Life Skills Coaching


What is a Life Skills Coach?

A Life Skills Coach is a trained para-professional who is able to facilitate groups, model and evaluate skills and support individualized learning. Coaches work from their hearts, demonstrating with their lives, their growth, and through their range of emotion and depth of experience, the effective use of the skills that they offer to their participants. Coaches put themselves on the line, human to human (Allen, Mehal, Palmateer, & Sluser, 1995; Conger, 1973, p. 3; Curtiss & Friedman, 1973; Curtiss & Warren, 1973).

Various systems and styles of Life Skills coaching have evolved through the years as Life Skills has spread across Canada and expanded to serve a great variety of participants. Systems and styles of Life Skills coach training have evolved too, so that today there are many different methods of training coaches. Nonetheless, across Canada, almost all coach trainings find their theoretical base in the original Saskatchewan NewStart material.

‘The Canadian Classification Dictionary of Occupations’ {CCDO} description for A Life Skills Coach reads as follows:

2799-115 LIFE SKILLS COACH (educ.; social wel.)

Leads groups through life skills lessons and facilitates their practicing and learning of new behaviors necessary for coping with everyday life:
Surveys community needs and promotes the life skills program by distributing and tabulating questionnaires, conferring with social agency personnel and presenting demonstrations.

Develops protocol for program by establishing focus on self-improvement, family life, leisure, community or employment area, to meet expressed needs.
Interviews, screens and selects participants to fashion homogeneous group, by assessing case histories and reviewing problems with addiction, levels of personal disturbance and motivation.

Develops program themes and adapts lessons and skill training sequences according to participant needs and the objectives and orientation of referring agencies.

Arranges for a suitable training facility, if required.

Convenes group and introduces, demonstrates and leads skill training on topics pertinent to group needs, such as human relations and self-management skills, problem solving techniques and assertiveness, to assist participants in managing their own lives.

Identifies and acts on changing dynamics of group, by assessing verbal and non-verbal responses and checking regularly with participants, to facilitate their active participation in activities.

Arranges for and introduces guest speakers to inform groups on available options in education, employment, leisure time use and other relevant topics.
Counsels group members individually at request of participants.

Maintains participant attendance and progress records.

Evaluates program effectiveness by comparing individual and group progress to program objectives and individual goals.

Operates and maintains audio visual equipment to enhance the potential for learning.


Addictions Counsellors Administration Supervisors Community Development Officers
Community Researchers Community Service Workers Corrections Workers
Developmental Service Workers Education Counsellors Employment Counsellors
Family Counsellors Family Violence Workers Group Home Workers
Home Support Workers Health Care Providers Life Skills Coaches
Mental Health Workers Professors – University Public Relations Promoters
Rehabilitation Therapists Social Workers Teaching Assistants
Teachers – Elementary Teachers – Secondary Teachers – College
Training Group Facilitators Vocational Skills Instructors Volunteer Coordinators
Welfare case Managers Workshop Facilitators Youth Workers/Counselling

Allen, S., Mehal, M., Palmateer, S., & Sluser, R. (1995). The new dynamics of life skills coaching. Toronto: YWCA of Metropolitan Toronto.

Conger, S. (1973). Life skill training – A social invention. In V. Mullen (Ed.), Readings in life skills (pp. 1 – 5). Prince Albert, SK: Department of Manpower and Immigration.

Curtiss, P., & Friedman, R. (1973). Training the life skills coach. In V. Mullen (Ed.), Readings in life skills (pp. 71-88). Prince Albert, SK: Department of Manpower and Immigration.

Curtiss, P., & Warren, P. (1973). The dynamics of life skills coaching. Prince Albert, SK: Department of Manpower and Immigration.