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Duration (approx) 600 hours
Qualification Certificate

Train to be a Life Coach! Study this course to advance your career in life coaching.

  • Start your own business or a new career

  • A 600 hour course covering Life Coaching, counselling skills, careers, counselling, psychology and nutrition and more.

  • ACS Distance Education is an organisational member of the Association For Coaching. Students on the course are eligible to join the association as student members.



Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

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Become a Life Coach - Develop Your Coaching Skills

Life Coaching is a booming industry - would you like to be part of it!

Study Life Coaching and start helping people to move on in their lives.

A rewarding and fulfilling career that you could start with this course.

  • Develop skills in counselling, business, nutrition and fitness as well as life coaching.
  • Start a new career or business helping people.
  • Recognised by the the Complementary Medical Association.
  • ACS is an organisational member of the Association For Coaching. Students are eligible to join as student members.
  • To pass the certificate in Life Coaching, you are required to pass six 100 hour modules. There are FOUR core modules of - Life Coaching, Careers Counselling, , Psychology and Counselling and Stress Management.
  • You will then complete two additional modules from - Counselling Skills I, Health and Fitness I, Introduction to Psychology, Starting a Small Business, Professional Practice in Counselling and Human Nutrition and Food I; or other acceptable options.




The Certificate requires completion of the following 4 Core Modules:-

Life Coaching

Careers Counselling

Psychology and Counselling

Stress Management



In addition to the Core Modules, students are to select 2 Elective from the following:-

Counselling Skills I

Health and Fitness I

Starting a Small Business

Professional Practice in Counselling

Introduction to Psychology

Human Nutrition and Food I

 Other acceptable options include business coaching and food coaching. 


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 successful 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.

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
  • Assumptions 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 guidance
  • Vocational planning
  • Setting goals
  • Job seeking support
  • Job 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. Drugs, 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 between 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 disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Prevalence of depression
  • Treatment of depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Substance related disorder
  • Disorders diagnosed in childhood
  • Delirium, 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
  • Heider’s 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 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.



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; Counselling Theories, Empathy, Transference, Directiveness, Non directiveness, Behavioural Therapies, Systematic Desensitisation, Positive Reinforcement and Extinction, Goals of Psychoanalytical Approach, Defence Mechanisms (Repression, Displacement, Rationalisation, Projection, Reaction Formulation, Intellectualisation, Denial, Sublimation), Use of Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy, Psychoanalytic Techniques, Analytic Framework, Free Associations, Interpretation, Dream Analysis, Resistance and Transference, Humanistic 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 and Bonding: Scope, 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 Silence, 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, 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 and 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 7 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 and 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 and 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.



Helping a client maintain motivation can be a primary benefit for the client of seeing a life coach, but ultimately it is not up to the life coach to make the changes – the client must be committed to taking action to make changes in their lives. A client may come to a life coach with an issue or problem, but not actually be motivated to do anything about it.

Clients may recognise that they have a problem, perhaps with their time management, weight, fitness, or business skills; but lack knowledge or motivation to correct the problem. A life coach will need to clarify this with the client- that they need to be committed to change or they are wasting their own time and money seeing a life coach; and then help them become more motivated.

To help the client with their motivation, you need to help the client determine what will motivate them. Working out the client’s primary motivator will help them to achieve their goals. For example, if the client’s goal is to lose 10kg weight because they are getting married, it may be more effective to use visualisations of what they will look like on their wedding day, or find a picture of a bride with the figure they would like and place a picture of their own face and put it on their fridge, rather than by using a reward system, such as a holiday or a special treat.

Motivation is not always as simple as the example given above, and the thing that appears to be the primary motivator may not actually provide the most motivation. Consider the example above, there may be another reason why the bride to be wants to lose weight for their wedding. Her mother may have made a comment about her weight, and this may be driving her to look sensational on her wedding day, she may be motivated because she wants to see the look on her husband’s face as she walks down the aisle with her new svelte figure, she may be wanting to start a family and realises that she needs to improve her health, or they may have an activity planned for their honeymoon that would require her to be more fit. 

Maslow’s theory of motivation gives a progression of needs that need to be filled before moving on to the next level. These needs are:

  1. Physiological needs (hunger, thirst). This is the first need of man and it is the one he must attain in order to exist.

  2. Safety needs (security, stability). When man has food and drink, he needs a roof over his head. Thus he provides himself with a roof over his head, however primitive.

  3. Belongingness and love need (affection and identification). When he is secure, he requires someone to love and someone to love him. In other words he needs the affection and closeness of others.

  4. Esteem needs (prestige and self-respect). The man now becomes competitive and he wants to excel.

  5. The need of self-actualisation. When he is at peace with himself and there is nothing further which he wishes to attain. This is a very rare condition, achieved by very few.

This theory of needs suggests that the “lower level” needs must be filled before the person is motivated to fill “higher” level needs. So if someone has just lost their job and is at risk of losing their home, they will be more motivated to satisfy their safety needs than their need for affection.

There are many techniques that a life coach can use to help their clients stay motivated. The use of diaries, report forms, scaling questions, and so forth can help to stimulate motivation because the client is able to see improvements towards targets and goals which can spur them on. Sometimes just being there for the client can help them stay motivated, by simply being someone to be accountable to. 


Would you like to become a life coach?

Do you want to help people to make a positive change to their lives? Then this could be the course for you.





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Meet some of our academics

Tracey Jones (psychology)B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), DipSW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies) Tracey began studying psychology in 1990. She has a wide range of experience within the psychology and social work field, particularly working with people with learning disabilities. She is also qualified as a teacher and now teaches psychology and social work related subjects. She has been a book reviewer for the British Journal of Social Work and has also written many textbooks, blogs, articles and ebooks on psychology, writing, sociology, child development and more. She has had also several short stories published.
Miriam ter BorgPsychologist, Youth Worker, Teacher, Author and Natural Therapist. Miriam was previously an Outdoor Pursuits Instructor, Youth Worker, Surfing College Program Coordinator, Massage Therapist, Business Owner/Manager. Miriam's qualifications include B.Sc.(Psych), DipRem.Massage, Cert Ourdoor Rec.
Gavin Cole B.Sc.,M.Psych.Psychologist, Educator, Author, Psychotherapist. B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA Gavin has over 25 years of experience in psychology, in both Australia and England. He has co-authored several psychology text books and many courses including diploma and degree level courses in psychology and counselling. Gavin joined ACS in 2001.

Check out our eBooks

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.
Counselling HandbookA book for both students, as well as volunteers who may be involved in helping people with problems. This is a starting point for understanding counselling, and a reference for developing counselling skills. The book contains seven chapters: 1. Where can counselling be used 2. How to see behind the mask 3. Emotions and attitudes 4. How to communicate better when all you have is words 5. Theory versus practice 6. Diffusing difficult situations 7. Golden rules or tips
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 BiologyFor any new student of human biology, being confronted with thousands of unfamiliar words can be overwhelming. It can also be difficult to identify which words you need to learn first. This book presents words that have been carefully selected as the most important for new biology students to learn and understand. It also provides more information about each word than is often found in traditional dictionaries, giving students a more in-depth understanding of the word's meaning. The book is intended as an aid to all new students of human biology.