What Are Life Coach Skills? Examples and How to Highlight

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 13 October 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 people who help clients establish healthier living patterns with structured coaching sessions, using their key skills to set and meet wellness targets. These skills allow life coaches to approach their clients in a friendly way and establish a positive rapport, making clients more receptive to teaching and coaching. Understanding these skills and how to use them helps you cater to clients better, ensuring you achieve personal development objectives. In this article, we discuss the definition of life coaching skills, providing several examples, methods to improve them and a means of showcasing them to a hiring manager.

What are life coach skills?

Life coach skills are the traits and characteristics that life coaches use to help their clients better the quality of their lives. These skills allow professionals to develop trusting and lasting relationships with their clients, guiding them to make better choices and achieve a sense of fulfilment. Coaching skills are fundamental for designing structured life coaching sessions, establishing wellness targets and empowering clients. These abilities are typically hard skills, and life coaches require them to fulfil their roles.

Life coaches gain hard skills through training and experience. Some abilities that life coaches use also include soft skills, which are general employability skills that transfer to multiple industries. It's important for life coaching candidates to develop a good balance between these skills to approach clients with respect and dignity, allowing clients to achieve a greater sense of fulfilment after every session.

Related: How Much Does a Life Coach Make? (With Steps to Become One)

Life coach skills examples

Depending on the type of life coach, or any sub-specialities, the amount and types of skills that these professionals possess may differ. For example, a life coach who provides personal training and nutritional advice may have different skills from a life coach who only focuses on personal fulfilment and enables clients to make better decisions about life decisions such as finances. Here's a guide to five life coaching skills candidates can benefit from by developing:

Interpersonal skills

Life coaching is a customer-facing role that relies on daily interactions with clients and other professionals. Therefore, it's important that candidates possess strong interpersonal skills to interact constructively with clients. Interpersonal skills allow life coaches to build trusting relationships, ensuring candidates appear more approachable to their clients.

Building a strong rapport with clients is central to a successful coaching experience because clients may be more receptive and willing to follow the lead of an approachable and trusting life coach. Interpersonal skills also rely on communication, humour, honesty and integrity.

Related: Do You Need a Certificate to Be a Life Coach? (Plus Tips)

Empathy

Life coaches require strong empathetic skills because they may interact with clients with problematic backgrounds or negative behaviour patterns. It's important for life coaches to maintain a nonjudgmental approach to their clients throughout sessions and always empathise. Empathy allows life coaches to navigate challenging conversations with their clients, enabling them to relate at all times.

Being able to relate to clients this way fosters a more trusting and friendly relationship, allowing clients to feel more comfortable with their life coach. Strong empathetic skills also enable life coaches to respond to any situation in the most effective way. Life coaches can use empathy to adapt to their client's needs and personal targets, allowing them to achieve a better sense of fulfilment.

Related: 16 Fulfilling Holistic Careers (With Average Salaries)

Patience

Life coaches may work with clients on an extended basis if it takes longer than expected for the client to meet their goals. It's important for life coaches to maintain patience when this happens to make their clients feel more comfortable and accepted. Patience allows life coaches to avoid displaying negative feelings towards their clients if they struggle to meet a target within the expected time frame.

This positive attitude allows coaches to build more friendly relationships with their clients and effectively manage work-related stress and negative feelings. Patience is also an important supporting skill for empathy, enabling life coaches to relate to their clients more closely.

Related: What Are Empathetic Leaders? (Plus Tips and Benefits)

Project management skills

Life coaches often manage multiple clients simultaneously. Managing multiple client objectives and sessions requires strong project management skills. Strong project management skills allow life coaches to be very organised throughout their client relationships, having a clear view of requirements, individual objectives and each client's circumstances.

These project management skills allow life coaches to delegate their time effectively and spread their workload evenly across their client lists. Project management skills also enable life coaches to approach problems, such as unhealthy coping mechanisms, in a structured manner, generating effective solutions that ensure their clients achieve greater personal fulfilment.

Active listening

It's important for life coaches to practise effective active listening skills when interacting with clients. Practising active listening helps to build a strong relationship with clients because it helps them feel more valued during sessions. Active listening allows life coaches to take in their client's concerns or thoughts and respond constructively and effectively, making this an essential skill for setting objectives.

How to improve life coaching skills

Here's a guide to improving your life coaching skills:

1. Ask for feedback from your clients

A good way to understand the skills you might benefit from improving is by asking your clients for feedback. Your clients are likely to have an in-depth understanding of the skills that you excel in and your areas of development as they spend more time with you. Consider conducting regular reviews with clients to ask for their feedback at the end of each session on the areas you could improve upon for their benefit.

2. Generate skills-based activities with clients

One of the best ways to develop your skills is to generate activities specifically designed to use these skills to your client's benefit. For example, you could develop activities encouraging clients to express their thoughts and feelings more openly. From this, you can use your active listening skills to respond to clients appropriately. This is an excellent activity for life coaches who struggle to listen actively during sessions.

Life coaching skills in the workplace

Here's a guide to using your coaching skills in the workplace:

  • Practise your active listening. Consider prioritising your active listening when interacting with clients. This skill allows you to respond better to your client's specific thoughts and feelings, allowing you to develop a better working relationship.

  • Encourage clear communication. Communication is a central component of many life coaching skills, so it's important to prioritise this. Focus on clearly communicating all information, such as explaining activities in a more in-depth way and empowering clients to express their responses to certain activities.

  • Advocate for your client. To use your life coaching skills practically, it's important to always advocate for your client. This means celebrating their successes, listening to their ideas, responding to their thoughts and finding ways to improve their quality of life.

How to highlight your life coaching skills

If you're in a recruitment process, there are important ways that you can highlight your coaching skills. Here's a guide:

1. Life coaching skills for a resume

Your professional resume is one of the most important documents during the recruitment process. It provides a hiring manager with a list of your most impressive life coaching skills. Use your resume skills section and professional summary to highlight the most critical skills, such as patience, empathy and project management.

Highlighting these character traits also helps you incorporate keywords into your resume, which are vital for passing applicant tracking systems. Applicant tracking systems are software that selects the most keyword-dense documents for further processing. These keywords are usually taken directly from the job description and refer to specialist life coaching traits.

2. Life coaching skills for a cover letter

A cover letter is also integral and allows coaching candidates to explain their skills and experience further. To highlight your life coaching skills in a cover letter, consider referring to brief anecdotes where you previously used these skills most effectively. This shows a hiring manager or client that your work and advice have high-quality, tangible results.

3. Life coaching skills for an interview

During an interview, it's essential to frequently refer back to your life coaching hard skills to evidence your points and answer questions. If the interviewer asks you a scenario-based question, consider providing a response demonstrating how your skills support your problem-solving process. Alternatively, you could use the same strategy in your cover letter, describing previous scenarios where you used your life coaching skills to better a client's life.

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