4 Qualities of an Effective Life Coach

Life coach sits with a client in conference room with glass walls

Are you looking for a way to serve others? Do you already have a background in psychology or sociology? Consider pursuing a Graduate Certificate of Completion in Life Coaching. Like many other service-oriented professions, life coaching is a calling. If you choose this path, you will have the opportunity to empower your clients to reach for personal growth, sort through life’s challenges and decide what they truly want to strive for in life.

Being a life coach is similar to being a counselor or psychologist. However, life coaches do not work specifically with people who are struggling with mental health disorders or crises. Instead, as a life coach, you will be helping people from all sorts of backgrounds work toward leading their best lives. Consider these four qualities of an effective life coach to find out if this calling is for you:

Compassionate Empathy

Above all, effective life coaches genuinely love what they do. They are individuals who have the charisma necessary to connect with people on a personal level and to build a working relationship based on mutual respect.

Great life coaches are empathetic, compassionate individuals who approach every client’s dilemmas with understanding. Your clients will need to feel confident that they can come to you with any challenge they are facing. Some of them might be struggling to decide whether to switch careers, go back to school to earn a graduate degree or perhaps even to report harassment in the workplace. By treating each client with the compassionate empathy they deserve, you will be better able to see the situation from their perspective.

Active Listening

If you become a life coach, you will spend much of your days listening to your clients. Active listening involves much more than just hearing and understanding speech. It requires that you focus all of your attention on your client. Great life coaches are not easily distracted, and they do not let their minds wander when they are with a client.

Additionally, active listening requires looking beyond verbal language. Sometimes, clients do not share all of the information they should about the problems they are experiencing. They might be embarrassed about something, or they might be confused about how their personal lives can affect their business lives. It will be your job to look for the hidden cues that can tell you what is really going on.


Life coaches do not need to have all the answers, but they are quite good at problem-solving and brainstorming solutions. An effective life coach is a creative individual who enjoys thinking outside of the box. People usually turn to life coaches when they need help figuring out their goals, achieving their goals or overcoming obstacles in their lives. It will be your job to fully understand the situation and then offer actionable suggestions to help your clients achieve personal growth.


Lastly, effective life coaches must be excellent communicators. Your clients will typically come to you when they are already experiencing problems in their lives, and they may be especially sensitive to criticism. You will need to find a way to speak the truth without sounding critical and to give suggestions without seeming to be intrusive.

Grand Canyon University invites future life coaches to consider our online counseling programs, including graduate certificates in areas like life coaching. Click on the Request More Information button today to learn more.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.