20 Types of Coaching: An Overview

By Danielle Harel | Updated: August 10, 2023

A coaching career offers flexible work schedules, the ability to be your own boss, a lucrative income, and perhaps most importantly — the chance to do real good and help real people. But entering the field can be daunting due to the various coaching types available. From business to sports to relationships to sex, coaching comes in literally hundreds of flavors.

Because a career switch is a professional decision — and not just a personal one — as a would-be coach, you might worry about pursuing something you love doing, only to discover it doesn’t pay the bills. But, you don’t need to worry. The demand for many types of coaching is so high that the “Field of Dreams” rule applies: If you build it, they will come. The most important thing is to figure out what you’re passionate about and start building from there.

Two women at a table, talking about coaching types

1. Life and Personal Development Coaching

Life and personal development is a broad category, but it’s a starting point for many who are trying to find their specialized niche.

As a life coach, you will aid your clients in identifying and working toward their life goals. Maybe they want to save for a home, move to a new city, feel better about themselves, or be more present with their children. Life coaching can include helping your client with all sorts of personal or professional goals, or even relationship goals and enhanced self-esteem.

Skills and strengths: To be a successful life coach, you should be passionate about supporting people across all different areas of their life.

2. Health and Wellness Coaching

If you love the idea of living a more healthy lifestyle, are good at self-care, and have a healthy mindset, you may want to specialize in health and wellness.

In this profession, you help people adopt positive habits — like exercise, meditation, or healthy eating — that increase their well-being and longevity.

Skills and strengths: It’s key to have a realistic sense of personal balance because you don’t want to push people to overachieve, then fail.

3. Fitness Coaching

Related to health and wellness, fitness coaching focuses specifically on guiding people through exercise routines to see them achieve their individual workout goals.

If you love to put on your workout gear and cheerlead your clients through weight training in the gym, join them for a long run, or take them through a series of bodyweight exercises, fitness coaching could be your jam. This type of coach also instructs clients to swim, bike, or box, and often offers individual or group classes, such as yoga or Pilates.

Skills and strengths: To inspire your clients, you need to be physically fit yourself, have good people skills, and enjoy exercise.

Fitness coach and client working out

4. Relationship Coaching

Supporting both individuals and couples, you will teach them about self awareness, how to create more loving connections with their partner, and communication skills. You might help couples adopt practices that increase secure attachment, or encourage them to identify and share needs and boundaries. Relationship coaches also help couples become more of a team, develop mutual empathy, and get out of codependent patterns.

Some relationship coaches also aid people in negotiating the relationship structure that works best for them. You can help couples decide if they are monogamous (or monogamish), open, or poly, or explore experiences like swinging. Premarital coaching can also fall under the relationship coaching umbrella.

Skills and strengths: To be a relationship coach, you need excellent communication skills and the ability to see both people’s sides as equally valid. This career also requires compassionate interpersonal skills and being a strong guide to your clients.

5. Sex and Intimacy Coaching

Working in this highly in-demand field, you’ll help individuals and couples discover their sexual nature, and teach them how to create the most fulfilling sex lives possible. You might support your clients to become amazing lovers, communicate sexual desires and fantasies, or fully accept their sexual selves. It’s also imperative for a sex and intimacy coach to provide a safe space for people to heal from sexual trauma, overcome dysfunction, or celebrate their sexual and gender identities.

Skills and strengths: If you want to be a sex coach, you will need to be sex-positive, open, and non-judgmental. It’s important to be well-versed in the many different ways people can find sexual fulfillment, and accepting of different sexualities and sexual communities. Strong ethics and boundaries are also a must – they can be honed by attending a sex coach certification program.

6. Dating Coaching

While some dating skills — like communication or sensuality — overlap with relationship or sex skills, dating coaches mostly assist their clients in developing the tools needed to meet people. This is especially tricky in the constantly shifting landscape of today’s online and in-person dating world.

As a dating guide, you start by encouraging your clients to clarify what they want out of dating. From there, you teach them how to build a successful online profile, chat on the apps, or meet and ask people out in real life. The first goal is to increase your client’s likelihood of getting to a first date. Then they have to know how to connect interpersonally, flirt, and eventually initiate sex, while paying attention to boundaries and consent.

Skills and strengths: Dating coaches should have a keen understanding about what makes people tick. They should be able to guide their clients in practicing the essentials of meeting someone, flirting, and making the first move.

Sex and intimacy coach working with a couple

7. Performance Coaching

Performance mentors specialize in teaching their clients to improve a specific skill — whether it be a sport, a musical instrument, or public speaking. While some performance coaches work one-on-one with their clients, many also offer group sessions.

Skills and strengths: If you want to be a performance coach, you need to be comfortable with repetition as performance often requires practicing the same skills over and over again.

8. Business Coaching

In this field, you’ll support company owners and entrepreneurs in figuring out what they want to achieve with their business.

If you geek out on writing up amazing business plans and feel like you can follow up and really hold each client accountable, this type of coaching might be right for you. There are many niches to business coaching too – they often focus on specific areas such as career, executive, sales, marketing, or team coaching.

Skills and strengths: A business coach needs to be able to inspire and motivate their clients. You should also be very organized, and if working with teams, comfortable presenting or leading exercises in front of a group of people.

Business coach working with clients

9. Career Coaching

Many people have no idea what they want to be or which careers could be a good fit for their goals and personalities. If you are drawn to being a career coach, you will guide your clients through career options and find the one that calls to them. Or you might help them transition to a new career. Using questionnaires or interviews to assess their clients’ interests and skills, a career coach comes up with potential career options.

Skills and strengths: In this type of coaching niche, you should be well-versed in all of the different career opportunities and resources available. Your main challenge will be to find creative ways to assess what’s best for your client.

10. Executive Leadership Coaching

You’ll work directly with captains of industry to improve their leadership skills. If you know you can teach people how to organize and motivate their teams, and be decisive and clear communicators, you might be ready to train in this business coaching niche.

Skills and strengths: It’s typical for executive coaches to have previously served as CEOs, entrepreneurs, or business leaders themselves. Tapping into your deep vat of experience, you need to find an effective leadership style for your client that’s most in alignment with their personality.

11. Sales Coaching

The ability to sell to people is essential to most businesses — but not everyone has the skills to motivate others to buy a product.

A sales coach might be hired by anyone who wants to learn sales for their own business, or to work with a whole sales team. In this coaching type, you will help people learn valuable business skills — like finding out what a person wants, and negotiating so they can achieve their end-of-month or end-of-year targets.

Skills and strengths: To be a sales coach, you must be a “people person.” You need to be able to demonstrate how to build rapport, and understand the psychology behind what motivates people to buy a product or service.

12. Marketing Coaching

Marketing is different from sales in that it aims to promote a product or service by creating awareness among potential customers. Therefore, marketing coaches are less focused on numbers than sales coaches – instead, they support their clients in figuring out how to effectively communicate to their target audiences. They guide them in finding just the right angle to reach the people who are most likely to buy their products or services.

Skills and strengths: Understanding the psychology of desire – and knowing how to encourage people to follow those desires – is the top skill required to be a marketing coach.

Sales coach motivating his clients

13. Teamwork Coaching

Teams in business settings — like a marketing, engineering, or warehouse team — may need help collaborating. Unlike a business or executive coach, team coaches don’t focus on building a business — they focus on resolving conflicts or problems that get in the way of a team working together effectively.

Offering personality tests and sharing the results across the team is a main tool for team coaches. It can help the team to normalize differences, and aid them in understanding their colleagues’ varied working styles.

Skills and strengths: If you want to be a team coach, you should excel at conflict resolution and creative problem solving.

14. Finance, Wealth, and Money Coaching

Do you enjoy creating budgets, setting financial goals, or even engaging in long-term financial planning? If you’ve answered with an enthusiastic yes, this could be the right coaching type for you. Wealth and money coaches mainly work with the underlying feelings that get in the way of people creating wealth – or overspending.

In this coaching niche, you need to be an expert at ways to accumulate wealth. You’ll also prepare your clients for retirement, depending on factors such as age, health, and life goals.

Skills and strengths: To be successful in this type of coaching, it’s important to understand the underlying emotional challenges people have with money – causing them to under or overspend, or blocking them from feeling like they deserve to be wealthy.

Financial coach showing clients how to retain wealth

15. Parent Coaching

Parents may need help creating loving, supportive, and positive relationships with their children. As a parenting coach (or pregnancy / postpartum coach), you prepare new parents for the journey ahead, or encourage family behaviors that create secure attachment or resolve behavioral issues. In all cases, you’ll promote healthy child development and a safe environment for families to thrive in.

Skills and strengths: As a parent coach, you need to love and understand children — their needs, their fears, and their developmental tasks. A lot of patience and empathy for both children and parents in required, but it also helps to be playful and creative.

16. Academic Coaching

As an academic coach, you will support teens in focusing on their studies, improve their time management and study skills, and increase their academic achievements. At other times, you might focus on guiding students to master standardized tests, or write the essays needed for college admission.

Skills and strengths: To facilitate academic success, you need to be well-versed in the main subjects students need to learn. For college admissions, it’s essential that you are able to teach students the tricks of standardized testing, and are fluent in what colleges want to read about in admissions essays.

17. Conflict Management Coaching

Many workplaces and personal relationships suffer when people have poor conflict management skills. Conflict management coaches know that most people have never learned the best techniques to effectively address the normal moments of conflict in business and personal relationships.

As a conflict management coach, you’ll create, or adopt and facilitate, a systematic approach for facing adverse moments. Examples of conflict management approaches include Somatica’s repair process and non-violent communication (NVC).

Skills and strengths: In this type of coaching, you need to be able to calm people down when they are at their most heated. Strong de-escalation and communication tools are a must, as well as practical approaches to teaching and practicing techniques.

18. Creativity Coaching

Can you see yourself helping artists, designers, and musicians tap into the source of their imagination so their creative juices can flow? One example of a creative coach is a writing coach — you might offer your clients writing prompts, or organize creative writing retreats for them to unplug and connect with their inner voice. A main goal of creativity coaching is to get your clients to move through creative blocks and achieve their artistic goals.

Skills and strengths: Thinking outside the box and facilitating others to do so as well is a main skill requirement with this coaching type. You need to be able to come up with original ways to motivate and inspire your fellow artists.

Creativity coach motivating musical client

19. Spirituality Coaching

While guiding people to connect with their spiritual selves is an age-old practice, spirituality coaching as a stand-alone career is somewhat new. Here, you will enable your clients to find their own idea of what it means to be spiritual. Your tool chest will be a variety of practices — breathwork, meditation, movement, prayer, or writing — to help them deepen their bond with the divine.

Skills and strengths: To be an effective spirituality coach, you should be centered and open to different kinds of spiritual beliefs. It’s also important to be well-versed in practices that are most helpful to those seeking spiritual connection.

20. Transformation Coaching

A transformation coach encourages a client to shift their lives in monumental ways. You’ll help move them through internal blocks and external obstacles – like bad habits or negative self-talk – to achieve their big-picture goals.

Skills and strengths: An attitude of “anything is possible” is key if you want to practice as a transformational coach. You’ll succeed in this role if you are able to look at things from a 10,000-foot perspective.

Transformational coach high-fiving his client

Reflecting On Your Coaching Type

Now that you’ve read about these different types of coaching, try to narrow down your favorites by asking yourself these questions:

  • Do you feel more or less excited or motivated, reading about a specific coaching type?
  • Which of the different strengths and skills do you relate to the most?
  • If you could choose to be a coach, what are the top three types of coaching you’d like to offer?

Customize Your Coaching Career With a Niche

It’s important to remember that coaching types are not the same as coaching niches. The coaching type defines a broad area of expertise or interest. But within each of those types, there are multiple styles or niches – and they can allow you to make your coaching career entirely your own.

Any of the above coaching styles can use a somatic approach or a talk-based approach. Somatic approaches incorporate both the body and mind, while a talk-based approach mostly focuses on people’s thoughts and the actions they take.

If you want to become a sex, relationship, dating, conflict management and/or transformation coach, check out the Somatica Training and get started right away on your new and exciting career!