Are You Embodying These 7 Roles of a Coach?

roles of a coach

Being a coach is far from simple. Sometimes it can feel like you’re a strategist, parent, best friend, therapist, and project manager all in one package!

And navigating all these different roles of a coach is no picnic. 

But to go from “good” to “great” as a coach, understanding these roles and stepping in to embody them makes all the difference. 

So what exactly are the roles of a coach in their clients’ lives? And how can you best show up in each role to support each client as they achieve massive transformation by your side?

Keep reading to discover:

  • 7 roles of a coach
  • How to embrace your role as a life coach
  • What falls outside the role of a coach

7 Roles of a Coach 

roles of a coach

As a life coach, you play a vital role in developing your clients. It’s more than just giving advice – you’re there to steer them toward building the skills and knowledge necessary to make their own well-informed choices confidently. 

That requires you to play multiple important roles in your relationship with them.

1. Needs assessor

An effective coaching process starts with assessing your client’s needs. You’ll have to delve deeper than just understanding what your client wants – you need to get to the root of why they have those aspirations.

This critical role involves several steps to unlock your clients’ potential and prepare them for peak performance.

Let’s cover these steps one by one.

Identifying goals & objectives

Your responsibility begins with helping your clients articulate clear, achievable goals. 

This assessment phase includes defining specific targets for improving team performance or personal development. 

Once your client has specific goals to work towards, it’ll be easier to keep them motivated to reach said goals!

Analyzing strengths & weaknesses

Aside from setting goals, you’ve got to analyze your client’s strengths and weaknesses. 

By understanding these aspects, you can create a client’s unique coaching plan, improving your coaching effectiveness significantly. 

It’s not just about areas in need of improvement; recognizing your client’s existing skills makes sure they’re not overlooked.

Finding potential obstacles

Potential obstacles may be external factors, like lack of resources, or internal ones, such as fear or self-doubt.

Either way, there will be obstacles, without a doubt. And it’s part of your coach’s role as a needs accessor to discover what those will be.

Identifying them early helps you come up with strategies to overcome these hurdles. Plus, showing your client you’re thinking ahead about their potential roadblocks can help you build a strong relationship by creating trust between the two of you.

2. Plan developer

A crucial part of coaching is developing personalized plans tailored specifically to each client. Mastering the plan developer role means ensuring you can make adjustments as a client’s circumstances change.

Determining client goals

We’ve already covered this in the previous part, but yes – you must figure out your client’s goals before you can create a coaching plan for them. 

Crafting the plan

A well-crafted plan involves creating a personalized roadmap for each client, tailored to their needs. This flexible approach allows for adjustments as needed. 

Maintaining flexibility in your approach

Staying flexible in how you do things is super important when putting together coaching plans that work. 

Even if you have your own signature coaching program, it’s important to understand that your signature approach will still need to adapt to individual needs.

It allows you to cater to the specific goals and changing situations of each client, ensuring that the plan remains relevant and impactful throughout their coaching journey.

For example, the coaching plan that’s typically involved with my clients involves sending a daily email newsletter to their email list. But for some clients, this cadence doesn’t work. And when that’s the case, it’s my role to find an alternative approach that will still yield them the results they’re looking for.

3. Support provider

Beyond being an expert guide, the role of a coach is also to provide support throughout the journey.

The type of support you’ll provide depends on your coaching niche as well as your coaching style. It’ll also depend on your training – it’s okay to know your limitations and not offer the type of support you’re not qualified to give.

Let’s go over some of the main types of support people look for in a coach.

Emotional support

Some people hire coaches not just to tell them what to do but to get emotional support. 

For example, they may fear taking the necessary action to reach their goals. This happens a lot with my coaching clients when I walk them through the processing of emailing their subscribers – many are afraid of sending emails, even to people who have opted in to receive said emails. 

They’re afraid of judgment and rejection.

When this happens, it’s not a matter of changing the strategy – it’s a matter of holding space for your clients’ emotions.

Motivational support

An encouraging environment pushes your clients to strive harder despite difficulties. 

Research shows that motivated individuals deliver better results – and this is one of the biggest reasons why people hire coaches in the first place. 

Even if no one else in their lives can show up as their cheerleader, it’s your role to pump them up and help them keep going.

4. Progress Monitor

Keeping track of how each client moves forward is just as important – if not more important – than the coaching itself. 

The significance of monitoring progress

Monitoring allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of your coaching style and make necessary adjustments. By tracking progress, you can identify potential obstacles early on and proactively manage them.

Tools for tracking growth

There are tools you can use to effectively track your clients’ growth, such as journaling exercises, goal-setting apps, or even specific metrics tailored to their objectives. 

You can also establish check-in methods to make sure nothing falls through the cracks, even in between coaching sessions! For example, you can automate an email with a survey to prompt them to record their progress.

5. Learning facilitator

To help clients gain new insights, develop skills, and change behavior, you should also use problem-solving exercises or brainstorming sessions to facilitate their learning and growth.

The impact of role-playing in coaching

Role-playing has been widely recognized as one effective method used by successful coaches. This technique allows clients to practice handling different situations within a safe environment before facing them in real-life scenarios.

I’ve been through sales coaching before, and roleplaying sales conversations facilitated my learning experience much more than theoretical sessions. 

6. Guidance giver

The guidance giver forms another key responsibility where you, as a coach, offer advice ranging from communication skills development through decision-making tactics based on your expertise. 

Nurturing communication skills

Coaches have an essential role in shaping effective communicators.

Effective communication is a crucial skill in personal relationships and professional settings. You can guide your clients by teaching them effective communication techniques, such as: 

  • Active listening
  • Clear articulation of thoughts and ideas
  • Understanding non-verbal cues

This guidance also extends to fostering empathy and promoting healthy interpersonal interactions. Your aim is to sharpen their speaking or listening skills and help them cultivate strong ties with others. 

Mentoring the decision-making process

The fear of making wrong choices often makes decision-making daunting for many people. Solutions include offering tools like decision-making frameworks that help structure thinking processes or brainstorming potential consequences of each decision with your client.

7. Results evaluator

Life coaches need to evaluate the effectiveness of their coaching sessions so clients are moving toward their goals. This is different than just evaluating progress – in this instance, you’re making sure that your approach gets people where they want to be.

The feedback isn’t just about ticking off boxes or meeting specific metrics; it’s more nuanced than that. It focuses on delivering value to clients by fostering growth in meaningful ways. 

Employing methods for evaluating results

Multiple methods can be used to evaluate client results.

Interviews or surveys after sessions can help you figure out what worked well and what needs work.

Other indicators, like changes in behavior patterns or achievement levels, can also help you figure out if a client is progressing toward their goals. 

Helping clients continue their growth

There will come a time when your clients “grow up” and reach the results they’ve wanted for so long. When that happens, you can adapt your role and help them figure out what’s next.

This doesn’t necessarily mean trying to upsell them into a new coaching program. But it does mean leaving them well-equipped to face the next part of their journey.

What is outside of the role of a life coach?

You’ll have many roles as a coach. With that being said, a coach isn’t meant to be everything for everyone.

So what falls outside of the role of a coach?

Firstly, a coach is not a therapist or a psychologist. Unless you’re specifically trained in psychology, coaches don’t work to help their clients heal from past trauma or overcome their struggles with mental health

The line can be blurry because coaches are often called to support their clients through mindset and motivation. But here’s one way to think about it:

Psychologists and therapists focus on helping their patients overcome their past. Coaches, on the other hand, are focused on supporting their clients as they move toward the future they want to have.

See the difference?

In the same train of thought, any role that falls outside your expertise is a role you shouldn’t adopt as a coach. 

For example, let’s say you’re a relationship coach but have no experience, training, or expertise in helping clients through divorce. If a client of yours were to reach the point where they need to divorce, it would fall outside of your expertise to help them through this process.

At this point, it would be better for all parties involved for another coach to step in – ideally, someone specializing in divorce coaching. 

Finally, any role that makes you uncomfortable or falls outside your boundaries is a role you should avoid.

While some coaches love to get friendly and casual with their clients, other coaches don’t like this approach. It’s up to you to establish what boundaries you’re comfortable with.

Remember that being someone’s cheerleader and supporter doesn’t mean you have to become their best friend – although it can certainly happen if both parties are interested!

Build a Successful Coaching Business by Effectively Fulfilling the Roles of a Life Coach

Coaching isn’t just about instructing. In fact, the roles and responsibilities of a coach go far deeper than most people think. 

You need to assess your client’s needs, develop plans, offer guidance, and provide support and encouragement while facilitating learning in personalized ways.

In essence, coaches are catalysts for change and growth – and as such, they’re pivotal in personal development journeys.

So, apply these crucial roles in your coaching business to help your clients improve their lives.

Want to focus on your role as a coach and less on the frustrating parts of running a coaching business? Get a free trial of Paperbell to see how easy it can be to run an online coaching business!

roles of a coach

By Charlene Boutin
Charlene is an email marketing and content strategy coach for small business owners and freelancers. Over the past 5 years, she has helped and coached 50+ small business owners to increase their traffic with blog content and grow their email subscribers.
August 30, 2023

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