It is the innate nature of man to achieve goals, in order to be happy and successful. However, it seldom happens. On this journey of life, everyone has to face some hurdles and the average human being falls off several times on his way.
Over the years, people have found ways to leverage the ability of competent, professional tutors to guide them in their pursuit of life goals. These tutors, otherwise known as life coaches, have helped many people in managing their life experiences successfully.
Do you wonder what makes a good and effective life coach? Continue reading below for five essential skills every life coach must learn to become effective.
Who Is A Life Coach?
A life coach guides the fellow beings by empowering and encouraging them to meet specific personal and professional goals.
Life coaches are usually mistaken for mentors due to their similar functions. However, mentors differ from coaches because of the specific nature of a life coach’s responsibilities.
One of the most popular aspects of coaching is empowering people to develop their unique potentials. This imparts skills in them to become leaders in their careers and other aspects of human endeavors.
The work and responsibility of a life coach are more vigorous than a mentor’s work. The enormity of a life coach’s responsibility demands that he/she acquire skills to be effective in empowering clients to become their best versions.
It is better that as you aspire to become a life coach, you find methods to gain these skills and, if possible, get certifications for the skills. This not only gives you the professional assistance in gaining the desired skills but also gives you a competitive advantage over others in this regard. Here are the five essential skills you must learn to be an effective life coach.
1. Communication skills
This is arguably the most important skill you will need to impact your clients. Communication is simply the act of receiving and passing information, which makes it a necessary tool in relationship management.
You need to realize without effective communication skills, all you are trying to teach your client may not have the necessary impact. Therefore, you need excellent communication skills to enhance your ability to influence others.
One of the things you will need to learn is what is neuro-linguistic programming in communication and then use this concept to communicate effectively with your clients.
There are three types of communication you need to master; these include:
- Verbal communication: Verbal communication usually takes an oral form but does not necessarily have to do with physical contact. It can be communicated over the phone or directly.
Whatever form the communication takes, you will have to engage your vocal cords in this type of communication. One essential skill to master in this kind of communication is emotion control.
You must know to always channel the right emotions into your voice when addressing clients using this form of communication. It partly determines the effectiveness of your communication and the impact you make on your client.
- Nonverbal communication: Non-verbal communication is instrumental and can determine what your clients feel about what you do. The best way to inspire confidence in your client is by helping them meet the goals they set out to achieve.
To do this, you must master how to be in control of the nonverbal communication when dealing with your clients. The basic rule of nonverbal communication you need to be cautious about is to always give appropriate facial expressions and be mindful of the messages it has to portray.
Be deliberate about your expressions on your face every time you are with your clients. This will require you to train your mind to be ready to show certain expressions by default.
- Written communication: Most people do not know that writing is a useful tool for communication, especially as a life coach. However, the mannerism of your sentence construction, together with your choice of words each time you have a reason to send a message and to write to your client, will give them a mental perception of your personality.
Writing is a form of communication skills you need to learn during your training as a life coach , to enhance your role and impact as a life coach.
To conclude on communication skills, effective communication is the summary of all the methods you will have to use in coaching your client. Hence, you must pay attention to all the types of communication mentioned above to become a proficient communicator.
2. Analytical skills
As a life coach, you must be prepared to break down complex situations and figure out solutions within a limited time frame. When you come in contact with a client, your ability to receive your client correctly, and the situation will determine how fast you can get your client to meet their goals.
When it comes to being analytical, you need to be able to gather, collate, and process information efficiently. Here are a few ways to increase your analytical skills.
● Observe people’s body languages
Knowing how to observe and correctly visualize things is the most critical analytical skill to become a successful life coach. When observing clients, make it a point to have your official seat facing the door of your office so that you can intentionally look at people as they walk into your office.
Also, when observing people, listen to their nonverbal cues that show who they are and what makes them tick. It will be a great addition to the role of an effective life coach if you can master the art of analyzing people’s personalities.
● Be intentional about solving problems
Another way to increase your analytical skill is to practice the art of solving problems. It takes expertise to manage and solve problems. Learning the art of solving problems will require you to diagnose the problem accurately and come up with a smart solution.
To improve your skills, you can practice solving puzzles, simple math problems, etc. Practicing how to solve problems will enable you to polish your skills and accurately provide solutions to your clients’ challenges.
● Be inquisitive
It takes a curious mind to ask specific analytical questions. You will need to be very meticulous in seeing the real situation to effectively help your clients in understanding the nature and manner of authority they need to achieve their goals.
Also, you need to know that not all your clients will automatically open up to you. You should, therefore, learn how to be curious without being pushy. One of the ways to do so is to be a good listener and also have a welcoming aura that makes it easy for clients to open up and connect with you.
3. Crisis management skills
Most of your clients will either want you to train them on how to be a leader or help them avoid a potential crisis or get out of one.
So, most times, you will be dealing with crisis management. You need to use crisis management skills to help your clients in uncertain times and to empower them to move past the obstacles. Such that even if such a crisis reoccurs, they would be fully equipped from their sessions to handle such problems.
This is why you, as a life coach, must also master crisis management skills. Crises usually occur in phases, and you need to be acquainted with these phases, to know how to handle them effectively. The different stages of crises include:
● Pre-crisis phase: It is the time frame of the events that happened before the crisis. You must note these events down when solving a crisis so that subsequent events can be prevented or monitored.
● Crisis phase: This is the period when the crisis is taking place. Everything done in this stage matters. Some of the things you must be able to do during this time are: to adapt, plan a strategy of stopping the crisis, evaluate your plan, and monitor your progress. These are a few things you must do and train your clients to do the same when crises occur.
● Post Crisis phase: the post-crisis stage is crucial in crisis management. One of the critical things to do at this stage is to monitor the series of events afterward. Ensure that they are not similar to the sequence of events which happened at the pre-crisis phase so that there will not be a recurring crisis.
When you do all this, you will be able to successfully manage a crisis, which is inevitable at some point in the lives of your clients. You may also choose to go for certificate courses on safety and crisis management. It will boost the morale of your clients in your ability to help them through their crises.
4. Relationship skills
Humans are naturally social; it is the primary reason humans yearn for connection and build relationships to meet their social needs.
However, your clients will need to master how to build the right relationship to achieve their specific objectives beyond the social need of humans. As a life coach, you need to master the art of cultivating relationships yourself before you can teach your clients.
As a life coach, your first relationship goal is to build a relationship with your client so that they can open up to this experience. This will test your skills and ultimately determine how effective you will be in your role.
Here are a few general tips on how to cultivate practical relationship skills
Time is the golden rule of building relationships. Building quality relationships takes quality time; this simple explanation is a vital tool used in determining relationship levels. When you seek to develop quality relationships with people, spend quality time with them.
If you need your client to break a relationship with a set of people who are undermining their achievement, just advise your client to stop spending time with those people. Doing this will weaken the chain of friendship and ultimately break the relationship.
● Target people’s emotions
Emotions determine the strength of relationships. It is smart to target the emotions of people you will relate with, including your clients. It will go a long way to determine the direction of the relationship.
To get the best out of people in a relationship, you need to learn how to empathize with people. It is also the best way to connect with people and encourage them to open up with you. To be empathetic is to understand the emotional needs of people and suggest ways to fill them.
● Build trust
Trust is the most defining element of every relationship. The moment trust is lost, the relationship will crumble to pieces. Trust also determines what you will get from a relationship because a person who doesn’t trust won’t even open up to you in the first place.
It is vital that as a life coach, you learn how to build trust when relating to your clients. Asides that, you also need to encourage them to master how to build trust and win people over, when cultivating relationships that they need to achieve their goals.
Some professional bodies and organizations train people on how to build relationships as part of their leadership curriculum. As a life coach, it is better to attend such training and acquire certification in relationship building, to improve your skills.
5. Strategy development skills
As a life coach, you will need to develop a tailor-made strategy of helping your clients that best suits you and will be highly effective in bringing out the best in them.
In creating an effective strategy, one of the first things you will have to do is to get a clear picture of what you seek to achieve. Having a clear picture of what you want to achieve will give you clarity on the best plans to use in arriving at your vision.
Once you have an insight, you will need to develop a strategy, which is simply your road map to get you to where you desire. You will not be able to draw up a plan if you have not gathered the necessary information that shows you what you are up against.
Finally, you should always be ready to evaluate your plans when things are not going as planned. You may need to go for professional training in strategy management to acquire this unique skill. It will boost your effectiveness as a life coach and give your clients an edge over any opposition they may encounter when trying to achieve their goals.
It is a great responsibility to be a life coach. Your client’s improvement is much dependent on you, and you also feel partly responsible when they fail. It is necessary to equip yourself with the skills mentioned in this article to increase your chances at this role, and to help your clients achieve their personal and professional goals.