THE person who inspired and started me on the journey of becoming a professional coach was Fiona Harrold, best-selling author of Be Your Own Life Coach.

When I first read her book several years ago, I thought to myself, "Wow, what could be more fulfilling than to help others live a more worthwhile, meaningful, satisfying life?"

The first question many people would ask is: "Why do I need a coach?"

That is easy to answer. Let me put it this way - your coach is just your "conscience".

It is your life, your goals and aspirations that you want to work towards. The job of your coach is to "coax, cajole, persuade and sometimes push you to be the best you can be".

But some of you will protest: "My life is fine as it is. I'm happy with what I am, I don't need a coach!"

If you were tempted to say that, pinch yourself now.

Ask yourself: "Am I making the most of my life, of every moment?"

As Harrold says: "There doesn't have to be anything wrong with you to want to run a check and make changes if you have to."

Even Greek philosopher Plato - over 2,000 years ago - knew that an unexamined life is an unlived life.

Your coach can do wonders just by being your sounding board, to help you discover hidden passions, put form and structure into mere aspirations or simply be your cheerleader.

A coach's value

The most successful and wealthy people know the value of a coach.

Tiger Woods may be the best golfer in the world, but he knows he needs his coach. Even presidents and top corporate and political leaders work with coaches.

The sports coach was the "original" coach, but one of the hottest professionals now is the executive or business coach.

There are also life coaches and content coaches, who specialise in different fields, such as finance, property investment or building image.

I am an image coach, although I prefer to call myself an evangelist for success. I set out to inspire people to be more, do more and have more in life.

I believe in a head-to-toe transformation that starts with the mind and goes all the way to the feet that take those I coach where they want to go.

There are generally two schools of thought concerning the coach's role:

* Transference - where one person who has prior knowledge or experience imparts this wisdom to others with a goal to optimising their performance.

* Discovery - where the coach's role is to help others release untapped capability and potential, to help them achieve peak performance.

The first is more directive in nature while the second is more supportive and empathetic in style.

Discover your passion

Renowned British filmmaker John Boorman once said: "What is passion? It is surely the becoming of a person. Are we not, for most of our lives, marking time? Most of our being is at rest, unlived. In passion, the body and the spirit seek expression outside of self."

The coach's role is to help you unearth and discover your passion - what you would love to do even if you don't get paid for it!

It has been said that "our passions are the winds that propel our vessel. Our reason is the pilot that steers her. Without winds, the vessel would not move, and without a pilot she would be lost".

If you want to live a happy and fulfilled life, you must take the time to discover your passion and have a good pilot to guide you.

Unleash your potential

So what is stopping you from living the life of your dreams? The fear of failure? The fear of being laughed at by your friends and family? The fear that you are not good enough?

I have met many people who gave up on their dreams even before they got started because they judged themselves purely on their current state.

They forgot that everyone has the capacity to grow. As motivational guru Zig Ziglar says: "Go as far as you can see, and when you get there, you will always be able to see farther."

It makes me feel sad to see so many people who are just existing - what I call "occupying space".

If you look at the life of someone who is just existing, it is very much like watching a soap opera. You may not have watched it for some time, but when you tune in again after a few weeks or even months, much of the same stuff is still going on.

Find your purpose

What is your purpose? What is your dream?

If you do not know yet, it may be time to reflect on the matter. A coach can help you develop a clearer vision and a sharper focus to propel you towards the life you want.