Life Coaching - What Are The Skills to Look for in Your Coach?

Dr. Purushothaman
January 14, 2014


I am frequently asked why I decided on an additional career in life coaching. As I sat down to ponder this question, I realized I could look at it from both directions. One, what skills do I have that relate to a life coach, and two, what services is one looking for from life coaching?
Probably the most common answer that comes to all coaches as to why they coach is that they enjoy helping others solve a problem with which they are struggling. And everyone has something with which they are struggling. All coaches - life coaches and executive business coaches enjoy being a strategist and helping people define and plan a course of action.

Along with helping someone come the skill of being a good listener. A life coach has to be a skilled and active listener. The skilled listener provides the client with space and safety to talk about their topic without fear of judgment; all the while being patient and avoiding the temptation to butt into the dialog with similar or competing stories. Active listening also requires listening for what isn't being said. This draws on the life coach's intuition skills, and being able to sense things about the person that isn't obvious or apparent in the moment.
An effective coach usually loves to learn multiple assessment and coaching tools to use to help their clients. They are excited about sharing and using their learned skills, and willing to use the most appropriate tools for the situation. These different tools may consist of assessment tools, exercises, journaling, somatic body work, visualization techniques - and the list goes on. Someone looking to hire a life coach or executive business coach should inquire into the breadth of tools the coach has to offer.
There are so many additional skills and reasons a person gets into life coaching, but I won't try to list them all here. From the perspective of the client who is looking for a great coach, I think I'll end on this note. Search and locate a list of coaches who are certified life coach. Review their website and look for testimonials. If you find a particular coach you're interested in, ask them if you can speak to their clients who are seeking the coach for the same reason as you. Finally, interview the coach to see what breadth of training, tools and techniques he or she uses to fully understand and support their clients.

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