What Does it Take to Be a Successful Life Coach?

5 Key Coaching Competencies

Watch more videos in the free Life Coaching 101 series 

What is a life coach?Life Coach QualificationsCoaching vs therapy vs consulting

(Read more Frequently Asked Questions HERE.)

What Does It Take to Be a Successful Life Coach? 

Whether you are a new life coach or you’re considering becoming one, the following steps will help you to improve your skills, increase the value you offer clients, and expand your life coaching business. The following recommendations are based off our many years in the field, as well as our extensive research and having worked with thousands of life coaches. Use this list as a guide for your own research or a guideline for assessing coach training programs you may be considering.

The Top 5 Key Competencies You Need to Master to Create a Successful, Thriving Life Coaching Business 


  • Coaching methodologies (concepts, processes and structures for coaching your clients)
  • How to use questions to probe deeper and inspire greater reflection and clarity
  • Structured coaching tools and processes for achieving specific desired results (based on your niche)
  • Concrete strategies for helping clients set clear goals
  • How to work with clients to design actionable plans of achievement


  • Effective communication techniques that build trust, openness and rapport
  • Effective listening techniques, including reflective and empathetic
  • How to offer feedback without giving advice
  • Understanding body language and vocal cues


  • Understand the psychological foundation of human potential and change
  • Know how to conduct yourself professionally, including understanding your own biases, empathy, boundaries and avoiding dependency
  • Understand how beliefs are formed and changed
  • Understand how to help clients change patterns of thinking


  • Encourage clients to embrace their true dreams and desires
  • Help clients overcome resistance and limiting beliefs
  • Hold clients accountable and help them stay motivated
  • Help clients gain confidence and believe in their future success
  • Encourage clients to take responsibility for their decisions and creating the life they desire
  • Help clients reflect on their personal story and help them rewrite an empowering one
  • Encourage clients to embrace their passions and live in alignment with their greater purpose
  • Help clients determine how best to utilize their talents, skills, passions and life experience to reach their potential


  • Choose a profitable coaching niche that fits your personality, skill, experience and talent (and is marketable)
  • Decide how to structure your coaching business, including offerings, schedule, and type of coaching
  • Design your coaching packages and set your pricing
  • Develop materials (including questionnaires, worksheets and forms) to use with your clients
  • Determine if group coaching or information products would help you grow your business and learn best practices and strategies for implementing them
  • Learn other entrepreneurship skills, including how to market, sell, schedule and otherwise create and run a life coaching business


Whether you decide to enroll in a life coach training or certification program or not, the path to running a successful coaching business is continued learning and growth.

Determine what areas are your strengths and where you’re already educated, knowledgeable and satisfied. Then, for the areas in which you determine you need to learn and grow, seek sources of knowledge (books, websites, online courses) and mentors (people who have succeeded at what you wish to do) and JUMP IN!