What does a Life Coach do?

By Jordan Fabel •  Updated: March 25, 2023  •  7 min read  •  Life
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Over the last few years, life coaching has become a popular career field. People who are searching for ways to better their lives often seek the assistance of a life coach.

Life coaches help their clients set realistic goals for the future. And they work with people in all stages of life.

As a life coach, you can own your own practice, work for an organization, or contract with various businesses. The field is growing.

Life coaches should have an interest in helping others and should be good listeners. Here’s everything you should know about a life coach career.

What Does a Life Coach Do?

What Is a Life Coach?

Life coaching has become more popular over the last several years. As a result, people from all backgrounds pursue careers in this field.

Life coaches are wellness professionals. They help people better their lives and gain greater fulfillment. They help people identify goals and the obstacles in their way.

Life coaches help empower clients. During sessions, clients identify their strengths. Then, they use those strengths to achieve their goals and change their lives for the better.

Types of Life Coaches

Some life coaches are generalists. They take an all-encompassing approach to helping their clients. Others in the field specialize in helping people with specific issues. Some life coaching specialties include:

Coaches who specialize; help their clients develop strategies to achieve particular goals. A life coach should have a genuine interest in helping to improve the lives of others.

You must work with clients on identifying goals, obstacles, and specific strategies to attain their desired goals.

Common Tasks of a Life Coach

Life coaches focus on specific tasks to help people better their futures. A life coach can play a valuable role in their clients’ lives. They help clients pave the way to identify or clarify goals that are attainable and actionable.

Goal Identification

Life coaches help people interpret their desires and create a plan for the future. For example, if the client struggles with their current goals, you can help them narrow their focus and develop an action plan.

Life coaching often helps clients with unattainable goals to redefine their goals so they can be met. This can help bring clarity to those struggling with a particular issue in life.

A life coach helps monitor and encourage clients to set out on a path for a more purposeful and meaningful life.


Some people do not have a support system around them. A life coach can be a motivating factor for someone who’s struggling with an obstacle in life.

Some clients need help navigating through a difficult situation that’s standing in the way of their happiness and success. Life coaching uses various strategies to help motivate their clients and assist them on the path to success.


Life coaches serve as an objective point of view for their clients. Family and friends may be willing to offer advice, but it’s not always the best advice.

As a life coach, you can offer the validation some clients need to pursue their dreams. So they look at a client’s situation in an unbiased way.

This honest, objective approach helps many clients realize the value of their dreams. In addition, when someone feels validated, they are more likely to stay on track and accomplish their goals.

Strategy Building

Life coaches understand that people can reach their goals when they have the right strategies in place. Therefore, you will help your clients develop strategies to accomplish their goals with focus and efficiency.

A life coach must be a good listener but should also know how to ask the right questions. But, again, the goal is empowerment for the client.

When the client feels they have the right strategies, they are more likely to move forward and make the change they desire.


Life coaches help clients identify and create goals. They also help clients take accountability for their own decisions. Then, regular check-ins and honest evaluations help their clients stay focused on the goals in sight.

Life coaching can help people to stop self-sabotaging, so they can overcome obstacles and achieve actual results.

Essential Skills for a Life Coach

A successful life coach should be analytical and empathetic. You should care about people and have a desire to help others. In addition, you should possess strong communication and leadership skills.

In addition to these qualities, employers look for capable, professional individuals when choosing a life coach for their organization or business. Some necessary skills include:

A good life coach helps their clients look to the future and plan for a more successful life. Certification isn’t a requirement for a life coach. But taking classes in psychology is a good idea for someone considering this field.

Employees wanting to hire a life coach often look for a bachelor’s degree and college hours in psychology or a related field. Many people consider their own life experiences to be valuable in their role as life coaches.

Where Life Coaches Work

Although you can work on your own, many businesses, agencies, and organizations employ life coaches. And this trend is expected to continue in the future.

Here are a few workplace possibilities for life coaching:

Many businesses hire life coaches to work with their employees regularly. Other businesses hire life coaches for retreats or seminars.

More and more, companies are seeing the value of a healthy workforce. Companies who prioritize their workers’ physical and mental health are more likely to seek the services of a life coach.

The job outlook for life coaching is favorable. Where you work determines the types of clients, you’ll see and the type of coaching you’ll do.

Life Coach vs. Therapist

Although they may seem like similar roles, life coaches and therapists have distinct roles in helping patients. Therapists treat people with mental health conditions. They help their clients work through trauma or other difficult issues.

A life coach may deal with clients who have unresolved issues. But they do not treat clients for anxiety, mood disorders, depression, or other mental health issues.

Therapists are considered licensed health professionals and have a specialized degree in psychology. However, a life coach doesn’t need a specialized degree to practice.

Therapists must follow a strict ethical code and adhere to privacy laws. However, life coaches don’t have to comply with privacy laws and are not a substitute for a mental health professional.

The Art of Listening

Listening is a major part of the job of a life coach. Before clients can begin to make changes, they must speak honestly about their lives, struggles, and hopes for the future.

Clients must feel comfortable sharing their personal thoughts and struggles. This is a process that takes time. Once clients feel valued and safe, they will open up about their lives and hopes for a better tomorrow.

You will have to listen at a deep level, recognizing a client’s gifts, self-awareness, limitations, and potential. Active listening enables a life coach to know and understand their clients.

A life coach must ask questions to get the conversation moving forward. Clients often know what they want but are at an impasse in their lives.

Active listening can help you determine the best strategies for your clients. Then, with the right strategies, a life coach can help clients move toward a more productive and brighter path.

The Road to a Life Coach Career

Being a life coach isn’t for everyone. You must have a genuine desire to help others to be effective in this role.

There are many ways to build your credentials with life coach training. Your life experiences, certification, and credentials can help you gain employment as a life coach in various government or corporate settings.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path.