Uncovering the Difference Between Life and Executive Coaching

These forms of coaching, while they differ in their focus and clientele, share a common goal of empowering individuals, so what are their differences?


Both executive coaching and life coaching are concerned with personal development and professional growth. These forms of coaching, while they differ in their focus and clientele, share a common goal of empowering individuals to navigate challenges and reach their full potential.

This article explores what the differences between them are, read on to find out exactly where they diverge in their scope and application.


Executive coaching is specifically geared towards enhancing the leadership, management, and professional development of executives within a business or organisational context, whereas life coaching typically focuses on personal growth, fulfillment, and well-being across various aspects of an individual’s life.


Executive coaching often centres around achieving specific professional objectives, such as improving leadership skills, navigating organisational challenges, or driving strategic change within the business, while life coaching may encompass a broader range of personal goals, such as improving relationships, finding purpose, or achieving work-life balance.


Executive coaching is typically conducted within the context of the executive’s role and responsibilities within an organisation, addressing challenges and opportunities related to their professional environment. In contrast, life coaching is more holistic and can encompass personal, family, and social aspects of an individual’s life, often outside the scope of their professional endeavors.


While both executive coaching and life coaching may utilise similar techniques, such as goal-setting, action-planning, and reflective practices, the approach of each may differ. Executive coaching often takes a more structured and results-oriented approach with an emphasis on performance metrics and tangible outcomes, while life coaching tends to focus on self-discovery, personal growth, and mindset shifts.

ROI Measurement

For both executive coaching and life coaching, the measurement of Return on Investment (ROI) can be complex due to the qualitative nature of many of the outcomes.

In the case of executive coaching, ROI is often quantified by evaluating improvements in workplace performance, increased productivity, and achievement of strategic business goals. This can include metrics such as increased profit margins, customer satisfaction scores, or employee engagement levels.

For life coaching, the ROI might be evaluated in terms of improved quality of life, increased satisfaction in various areas of the client’s life (relationships, career, personal development), or achievement of personal goals. These outcomes are often assessed through subjective measures, such as self-reported satisfaction scales or qualitative interviews.

Despite the differences in their focus, both types of coaching aim to bring about meaningful change in individuals’ lives, leading to tangible advantages that can, in turn, translate into a positive ROI.

potential earnings

The potential earnings between executive coaching and life coaching can vary significantly, largely due to differences in clientele, market demand, and perceived value.

Executive coaches often work with high-paying clients in corporate sectors, including top-level executives, managers, and other business leaders. These professionals are usually willing to invest substantially in their professional development, leading to higher financial returns for executive coaches. According to the International Coaching Federation, executive coaches earn, on average, over $300 per hour.

On the other hand, life coaches often work with individuals seeking personal growth and life improvement, and pricing for these services can greatly vary, depending on factors such as specialisation, reputation, and geographical location.

The average hourly rate for life coaches can range anywhere from $60 to $250. It’s important to note that both fields have potential for lucrative earnings, depending upon the coach’s level of expertise, reputation, and their client’s perceived value of the service.


Although there are many differences between the two, ultimately both types of coaching are for ‘whole people’. Coaching should always encompass the entirety of a person – their beliefs, values, needs, emotions and wants.

An executive coachee needs a life and a life coachee often has a profession. Great coaching always considers the whole system.


“What is Executive Coaching?” Harvard Business School Publishing. https://www.harvardbusiness.org/what-is-executive-coaching/

“Life Coaching vs Executive Coaching: Which One Do You Need?” Life Coach Spotter. https://www.lifecoachspotter.com/life-coaching-vs-executive-coaching/

“2016 ICF Global Coaching Study.” International Coaching Federation. https://coachfederation.org/app/uploads/2017/12/2016ICFGlobalCoachingStudy_ExecutiveSummary-2.pdf