How To Become a Life Coach: Basic Skills and Knowledge

Want to become a life coach? I got you covered.

Here are some interesting facts to know first:

  • The business coaching industry is trending with a revenue increase of $15 billion in 2019.
  • The average income for life coaches ranges from $27,000 to $100,000 annually.
  • 92% of life coaches remain active in the field, suggesting solid opportunities.
  • The life coaching industry’s revenue is estimated to increase to $1.34 billion by 2022.

So, do you have a passion for helping others achieve goals, succeed and be a better version of themselves? If so, making a living as a life coach might just be your ideal job.

In this article, I want to share tips, actionable advice, and skills to build a successful life coaching business.

So, let’s jump right in.

Why do You Want to Become a Life Coach?

First, knowing why you want to become a life coach is a good start. 

Oftentimes people are unaware of what life coaches really do. 

What really made you choose this profession?

Is it to:

  • Help others achieve their goals?
  • Create professional and personal growth plans?
  • Help others attain work and life balance?
  • Help others go beyond their limiting beliefs?
  • Seeing others happy with what they can accomplish?

Whatever it is, clients will want to know more about you before sending you checks and determining if you are a good fit for them.

Naturally, we are curious about each other’s story and expertise. Having these answers ready will build credibility and make good impressions. 

Figure out the “why” before you decide to become a life coach. The answers are going to be the driving force behind helping others transform their lives. 

Get Certified

After knowing your “why”, This might be the next most important step. Without it, clients will have a hard time trusting you. They need to see you as a professional life coach. 

Above everything else, having a life coaching certification will give you the skills and knowledge required to help others. 

Before clients invest in you, make sure to invest in training for yourself.  

Think of it this way…

If you were to learn Spanish, would you rather invest in a native speaker with good reviews and who fits your budget, but has never taught Spanish before…?


Would you choose someone with 10+ years of experience teaching Spanish and a training degree?

Of course, you would opt for the second person. 

While it is possible to become a successful non-certified life coach, it will be challenging to find the type of clients willing to pay you the big bucks. 

ICF (The International Coach Federation) has more than 130 chapters in over 70 countries and members in 138 countries. It offers three levels of coach credentials

  • Associate Certified Coach: Achieving this level requires at least 60 hours of training and 100 hours of coaching experience.
  • Professional Certified Coach: This credential requires at least 125 hours of training and 500 hours of coaching experience.
  • Master Certified Coach: The highest credential requires at least 200 hours of training and 2,500 hours of coaching experience.

(NOTE: If you’ve been asking questions about ICF Certification lately, then you need to attend this webinar, called “ICF Credentialing & Coach Certification”. During the webinar, I’ll cover how you can gain an ICF Credential in a matter of months. Click HERE now to attend the webinar.)

Niche Down 

Don’t be a generalist; there’s nothing worse than falling into the niche dilemma so many life coaches fall into. 

The more you niche down, the more clarity you’ll have on who your target clients are, and the more you’ll know how to market your services to that specific type of clientele. 

You want to be the go-to life coach in a chosen niche. 

To do that, spend some time listing your interests, digging into your background and your experiences to determine a niche that fits your personality and goals.

How to find your life coaching niche

Low Competition

Again, narrowing down your niche means less competition. Make this a priority because it’ll save a lot of time when you are out there marketing your services.

Market Demand

Is there a market for your services? 

Is there profit potential? 

Look for other life coaches in your niche. Creep on their websites and social media platforms to get a feel for who they are serving and how they’re marketing themselves. It’ll also tell you a lot about the size of your market.

Your Skills

Your skills, hobbies, interests, background, and anything you are good at will come in handy when you are deciding on a niche. 

Here are examples of how you could pick your niche: 

  • You overcame your shyness and you’re confident you can help others do the same. You can be a confidence coach.
  • Your marriage went through a rocky phase and you managed to save it. You can be a marital coach.
  • You’ve read all the existing books about relationships and love. You can be a dating coach.

If you still don’t know how to choose a niche, it’s okay. Sometimes, it takes more time to figure out. 

Here is a list of 20 niches to consider: 

  • Relationship 
  • Business 
  • Mindset 
  • Parenting and family 
  • Women empowerment 
  • Employee Satisfaction 
  • Chronic Illness
  • Sexuality 
  • Sales  
  • Spirituality 
  • Health and fitness
  • Marketing 
  • Stress management 
  • Productivity 
  • Goal setting and achievement 
  • Success
  • Confidence 
  • Career
  • Financial management 
  • Organization

Remember, if you do pick a niche, you don’t have to feel stuck to it. You can always change it down the line if it’s not for you. You will learn as you go.

Learn to be confidential

Learning confidentiality is a key factor for developing client-coach relationships and building trust. 

Your clients will need to feel at ease to confide in you if you want them to talk freely and openly about their lives. 

For that to happen it is important to make clients comfortable from day one by telling them that everything they speak about will remain confidential. 

Breaching the confidentiality relationship will harm your business and reputation as a life coach.

According to the ICF, a good number of clients send complaints that touch on privacy. 

There are cases when it is okay not to be subject to confidentiality:

  • Discussing illegal and criminal activities 
  • When clients are a danger to themselves
  • Discussing unethical or inappropriate behavior

Cases vary depending on the context and the situation.

Develop Your Listening Skills

An important part of your job as a life coach is to listen.

Clients are going to disclose insecurities, struggles, personal issues, and everything that’s holding them back from getting to where THEY want. 

Thus, developing listening skills is something you should practice and hone long before you become a life coach.

How to Develop Your Listening Skills:

  • You can practice it with friends and family by imagining they are clients that want to overcome a certain issue. Listen to them, take notes if possible, and get to the root cause of the problem.
  • Listen to people’s complaints without making any sort of intervention.
  • Before giving advice or guiding your clients towards their destination, make sure you’ve asked all the right questions to get the whole story.

Bottom line, you want to make sure you’ve fully understood your client’s plight and frustration before giving them the feedback and counsel they are paying you for.

Experience Great Life Coaching

One way of knowing more about this profession is to experience it as a client. 

If you are passionate about this career, why not get a life coach yourself?

It’ll give you a sneak peak of what it’s really like to coach and be coached.

Here’s what you can expect when you become a coaching client:

  • You’ll see firsthand what it’s like to coach others.
  • You’ll get a basic understanding of how the communication goes between a client and a life coach. 
  • You’ll know if life coaching really makes a difference for you.
  • Expect some challenging questions from your coach.
  • You’ll witness some of the challenges life coaches face.

Experiencing life coaching will give you a head start. 

You don’t want to invest a lot of money in becoming a life coach only to realize it’s not something you believe in.

Have a Marketing Strategy

With an effective marketing strategy, your life coaching career can easily turn into a multi-faceted business. 

Keep in mind that, just like any other business, life coaching can grow and expand, allowing you to have different streams of income.

If you want to become a successful life coach, put some serious thought into what you can do to stand out from the competition.

how to coaching industry is trending in the usa (2019)

Consider these steps to get an edge in your coaching business: 

  • Have a business card that states clearly what you can do.
  • Build a brand name by creating a website, blog, or any platform where you showcase your expertise. Clients will take you more seriously if they see you as a business owner.
  • Prepare to invest a lot of time hanging out where your clients hang out (Offline networks, Quora, LinkedIn, Facebook, Youtube, Reddit, Twitter, forums…). You’ll be able to understand them, which will help you know their pain points and then create content on your website, coaching programs, platform speeches, etc.. 
  • Write a book, an eBook, and guest blogs where you share your insight and market your services. It will set you up as an authority figure in your niche (I’m literally doing this right now with this post… so go check out my copywriting services, why don’t you?!).
  • Networking, getting out there and building relationships by attending webinars and conferences… these are great marketing strategies to make your services known and accessible. It’s also a powerful tool to encourage referrals.
  • Prepare to be active on social media platforms.
  • Offer free coaching consultations to prospective coaching clients in the beginning to hook them on your service. 
  • Offer free templates, definitive guides, and actionable advice.
  • Create testimonials and place them on your website (this is HUGE because it shows prospective clients that you can really help them). 
  • Have CTAs (Calls To Action) all over your website.

Don’t let this list freak you out. If you batch your tasks (and pace yourself), you can find building your coaching business enjoyable and fulfilling.

Set aside a day, a week, or a month for one task.

You’ll soon realize how impactful it is for your business.

Be A Lifelong Learner

Let me ask you this:

Are you willing to spend the rest of your life learning about life coaching?

If your answer is no, then I’m afraid life coaching may not be for you.

Because if you want to grow professionally and raise your rates, it’s important to keep track of the latest developments in coaching, increase your knowledge, and deepen your skills. 

A big mistake as a life coach is to act like the “I know it all” kind of person (this attitude is actually pretty common among some coaches). 

Rather, invest in yourself using these steps:

  • Get a recognized life coaching certification (MCU, ICF, IAC).
  • Get other diplomas that can further boost your career and expand your skills (business, psychology, marketing, counselling, etc.).
  • Research what other successful life coaches are doing to grow their businesses.
  • Analyze existing markets to tap into your target audience’s desires. 
  • Analyze your competition and steal ideas that you can apply to your business.
  • Learn the latest tricks of the trade.
  • Read life coaching books.
  • Befriend life coaches and ask for their advice.
  • Attend conferences, webinars, and masterminds. 
  • Find a mentor (or anyone with a lot of experience under their belt) who can guide you on your journey.

Be open to learning new things wherever and whenever that might be. It will never go to waste. After all, learning is growing.

Know When to Say No

Sometimes, it’s better not to work with certain clients.

Prepare to be firm and reject those you do not want to work with. Maybe you feel uncomfortable working with them… or they behaved in ways that were inappropriate or unacceptable to you. 

Whatever it is, there is nothing wrong with saying no.

Flexibility in Life Coaching

One thing the Covid-19 pandemic taught us is the necessity to be ready to accommodate clients regardless of the circumstances we  live in. The flexibility of your life coaching is particularly important because clients want different things.

While face-to-face life coaching remains effective, the online world for all businesses is opening up new horizons.

Furthermore, it’s important to provide an array of life coaching services for your clients.

Now is the best time to develop remote life coaching skills. 

You can do that by: 

  • Using the phone
  • Zoom / Google Meetups / Microsoft Teams / Skype
  • WhatsApp or Facetime

Choose the best platform for you and your clients, and keep in mind that it’ll take you some time before you adapt to it.

Be a Role Model

When people turn to life coaching, they expect a level of leadership and guidance. That’s why you need to be a role model who’s going to help them get to where they want. 

To transform someone’s life, it’s only natural to associate a life coach with these qualities:

  • Motivating:  Be able to lift clients’ spirits and encourage them to take massive action regardless of the circumstances.
  • Positive: Keep a positive attitude and approach by helping clients embrace or accept the tough aspects of their lives.
  • Energetic: Energy spreads to clients. Giving feedback, including motivation and inspiration, will require high levels of energy.
  • Creative: Always be on the lookout for new ways to help clients. There is no limit to being creative.
  • Involved: If you don’t show interest and passion for helping your clients, they are going to feel it. Make sure to let clients know that your focus is 100% on them.
  • Supportive: Find the balance between holding a client accountable for their actions while being supportive and non-judgmental.
  • Professional: Be organized and professional with everything you do. Your reputation and professionalism are always on the line. This can be your success or your downfall. 

So, can you see yourself as a life coach? 

What surprised you the most in this article? 

What are you going to implement first?

Let me know in the comments.

SPECIAL BONUS — If you would like step-by-step blueprints for generating a massive income from high paying coaching clients, I invite you to claim your FREE ACCESS to the “Life Coach Salary Secrets” video toolkit.  Go HERE to get it FREE.

Mehdi Jouay (aka MJ) is a Moroccan based life coach copywriter. When he’s not writing long Form blogs within the life coach industry, he’s reading, learning copywriting techniques and watching Netflix. You can reach out to him via LinkedIn or email. Visit his website:

FREE Video Course: How to Build a High Paying Coaching Business

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