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Life Skills Coaching: Education and Career Facts

Life coaches motivate others to set goals and take action to improve their lives. While formal education is not required, certificate programs that follow professional coaching organizations' guidelines do exist. Find out more about this career and about what you can learn in these certificate programs by reading on.

What You Need to Know

Generally, degrees in life skills coaching are not available, but there are certificate programs. You may need an undergraduate degree in a related field or a certain level of experience to begin one.

Responsibilities Teach others to define goals and achieve them
Certificates Not necessary to enter the field, but available
Career Options Independent life coach or employee of a wellness center

What Does a Life Skills Coach Do?

A life skills coach meets with private clients to help them set goals in order to achieve what they want out of life. In this career, you would help people learn to prioritize the things they care about most, take direct action toward meeting their goals and improve their personal relationships.

Some life coaches meet with clients in public areas, like coffee shops or restaurants, while others meet in homes or corporate office spaces. Telephone and e-mail correspondence is also a common method for communicating with clients.

What's The Difference Between a Life Coach and a Therapist?

One main difference between the role of a life skills coach and that of a therapist is that therapists work with clients to deal with the past, while life coaches focus on a results-oriented future. The two fields are certainly related, and you may choose to study psychology as an undergraduate on your route to becoming a life skills coach.

How Should I Select a Training Program?

No universal standard for training exists in this field, so technically anyone can begin working as a life skills coach. However, you can study in a coaching certificate program to hone your skills before seeking employment. A number of schools adhere to life coach training criteria set by the International Coach Federation (ICF), an organization that confers certification for professional coaches. Another professional organization in the coaching industry is the International Association of Coaching. This group also offers certification, which involves taking an online exam and submitting a log of coaching hours.

What Can I Expect in a Certificate Program?

Certificate programs vary in length and scope. Those approved by the ICF generally contain 4-7 courses and include at least 125 hours of classroom time, plus observed coaching hours and a performance evaluation. Online programs are available as well.

Some certificate programs require several years of professional experience prior to enrollment; others ask you to come with an undergraduate degree in hand. People often enter the field with a background in social work or mental health counseling.

You might be covering some of these topics:

  • Professional development
  • Business ownership
  • Leadership
  • Communication skills
  • Personal liability

What Are My Career Prospects?

As a life skills coach, you could work full time for a firm or holistic wellness center, or you might serve as part of a team of life coaches or wellness professionals. In these positions, you likely would draw an annual salary.

Alternatively, you might choose to go into business by yourself, taking on as many or as few clients as you'd like. As an independent life coach, you'd probably charge clients by the hour.