Life Coach vs Leadership Executive Coach

While there are some very stark distinctions between both forms of coaching, in general, both a Life Coach and an Executive/Leadership Coach works with a client to help them move forward with a firm objective and purpose. The difference between the two forms of coaching comes in the area of their emphasis. Executive coaching has the added dimension of the client’s professional standing being inherent to the relationship and the outcomes. If you are not hired by the executive directly you will be working on goals set by the executives supervisor. At the end of the day though, a coach hired to work with an executive will come across issues and areas related to the executives overall life over the course of a coaching contract.

Life Coach

A Life Coach generally works with an individual on a personal level. They may help clients understand personal goals and objectives and discover the things that are holding them back in their effort to meet these goals and objectives and ultimately create a life in alignment with their values. The life coach often helps clients find balance in their lives, build positive relationships or improve their outlook. Success in this coaching relationship is measured by the happiness and fulfillment of the client. The coaching agenda is not mixed with a business agenda, life coaching is all about the individual.

As a Life Coach the focus of the client’s needs are personal in nature. Rather than providing professional development in how to be more effective in a work role, life coaches often help with personal life challenges. Some thoughts or ideas for exploration with a life coach may include:

  • Where do you want to be a year from now? Five years from now? Ten years from now
  • What do you want more of in your life?
  • What does success mean to you?
  • What do you want to be remembered for at the end of your life?
  • Are you moving in the direction of your dreams?
  • What would you do if you had no fear?
  • Are you enjoying what you do on a daily basis? What needs to change?
  • What could you do right now that would make the biggest difference in your life?

It’s important to note that Life Coaches are paid less than what Executive Coaches are paid and this varies in different countries. Perhaps the biggest factor for the difference in pay is that 61% of Life Coaching clients pay for their own coaching, while only 10% of Executive Coaching clients do the same Sherpa Survey.

Leadership Executive Coach

By comparison, an Executive, or Leadership Coach addresses the professional aspirations of the client. An individual in a leadership role has a responsibility to many people (shareholders, subordinates, the public, etc.) Because of this level of responsibility the executive coach may suggest that the leader focus on specific measurable outcomes as they impact their role in the business. For this coaching relationship, the measurement of success is directly related to the client’s professional achievements.

An Executive Coach might best be defined as a coach who works with leaders who also have a personal life. Some thoughts or ideas that come into play in this relationship might include:

  • What areas of your professional life are working in a positive manner?
  • What areas could use improvement?
  • What type of professional feedback is affirming to you as a leader?
  • What do you consider to be a “win” in your work life?
  • What beliefs do you have that serve you well as you pursue future career goals?
  • What beliefs do you have that are not serving you?
  • What do you need to do to take your career to the next step?

In Summary

The rapport between the Life Coach and client as well as the Executive Coach and client is based on a level of trust that grows stronger over time; however, the considerations of the coach/coachee relationship are vastly different. While both a life coach and an executive/leadership coach work to guide or facilitate the client in meeting specific goals, the executive coach takes into account the organizational culture and business climate. Additionally, both a life coach and an executive coach seek to help their clients reach a deeper insight and understanding, but an executive coach works to help the client align this understanding with an organizational or business agenda or process.

Stanley Ng (Stan) 黄宝明

Stan is a trainer, consultant, and coach for the past 15 years and has personally trained, consulted, and coached over 5,000 professionals from 45 Fortune 500 companies. Stan is a Certified Hypnotherapist for the National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH) and The International Medical & Dental Hypnotherapy Association (IMDHA). Stan is also a International Coaching Federation (ICF) Professional Certified Coach (PCC), ICF Mentor Coach, and ICF Accredited Coach Education Instructor. Stan specialises in Executive Coaching, Life Coaching, and Addiction Recovery Coaching. 

  • International Coaching Federation (ICF) Professional Certified Coach (PCC)
  • International Coaching Federation (ICF) Mentor Coach
  • International Coaching Federation (ICF) Accredited Coach Education Instructor
  • Coach Masters Academy Certified Transformative Coach
  • National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH) Certified Hypnotist 
  • The International Medical & Dental Hypnotherapy Association (IMDHA) Certified Hypnotherapist
  • 12-Steps Sponsor & Accountability Partner
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