A life coach helps clients to take control in areas such as relationships, careers and confidence.

What does a life coach do?

Life coaches support and encourage people to help them fulfil their potential and make the most of their lives.

Life coaches work with clients to:

  • talk about their situation
  • discuss their values, attitudes and beliefs
  • help them to set suitable goals for change
  • break down these goals into small steps
  • look at ways of overcoming barriers and setbacks
  • support them to stay motivated and committed

Clients could range from individuals to an entire business. This role could offer either a general service or a specialism, such as executive, career change, or youth coaching. It may sometimes be necessary to turn down a client and recommend another professional such as a qualified counsellor or a financial adviser. It is important to be ethical and acknowledge when someone else might be more qualified to help a client.

What do I need to do to become a life coach?

Life coaching is not regulated in the UK, so anyone can work as a life coach if they feel they have the necessary skills and qualities. More and more, clients tend to favour coaches who have qualifications and membership of a professional organisation. A good starting point would be to choose a course that is approved by one of the independent coaching bodies.

It is important that you gather as much information as possible before choosing a course, as costs vary widely. Think about the way you learn best – do you want mostly distance or online learning, or do you prefer to be taught face-to-face? Apart from your studies you would need to make time for practical coaching sessions and preparation activities.

Check that the course offers:

  • contacts with other coaching and mentoring bodies
  • testimonials from coaches who have attended the course
  • good resources for developing skills
  • practical training, such as workshops and seminars
  • some supervised work with a practising life coach or assessor
  • advice on setting up a business
  • opportunities for continuing professional development

If you already have a degree, you could study for a postgraduate award in coaching at some universities. Courses at this level tend to focus on sport, or performance management within organisations.

Related skills

  • Interpersonal skills

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

You would usually work from home if coaching online, and arrange to meet a client in a public space if coaching face-to-face. 

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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