Life coaching is an extremely rewarding career. It’s one of the rare professions that allows you to help people transform their lives into something they’ve only dreamed of—and who doesn’t want that?
What can make or break your coaching practice often comes down to the tools you use. These readily-available tools are a mixture of digital and traditional, with a wide range of options for each client.
Get your coaching toolbelt in good shape with these five must-have tools for life coaches.
1. Offer a Welcome Packet
One of the best ways to be professional and prepared for your clients is to show up with a welcome packet. This packet can include life coaching worksheets, assessments, tools and expectations. It isn’t there to pigeonhole your process or make your system too rigid. It’s to make sure your clients know exactly who you are, what they’re going to experience in your program, and how you’ll help them reach their goals.
How to Build a Coaching Welcome Packet
Introduction to You and Your Coaching Style
Your clients may have chatted with you on the phone or in a video call, but they’re likely still wondering, “who is my coach really?” Clients feel more comfortable when they know what to expect and the results you can help them achieve.
Introduce yourself on a one-pager and share your story with answers to the following questions:
- How you became a life coach
- Your unique health challenges
- Your credentials with the Health Coaching Institute or other educational facilities
- Your coaching style and approach
- Your social media handles and contact information
Details About Your Coaching Program
This is your time to shine. Share exactly how you coach your clients and why your approach transforms lives.
Touch on topics like:
- Coaching techniques you use
- Your unique personality and how that influences your program
- Key objectives of your program
- What transformations your client may experience
- What results your client may achieve
Walk Through the Week-by-Week Timeline
Some clients may want to know how long it will take them to start seeing results after signing up with you. Offer a detailed week-by-week timeline in your welcome packet so they know what to expect. Get creative with your coaching timeline. It can look like one graphic with a long horizontal line and vertical points along an axis outlining different topics and areas you will explore. Or, it can be a numbered timeline mapping out what week one will cover followed by the ensuing weeks. It can also look like a digital calendar with highlighted days symbolizing different activities or objectives. Have fun with this and let it be an extension of your style.
Share Success Stories of Past Clients
When clients first approach you to be their coach, they’ll want to see what successes you’ve had with other people. They may have seen some testimonials on your website or social media profiles, but offering a more in-depth case study of one or two previous clients is a powerful tool. Case studies about past clients should avoid any private information like their name, location or family situation. Your case study can contain more general information like their age, gender and health challenges. For example: “This past client was 47 years old, a female, and she struggled with overcoming diabetes.”
Explain What’s Next After the Program Ends
It seems counterintuitive to say goodbye in your welcome packet, but some clients want to know what happens after your coaching sessions come to a close. Will you be available for occasional email exchanges? Will you be open to more one-on-one sessions if needed? Or will you take the training wheels off and let them ride into the sunset? Outlining expectations about whether you’ll stick around or create distance after your coaching sessions is an important topic to discuss. It helps mitigate expectations and offers a clean break if and when the time comes.
2. Use the Wheel of Life as a Guide for Wellness Goals
One of our favorite free life coaching tools is the Wheel of Life. This tool helps clients map out what areas of their life they need to work on.
The wheel has several areas of interest which include:
- Family and friends
- Marriage or single life
- Money and finances
- Health (emotional, physical, nutrition, etc.)
- Living and home environment
- Personal growth and development
- Spiritual well-being
How to Use the Wheel of Life
Make a hard copy of the wheel or share a digital version. For each section of the wheel, ask your client the following questions:
- What does success look like for you in this area?
- On a scale of 1-10, one meaning very unsatisfied and 10 meaning fully satisfied, how satisfied are you in this area?
- Do any of your rankings surprise you?
- How do you feel as you look at this wheel?
- Which of these areas would you like to improve the most?
- What can you do to improve your life in this area?
- What would you need to make this area a score of 10?
The Wheel of Life allows coaches to create a tailor-made plan that addresses their clients’ specific needs.
3. Use Goal Setting Worksheets
Goal setting is the backbone to a successful coaching practice. No matter who your client is, if they don’t have goals that are achievable and accessible to them it will be difficult to see results. One of the best coaching tools you can use are goal setting worksheets. Goal setting worksheets can be free if you’re creative enough to make your own, or you can find downloadable templates online. Here are a few elements to keep in mind as you create or find them:
Make SMART Goals
Your clients benefit from building their goals around the SMART model. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. Ask your client to first write down their goals without using the SMART model. When they are finished, work together to reframe the goals using this methodology.
Focus on Outcomes
It’s important for clients to focus on the outcome they want to achieve when setting their goals. Do they want more work-life balance? Do they want to overcome a health challenge so they can spend more meaningful time with loved ones? Would they like to gain more confidence in order to make a big career change? On a sheet of paper or in a digital document, create a diagram with a large outcome at the top of the sheet. From there, draw lines from the big outcome to a few goals. Then, draw more lines from the goals to small actions or steps. This spider diagram can be a useful visual tool for setting clear and achievable goals.
Create Goals That Align With Values
Your client wants to transform their life for a reason. It may be that achieving a different lifestyle will help them feel a greater sense of purpose and get them more in line with their values. On a blank sheet of paper or digital document, brainstorm the values your client holds. Examples of values include spirituality, family, service, wealth, achievement and loyalty. Goals that are aligned with values also help the client commit to achieving them. Values-driven goals become less idealistic and surreal and instead highly-motivated personal commitments.
Decide if a Goal Is Too Big or Small
Goal setting worksheets also help your client assess if their goals are too modest or ambitious. As much as your client wants to get six-pack abs, marry the love of their life and quit their job (all in the same year), it may be too ambitious for them right now. Alternately, if a client wants to eat a cup of spinach every month or walk their dog one more time per week, these goals might be too simplistic. Help your client find a middle ground between goals that are too challenging and ones that take them out of their comfort zone.
Offer a Self-Care Resource List
Self-care looks different for each client. Some prefer a bubble bath with rose petals and essential oil while others prefer a walk in the park or time away from their family to reflect. It’s good practice to ask your client, “what makes you feel happy, relaxed and recharged?” From there, compile a list of self-care suggestions and activities they can use when they need a spiritual reboot between coaching sessions.
Here are a few self-care suggestions you can offer to clients:
- Recite positive affirmations
- Find five minutes to meditate
- Take a walk outside
- Connect with a loved one
- Try to sleep 30 minutes longer
- Keep a journal
- Eat something healthy
4. Take a Free Personality Test
To help clients better understand themselves and their behavior, offer a few personality tests. There are several affordable and/or free ones on the market.
Here are a few popular choices:
- 5-Minute Free Enneagram Test
- Briggs-Myers Inspired Jung Typology Test
- 16 Personalities Free Test
- Simple Personality Type Indicator Test
Analyze your client’s test results together. What insights did you gather? What does this personality test say about your client’s hidden habits, emotions or approach to life? What concerns you and your client about the results? What surprised you both? How can you use these results to inform your life-coaching approach with your client? Use the tests as fun activities that inform your work and help the client go further into their personality and mindset.
5. Go Deep on Your Coaching Style
Each person is different, and though you likely have a specific coaching style, you may have to adjust your approach to better serve your clients’ needs. Learning different coaching styles while still keeping your unique flair helps you become a more dynamic and effective coach.
There are three main coaching styles to be aware of, all of which are totally different. You’ll find some to be a better fit for your clients than others:
Autocratic Coaching Style
The autocratic coaching style is very firm and dictatorial. It often positions coaches as an authority figure, with clients receiving more motivational and structured coaching and giving less input. This style of life coaching can be useful for those who prefer to be told, not shown, what to do. It also works well for those who want to listen and learn from an experienced coach and do less strategizing on their end.
The autocratic coaching style encourages clients to feel:
- Clear about their goals
- Less ambiguous about their results
- Heavily reliant on the coach for their expertise
Democratic Coaching Style
The democratic coaching style is a common method that takes into consideration the interests, concerns and choices of the clients. In this approach, the client has a lot of agency to decide the best method to help them achieve their goals. Still, the coach has the final word on how to move the needle forward.
The democratic coaching style encourages clients to feel:
- Committed to their goals
Holistic Coaching Style
The holistic coaching style considers all dimensions of the client’s life, and how different areas affect the whole. Much like the Wheel of Life, the holistic approach sees family, community, health, spirituality, and other dimensions as important components to acknowledge in the program. Holistic coaches use a variety of tools to improve various areas of the client’s life in order to achieve greater, longer-lasting results.
The holistic coaching style encourages clients to feel:
- Understood by their coach
- Trusting in their coach-client relationship
- Safe to reveal deeply held feelings and emotions
- More well-being in their mind, body and spirit
- More balanced in their family, work and home life
Join HCI to Become a Certified Life Coach
Not a life coach yet? Good news! The Health Coach Institute offers an accredited dual health and life coach certification program. Plus, if you’re a graduate of the entry-level coaching programs, you can take your business to the next level with the 12-month Coach Mastery course.