7 Basic Ways to Become Your Own Life Coach


Life coaching is about improving the happiness and success of someone's life on their own terms. This might entail finding a meaningful career, growing fulfilling relationships, or improving health and fitness levels. Life coaches can be incredibly valuable though the help and advice isn't cheap. Average coaching sessions cost between $100 and $300 per hour. Not everyone can afford that. (See also: 10 Spa Treatments You Can Do at Home)

If that's outside your budget, here are seven ways to be your own life coach for a fraction of the price.

1. Write Down Your Goals

A good deal of life coaching comes down to setting clear and attainable goals and intentions as well as the plans to reach them. Research shows that when we have goals and write them down we are exponentially more likely to achieve them. What gets measured gets done, so write down your goals and visually chart your progress toward them. Post it in a place where you'll see it every day such as the refrigerator door or the bathroom mirror.

2. Consider Therapy If Your Insurance Covers It

Five years ago my apartment building caught fire, and I lost almost all of my belongings. I was unharmed, and that event set off a string of emotions and events that radically transformed my life. I sought professional help after it happened and my sessions with my therapist, covered by my insurance, were very much in line with the essence of life coaching. That fire was a wake-up call to pursue my professional and personal dreams and make my happiness a priority.

Life coaching sessions are rarely covered by insurance because life coaches aren't licensed; they are certified and certification isn't a requirement. (Anyone anywhere can hang out their shingle and bill themselves as as life coach.) A high-quality therapist covered by your insurance is a wonderful, cheaper, and perhaps even more helpful alternative. Look for recommendations of therapists who specialize in the type of coaching that you need and check to see if your insurance covers the fee.

3. Read Self-Help and Personal Psychology Books

Scan the shelves of your local bookstore or look for best-selling self-help and personal psychology books on Amazon. Most, if not all, of them fall into the realm of life coaching and are helpful resources for goal setting and planning. Many of them will take you through the process step-by-step. The authors have websites as well as numerous social media accounts where they connect with readers and share even more advice. Books such as The Artist's Way, Bird by Bird, The Hero's Journey, and Escape from Cubicle Nation have stuck with me for many years and were instrumental in my personal growth.

4. Inspirational Art, Stories, and Quotes

Many people go to life coaches in search of inspiration. Luckily, inspiration is everywhere. I am fascinated by art and artists so going to museums and galleries helps lift me up and give me a positive perspective on life. I also love inspiring stories so TED Talks, inspirational quotes (which I keep on a Pinterest board), and autobiographies ranging from Nelson Mandela to Frank McCourt to Justice Sonia Sotomayor have had an enormous and positive impact on my life.

5. Exercise

One of the other key reasons people seek life coaching is that they feel stuck, or even depressed, about an area of their lives. They need to find a way to get "unstuck." I've found one of the best ways to break mental stagnation is to exercise. Move the body; move the mind. Recent research by a team in Edinburgh found that exercise reduces depression.

6. Take an Outsider's Perspective

Have you ever noticed that you're great at giving advice but not so great at taking it? That was certainly true for me until my therapist said this: "Christa, you spend so much of your time consulting with others to help them realize their dreams. Why don't you be your own consultant and pursue your dreams?" That was a lightbulb moment for me.

If I observed a friend or consulting client doing what I was doing (negative self-talk, half-heartedly working on projects of little value, or making excuses of why they couldn't do what they wanted to do), I would have had a very serious talk with them to change those behaviors. I needed to take my own advice. I still have to remind myself to do this every day. If I can't figure out how to remedy a situation that I know needs to be fixed I think to myself, "If my best friend had this same problem, what would I say?" I write the answer down and post it so I can see it every day until I've solved my problem.

7. Try a New Hobby on for Size

The ultimate goal of all life coaching is to take action to create a happier and more fulfilling life, and that means pursuing your passions. We need to bite the bullet and do something we've always wanted to do. One low-risk and fun way to do that is to take up a hobby without putting any stress on ourselves. Do you think you might want to become a chef? Take a class at your local cooking school or a restaurant that offers cooking classes. An even lower-cost way is to decide to cook more often and make more inventive dishes at home. Take tennis lessons or a dance class. Volunteer for a cause you care about. Travel to a place you've never been and have always wanted to go. Do something that matters to you without seeking any information or reward other than personal fulfillment and see where that actions leads you.

Life coaching is a noble career and a valuable asset to those who can afford the price tag it merits. However, it's a substantial financial investment and there are many ways we can help ourselves and save money at the same time.

What ways have you found to be your own life coach? Please coach the rest of us in comments!

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Guest's picture

Very good article and suggestions. Since my husband is a Life Coach, I want people to know that not all Coaches charge the high fees you mention which is a bit misleading. My husband charges $150 a month which includes at least one face to face consultation and as many phone calls as is needed, whether 1 or 91 pet month. More reasonable than might be expected. Thank you for the reminder about goals! Good work!

Guest's picture


Same with me and my charges. This article is very basic in its suggestions for personal development.

Some people need more advanced help than what's suggested here. Although some very good advice. Thank you Christa Avampato.

Guest's picture
Steve Daniel

Quite impressive! This article definitely gives some fruitful solution to us on how to deal with life's different situations. In this busy world we are frequently involving in different types of works; as a result we are unable to give more time to our day today works like playing, spending time with friends, family and relatives. While following these issues we are ultimately going far away from happiness and other valuable things of life; so we need life coaching and under life coaching we can get various types of success from life. So be your own life coach while following this above tips. I really appreciate this awesome post.

Guest's picture

Thank you very much for this advice on being your own life coach. I'm not really the person that I want to be, and it is time for me to make changes in my life. Your advice about writing down your goals was very helpful. I'll be sure to do that.