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Qualification - Certificate in Life Coaching

Course CodeVPS006
Fee CodeCT
Duration (approx)600 hours
Do You Want To Be A Life Coach?
Why not start studying now to be a life coach and start a new  career helping and supporting others.
  • Life Coaching is a rewarding career.
  • This course will enable you to start your own business as a life coach.
  • OR use life coaching skills within your existing work.
  • Learn about life coaching, counselling, psychology and more to start working as a life coach.
  • Improve your careers and job prospects whilst studying.
  • Learn from highly qualified, friendly and experienced tutors.
  • Study at your own pace and in your own home.
  • Recognised by IARC and the Complementary Medical Association (more information below)
  • ACS is an organisational member of the Association For Coaching.  Students on the course are eligible to join the association as student members.


 What Does The Course Entail?
To pass the certificate in Life Coaching, you are required to pass six 100 hour modules.
There are FIVE core modules of - Life Coaching, Careers Counselling, Human Nutrition and Food I, Psychology and Counselling and Stress Management.
You will then complete a sixth module from - Counselling Skills I, Health and Fitness I, Introduction to Psychology, Starting a Small Business, Professional Practice in Counselling

More on the Core Modules

Life Coaching

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction: Nature & scope of life coaching - Nature of life coaching, cognitive behaviour therapy, different approaches, the scope of life coaching.
  2. Individual Perception - Psychology of self-perception, perceptual barriers, motivating clients to challenge their perceptions,
  3. A Well Balanced Life - The inter-relationship between psychology and physiology, stress, the psychology of balance
  4. Coaching Processes - Key coaching processes, assessment of the client's situation, dealing with emotions, setting goals, replacing negative habits with positive ones, leadership qualities in a life coach, imagination and enthusiasm, clarifying goals, recognition of limitations.
  5. Coaching Skills -Understanding the communication process, body language, communication barriers, listening skills, assessing learning styles.
  6. Coaching and physical well-being - Human nutrition, important factors in nutrition, physical well-being.
  7. Coaching and psychological well-being - The psychology of self-esteem, stress management programme, identifying stressors.
  8. Coaching Success - High achievement, coaching success, career guidance, managing your money, beginning a business.
  9. Goal Setting - Values, aims and goals, types of goals, planning, future goals, steps for sucessful goal achievement, effort and attribution.
  10. Review and Adjustment - Indications that a programme needs to be reassessed, client's lack of confidence, personality clash, over-achievers, health and safety issues,

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Careers Counselling

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction ...Scope & Nature of the Industry
    • Definitions: career, careers counselling, counselling
    • Broad employment options
    • Services offered in the employment industry
    • Assmptions about career counselling practices
    • Cross cultural careers counselling
  2. Nature of Careers ...What is a career, what makes it successful?
    • Introduction
    • Elements of career building and job seeking
    • Factors contributing to career success
    • Realistic expectations
    • Range of options
    • Persistence
    • Case study
  3. Careers Advice Resources ...Brochures, Publications, Web Sites
    • Employer considerations: qualifications, experience,personality, age, adaptability, productivity, etc
    • Case study
  4. Career Services ....Where can people get help (Social Services, Work Experience, Education)
    • Career counselling services
    • Careers and vocational guidence
    • Vocational planning
    • Setting goals
    • Job seeking supportJob seeking strategies
    • Other services
  5. Developing Counselling Skills
    • Key areas for career counselling
    • Helping clients focus on reality
    • Helping clients identify opportunities
    • Helping clients consider all elements
    • Overcoming resistance from clients
    • Listening skills
    • Questioning skills
    • Problem solving skills
    • Essential reality checks
    • Improving clients predictive ability
  6. Conducting a Counselling Session
    • Why people come to a career counsellor
    • Strategies to develop trust
    • A career counselling session
    • Individuals who know the job they want
    • Psychometric testing for individuals still choosing a career
    • Types of psychological tests that may be used
    • Referring people elsewhere
  7. Counselling Students and School Leavers (with little work experience)
    • Understanding youth
    • Career counselling for adolescents
    • Assisting indecisive teenagers
    • Career counselling for students
    • Giving advice on study
    • Choosing a course
    • Workshops for students
    • Workshops for university students
    • Resources for counselling students
  8. Counselling Adults (inexperienced or facing career change)
    • Identifying adult needs The training program
    • Advice and support during job hunting
    • Course of action
    • Career changing
    • Easiest paths to career change
    • Challenging path to career change
    • Starting a business
    • Case study
    • Writing a business plan
  9. Job Prospecting
    • Ways of finding work
    • Supporting clients decisions
    • Prospecting for work
    • Tips on getting a job
    • Writing resumes (CV's)
    • Preparing for a job interview
  10. Nurturing and growing a career once it has started
    • Getting a job is only the first step in a career
    • Self management for business people
    • Marketing and pricing
    • Case study
    • Advising clients about career advancement

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Stress Management

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Body changes caused by stress.
  2. Developing an easy going lifestyle.
  3. Pills & alcohol abuse.
  4. Building self esteem.
  5. Career management & achieving work satisfaction.
  6. Security & Decision Making.
  7. Relaxation - massage, meditation and diet.
  8. Evaluating & developing your own personality.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Psychology and Counselling

There are 7 lessons in this course:

  1. Stress
    • Introduction
    • The mind to body connection
    • How to recognise stress
    • What happens to the body when you experience stress
    • The physiological response
    • Chronic and acute stress
    • Erikson's psycho social stages
    • Oral sensory stage
    • Anal muscular stage
    • Genital locomotor stage
    • Latency stage
    • Adolescence
    • Young adulthood
    • Middle adulthood
    • Late adulthood
    • Social adjustment
    • Relationship betreen stress and heart disease
    • What are the basic sources of stress
    • Why some people suffer more
    • How to deal with stress
    • Defence mechanisms
  2. Abnormal Behaviour
    • Definition of abnormality
    • Deviation from statistical norms
    • Deviation from social norm
    • Maladaptiveness in behaviour
    • Personal distress
    • Disability
    • Wakefield's harmful dysfunction concept
    • Psychologically healthy individuals
    • Deviation in character
    • Classification of mental disorders
    • Anxiety disordersMood disorders
    • Prevalence of depression
    • Treatment of depression
    • Schizophrenia
    • Substance related disorder
    • Disorders diagnosed in childhood
    • Delerium, Dementia, Amnestic and Cognitive disorders
    • Problems with classification
  3. Individual Behaviour
    • Pro social or Altruistic behaviour
    • When do children first exhibit pro social behaviour
    • Socialisation
    • Conformity
    • Family influence
    • Disciplinary measures
    • Sibling influence
    • Influence of family structure
    • Influence of school
    • Praise
    • Influence of peers
    • Heiders Balance theory
    • Dissonance theory
    • Cognitive dissonance
  4. Group Behaviour
    • Social considerations
    • Temporary group
    • Organised group
    • Organisational groups
    • The influence of groups
    • Industrial groups
  5. Methods of Dealing with Abnormalities
    • Professionals in counselling and psychology
    • Therapist techniques
    • Transference
    • Directiveness and non directiveness
    • Systematic Desensitisation
    • Behaviour therapies
    • Psychoanalytical approach
    • Psychoanalytic techniques
    • Humanistic therapy
    • Eclectic approach
  6. Conflict Resolution
    • Introduction
    • Conflict handling techniques
    • Anger
    • Negotiation
    • Joint problem solving
    • Problems with negotiation
    • Mediation
    • Procedure
    • Running a mediation process in a conflict situation
    • Agreements or contracts
    • Suggested timetable for a mediation session
  7. Interpersonal Communication Skills
    • Introduction
    • Communication channels
    • Effective communication
    • Awareness
    • Communication skills
    • Hearing verbal messages
    • Perceiving non verbal messages
    • Responding
    • Verbal and non verbal communication
    • Body language
    • Communication barriers
    • Self awareness
    • Self esteem
    • Specific skills: listening, paraphrasing, reflective responses, etc
    • Conversation development
    • Professional relationship building

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Human Nutrition and Food I

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Nutrition
  2. The Digestive System
  3. Absorption & Enzymes
  4. Energy Value and Foods
  5. Carbohydrates and Fats
  6. Proteins
  7. Vitamins and Minerals
  8. Water
  9. Nutrient Disorders

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

You are required to choose ONE module from the following courses.
Counselling Skills I

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Learning specific skills:
    • What is Counselling
    • Perceptions of Counselling
    • Differences between Counsellors, Psychotherapists, Clinical Psychologists and Psychiatrists
    • Counelling Theories
    • Empathy
    • Transferrence
    • Directiveness, non directiveness
    • Behavioural Therapies
    • Systematic Desensitisation
    • Positive Reinforcement and Extinction
    • Goals of Psychoanalytical Approach
    • Defense Mechanisms (Repression, Displacement, Rationalisation, Projection, Reaction Formulation, Intellectualisation, Denial, Sublimation)
    • Use of Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy
    • Psychoanalytic Techniques
    • Analytic Framework
    • Free Associations
    • Interpretation
    • Dream Analysis
    • Resistance & Transferance
    • Humaniustic Therapy
    • Evaluating the Effectiveness of Therapies and Counsellors
    • Case Studies
    • Methods of Learning
    • Micro Skills
    • Triads
    • Modelling
    • Online and Telephone Counselling
    • Telemental Health
    • Clinical Considerations
  2. Listening & bonding:
    • Scope of Listening and Bonding
    • Meeting and greeting
    • Creating a Safe Environment
    • Location
    • Time and Duration of Sessions
    • Privacy in Telephone and online counselling
    • Showing warmth on the phone
    • The contract
    • Helping the client relax
    • Listening with intent
    • Minimal Responses
    • Non Verbal Behaviour
    • Use of Voice
    • Use of Silense
    • Case Studies
    • Active Listening
    • Dealing with Silent Phone Calls
  3. Reflection:
    • Non Directive Counselling
    • Paraphrasing
    • Feelings
    • Reflection of Feeling
    • Client Responses to Reflection of Feelings
    • Reflection of Content and Feeling
    • Case Studies
  4. Questioning:
    • Open & Closed Questions
    • Other types of Questions (Linear, Information seeking, Strategic, Reflectivew, Clarification, etc)
    • Questions to Avoid
    • Goals of Questioning
    • Identification
    • Assessment
    • Intervention
    • Case Studies
  5. Interview techniques:
    • Summarising
    • Application
    • Confrontation
    • Reframing
    • Case Studies
    • Perspective
    • Summary
  6. Changing beliefs and normalising:
    • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
    • Changing Self-Destructive Beliefs
    • Irrational Beliefs
    • Normalising
    • Case Studies
    • Designing a Questionnaire
  7. Finding solutions:
    • Moving Forward
    • Choices (Reviewing, Creating, Making choices)
    • Facilitating Actions
    • Gestalt Awareness Circle
    • Psychological Blocks
    • Case Study
  8. Ending the counselling:
    • Terminating the session
    • Closure
    • Further Meetings
    • Dependency
    • Confronting Dependency
    • Chronic Callers
    • Terminating Silent Phone Calls
    • Silent Endings
    • Case Study
    • Other Services

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Health and Fitness I

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Health & Fitness
  2. Exercise Physiology
  3. Exercise Principles & Cardiorespiratory Programming
  4. Biomechanics & Risk
  5. Fitness Program Design
  6. Delivering a Fitness Program
  7. Safety, Injury and General Wellbeing
  8. Fitness Programs for Special Groups

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Introduction to Psychology
There are seven lessons in this course, as follows:



  1. The nature and scope of Psychology - Different approaches to psychology. It's all common sense isn't it? Key issues in psychology, free will and determinism, applying psychology, developing questionnaires.
  2. Neurological basis of behaviour - Structures of the nervous system, central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, how nerves transmit messages, the brain and method, methods of investigating the brain, brain damage, the strange case of Phineas Gage, split brain operations, localisation of function.
  3. Environmental effects on behaviour - Learning and behaviour, modelling, conditioning, extinction, punishment, learning and memory, memory improvement strategies,
  4. Consciousness and perception - Status of consciousness in psychology, nature of consciousness, relationship between consciousness and perception, unconscious and subconscious, altered state of consciousness,  day dreams, sleeping and dreaming, chemically altered perception, perception, selective attention, factors affecting perception, perceptual biases.
  5. Personality - Theories of personality, personality traits, theoretical approaches to human personality, id, ego and superego, Oedipus Complex, Electra Complex, psychological defence mechanisms, genes and personality, personality disorders, multi-trait theories.                                                     
  6. Psychological development - Nature vs nurture, environment and development, stages of development, moral development, psychosexual development, psychosocial development, adolescence, adult psychological development, criticisms of stage theories.
  7. Needs, drives and motivation - motivation, behaviourist theories of human motivation, drives, Maslow's theory of human motivation, complementary and conflicting motives.
Starting a Small Business

There are 12 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Small Business
    • Types of business and communication, types of language, office equipment.
  2. The Business World
    • Consultancy services, law and business, the landscape industry, business letters, communication systems.
  3. Your alternatives - different types of ventures
    • Buying and starting a business.
  4. Marketing
    • What is involved in marketing, advertising, selling, communication?
  5. Planning
    • Organising and planning to ensure the success of the business.
  6. Basic Bookkeeping
    • Financial statements, balance sheet, profit and loss statement,insurance.
  7. Sales Methods
    • Selling, sales method, telephone canvassing.
  8. Budgeting
    • Assets and liabilities.
  9. Developing a 12 month business plan
    • Protection, planning and production.
  10. Implementing a business plan
    • Communication with employees, planning the development of the business.
  11. Reviewing progress in a new business
    • Research, evaluate and decide on business plan updates.
  12. Improving profitability
    • Increase profit and reduce expenditure.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Professional Practice in Counselling

There are 7 lessons in this course:

  1. Understanding Counselling:
    • The client-counsellor relationship
    • Effective counselling
    • Counselling the counsellor
    • Counsellor’s values
    • Multicultural counselling
  2. Ethics & Confidentiality:
    • Needs
    • A code of ethics
    • Informed consent
    • Right to privacy
    • Legal requirements
    • Use of psychometric tests
    • Ethics and multiple relationships
    • Keeping records.
  3. Understanding the Self:
    • Self-awareness
    • Self-monitoring
    • Self-concept
    • Social Perception
    • Attribution theory
    • Implicit personality theory
    • Relationships
    • Social exchange
    • Love and intimacy.
  4. Personality:
    • What is a healthy personality?
    • Trait approach
    • Psychodynamic approach
    • Humanistic approach
    • Social learning and cognitive approaches.
  5. Emotions & Behaviour:
    • What are emotions?
    • Emotions and Counselling
    • Effect on communication
    • Aspects of emotions
    • Emotional expression and counselling.
  6. Supervision:
    • Why supervision?
    • Working with others
    • Quantity and effectiveness of supervision
    • Personal counselling
    • Dependency
    • Types of supervision.
  7. Referral Practice:
    • Counselling v mental health issues
    • Secondary care counsellors
    • Abnormal psychology
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Schizophrenia
    • Personality disorders

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.



    * ACS is an organisational member (OMAC) of the UK Association for Coaching.
    * This course is recognised by the Complementary Medical Association (CMA).
    * Graduates are able to join both the CMA and/or AC
    * ACS is an internationally recognised institution (recognised by IARC)
    * ACS has formal affiliations with a group of highly respected colleges across the world.



Anyone working in a profession which deals with client welfare owes it to the client to be as competent as possible. This means staying up to date with current thinking, theories, and practices and striving to offer the best service you can to your client.

A life coach needs to be ethical for many reasons; and part of coaching others involves helping the client to establish a work ethic as well.  

Maintaining Boundaries
An important aspect of coaching is maintaining boundaries.  A client may come to a coach and reveal personal and intimate details about themselves that they may not want to tell another person. This can cause quite an intense relationship. Therefore, the coach needs to be aware of the boundaries to the client-coach relationship.  They should make the client aware that there will be no intimate or personal relationship between them. Their relationship is a client-coach professional relationship.  

They should always talk at the times which have been specified as appropriate working hours by the coach. For example, the coach may advise the client that they will book meetings and answer calls between 9am to 8pm Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 9am to 5pm Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9am to 3pm Saturdays, and never on Sundays.  They should therefore encourage the client to stick to those hours. If they tell the client it is alright to call at other times, the client may do so and then there is a suggestion that their relationship is different or somehow more special than those with other clients, which can again cause issues. Therefore, the coach needs to be strict with their boundaries.  They should always meet each other in a professional way.  

Informed Consent
As with counselling, a coach must make the client aware of informed consent. This is where the coach makes the client aware of how the coaching process will work and the fully informed client agrees to this. It is discussed at the onset of coaching and any limitations to the coaching process, as well as expected outcomes are reviewed. As such, the client takes an active role in the process and they are able to make choices of benefit to them.

If a client decides they want to end the coaching process before goals have been attained, then their decision should be respected even if they seem to be making good progress or it seems rather rash. The coach may attempt to encourage the client to continue with the coaching if they genuinely believe it to be in the client’s best interest, but they should never attempt to coerce the client into participation.

If conflicts arise between the coach and client, whether personal, or in relation to the client's goals, and these conflicts cannot be resolved through mediation or negotiation, then the coach must either end the coaching relationship or refer the client to another coach if they are aware of someone else who might be able to help.

This is also linked to informed consent, the coach should make the client aware that their meetings are confidential, however it is confidentiality with a 'but'. For example, if the client reveals that they are thinking of harming themselves or have/will harm someone else, they should be aware the coach will report them to appropriate authorities or services where they can be better helped. Likewise, if a court of law requested information about the client from the coach, they would be obliged to provide it.

In all professions, confidentiality comprises both ethical oaths and legal statutes. It is the key to developing a trusting working relationship between the coach and client. Confidentiality may be breached simply by involving well-meaning helpers in the coaching process without first acquiring the client’s consent. The protection of private client information is paramount to encouraging the client to engage openly in coaching.  Protection of a client’s secrets, private thoughts, and feelings are also required by ethical decency. Coaches are obliged to discuss the nature and scope of confidentiality with their clients, and also reveal any limitations to confidentiality. For instance, if the coach is likely to discuss any aspects of the client’s coaching in a professional manner with supervisors, colleagues, or other professionals so as to be able to provide a better service, then they should let the client know this. Where this may happen, the coach should protect the client's identity by referring to them as Mr or Mrs X or just using initials.    

Professional licensing bodies incorporate legal and ethical confidentiality mandates and highlight them as an important part of professional practice. All clients are entitled to confidentiality unless they have given permission for disclosure. Even where permission for disclosure has been granted, secrets and private thoughts should not be revealed. Whilst it may not be possible to join a professional licensing body for life coaching, depending on your location and whether or not one exists due to the relative newness of life coaching as a profession, you should at least familiarise yourself with the ethical and legal guidelines of the caring professions such as counselling and psychology, or contact coaching bodies overseas for their guidelines and abide by them.  

Multicultural Differences
As more and more societies become cosmopolitan, it is important for the coach to consider multicultural differences. Since many approaches to coaching have evolved from techniques originally devised for use in counselling white, middle class, middle aged people living in Western societies, members of minority groups are not well catered for. To treat all clients in the same way would be unethical. If a client comes to you from a background you are unfamiliar with, you should take time to try and understand where they are coming from so that you can relate to them in an appropriate manner.

There are different legal requirements in different countries. A life coach should always check on the legal requirements of working with clients before proceeding with life coaching work. As well as supporting a client, a life coach also needs to ensure that they are protected from legal issues, public liability, and so on. This means taking out appropriate insurance policies and/or becoming a member of a suitable professional body.


Meet some of our academics

Lyn QuirkM.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head for TAFE, she brings a wealth of skills and experience to her role as a tutor for ACS.
Tracey JonesWidely published author, Psychologist, Manager and Lecturer. Over 10 years working with ACS and 25 years of industry experience. Qualifications include: B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies).
Karen LeeNutritional Scientist, Dietician, Teacher and Author. BSc. Hons. (Biological Sciences), Postgraduate Diploma Nutrition and Dietetics. Registered dietitian in the UK, with over 15 years working in the NHS. Karen has undertaken a number of research projects and has lectured to undergraduate university students. Has co authored two books on nutrition and several other books in health sciences.
Gavin ColePsychologist, Educator, Author, Psychotherapist. B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA Gavin is both a highly experienced Psychologist and tutor. Gavin has over 25 years experience in the Psychology industry, and has been working with ACS since 2001. He has worked in both Australia and England, and has been involved in writing numerous books and courses in Psychology and Counselling

Check out our eBooks

Counselling HandbookFull of interesting case studies, this ebook is a wonderful introduction to the complex world of the human psyche. Chapters include: Using Counselling, Seeing Behind the Mask, Emotions and Attitudes, Communicating Better, Theory vs Practice, Diffusing Difficult Situations and Golden Rules for Counselors. 43 pages
Getting Work in a Modern WorldA realistic guide to getting a job or starting out in business. This is a must read; for students, parents, the unemployed, careers advisors or anyone interested in changing or forging a sustainable career.
How to be a Life CoachLife coaching is a relatively new profession - although coaches have been around for a long time in the guise of trainers, instructors, managers and tutors for various professions and disciplines. Life coaching is not easily defined, but it is a type of mentoring which focuses on helping individuals to achieve what they would like to achieve and thereby to lead more fulfilling lives. Unlike other forms of coaching, it takes place outside of the workplace and is concerned with all aspects of a person’s life.
Human NutritionBoth a text for students, or an informative read for anyone who wants to eat better. While covering the basics, the book approaches nutrition a little differently here to some other books, with sections covering ”Modifying diet according to Genetic Disposition or Lifestyle”, “How to find Reliable Information on Nutrition” and “Understanding how Diet relates to Different Parts of the Body” (including Urinary, Digestive, Respiratory and Circulatory System, the Brain, etc). This ebook was written to complement the ACS Nutrition I course, and provides a solid foundation for anyone wanting to grasp a fundamental understanding of Human Nutrition. 41 pages