The Reason to Choose Life Planning vs. Life Coaching

Imagine you just woke up on the side of the road with amnesia. You have a desperate need to get “home” but you’re not sure whether to take a step to your right or left. After a while a woman approaches and noticing you look lost, asks if you need directions. But there’s the rub. Her guidance is useless until you figure out where you want to go. First, you need someone to help you remember who you are and where you’re headed. 

That scenario illustrates the primary difference between life coaching and life planning. A life coach is a terrific person to help get you where you need to go. But if you’re not sure of your final destination, life coaching can be a big waste of time. You’re just walking pretty confidently toward…well, something you hope will make you happy. On the other hand, life planning focuses on first identifying who you are and where you’re going. Then we make a strategic plan to move you in the direction toward the fulfilling life you want. 


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When I facilitate a lifeplan for my clients, I don’t just help them reach an arbitrary goal they think will make them happy. I begin at the beginning. I start by helping them get perspective on what a fulfilling life actually looks like…for them. Not for their parents or their partner or according to what their friend posted on Instagram. I help them define a meaningful life for their unique personality. Then once we are confident of where we are headed, we begin to work through the steps that will get them to their goal. Life planning is a marriage between vision and strategy. 

This distinction between life planning and life coaching is critical if you want to invest in the right services to increase satisfaction and meaning in your life. One of my recent clients described what this dichotomy had been like for her. She said, “Chanel, I’m not really sure what’s next for me. I’ve been working in the same company for over a decade and now I think I’m ready to pivot. But I’m not sure to what. I hired a life coach months ago to help me get unstuck, but I felt like it was a big waste of time because I wasn’t sure that she was even coaching me in the right direction. I think I need to know my life purpose first.”

If you’re not sure of your final destination, life coaching can be a big waste of planning focuses on first identifying who you are and where you’re going.

If you’re sure of what you want in life and need encouragement to move you along in that direction, you may want to consider life coaching. I can even give you some great recommendations on coaches to hire. But if you’re still defining what you want and are uncertain about how to go after it, life planning may be the best option for you. My clients are usually asking questions like the following when they come into their lifeplan intensive:

  • What should I do next with my career?

  • What kind of life partner would be ideal for me to marry?

  • Should I stay in this city or move someplace else?

  • How can I experience more rest and personal fulfillment in my downtime?

  • How does spirituality factor into my daily life?

  • and more!

Still not sure if you should work with a life coach or life planner? I offer free 30-minute introductory phone consultations to help you talk through your current questions and decide what’s the best next step to take (whether it be life planning, life coaching, therapy, or independent personal development through books and other resources). Email me today at or hop on my schedule here for your complimentary intro session.

You can also take the first step toward a lifeplan by booking a Kickstart with me. You can learn more about that here online.