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Life coaches support and encourage people to help them make informed decisions in their working and personal lives.
30 to 32 variable (freelance / self-employed managing your own hours)
Where to start
You can get into this job through
a university coursea college courseapplying directlyspecialist courses offered by a professional body
If you already have a degree, you could study for a postgraduate award in coaching at some universities.
Courses at this level tend to focus on sport, or performance management within organisations. You'll usually need a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course.
You'll have an advantage if you've got qualifications and membership of a professional organisation. A good starting point would be to choose a course that is approved by an independent coaching body.
It's important that you gather as much information as possible before choosing a course, as costs vary widely.
Courses are available through online and face-to-face learning, so you can choose the one that suits you best. Apart from your studies you would need to make time for practical coaching sessions and preparation activities.
Check that a course offers:
- contacts with coaching and mentoring bodies
- testimonials from coaches who have attended the course
- good resources for developing skills
- practical training, like workshops and seminars
- some supervised work with a practising life coach or assessor
- advice on setting up a business
opportunities for continuing professional development
There are no set Entry requirements for this route.
If you want to work within organisations coaching individuals and teams to improve their work performance, you could do a coaching professional higher apprenticeship. You'll usually need 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A-Levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship.
Life coaching is not regulated in the UK, so anyone can work as a life coach if they feel they have the necessary skills and qualities.
You could take training through the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), which offers a range of courses in coaching methods. You may find it useful if you have experience in psychology, management, counselling or teaching.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
- knowledge of psychology
- customer service skills
- the ability to understand people’s reactions
- sensitivity and understanding
- excellent verbal communication skills
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- to enjoy working with other people
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
What you’ll do
You could work on a one to one basis or with groups. You may work face to face or using online or telephone coaching methods. On a typical day you might:
- use questioning techniques and listening skills to help people identify areas for development
- discuss with clients their situation, values, attitudes and beliefs
- encourage people to find their own solutions
- help them to set and achieve suitable goals for change
- look at ways of overcoming barriers and setbacks
- help them stay motivated and committed
- maintain records of your coaching practice
You could work from home or at a client's business.
Career path and progression
You could set up your own business and employ other coaches.