Career Development

16 Recovery Coach Skills for Your Career and Resume

Learn about the most important Recovery Coach skills, how you can utilize them in the workplace, and what to list on your resume.

Recovery coaches are professionals who help people who are struggling with addiction and mental health disorders. They use their skills to provide support, guidance and motivation to help their clients recover and live healthy and fulfilling lives. If you’re interested in becoming a recovery coach, it’s important to understand the skills that are necessary for this position.

Listening Skills

Recovery coaches must be able to listen to their clients and understand what they’re saying. This is important because it allows you to better understand your client’s needs, which can help you provide them with the right resources or treatment options. It also helps you build trust with your client so that they feel comfortable opening up to you about their struggles.

Case Management

Case management is the ability to assess a client’s needs and develop an individualized treatment plan. Recovery coaches often use case management skills when working with clients, as they may need to help them navigate resources like insurance or medical care. For example, if a client has experienced trauma and requires therapy, a recovery coach might work with them to find a therapist who accepts their health insurance.

Group Facilitation

Recovery coaches often work with a team of professionals to help their clients overcome addiction. They may lead group sessions, such as those that involve therapy or support groups. Group facilitation skills allow recovery coaches to manage these types of meetings and ensure everyone has an opportunity to speak. It also allows them to encourage healthy discussion among the group members and keep the meeting on track.


Organization is the ability to keep track of multiple tasks and responsibilities. Recovery coaches often have many duties, including scheduling meetings with clients, preparing materials for sessions and tracking client progress. Having strong organizational skills can help recovery coaches manage their workload effectively and ensure they’re meeting all of their obligations.

Stages of Change Model

The Stages of change model is a framework that recovery coaches can use to help their clients develop healthy habits. This model divides the process of changing one’s behavior into five stages: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance. Recovery coaches who understand this model can better guide their clients through the process of developing new habits.

Community Outreach

Community outreach is the process of connecting with members of your community to help them achieve their goals. Recovery coaches often use this skill to connect with people who are interested in changing their lives for the better. For example, a recovery coach might volunteer at an organization that helps people overcome addiction and then offer guidance to those individuals as they work through treatment programs.

Relapse Prevention

Relapse prevention is the ability to help clients avoid a return to substance abuse. Recovery coaches can use this skill when working with individuals who have overcome an addiction and are trying to maintain sobriety. For example, if a client has relapsed in the past, a recovery coach may be able to identify what caused the relapse and develop strategies for avoiding it in the future.


Communication is the ability to convey information clearly and concisely. Recovery coaches often communicate with their clients through phone calls, emails or text messages. They also use communication skills when explaining treatment plans, answering questions about addiction and discussing challenges that may arise during recovery. Strong communication skills can help a recovery coach build trust with their clients and ensure they understand what to expect throughout the process.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of treatment that focuses on changing the way someone thinks about their situation. Recovery coaches often use this skill to help clients overcome challenges and achieve their goals. For example, if a client has trouble staying committed to an exercise routine, a recovery coach may encourage them to think positively about their ability to change their behavior.

Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma-informed care is a set of practices that help recovery coaches understand how trauma can affect an individual’s life. This includes understanding the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, which may include anxiety, depression and insomnia. It also means knowing how to support individuals who have experienced trauma by providing them with resources and tools they need to overcome their past experiences.


Empathy is the ability to understand and share another person’s feelings. Recovery coaches often use empathy when working with clients who are struggling with addiction or mental health issues. For example, a recovery coach might be able to relate to their client’s situation because they’ve experienced similar challenges in their own life. This can help them connect with their client on an emotional level and encourage them to continue treatment.

Systems Navigation

Recovery coaches often navigate complex systems to help their clients. They may need to understand how the health care system works, as well as any other social services that might be available to them. Recovery coaches also use navigation skills when they plan treatment options for their clients and when they drive clients to appointments or meetings.

Problem Solving

Problem solving is the ability to identify and resolve issues. Recovery coaches often use problem-solving skills when working with clients who have substance abuse problems. For example, if a client has relapsed after completing treatment, a recovery coach may help them find new ways to overcome their addiction. This involves identifying the issue, brainstorming solutions and implementing an effective plan of action.

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing is the ability to encourage clients and patients to take action. Recovery coaches often use motivational interviewing techniques when working with individuals who are trying to overcome an addiction or mental health condition. For example, a recovery coach might ask questions that help their client identify what they want in life and how treatment can help them achieve those goals.


Recovery coaches often work with clients who are trying to overcome an addiction. This can be a long process, and recovery coaches need patience to help their clients through it. Recovery coaches also use patience when working with clients on other aspects of life that they want to improve, such as time management skills or healthy eating habits.


Recovery coaches often advocate for their clients, which means they support them in achieving their goals. Recovery coaches can use advocacy skills to help their clients overcome challenges and achieve success. For example, a recovery coach might encourage an individual with substance abuse issues to seek treatment or convince someone who is overweight that healthy eating habits are beneficial.

How Can I Learn These Recovery Coach Skills?

There are a few ways to learn the skills necessary to be a successful recovery coach. Many of these skills can be learned through formal education, such as taking courses or completing a certification program. Additionally, many of these skills can be learned through on-the-job training or by working closely with a more experienced coach. Finally, some of these skills may come naturally to some people, and they may not need any formal training to be successful.


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