What’s the difference between a Career, an Executive, and a Life Coach?

//What’s the difference between a Career, an Executive, and a Life Coach?

First of all, the basics – What is Coaching?

A Career, Executive, and Life coach?  Slow down…

Coaching in general is a form of development in which an experienced person, the Coach, provides structured guidance, training, challenge and accountability to help clients (Coachee) clarify and achieve their goals.

Coaching is the norm and crucial to performance in the professional sports and artistic world, but there is still hesitation and lack of clarity around the benefits in the general professional or personal space.

Could Andy Murray have won 3 tennis grand slams without a coach? Probably not. In the same vein, we perform our very best when someone is helping us get there.

But there are several types of coaches out there. What’s the difference between a Career, Executive, and Life coach?


A Career Coach

Whether just starting out and not sure what your first steps should be, or whether you’re already in a career and considering changing paths a Career Coach can help you clarify what you really want and how to get there.

They do this through questioning;

  • Your skills, interests and abilities.

    • Knowing these helps define what activity you would be good at and enjoy doing. If you enjoy what you do, you’re most likely to be very successful at it – a virtuous circle.


  • What environment is most suitable for you?

    • Do you prefer an easygoing, relaxed or more formal structure? Would you rather a specific location or changing scene every day?


  • Which sectors, industries and roles would be a good match (a good Career Coach will have a breadth of knowledge and experience)


  • What practical goals and needs do you have

    • How much money do you want to earn? Do you have a child, pet, or parent to take care of?


  • What sort of people and culture resonates best with you?

    • Small or larger teams? Creative or academic?
    • Who do you want to spend your time with?  An average career takes up to 80,000 hours of your one precious life – spend it with the right people!


Once you’ve defined your goal(s), your Career Coach will support you with training and guidance on the necessary next steps to get there.


When you finish your time with a career coach, you should feel you have a crystal clear path in front of you, with solid, well-thought-through steps. You’ll be in a position to rocket to where you want to be because all you have to do is follow the steps, one by one. Simple, eh?


Specific skills development including CV writing, networking and preparation for interviews generally fall outside the remit of the pure career coach but can be found in some companies including (guess who?) Forward Career Coaching.

An Executive Coach

An executive coach focuses on your professional role, helping to optimise your performance and satisfaction at work.  They generally work within organisations as an extension of HR, making you more effective and happier at work.

The global pandemic, cost of living crisis, not to mention all the stuff going on in our ‘home’ lives has created immense levels of stress. This stress often leaks into our home life or slaps up with burnout.

According to Mental Health UK, 1 in 5 of us feel unable to manage pressure and stress levels at work. Executive coaches are there to help with exactly this.

Executive coaching includes:


  • preparing and supporting you in your new position; whether in a completely new job, returning from maternity/paternity leave or transitioning from one role to another.


  • If you’re struggling with work or looking to exit and need to develop a transition and succession plan, an Executive Coach will help you clarify exactly what the issues are and come up with a plan to deal with them.
  • An external coach not only ensures total confidentiality and no agenda but provides a wholly independent perspective – no judgement here.

Skills development

  • We all need to continue developing our knowledge and skills.  Whilst many companies provide excellent internal programmes, the value of an independent external Executive Coach ensures you can be totally honest and vulnerable without any concern of internal feedback.
  • Whether looking to develop specific skills – confidence, conflict resolution and negotiation skills, time and people management, communications and presentation skills and more – consider an Executive Coach.

A Life Coach

Our lives are made up of so many aspects;

  • career/business
  • finance
  • family/friends
  • health
  • personal growth
  • home/physical environment
  • fun and recreation
  • romance and purpose

Whilst cars have their annual MOT check to ensure their safety, and many of us do regular physical health checks, rarely do we take the time to undertake our own full-life MOT/audit – all aspects of which impact our mental well-being.

A Life Coach works with you as your confidential, independent advisor to discover answers to your personal issues, improving personal satisfaction, fulfilment and well-being.

A Career, Executive, and Life coach – which would be most helpful to you?

The ability to think for ourselves is a human’s greatest power and yet so often we are unable to take a step back and make decisions from a position of clarity and strength.

Generally, we neglect our own mental health and think we can do everything ourselves.  But as Bill Gates said ‘everyone needs a coach’.

Coaching helps you be the best you can be across every aspect of your life.  Choosing the right professional for you is key – not only someone who has the right level of expertise and experience but a chemistry and style to match yours.

That is why our highly experienced team is here to help you harness your power, unlock your full potential and be the very best version of yourself.

Remember you’re one in (nearly) 8 billion on the planet, the chances of you being born were one in a trillion;  you’re wholly unique with your particular life to lead.

As Marianne Williamson said, ‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.’


Get in touch with our friendly team today – we offer a free initial consultation to understand exactly what you need. Email catherine@ylr.group, call on (+44) 203 130 0295, or get in touch here.