How Do I Become a Life Skills Coach?

Explore the career requirements for becoming a life skills coach. Get the facts about education requirements, salary, and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Life Skills Coach?

A life skills coach helps others find success in their personal and professional lives. They help clients to set goals such as changing their career, losing weight, expanding their business or creating a better work-life balance. They then provide both advice and motivation for achieving those goals. Often, this involves adopting new mindsets and creating a blueprint of specific actions to achieve the goal. Life coaches continue to meet regularly with a client until the goal is met. While some life skills coaches work with all kinds of people, others specialize in coaching individuals who have mental or physical disabilities.

Read the following table to understand the general requirements in this field.

Degree Required Associate's or bachelor's degree may be required; master's degree for higher-level positions
Education Field of Study Counseling
Human service
Key Skills Compassion, organization, good communication
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6 to 9% (for counselors and other groups that include life coaches)*
Average Salary (2015) $61,900 (for North American life coaches)**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **International Coach Federation

What Are the Duties of a Life Skills Coach?

As a life skills coach, you'll act as a guide, helping your clients discover their goals, getting rid of obstacles standing in their way and finding the right paths they need to take. You'll listen to your clients talk about what they want out of life and assign exercises to help them define their ambitions and sort through their ideas. You might provide direction on the necessary steps to take or where to go for further help in order to meet their objectives. You'll also offer support throughout the coaching process, helping when needed and providing encouragement.

Life coaching is not therapy. Your job is to help clients change and shape their future. You might work with professionals who want to advance in their career but need help in finding how to do that. Alternately, you could work with people who have had personal issues and need help getting back on the path to a normal life. You can specialize in your coaching based on your business or personal expertise, though you'll usually work with a diverse group of people with their own individual goals and needs.

What Are the Requirements?

What you'll need to get started depends on where you work and the type of clients you accept. Some common traits employers seek include: good communication skills, experience with disabled adults, organization and time management abilities, physical stability, mental health or counseling experience, teaching and mentoring training.

Academic requirements usually vary, with some employers requiring an associate or bachelor's degree in human service, psychology, sociology or a related field. Others allow experience working in a mental health setting to substitute for a degree. Some employers could require no degree at all.

How Do I Train for This Career?

You might be able to find a company that offers on-the-job training. Alternately, many colleges and nonprofit organizations offer certificate programs in life skills coaching at undergraduate, graduate and professional levels. Some programs include mentoring that allows you to work directly with clients to put your skills into practice. In a coaching program, you'll study topics such as: support techniques, establishing goals, career, personal and financial objectives, stress management, exercise and nutrition, relationship development, and coaching methods.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you want to get a job working one-on-one with individuals to help them overcome challenges in their lives, you could also consider a job as a substance abuse or behavioral disorder counselor. These counselors specialize in helping individuals and their families deal with health issues such as alcohol addiction and eating disorders. A bachelor's degree is the minimum educational requirement. Alternatively, if you are looking to work with disabled patients, you could become an occupational therapist. In this career, you would work with patients who have physical and/or developmental disabilities to help them build the skills they need for independent living. Occupational therapists must have a master's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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