What are the Different Types of Coaches?

D. Jeffress

When most people think of coaches, they picture enthusiastic men and women who provide training and instruction to athletes in various sports. Experts who manage sports teams and instruct individual athletes do indeed hold many coaching jobs, yet there are several other types of coaches whose services benefit countless people and organizations. Personal coaches help people achieve life goals, develop relationships, and maintain health, while business coaches promote employee satisfaction and productivity. Regardless of their specialties, all coaches share certain key traits, such as leadership, knowledge, attention to detail, and the desire to help others succeed.

Coaches teach young soccer players the fundamentals of ball control.
Coaches teach young soccer players the fundamentals of ball control.

A sports coach might work with an entire team of youth, college, amateur, or professional athletes in a given sport. He or she evaluates athletes' potential and performance, provides feedback, and initiates practice sessions and training drills. A sports coach is often responsible for a number of managerial duties as well, such as assigning positions and calling plays.

Football coaches teach players skills such as blocking and tackling.
Football coaches teach players skills such as blocking and tackling.

A knowledgeable coach is essential for an athlete who participates in an individual sport, such as golf, tennis, or bowling. An instructor provide detailed, one-on-one training with an athlete to improve his or her physical and mental abilities. A coach might create practice drills, monitor an athlete's progress, and suggest strategies on how to achieve the best results while playing a game or match.

Soccer teams have coaches.
Soccer teams have coaches.

Business coaches usually have extensive knowledge of business administration, customer services, and human resources management. A company might contract a business coach to discuss strategies with employees and management about increasing productivity, settling disputes, and maintaining happy, healthy interoffice relations. Most coaches do not specialize with a certain type of business. Instead, they employ general coaching techniques that can help workers and executives in any industry.

Ice hockey coaches can teach youth positioning and team skills as well as how to skate, shoot and bodycheck.
Ice hockey coaches can teach youth positioning and team skills as well as how to skate, shoot and bodycheck.

A person who has difficulty succeeding in school, work, or social situations might hire a personal life coach to help him or her solve problems and find the motivation to improve the quality of life. A life coach can help an individual identify his or her life goals and suggest strategies on how to achieve them. A professional might also actively assist people in finding financial aid resources to attend college, or help them construct resumes and look for jobs.

A life coach often specializes in a certain area of personal coaching, such as relationships or health. A relationship or dating coach helps an individual overcome anxieties and suggests strategies on how he or she can pursue healthy relationships. Health coaches instruct people on how to create and stick to diet and exercise routines so that they may enjoy more active, fulfilling lifestyles.

Parents with a background in sports might coach local youth leagues.
Parents with a background in sports might coach local youth leagues.

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Discussion Comments


Is there any type of sports coach in the army?


My son played football all through junior high and high school. The football coaches he had during that time really had an impact on his life.

Some coaches were much better than others, and those are the ones he really learned from. Sometimes I think coaches can underestimate the influence they play in a young person's life.

A good coach will not only be interested in helping them be the best athlete they can be, but also being successful in life.

Because of the interest and talent my son had in football, and the encouragement from his coaches, he was able to attend college on a football scholarship.

He still keeps in touch with one of his coaches and I think that they will probably remain in contact with each other for many years to come.


I have never used a life coach, but I have used a career coach and had some great results.

When I was out of a job, I decided this would be a good time to look at other career options. It is easy to get stuck in a rut, and I went through some testing to get a better idea of what my strengths and weaknesses were.

The nice thing about this was the service was free through the temp agency I was working with. I know you can hire a career coach to help you, but I feel the services this agency offered their clients was very similar to this.

After completing some testing, they also offered workshops on various skills to help me get current on some computer skills I was lacking in.

They also worked with me at finding a job that I was qualified for and enjoyed doing. After a few months I got a job through this agency. This ended up eventually becoming a permanent job, and one that I really enjoy.


@Oceana - You bring up a good point about being able to afford a life coach. I am curious to know how much money a life coach makes and what their qualifications are.

I would think the average person who was trying to get their life on track and make the right choices probably can't afford a life coach.

I think one big advantage to having a life coach, is they have probably been exposed to a variety of people and life experiences.

I can see how this would filter down to those people they are currently coaching. It is nice to learn from people who have a wide range of experiences, or are aware of possibilities that the average person is not aware of.

I also wonder how long someone uses a life coach. For some people is this an ongoing thing, or do they just use them as they are going through certain situations and need some extra help?


When I used to hear the word 'coaches', the first thing that would come to my mind would be some kind of athletic coach.

Now there are so many different types of coaches that it could refer to many things.

I think all coaches should have some kind of training in psychology. It is important to know how to read and motivate people.

Being a good leader is another important aspect of coaching. Most people look to their coach as an example and a leader they can follow.

Recently I heard someone referred to as a travel coach. This was the first time I had ever heard of something like this. I think it was just a fancy name for a travel agent, or someone who helps you with your travel plans.


My best friend received small business coaching before opening up her own gift shop. The things she learned from her coach kept her from making costly mistakes and led her on the path to success.

She said it was great to have help from someone who really knew his stuff. He told her about everything from paying taxes to ordering inventory from the right places. Without him, her business likely would have failed.

She had some great products, and her coach helped her make out an advertising budget so that the public would become aware of them. He kept her from spending more than she could afford on advertising, but he led her to spend just enough.


@Oceana – I had access to college coaches when I was attending my university, and they helped me out a great deal with making life-changing decisions. I didn't have to pay a dime, because the coaching was offered free to students.

While I didn't get any love life advice from my coach, I did get a good bit of career help. She helped me do everything from pick a major in the beginning to make out a resume near the end. She even put my name out there with a couple of companies in my field, and that's how I landed my first job.

Like you, I will probably never be able to afford a life coach on my own. It sure was nice to have one help me for free, though.


It seems to me that people who can afford to hire life coaches must be doing something right already. They must be handling their finances well, because someone who is deep in debt would probably not be able to hire anyone to coach them out of it.

I do see how a person who is well off financially might be having trouble in other areas of life. What a luxury to be able to pay someone to tell you how to achieve your personal goals!

I've often thought it would be nice to have a person to tell me exactly what I should be doing, both in my career and in my love life. I have to be that person, though, because I don't have the money to pay someone to make my decisions for me.


My aunt's health coach made a big difference in her life. She was forty pounds overweight, and she just could not find the motivation to lose the weight on her own. She needed someone to guide her and keep her on track every day, or she would resort to binging and giving up.

The health coach spent a lot of time with my aunt, and that helped tremendously. She gave her many simple recipes and suggestions for snacks that could be used to replace potato chips and cookies.

She also gave her a workout schedule, and she would be present for the workout every morning to make sure that my aunt actually did the exercises. Just having someone there kept her from giving in and helped her achieve her weight and health goals.

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