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How to become a life coach – the 7 essential skills

Posted by Joseph Scott

Success is a continuous journey

Here in Australia, coaching – particularly life coaching – started to emerge in the very late 90s. As its popularity grew, several different streams or types of coaching branched off.
Today, in 2016, on top of life coaching, there is now executive coaching, career coaching, leadership, parenting, image, business and even intimate relationship coaching – imagine that!

Over the years and across the planet, there have and are many coaching schools, academies and training companies all offering ‘The’ Become a life coach program (including us here at The Coaching Room). This has been both wonderful and disastrous for coaches and clients.

While it’s a good thing that life coaching is recognized and accepted by so many around the world, coaching is still a mainly unregulated industry. Anyone can call themselves a coach, hang out their sign and start trading as a coach.

This makes it tough for a person looking at how to become a life coach to know where to start. What’s best practice? What’s effective? What is simply… well, rubbish.

Over the years at the Coaching Room we’ve realised that people choose our coach training because they can see that we know what we’re talking about when it comes to coaching – and training people to become coaches. We’ve coached thousands of people, we’ve been ranked one of the top 5 coach training websites in the world, and – best of all – almost a third of our customers come to us thanks to recommendations from others we’ve trained.

With this in mind, here are what we see as the seven essential skills for anyone who wants to become a life coach. I hope it proves our credentials and our experience and gives you a clear idea of what skills you’ll need if you want to be successful in this industry.

Skill #1: Supporting

Life coaching is about supporting people. But how do you do that and what the hell is supporting?

Well, it’s about helping to facilitate a safe environment with you and through you.
You do this by being respectful of their world and their place in it as the expert on themselves and their situations.

Supporting the person enables the coaching/ client relationship to develop and deepen. It can take an enormous leap of faith for someone to open up to a total stranger.

Being supportive is an attitude of:

  • Unconditional (non-judgemental) regard for your client
  • Stepping fully into their position to share and understand
  • Being genuine, real and caring
  • Meeting the person with your person, not a method or technique
Skill #2: Listening

Seems, simple, huh? But can you listen? I mean really listen – not just your everyday garden variety “wait till you hear them stop speaking so you can have you turn”.
Not the kind of “listening” where they are speaking and you’re thinking to yourself about “what’s for lunch today” while nodding.

I’m talking about in-depth active and highly attentive listening. Listening like they’re about to share their deepest secrets – or this coming Saturday’s winning lottery numbers.

To listen in this way, you have to get yourself fully out of the way. You need to be ok with not knowing what they’re going to say.

Can you be that present? Can you stop the voice in your head long enough to hear theirs? This is what it takes. It’s a skill that can be mastered, but you have to dedicate yourself to learning to listen in depth and being present in the moment.

To read the rest of the 7 essential skills, just pop in your details to download your free 11-page guide How to become a life coach – the 7 essential skills below.


An Integrative Approach to Well-Being