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What Is a Motivational Coach? How Do They Work?

What Is a Motivational Coach? How Do They Work?

Help people overcome low self-esteem. Learn what a motivational coach is, their roles and responsibilities, and how to become one.


Whether it’s self-doubt or just Monday blues, demotivation is a dreadful feeling. A constant lack of enthusiasm is certainly not good news. And when we feel demotivated, we only tend to focus on everything negative –– even if there are 100 positive things.    

That’s where motivational coaches help. Interchangeably called motivational life coaches because they take a life-coaching approach to their work, these professionals help clients introspect and emphasize the positives, supporting and guiding clients every step of the way.

Learn about motivational coaching, what a motivational coach is, what they do, and how to become one. 

What is motivational coaching?

Motivational coaching is the practice of helping clients better understand themselves and find what truly drives them. This also includes identifying clients’ hurdles and outlining short- or long-term goals to overcome them. 

While we’re here, let’s make a crucial distinction: what motivational coaching is not. Motivational coaching isn’t inspiration coaching. That’s because motivation comes from within, and inspiration hails from external sources.

What is a motivational coach?

Motivational coaches focus on helping clients tap into their inner resources and push themselves to achieve their goals and lead more fulfilling lives. It’s important to note that while coaches often act as cheerleaders for clients, motivational coaches understand that real motivation comes from within. This means the client needs to self-reflect to search for that long-lost motivation and whatever makes them happy — it could be starting a hobby (such as painting or playing an instrument to divert attention) or changing a daily habit (such as waking earlier). 

What do motivational coaches do?

Encouraging people to introspect and understand themselves is sometimes challenging. So is there a blueprint? Here are some definite dos for motivational coaches:

  • Determine “why:” Motivational coaches help clients dig for honest answers. The first focus point should always be “why.” However, clients may not be able to articulate their thoughts. That’s when coaches need to challenge clients’ notions of what they want and guide them toward finding true purpose. 
  • Set goals: Coaches help clients outline SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound) goals. Coaches prompt clients to chart realistic goals because the clients are already looking for motivation and far-fetched, unachievable goals trigger frustration. Besides, setting clear goals helps the client with decision-making. Clients know exactly where they’re headed and how to get there. 
  • Hold clients accountable: Motivational coaches record clients’ progress, help assess the steps they’re taking toward goals, and support them if they hit any roadblocks. And when clients perform well, coaches acknowledge their efforts and give them credit for their accomplishments. 
  • Introduce changes: These coaches encourage clients to develop positive habits such as walking and sleeping on a schedule to make achieving goals more feasible.  
  • Provide tools: Coaches help clients set up calendars, reminders, and clearly defined action plans so that clients remain organized and constantly work toward their short- and long-term goals. 


How to become a motivational coach

So now that we know the roles and responsibilities of a motivational coach, let’s review how to become one. Here are three essential focal points:  


A good motivational coach must possess these soft skills: 

  • Effective communication: Every coach must practice empathy and active listening to recall essential details of client cases. Motivational coaches, particularly, need to possess excellent communication skills to extract information from clients. While some clients feel uncomfortable sharing personal information, some can’t properly express it. 
  • Teaching: Motivational coaches advise clients on prioritizing the positives and looking for motivation within. They take a route that involves imparting education. They encourage clients to face failures and learn the positive outcome of those failures. For that reason, coaches must be great educators. 
  • Rapport-building: Clients lacking purpose or motivation may be self-conscious about their position at a low point in their personal development. Good coaches make clients feel comfortable by fostering a trusting relationship, ensuring clients that their information is secure and every conversation between coaches and clients is confidential.


Here are some key traits every aspiring motivational coach should possess to fulfill their role with care and empathy: 

  • Patient: Good motivational coaches actively listen to clients’ concerns before jumping to conclusions. They understand the client’s outlook toward life, way of tackling issues, and unique personality prior to goal-setting.
  • Non-judgemental: Coaches never criticize clients. Instead, they encourage clients to be transparent and honest. After all, clients always perform better when they trust their coach to support them.
  • Organized: Coaches working with multiple clients maintain several “storylines” in their heads and notes. To keep everything in order, they must run a tight administrative ship, staying on top of bookings, payment, and messaging.
  • Eager to help: A motivational coach’s role is to support, so they should remind their clients to ask questions and voice concerns. 
  • Exhibit a positive attitude: Excellent coaches demonstrate a can-do attitude that inspires clients to think positively about making progress toward goals.

Coach certification

Although most coaching careers don’t require certification, earning one makes services more attractive to clients. Plus, certification programs ensure professional coaches have the right tools, skill set, and knowledge base for the job. Up your resume and consider the following coach training programs:

  • Udemy: The online training institute offers a motivation coaching certification, which includes a 5.5-hour video, 76 modules, and six articles. The program covers motivation coaching psychology, people, process, phrasing, procedures, practicum, pricing and promotion, and professional community. 
  • Take Courage Coaching: The portal offers a motivational interviewing course that teaches students how to help clients change the behaviors that hold them back from success. 

How motivational coaches work

It’s one thing to encourage and motivate someone else. It’s another to guide a person toward finding that motivation within — especially if they’re feeling down or stuck. So what motivational coaching techniques do coaches practice to help clients discover this inner strength? Motivational coaches:

  • Help clients visualize the future they want (and don’t).
  • Share real-life success stories that inspire clients to take the first step. 
  • Set reasonable goals and action items so clients feel empowered when they achieve these goals.
  • Help clients understand the consequences of not making the life changes they desire.

The best experience for your clients

Coaching requires focus and organization. You want services to run smoothly and focus on making progress during coaching sessions, not doing additional administrative work. 

A customer relationship management (CRM) program helps a coaching business streamline its administrative tasks. At Practice, we offer services and features explicitly designed for coaches. Whether it’s maintaining client records or scheduling appointments, we simplify everything. Try us today.

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