Skip to content

How to Become a Life Coach: Life Coach Training Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Are you thinking about becoming a life coach? If so, you are about to embark on one of the most lucrative and soul-fulfilling home-based business opportunities globally. Let’s get started!

What is a Life Coach?

Although the coaching industry is growing by leaps and bounds, there are still plenty of people who don’t understand what a life coach is or how coaching plays a vital role in the growth and success of peoples’ lives.

Many people look at life coaching as being a mentor, teacher, consultant, or advisor. It is often mistaken as being the expert in an area and guiding others through their own expertise. But it’s quite the opposite. It’s true, we may choose coaching niches we have experience in; however, in coaching, the client is the real expert of their own life. Everyone has answers inside them. It is the life coach’s job to bring those answers out.

Life coaching has also been compared to mental health professions, such as therapy, social work, and counseling. While coaches help people with personal issues and look at underlying causes, the primary focus is on moving our clients forward. Life coaches focus on the present and future rather than the past.

The list of ways a life coach helps people are amazingly diverse. And for this reason, we created the following definition:

A life coach uses coaching skills, tools, and techniques to get people from where they are to where they want to be in their personal or professional lives through one-on-one and group coaching sessions.

Pretty general right? Read further, to learn more about life coaching as a career and how to become one.

What Services Do Life Coaches Provide?

One of the most common questions we are asked revolves around the types of services a life coach provides. To be honest, there is no cut and dry list of services or ways life coaches help others.

In another post, we created a list of the different types of coaches and coaching niches for you to consider. Depending upon your experience, passion, and interests, you’re almost guaranteed to find something that will appeal to you and potential clients. 

Here are a few examples:

People hire life coaches to help them when they are stuck in certain areas of their lives. They also hire a life coach when there is a goal they want to achieve or a problem they want to solve. Often times people run into roadblocks that prevent them from reaching that goal or solving that problem. The roadblocks are almost always within them, and they may not realize it. These consist of their thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and behaviors. A skilled life coach helps clients move past those roadblocks.

Qualities

Education

Unlike in mental health professions, the coaching industry is not regulated. Therefore, life coaches do not need a high school diploma, degree, license, or accreditation. You can literally wake up one day and call yourself a life coach. 

However, if you want to be an effective life coach who helps people create real and lasting change, you need to have some key qualities, knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Important Qualities

Knowledge

Psychology – Life coaches don’t need a degree; however, they should understand the connection between the human mind, behavior, and motivation.

Coaching Models & Techniques – Well rounded knowledge of various ways to work with different types of clients.

Specific Knowledge  If a coach chooses to specialize in a particular area like relationships or business, they will need specific knowledge in that area.

Continuing Education  When you choose to be an expert in anything, you should always continue learning. There are always new things a coach can learn to enhance his/her skills, such as research studies, insights, techniques, and more.

Coaching Skills

Communication Skills – To have powerful coaching conversations that will help clients to reach their goals. A life coach must learn necessary coaching communication skills such as active listening, powerful questions, empathy, and more.

In this post, we go into more detail about the Top 5 Coaching Communication Skills a coach should Have.

Motivation and Empowerment Skills – The ability to move clients towards success is an essential coaching skill, especially when the client finds it challenging. 

Organization & Flexibility – Life coaches work with different types of clients, so they must be able to use their time, energy, strength, and mental capacity wisely.

Team Player – Life coaching is a co-creative relationship. They must let go of what works for them and remember that the clients are the experts in their own lives. The life coach is there as a guide.

Abilities

Emotional Intelligence – Life coaches deal with a variety of client issues. Therefore, they must be aware of and be able to express and manage their own emotions. Emotional intelligence is also the ability to manage coaching relationships justly and empathetically.

Self-Awareness – A life coach helps people become aware of who they are so they can get out of their own way. Therefore, it is important for coaches to be able to do the same for themselves. This means coaches should have conscious knowledge of who they are, their thoughts, feelings, desires, and motives.

Self-Regulation – To have knowledge of “self” is not enough for success. Life coaches will need to manage their thoughts, feelings, desires, and motives to produce positive results for themselves and their clients.

Self-Motivation – Motivational skills are essential to help clients, but self-motivation is just as important as a coach. A life coach needs to have an internal drive and ability to keep pushing forward through their own adversities, which can occur in life and business.

Values & Strengths

Passion – Life coaches are helpers. To be effective at coaching, a life coach must have enthusiasm and a desire to help others. If a life coach has a specialization, he/she must have a strong like for that area of coaching. Without this passion, you will find coaching or starting a coaching business hard.

Honesty – This means to be genuine, sincere, and take responsibility for your feelings and actions. A life coach must be a person of integrity and act consistently across all domains of their life. This also means being true to oneself, self-integrity.

Hope – This is to have positive expectations and to be optimistic about life and the future. It involves having confidence that goals can be reached, and if a plan doesn’t work, there should be an understanding that there is no failure, only feedback; there is more than one way to get to the desired outcome. 

Objective – The ability to perceive things without reacting or judging. The ability to see the bigger picture in life. This is also the ability to avoid getting wrapped up in the small details when there are other issues to consider. 

Training

Although the coaching industry is not regulated and there are no formal requirements, a person who identifies themself as a life coach should consider training. In doing so, he/she will learn how to coach effectively and help their clients create change. It’s easy to help someone create goals; the challenge comes when the person is not staying committed to goals due to blocks.

There are a lot of coach training schools, and it can be hard to choose from. When choosing a school, you should have a list of general and personal things to consider.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a life coach training school:

  • Preferred learning style, i.e., visual, auditory, read/write, kinesthetic. 
  • Preferred learning format, i.e., online, live-online, self-paced, etc.
  • Preferred price, i.e., affordable, high-end, etc.
  • Credibility, i.e., affiliations, accreditations, testimonials, etc.
  • Learn foundational coaching skills, i.e., active listening, using questions in coaching, goal setting, action planning, creating awareness, framework, etc.
  • Learn advanced coaching skills, i.e., how to change limiting beliefs, change behaviors, create transformation, increase happiness, etc.
  • Personal development for the coach and client
  • Learn how to start a coaching business and get clients
  • Ongoing support

Accreditation and Certification

Although you don’t need certification to become a life coach, acquiring certification may make you stand out to future clients. Certification can also increase your chances of contracting with organizations or getting a job. 

There are well-known credentialing organizations, such as the International Coach Federation (ICF) and the International Association of Coaching (IAC). They evaluate coach training schools based on standards of coaching ethics and competency. When someone completes training and other requirements from one of their approved schools, they become eligible for accreditation.

Entrepreneurial & Marketing Skills

When most people decide to become a life coach, they choose to start their own business. Starting a life coaching business compared to getting a life coaching job is much more lucrative and in demand.

Entrepreneur and marketing skills include:

  • Business management 
  • Customer service
  • Time management and organization
  • Technical
  • Branding and marketing
  • Networking
  • Passion
  • Consistency

If you don’t have entrepreneurial and marketing skills, a good life coach training school will have training on how to start, run, and grow your business, including most of the skills above.

Career as a Coach

A large percentage of coaches start their own coaching business. Some coaches are self-employed full-time. Others coach part-time to their current job or as a retiree. 

You may also find coaches working in organizations as an Executive Coach, that is coaching employees. 

Life coaches conduct coaching sessions remotely or face-to-face in a one-on-one or group coaching format.

Career Outlook

The coaching industry is the 2nd fastest growing industry in the world. 

According to the International Coach Federation, the estimated global total revenue from coaching in 2019 was $2.849 billion U.S. dollars, representing a 21% increase over the 2015 estimate. 

Globally, it is estimated that there were approximately 71,000 coach practitioners in 2019, an increase of 33% on the 2015 estimate. Growth was especially strong in the emerging regions of Latin America and the Caribbean (+174%) and Eastern Europe (+40%).

Globally, females account for 68% of the coach practitioners, ranging from 61% in the Middle East and Africa to 80% in Eastern Europe, 75% in North America.

With the exception of North America, the majority of coach practitioners are in the Generation X age cohort. In North America, the majority of coaches are Baby Boomers. Globally, Millennials account for just under one in ten coach practitioners, ranging from 22% in Eastern Europe to 5% in North America. Very few coach practitioners (1%) were part of the Greatest Generation.

According to MarketResearch.com, the personal development market is worth $9.9 billion U.S. It is forecast to post 5.6% average yearly gains from 2016 to 2022 when the market should be worth $13.2 billion.

The market is mostly comprised of Baby Boomers and female customers looking for help in areas such as relationships, weight loss, spirituality, managing stress, increasing productivity, and making more money.

A substantial share of these customers is located on the two coasts of the United States.

Life coaching services are one segment of this broader personal development industry.

Take-Home Message

Life coaching is an art and skill. Some things, such as passion, drive, values, and strengths, are innate characteristics. Other things such as knowledge, skills, and abilities can be learned. 

For further steps on becoming a life coach, check out: