Essential Skills For A Life Coach (With Improvement Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 26 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Life coaches are wellness professionals who guide, assist and direct their clients' to help them achieve their personal and professional life goals. These professionals often empower, motivate and encourage their clients to better navigate life's challenges and require a strong attention to detail, and intuitive and empathic abilities. If you want to become a life coach and help people find a sense of purpose in their life, learning about essential skills for these professionals can help guide your preparation process.

In this article, we discuss the essential skills for life coaches alongside some general tips on how you can improve them.

Why are skills for a life coach necessary?

Skills for a life coach are necessary because they prepare these professionals mentally and practically to better assist clients with the problems they may face. When life coaches are well skilled and trained, they are more equipped and positioned to help others by offering them actionable and valuable steps, guidance or advice. These essential life coach skills can also allow professionals to better relate to clients' problems and empathise with their perspectives while providing holistic and intuitively reasoned help. When life coaches have the relevant skills, they can perform their daily duties more efficiently.

Related: What Are Life Skills? Examples And How To Improve Them

Essential skills for a life coach

Here is a list of some essential skills for a life coach:

Listening skills

Life coaches work with multiple clients and listen to the challenges and problems they may face personally or professionally to better assist them in navigating their lives. Life coaches are actively skilled listeners who can understand the intricacies of a conversation and the information that their clients may not be comfortable sharing at first. They are more equipped to continue the conversation and ask the right questions to retrieve answers from their clients organically when they listen intently. Having the right information helps them provide actionable advice to their clients.

Read More: Active Listening Skills: Definition And Examples


Being open to certain situations or suggestions and asking questions helps life coaches discover additional aspects of an individual's personality and how certain experiences may have made them feel specific emotions. Curiosity often helps life coaches know more about their client's life stories and experiences that shaped them into the person they are.

This skill also allows these professionals to ask deeper questions to their clients and discover the answers to better support and guide them on their journey. When life coaches are curious, they make more space and opportunities for the clients to share their experiences safely and authentically.

Positive mindset

Staying positive and having a positive mindset are crucial skills for life coaches to succeed in their professions and better support their clients' needs. When coaches are positive, they instil confidence and hope in their clients and make them feel more positive about the challenges they may be facing. Positivity also enhances the overall efficiency of a life coach's job and helps make clients comfortable expressing their vulnerable stories, fears or emotions. The job of a life coach requires them to communicate with diverse people with varying needs regularly, so positivity can help them collaborate with their clients efficiently.

Read More: How To Keep A Positive Attitude: A Complete Guide

Communication skills

A life coach's job can often be thorough and demanding and requires them to constantly convey their perspectives and advice to clients who may face difficult situations. Their job requires them to communicate with multiple clients, colleagues, mentors and other skilled professionals to help them deliver excellent services. When these professionals communicate effectively, it helps ensure clarity and purposefulness in their conversations with clients and enables them to receive honest feedback. Excellent communication skills also position them as credible professionals and enable their clients to get comfortable with them when sharing their personal experiences.

Read More: Verbal Communication Examples In The Workplace (With Tips)


Life coaches can benefit from being passionate about helping others and assisting them in making better life choices. A good life coach takes immense interest in understanding their client's journey, experiences, and struggles as it allows them to better guide them through their healing processes. This skill also enables life coaches to transform the lives of their clients by offering them valuable insight and showing a willingness to direct their personal and professional choices towards positivity. When coaches are passionate about helping people and show enthusiasm for understanding human complexities, they promote clarity and drive impact for their clients.


Life coaches often deal with very personal accounts of their clients' challenging stories, and these are vulnerable experiences that they entrust coaches to listen to and keep private. An essential skill for life coaches is maintaining client confidentiality to ensure privacy and protect clients' sensitive information. When clients share personal accounts of their lived experiences, they trust the coaches before sharing such deep information. When coaches can keep this information private, it positions them as responsible and respectful wellness professionals.

Attention to detail

Having strong visual and verbal attention to detail can help life coaches remember and retain specific aspects of a client's personality or identity. When these professionals focus on understanding their clients' struggles, they can offer valuable, insightful and actionable advice to support them in their journey of self-discovery. Strong attention to detail can also help them understand their client's information by assessing their body language and the way they react to certain questions. This skill helps prevent uncomfortable instances with clients and enables life coaches to offer them specific advice based on their personal requirements.


Being growth-oriented can be beneficial for life coaches, as it allows them to help others navigate life better. When coaches are growth-oriented and prioritise their holistic learning and development, they are more likely to encourage their clients to do the same. With all the challenging conversations they engage in, it is imperative that the coaches can lead by example and provide their clients with reasons to become better in their personal and professional lives. This skill also ensures that the coaches instil enough trust in their clients to make brave decisions and understand things from a well-informed perspective.


A large part of a life coaches' job is often to foster that awareness within the client and help them understand the reasons behind certain actions and emotions. Coaches can give all relevant advice to their clients, but it is only helpful if the clients are aware of their harmful or fear-based thought processes. Once they become aware, they may be able to more efficiently change their mindset and enhance their decision-making skills. Fostering awareness helps coaches organise all incoherent information into a structure to guide their clients better.


Being non-judgemental can be an essential skill for life coaches to excel in their careers and help their clients work through challenges better. One way to practice this skill is to ask the right open-ended questions to their clients and refrain from judging the client's actions. When life coaches do not judge, they can better listen, accept and cater to their client's needs by offering relevant, solution-oriented advice. It also positions them as caring and compassionate professionals who handle situations politely and professionally.

Tips to improve your skills as a life coach

Here is a list of some tips you can follow to improve your skills as a life coach:

  • Gain relevant certifications: Consider enrolling in professional life coaching certification programmes to enhance your skills and knowledge of the profession. A good life coaching certification can equip you with formal training to better navigate your work with clients and help you understand the areas you want to specialise in as a coach.

  • Lead with a desire to help: Set your intentions right and consider your motivations before you choose to become a life coach. When you lead with a genuine desire to help other people and uplift them to make better choices, you may expect positive outcomes as a coach.

  • Stay authentic: Clients may be knowledgeable and sensitive about how you react to their experiences and how you guide them. They may be able to sense when you are being honest and sincere, so when you stay authentic in your daily work practices as a life coach, you are more likely to keep clients and impact them positively.

  • Show your vulnerability: Clients can only discuss their personal experiences with you when you are brave enough to show vulnerability. When you share your personal stories, they are more likely to feel safe and comfortable trusting you and showing their own vulnerabilities, which allows you to help, guide and advise them.

  • Stay present: Successful life coaches remain present and actively listen to their clients' responses to understand them better. When you stay present, you can engage with them effectively and offer valuable and relevant insights into their journey.

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