What Skills are Required to be a Great Life Coach?

As a life coach you have a responsibility towards each of your clients to guide them towards a more positive and productive future. Doing this takes more skills than many people realise. Here are just some of the skills that the best life coaches have in abundance:

Effective Communication

Life coaching in the UK requires you to be able to communicate clearly, and be aware of your own speech, tone and clarity, as well as your non-verbal communication, such as body language and eye movement. By being aware of these elements in yourself, you can support your client in the effective use of their own communication methods. Good communication also requires good listening skills, and listening requires much more than simply hearing what is being said. An effective life coach can read both verbal and non-verbal clues, be able to show empathy, and have the ability to develop strategies based on what clients do not say, as much as, if not more than, on what they do say.

Ability to provide honest feedback

Being a life coach requires more than simply agreeing with everything the client says. When a client takes steps towards their goals (or backwards away from them) a coach needs to give them open and honest feedback on the journey they are taking and direction they are heading. Coaches also need to be able to balance the feedback you provide so that it is also not critical and is non-partisan.

Ability to Observe

Life coaches must be aware of any underlying factors, concerns, or hurdles that are affecting a client’s self-beliefs, as well as their actions and reactions. This enables coaches to suggest ways forward and actions the client can take, as well as being able to meet and overcome concerns and obstacles that clients may put in the way of their own progress.  

Ability to Effectively Analyse Information

A life coach is privy to a range of information from different sources and needs to carefully analyse and draw effective conclusions from this information to appropriately guide and support clients. Coaches must also be able to approach information from a non-judgemental standpoint.

Good Timing

Success in life coaching requires the coach to have the ability to read situations, moods, and attitudes; to be aware of when a client is ready to move to the next stage of a program or needs extra support before they can move on.

Organisation Skills

If the life coach is not well organised, how can they expect to improve the organisation skills of clients. On a person level, poor organisation potentially leads to confusion and mistakes. Neither of these outcomes are very good for business or a life coach’s reputation.


Life coaches need to empathise with their clients and the situations, goals, and objectives of each client. More importantly coaches need to know the difference between sympathy and empathy. Feeling sorry for a client does not lead to action, only empathy leads to positive change.

Clear ethics

Setting clear and consistent ethical standards is one key aspect of the work of the ACA. Life coaches are trusted with a great deal of personal and professional information on their clients. How coaches approach this information and knowledge, and how seriously they take issues such as confidentiality are what sets apart the best and most successful life coaches from the rest.

Ability to empower and motivate

Successfully coaching clients and helping them to set and reach their goals includes encouraging them to see and approach things from different perspectives and to make changes to their lives based on the all information they now have at their disposal. Life coaches are central to this process and must be able to support their client through all changes, especially the most difficult ones.

Ability to use your intuition

Not everything a life coach does can be evidenced. Sometimes while coaching the best professionals get a “gut feeling”, the very best are also able to recognise these feelings, communicate them, and act on them as required.  

Positivity, energy, and creativity

Positivity, energy, and creativity are traits or skills that every life coach needs. The role of a life coach involves helping others become their best selves. This is rarely a quick or straight forward process and it therefore take commitment and lots of energy. Positivity is an essential quality; it spreads to your client, helping them to see the progress they are making and the goal they want to reach. Creativity is what enables a life coach to see the ideas, perspectives, and answers that others haven’t been able, or have been unwilling, to see.

Putting it all together

Life coaches also need to be self-assured enough to make the coaching conversation and experience all about the client rather than about themselves. A thirst for knowledge and a desire to learn is also vital so that the coach is always ready to learn and help support their client.  If you have these skills, then the next step is to become a member of the ACA and access the wealth of knowledge and expertise that is available to support your journey. Join the ACA today and become part of a growing association that promotes ethical excellence within the life coaching profession.

Is Life Coaching for You?

Are you considering life coaching as the next step in your career? Read on to learn more about becoming a life coach. Are you already a life coach? Are you looking for a way to develop your business and help raise standards across the coaching sector? Visit the accreditation page to see how accreditation could help you.