Life Coaching Job Description: What You'll Do

Life coaches are instrumental in helping others. Here's what you'll do in this career.

life coach consulting with client

Being a life coach involves more than offering tips or advice to your client. Life coaching requires you to get to know your clients quickly, assess their goals efficiently and formulate strategies to help them meet their goals.

Your recommendations should be based on realistic expectations. You'll want to create stepping stones for your client, rather than overwhelming or unattainable goals.

You'll act as a sort of counselor for your client, meeting with them regularly to discuss their improvements and progress in meeting their goals. You'll also be responsible for supporting and motivating people as they work toward lifestyle improvements.

What does a life coach do?

As a life coach, you'll deal with each client's issues on an individual basis and determine the proper strategy for their needs. Depending on where you work and the type of client you work with, your responsibilities will vary. General duties of a life coach include:

  • Meet with clients to discuss needs and goals
  • Develop strategies and plans for clients
  • Keep records of client progress
  • Meet with and evaluate clients
  • Adjust clients' goal strategies as needed

What degree or certification will I need to become a life coach?

You'll need to earn a certificate through a life coach training program in order to work in the field.

There is one important distinction to be aware of: A life coach certificate is different from life coaching certification. Your life coaching certification can be obtained through the International Coach Federation (ICF), which offers varying levels of certification depending on your training and experience. 

You do need your life coach training certificate from a training program, but life coaching certification through the ICF isn't required by law. However, it is strongly recommended that anyone who wants a career in life coaching become certified through the ICF.

ICF certifications are recognized globally, meaning they can enhance your credentials and make you more marketable to potential clients.

In addition to this, employers often prefer certification credentials when they search through résumés. Learn more about life coaching curriculum on What You'll Study.

What career paths can I take as a life coach?

With your life coach certificate, you can work with a variety of clients, from those going through major life transitions to people who just want to make some improvements. Possible workplaces include:

  • Individual and family services: If you work as a life coach for individual and family services, you might work with people and families who are undergoing a transitional period, like relocating to a new city or state.
     
  • Vocational services: If you work in vocational services, your clientele will be seeking career changes, new jobs and dealing with unemployment. You will serve as a resource and motivator for people in need of career-based coaching. 
     
  • Private agencies: Some agencies employ strictly coaches, counselors and other lifestyle consultants. In an agency setting, you'll work with a variety of clients to provide guidance and problem-solving methods.
     
  • Self-employment: Running your own life coaching business can be rewarding, since it will give you the benefit of choosing your own hours and focusing on a particular area of coaching. 

Learn about pay and salary projections for life coaches. 

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