After watching thousands of coaches build their careers and coaching businesses over the past decade, I’ve seen all the most highly successful coaches focus on the same 5 things.
These go beyond surface level business tactics like building a list, posting on social media or trying to gain a massive following.
While these kinds of business practices are important, the most successful life coaches focus on becoming extraordinarily good at 5 foundational principles.
If you apply these same 5 principles, you too will be able to launch, sustain, and succeed as a life coach!
But before we delve into what it takes to successfully start and grow a coaching business, let’s break down the soft skills that make up the foundation of these 5 core principles.
What Makes A Great Life Coach (& What Skills Do Life Coaches Need to Succeed)?
It’s common for new coaches to believe they need some kind of business background in order to succeed, let alone get started as a coach.
The truth of the matter is, whatever your background, you likely have transferable skills that you can use to not only get started but succeed as a life coach!
Here are just a few examples of soft skills that align with effective life coaching:
Clients want to know you’ll respect their privacy, especially since life coaching can often require listening to sensitive information.
No two clients are the same, and one client may even react or respond differently across multiple coaching sessions. Tolerance is important since you’ll likely be interacting and engaging with different personalities, backgrounds, and beliefs on a regular basis.
Without a good ear for others, it would be very difficult to be an effective life coach. In order to understand the circumstances, situations, and conditions you help clients overcome, you have to be open and willing to listen to their stories.
As you’re working with clients, you may run into bouts of insecurity, worry, doubt, and fear. Your clients will look to you for support and guidance as they take one step after another outside their comfort zone.
Your coaching clients will likely be diverse in both personality and dreams. So bringing cookie-cutter coaching methods won’t (excuse the pun) cut it. Adapting to each client isn’t about perfect answers, it’s about your willingness to join each of their journeys with respect and grace.
Eager to Learn
Life coaches are lifelong students of transformation because just as much as they’re helping their clients grow, they’re leveling up as well. Being open and eager to learn requires adopting a growth mindset in both your professional and personal life.
Without empathy, communicating with your clients will be challenging. As a spiritual life coach, it’s fundamentally important to be emotionally tuned-in as well as open and willing to connect on a deeper level.
Goal-Setting & Accountability
Plenty of people enroll in life coaching sessions to invite accountability into their lives. From people who are first stepping foot out of their comfort zone to those who are already building bigger and better dreams, effective goal-setting is a necessary and effective tool.
We all have blind spots, but as a life coach you’ll be expected to not only help clients identify them but hold compassion over them as they navigate their way to increased awareness and understanding along their journey.
There are many types of life coaches, but no one will work with a life coach that ends up increasing their negativity, stress, fear, or insecurity. Coaches are responsible for modeling a positive mindset especially when they are supporting their clients to achieve positive outcomes and results.
The mark of a life coach who loves their life and purpose is the measure of passion they carry with them. When life’s obstacles get in the way or you’re experiencing difficult days, your passion is what will ultimately lift you up and heal you. Your passion will also resonate with heart-centered clients and magnetize the right people to your coaching business.
Your coaching clients will bring you stories that are often personal, sensitive, and private. Life coaching is sacred in this way, and being able to respect them and avoid destructive criticism is crucial to the happiness and success of your clients.
Lying doesn’t help anyone, and it especially won’t help your clients. Watering down a message won’t provide the potency your clients would love to have in their lives as they propel themselves to success, so honesty is key when providing guidance.
Being a life coach doesn’t make you immune to the wild tides of life. There will still be storms, but what matters most is how you weather them. Resilience in the face of failure, setback, and other blocks will set you apart from those who are afraid to take the leap.
Integrity & Honor
Life coaching is a sacred call that beckons growth for both your clients and yourself. By guiding others, you will rise too, often using the same principles and lessons that you teach your clients. This model of integrity will keep you connected to the spiritual and practical principles that pave the way to succeed as a life coach. In fact, it’s one of our core values here at the Brave Thinking Institute!
You may possess some or all of these skill sets from your previous work or life experience, but you don’t need all of them now to start a coaching career. Although you won’t be handing in a resume to potential clients, these skill sets are crucial to building a solid life coaching foundation.
By focusing on the right soft skills, you set yourself up to succeed as a life coach by integrating them into your 5 core principles.
And it all starts with one step outside your comfort zone.
Principle 1: Befriend Your Fears
As a life coach, being able to befriend your fear is HUGE, because it’s exactly what you’re going to help other people do.
And the more you’re able to live the principles you teach, the better of a coach you’re going to be.
Because guess what?
When you first step out of your comfort zone, fear will raise its ugly head and try to hold you back.
The voice of doubt will whisper in your ear:
- Who are you to launch a coaching business?
- Who’s ever going to listen to you?
- You’re not famous – you don’t have a big list – you don’t have a big following…
- Your life isn’t perfect!
- Your friends and family will laugh at you if you tell them you’re going to be a life coach!
There is only one truth behind all those voices of doubt and fear, and it’s this:
Everyone hears those voices before they launch.
But you get to choose what you listen to.
Successful people like Wayne Dyers and Bob Proctor are both examples of famous authors who started out in that same place of fear.
But your own ability to navigate your fear and befriend it is what will separate you from someone who never does anything big and someone who makes tremendous impact in the lives of others.
And so, to succeed as a life coach, your launch and continued success will rely on this ability to navigate that voice of doubt and overcome it.
Principle 2: Let Go of Lone Ranger Syndrome
The most successful coaches get help from other people.
And those who think they can do it all on their own (or feel like they didn’t earn their own success if they asked for help) suffer from Lone Ranger Syndrome.
Which is why time and time again, I’ve watched the most successful coaches plug into their communities and actively seek mentorship.
But letting go of The Lone Ranger Syndrome isn’t a one time thing you do after hours of training or a single epiphany.
It’s a continual release.
In fact, over the last 12 years I have seen thousands of coaches get into a relentless cycle of success and disconnect.
They stop getting their mentorship, slowly go into a downturn, and then when they’re in the trough of struggle, they’ll reach out and say “Help, I’m struggling. Things aren’t going well.”
All of a sudden, they reconnect to their mentorship, network, and community.
But in order to succeed as a life coach, make sure you get off the Lone Ranger roller coaster and stay plugged into a thriving, successful community.
The Fast-Track to a Successful Career in Life Coaching
Before moving on to the third principle, I want to emphasize how transformational it is to invite a mentor into your life as you grow your business.
I encourage you to seek mentorship no matter what type of coaching you do, what coaching programs you offer, or even the type of life coaching clients you plan to work with.
More than likely, there will be someone ahead of you, living in the success you desire for yourself, who can fast-track your wins by sharing their own hard-earned battles.
And the key is to find them right where you are.
Tony Robbins describes the importance of diverse, timely mentorship here:
“Everybody has different gifts and each role model will teach you something different. Whatever it is for you, the point is that it’s really important to have several personalities to model and mentor you so that you can become the most comprehensive and complete version of yourself.”
Principle 3: Be Resilient
Successful life coaches fail the fastest.
In other words, an effective coach is resilient.
They’re the ones who try things out and if it doesn’t work, they get up and try something else. Over and over again.
This incredible resilience gives them the thick skin it takes to grow a successful coaching business.
And as a business owner, your life coaching career comes with beautiful benefits like unlimited income potential and a deep sense of fulfillment, but you got to have that courage and resilience to keep moving forward.
As an example, I’ll share one of my first significant fails.
My very first promotional teleseminar that I did to grow my business, I had 100 people register. This was before Zoom, before webinars even existed.
It was an hour long, but about 15 minutes in, the number drops from 100 down to like 80.
And I’m thinking, “Oh man, they must not like this.”
I keep teaching, and about 30 minutes in, the number drops to 50.
I started to sweat.
(If you’ve ever taught or spoken and your mind’s having another story going on, you know how difficult it is to stay focused.)
So, I was sweating and thinking, “Well, they must not really like this class that I’m teaching at all.”
By the end of the hour, I had 11 people on that teleseminar.
I felt so discouraged and even felt bad for myself.
Then I looked at the settings, and I realized that I had myself on mute the entire time.
I was so embarrassed but relieved at the same time.
I remember thinking, “Wow. So wait a minute, as people were dropping off, we still had 50 people halfway through the call. They waited for 30 minutes to get this lesson, I was still on hold. Oh my gosh, that’s horrible. And 11 people hung out for an hour to hear this lesson?”
Part of resilience is about finding the good within circumstances, situations, and conditions and moving forward.
In this particular situation, it would have been easy to shrug my shoulders and decide I just didn’t have what it takes to succeed as a life coach.
Instead, I shook the dust off, picked myself back up, and did one seminar after another. Until eventually, 12k viewers to an online seminar became my new baseline.
It just goes to show that resilience is essential to success in the coaching industry.
Principle 4: Be a Lifelong Learner (Especially as a Student of Transformation)
Being a life-long learner is more than just a soft skill. It’s a valuable skill across every coaching niche, especially in the personal development industry.
It’s also one of the things that I deeply respect about Mary Morrissey, the founder of the Brave Thinking Institute.
She’s constantly learning. She’s constantly willing to do new things to help connect, serve, and impact her audience. Which means being a lifelong learner isn’t just for a beginner life coach.
There’s an example of this that blew my mind. I was speaking at an event with a lot of big name speakers like Les Brown, Marci Shimoff, Bob Proctor, Jack Canfield, and the president of Hay House Publishing,
And so, when I got on stage and spoke on personal development principles these guys not only knew but taught as well, I noticed they were taking more notes than anybody else in the audience.
It was such an incredible example to see people who are at the top of their game with massive success still commit to being learners.
Leaders are learners first.
And in your coaching business, there is going to be a variety of skills you will have to learn. You will have to skill up in order to deliver your work to the world, in order to impact more people, and in order to grow your business.
But if you’re willing to be a lifelong learner, if you’re willing to learn new skills to impact other people, then that mindset is going to serve you from day one until the end of your career.
Principle 5: Care About People
People often underestimate this one, but it’s at the core of who you are as a life coach.
Caring about people is all about wanting to see them grow. You want them to succeed.
Which means you believe that whatever they’re facing is no match for the power breathing them.
This is huge because when you’re faced with a challenge or when things just aren’t going right, it’s your caring for people – your willingness to show up for them – that helps you get out of bed in the morning.
It helps you dust off those knees when you’ve had a failure and rise up!
And as a guiding principle for your business, especially when you’re making decisions, lean into the question, “What’s good for my clients? What’s good for the people I’m serving?”
Those decisions always lead you forward.
Where people get into trouble is when they start forgetting about that, and they think, “Well, what’s good for the bottom line? What’s good for me? What’s good only for us?”
You see, universal good means that there’s no private good. What’s good for you will also be good for your clients.
So when you lead with caring, when you lead with love for your clients, they’re going to feel that, and you can’t keep the good from coming into your life when you lead from that place.
Conclusion: Succeed As a Life Coach By Starting Today
Successfully starting your life coaching business doesn’t require a laundry list of to-do’s or cookie-cutter coaching strategies.
It’s about centering yourself on the coaching skills and principles that will move you forward when everything and everyone else wants you to stay stuck in place.
And after watching thousands of coaches succeed on top of years of close observation in this industry, the common theme remains:
To succeed as a life coach:
- Befriend your fears and stretch beyond your comfort zone.
- Let go of Lone Ranger Syndrome and accelerate your success with mentorship.
- Be resilient and relentless on your journey.
- Learn something from everything, even if you think you know everything about something.
- Care about people and let your passion guide you forward.
I encourage you to take these 5 principles and join the ranks of highly successful life coaches who took the plunge and rose to greatness.
And if you’d like even more help getting started, download our free Coaching Business Checklist.
This is a simple, free tool that lays out a step-by-step path to a profitable, thriving coaching business. It’s the same coaching process that we use to grow 7 and 8-figure coaching businesses in multiple niches!
And unlike other guides, this isn’t a laundry list. It’s an action-packed resource guide that will help you make the difference you want to make in the world!
I invite you to allow this sacred calling to expand you, to move you forward in life. And when you adopt these 5 principles, they will serve you for many years to come.
To your inevitable success,