Life is full of challenges, twists, and turns. Almost everyone reaches a point where they just don’t know what path to take or what to do to move their life forward. Every day, people face tough times in their careers, relationships, studies, and pretty much anything in their day-to-day living. With so many variables dictating direction, success, and overall well being, you can easily feel stuck, confused, and possibly worn out. This is where life coaches come in.
What is a life coach?
A life coach is a trained professional who helps people to move forward in their lives and achieve a greater sense of fulfillment. A life coach will help you to formulate clear goals, put in place the steps to take them forward and work with you to see them through. Those goals can relate to any aspect of your life, career or business.
As a life coach, you’ll basically be helping your clients to find a sense of direction, motivation, encouragement, and satisfaction in life. In other words, you’ll be helping them make a positive change or improvement in their lives. This could come through how they relate with others, their perception of things in life, their level of self-confidence, how they react to or deal with difficult situations. You’ll also be helping your clients to identify the hurdles holding them back in life and how they can overcome or move past them. This could include things like challenges in breaking addictive or bad habits, elevated stress levels, low creativity, a lack of social fulfillment, and so forth.
But as you might have deduced from this simplistic version of a description, a career as a life coach isn’t a bed of roses. It requires you to have a wide range of skills to be successful in helping your clients while staying competitive in the market. Investing heavily in marketing will certainly help you get more clients, but you will need a certain set of skills to keep them and recruit more. Starting with the importance of professional training, below are eight essential skills you will need to be a great life coach.
Life coaching skills
While it’s simply a job to some people, a career as a life coach is a calling to many. Some take it as a part-time job, whereas others go all-in and make it a lifelong career. Whichever the case, you can’t just wake up one day and decide to become a life coach. It requires special professional training for you to become a certified coach and a great deal of experience to start to become a great one.
During life coach training, you’ll learn a wide range of subjects to gain theoretical and practical knowledge on how to deal with clients. Remember, different clients will have different needs, and every case needs to be handled according to the client’s specific needs. Trust in your professionalism and experience is vital, which makes it important to get training from an accredited institution. The International Coach Federation is the global body responsible for regulating certifications. With ICF accredited training, you will be assured that you’re backed by international standards and that you’ve been provided with a tested and approved skillset to help make a significant impact on people’s lives. It’s a challenging journey that will stretch you and teach you, and every case you handle will leave you a better person.
Let’s now look at the skills you need to hone to become a great life coach.
1. Exceptional Listening Skills
With two ears and one mouth, you have to listen more than you talk. Active listening is a crucial skill in being an extraordinary life couch. Listening gives you the room to grasp and examine your client’s emotions and know what is affecting their situation. This puts you in a better position to know your client’s concerns, goals, expectations, and experiences. Listening and attention go hand in hand.
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but in this case you’ll be a pretty lifeless life coach without it. You need to be utterly curious about your client to understand their life in its full context. What they sense, study, and need should trigger you as a coach to ask a lot of questions. This helps you to get your client’s feelings, understand the situation, and interpret their needs.
3. Positive attitude
Being a life coach, you will come across people with diverse characters, beliefs, attitudes, disorders, and personalities. Being non-judgemental is a basic foundation. As soon as judgement becomes apparent people close down and it will be impossible for you to help them to move forward in their life. In your profession, you will need to help people stop feeling inferior and have a more positive view of themselves. That doesn’t mean that you need to approve of unethical views or behaviour, but start by noticing and highlighting the positives. Then when you have built up trust you can help clients to challenge their less palatable positions, that is if they haven’t already dropped them as their life improves.
4. Perfect Communication Skills
Life coaches need to be able to communicate well on a range of levels. Great communication does not stop with conversation. It also applies in written communication as well as visual and non-verbal communication. Clarity has to be your baseline on all levels for you and your client to be on the same page. Additionally, you should not only communicate when you have an appointment with your client. Making follow-ups on their progress builds a firm foundation for a long-term relationship full of positivity. Nothing beats the feeling of knowing there is someone on the other end, ready to listen and sort you out!
5. Be Passionate
You will also need to have an infinite desire to come through for people and make a positive impact in their lives. Well, passion may not exactly be a skill, but it’s something you’ll need to develop in your life coaching career. Not only will it help to increase referrals, but it will also give you a sense of fulfillment in your job.
6. Maintain Confidentiality
When they come to life coaching, clients will be in real situations looking for practical solutions. Some cases need more than guts to open up. Some may seem shameful or just bizarre. But when they share their issues, the client chooses to confide in you. Be the confidant they have been looking for all their life. Be real and bury their secrets inside you. You can picture yourself as a lawyer or a doctor, where client confidentiality is crucial.
7. Visual Attention to Detail
Actions speak louder than words, so to say, and we do not always have to believe what we hear. What we see sometimes can help in weighing the situation and probably giving viable solutions. As a life coach, you have gone through training that will help you oversee conditions. For instance, you can ‘assume’ the mood of a person by how they speak but not how they look. Whatsoever, you cannot misinterpret an angry face.
8. Be Challenging
Give your client a reason to strive to be a better person. Challenge them to face their fears and overcome them. Give them the chance to meet the world entirely, and armed with the focus of killing their Goliath. Help them achieve the courage to see the right side of life besides their frustrations.
In a nutshell, great life coaches need great emotional intelligence. Few of us are born with those skills, but with high-quality life coaching training they can certainly be learned.