personally, and their contact details.

What is a life coach and how do they help their clients?

“A life coach is kind of like hiring a personal trainer for your mind. Got stuff you want to get done but have no idea where to start? A life coach can help in a way that a friend or family member can’t. We’re there to pinpoint what you really want, set life changing goals, hold you accountable so you do what you say you’re going to do, and ask the powerful questions to get to the bottom of why you’re stuck or struggling with something.” – Katherine

“A life coach is someone who supports and guides their clients as they make positive changes in their life. They cheer them on through transition periods and help them to uncover their desires, truth and passion. They listen and lead with love, encourage accountability and create space for their clients to reflect on their lives and take inspired action.” – Claire

“Life Coaches help people create what they are most wanting in their life, whether that be a soulful new career, greater self-love and confidence, or to harness their creative passions. Coaches help their clients draw on their innate strengths to set goals that help them develop a pathway forward to achieving what they most, and always in a way that is empowering and lasting long after the coach and client relationship has ended.” – Julie

When you look back at your coaching history with clients, what are the common issues or goals that they raise?

“Confidence and self worth often seem to be particular sticking points with my clients. I always see incredible potential in the beautiful women I work with, it’s as though their light shines so brightly in my direction and it is one of my favourite things when I see that first glimpse that they are starting to believe in themselves as well.” – Katherine

“I work with a lot of women who know what they need to do to create positive change, but they are struggling with resistance and self sabotage. Often, they are so incredibly busy that they are craving spaciousness in their lives and so I make sure their homework between sessions is to do just that – practicing saying “no”, creating boundaries and building a nourishing routine are just some of the ways we can do this.” – Claire

“I think mindset issues are something that present a great deal in coaching – no matter someone’s age, background or how ‘successful’ they may be.  Most people seem to at one point in time or another lack the confidence and self-belief they need to truly live the life they want – which can feel a long way from where they are at the present time.

It takes quite a bit of courage to look within ourselves and say ‘I want more’ – ‘I want to be better.’  Even if we are really unhappy.  Because with change often comes challenge and even discomfort, and our ego or negative mindset can often hold us back from saying things to us like ‘You’re not worthy.’  ‘Who are you to want that?’ ‘You’re not as good as she is.’

And really great coaches help their clients manage and learn from and even develop a love for this type of internal talk, (that we all have and do), seeing it as a pathway to greater self-learning and development rather than something that has to be believed and held back by.” – Julie

How can a life coach help clients with their fitness, wellness or health goals?

“The wonderful thing about life coaching is that no subject is off limits and those fitness, wellness, or health goals usually always come back to a deeper need for self acceptance and compassion. We grow up and live in a pretty harsh world when it comes to body issues, and women so often think if they lose 10kg, their life will be miraculously perfect.

I always take this kind of focus within, and work with my clients to accept themselves. This is not easy to do on your own because we tell ourselves stories and often try to numb our vulnerability with more chocolate. Working with a coach is a sure fire way to get started on those amazing health and wellness goals because they have a clear, objective perspective.” – Katherine

“By guiding a client to figure out the WHY behind the wellness goal, a coach can ensure the client remains inspired and motivated by their goal. Yes health and fitness goals are important in themsleves, but it’s the benefit of achieving that goal on a client’s life (more clarity at work, improved relationships, more energy with the kids) that ignites and sustains that desire and motivation.” – Claire

How is a life and wellness coach different to a personal trainer?

“Where a personal trainer will help you with your fitness goals and put together a food and workout plan, a coach is there to inspire you to take a deeper look at yourself. Depending on the coach, you might get worksheets and will definitely have work to do between sessions, and there might even be physical activities to work on those goals, but there will also be a strong focus will be on the inner work needed to achieve those goals.” – Katherine

How is a life and health coach different to a dietitian or nutritionist?

“Again, it depends on the coach, but they won’t necessarily be a trained dietitian or nutritionist and will be more focused on helping you work towards what you really want than giving you the advice and information you need to help you with your health and wellbeing.” – Katherine

How is a life coach different to a counsellor?

“I started out my professional career as a counsellor before becoming a coach, and while some people may think there is not a lot of difference between the two professions – there actually is a great many.

Counselling has a focus on assessment, life history and emotional discovery and regulation, to help people deal with a very difficult time in their life or an ongoing issue such as a mental illness or addiction.  Most people who require in depth counselling feel quite ‘stuck’ emotionally and even physically, and before they can confidently begin to move forward in their life they must have a space provided for them by a counsellor that allows them to just ‘be’ and cry, talk, express, and talk through past issues.

Coaching does not look into the history of someone’s life.  It looks only at where a client is right now, knowing that it’s not where they want to be, and then together coach and client work out goals and action steps to close the gap between the two.  It’s very forward focused and action orientated, and any person who works with a coach soon realises that it’s not a process of all talk and no action.  It’s a process of a little bit of talk and a lot of action.  All the while focusing on how they can also build their confidence and sense of self along the way.” – Julie

How can a life coach help clients with their business or career?

“By taking a holistic perspective on health, our career is just as important as physical activity or diet. We need to make sure all parts of our lives are providing satisfaction and if they’re not, then a life coach can guide a client to reflect on this area.

Personally, I work with lots of women who are looking to grow their online business and create a blog that they love. Setting goals, accountability and creative brainstorming are key here!” – Claire

“For me, personally, working with a life coach was probably the difference between me starting my own business and staying where I was. The role of a life coach is to, very early on, establish what the client most wants from their life.

The next step is to break that crazy big dream down into more manageable pieces. Often this is when people freak out and get stuck in overwhelm. A good coach can help you navigate a clear path and get some focus so the big, scary goal always feels achievable, while challenging you to grow at the same time.” – Katherine

How can a life coach help clients as a parent or partner?

“Relationships are one of the big life areas and so they often come up in a coaching series. I love relationship stuff because I believe that it is in our connection with others that makes life worthwhile. Like any other kind of goal, relationship goals always come with important self work and I love seeing the transformation in a client when they realise that it is their relationship with themselves that will, ultimately, determine how they interact with others. It’s not easy to get the kind of perspective needed to make these changes on your own, but working with a coach means that you are supported and guided through the process.” – Katherine

Have you had a life coach yourself and how did they help you?

“Yes, I was fortunate to get to work with an amazing coach while I was trying to decide what to do with my life and my career last year. To have someone to tell your big ideas to with no fear of rejection or judgement, is something that we don’t always get the chance to have in everyday life. My coach was there while I had major freak outs, supporting and encouraging me along the way, but also gently guiding and nudging me to do more than I thought was possible to the point where I decided to become a coach myself. If that’s not a true testimony for the power of coaching, I don’t know what is!” – Katherine

“Sure have! I believe in the power of coaching and so I’ve worked 1:1 with a few different coaches over the past few years. My mentors have helped me improve my health and my relationship with food and exercise, build my blog and business and do the “big inner work” on my ego, my desires and even my spirituality.” – Claire

“Most definitely!  I’ve worked with many coaches – many of whom have had amazing specialities like creativity, confidence, body image and business.  I’ve loved working with every one of them and truly believe that all great coaches work with their own coach as often as they can.

Every coach I have worked with has helped me feel more at ease with myself and my business.  This is not necessarily because I have felt super uncomfortable – more so that it’s been a gradual process over many years of really stepping into my own power and expertise to the point where I now no longer worry about what others think of me or what the ‘competition’ is doing.  Coaching has helped me to just accept me for me and know that I am more than ok.  And the more I have embraced that the more I know I have helped others.  A beautiful validation of why it’s so important as people we continually work on ourselves.” – Julie

What advice would you give about how one can find the right life coach for them?

“Follow a few coaches for a while.  Read their blogs.  Connect with them on social media.  Sign up to receive their newsletters.  And then take note what feelings arise within you whenever you see them and what they are up to.  If you find yourself naturally drawn to them more and more – it’s likely they could be right for you.

Also, many coaches offer a complimentary chat before committing to a coaching series with them.  Don’t be afraid to use that with no obligation.  See it as an opportunity to connect further, just as the coach will do with you.  It can be a great way to really cement that they either are or aren’t the right coach for you.

Lastly, be honest with yourself.  Do not work with the ‘hottest coach in town’ if you know in your heart that they really cannot help you with what you need right now.  Sometimes a new and upcoming coach with less experience could be perfect for you if you happen to know they have a particular interest or area that in your own life needs care and attention.   Reach out to the coach that you can clearly see knows your needs best and you can’t go wrong.” – Julie


katherinesKatherine Mackenzie-Smith | The Beauty of Life

Life Coach + Writer + Speaker + Awesome Life Advocate

Katherine is my own Life Coach. She is not only an Awesome Life Advocate, but is just plain Awesome herself. She has been a incredibly huge support to me in establishing my business and looking after myself throughout the process. She is genuine, kind, wise beyond her years, and super hilarious. You should totally check her out online, and book in for a complimentary discovery session via her website if you find yourself connecting with her words throughout this interview. If you think she’s amazing here, I promise you’ll discover she’s even more amazing in person. She is one special lady.


 julies-e1411001767421Julie Parker | Beautiful You Coaching Academy

Life Coach Trainer + Life and Business Coach

Julie is one incredible and inspiring lady. Without even realizing it, she totally changed the course of my life. I know I’m not alone. In the life coaching circle and beyond she is well known for her wisdom, generosity, authenticity and beautiful nature. Through her Beautiful You Life Coaching Academy she is inspiring and educating many life coaches like myself to live big and beautiful lives and to truly touch the lives of those we work with. She is an amazing role model for infusing love into your business, life, and relationships. I’m sure that you felt this yourself when you read her responses above. If you’ve ever thought of becoming a Life Coach, you must check out her Academy. If you are searching for a guru Life + Business Coach, check out her website to see if she has availabilities.


claire_bakersClaire Baker | This is Lifeblood

Coach + Mentor (Health, Life, Blog)

I’m yet to have the privilege to work closely with this amazing human being, but I hope some day I will. I’ve heard so many awesome things about her. Plus I’ve already witnessed her incredible generosity through the content on her website – and through her ‘yes’ to be interviewed on my new blog here. I have been following Claire since I stumbled across her earlier this year, and then heard her speak as part of an interview with the Beautiful You Coaching Academy. I found myself really resonating with her messages and approaches to health, life, and business. Plus I found her E-Book, She is Radiant, fantastic for those wanting to be the healthiest and happiest version of themselves. Make sure you head on over and check out her website, particularly her E-Book and complimentary consultation offer.


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  • I am in the “market” for a life coach and have been thinking about it for a while. Thank you for putting together some great questions and helping me to find the signposts I need to find my perfect “match” 🙂 x

    • I’m so glad it was helpful, Sarah. Part 2 of the interview will be coming out on the weekend – but it has a different focus. In the coming weeks, I’ll also have a post coming about the personal benefits I’ve had from working with a life coach myself.

      If you’re interested in doing a complimentary consultation with me, to get a feel for whether I’d be the right life coach for you, feel free to book online via my Coaching or Contact pages.

      Plus, as I mentioned in the article, the three amazing life coaches interviewed are incredible – so definitely check out their site and book a complimentary consult with them too if you feel yourself resonating with their messages.

      I know that you’ll find the right life coach for you, and regardless of who you end up coaching with, I’d love if you’d come back and update me on how awesome coaching was and how it helped you smashed your goals someday!

      Best wishes lovely, xo.

    • Thank you so much for being part of it Claire – it was wonderful to interview you. I know that Project Healthy Happy Me readers got so much out of it. I did too! xo