How to Become a Recovery Coach [2024 Edition]

Do you want to become a recovery coach?

That’s wonderful!

Recovery coaching is one of the most booming coaching niches.

Recovery coaches assist in recovering from addiction. This is a challenging yet fulfilling job.

Addictions of alcohol, drugs, etc. can ruin one’s life. People need support to overcome such addictions.

That’s where the significance of a recovery coach lies.

Recovery coaches help clients to stop addiction. They guide people to reduce harm.

As a recovery coach, you can lead a happy and satisfying life.

Watching someone recover to their original life feels amazing!

If you have the essential coaching skills and habits, why to delay?

This blog will help you to become an AWESOME recovery coach.

I am sure that by the end of this blog you will get all your answers.

So let’s get started!

What is recovery coaching- Every recovery coach must know

When this gets a million views, I'm going to print out the stats and give them to the owner of this home. Random DIY signs are one of my favorite things. Think about it...what sort of intense need are these people satisfying when they decide the only course of action is to make their own signs and put them on public display? What's the story here? Why did they decide to have these face the 7-11 gas station? In all seriousness, I'm sure someone working in a mental health or suicide prevention field can make use of this stock photo.
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Before we move to the HOW part, let’s understand the WHAT.

Recovery coaching provides support for people with addictions.

It involves guiding the client on how to make the most of one’s life.

Recovery coaching uses different ways for recovery. This involves treatment, family support, education, etc.

Does that mean it involves diagnosis and treatment?


Recovery coaching does not include healing trauma. It does not address the past.

A recovery coach is not a counselor. He/she doesn’t heal mental issues.

Like life coaching, recovery coaching involves a partnership model.

A recovery coach prepares an action plan for recovery. He/she does that depending on his/her own personal experience.

Coaching focuses on achieving clients’ ultimate goals. This also includes recovery goals.

It includes decisions based on principles.

Recovery coaching is action-oriented. It focuses on improving the present life. The aim is reaching future goals.

Who is a recovery coach?

I am sure the idea of recovery coaching is clearer.


One who takes part in it is a recovery coach!

As a recovery coach your ultimate goal would be :

Reduce harm with addictive behaviors.

Recovery coaches support positive change.

Recovery coaches are master in applying the resources.

They provide support to overcome compulsive behavior.

Many people spend too much money on treatment centers. Even after that people find it difficult to get rid of their addictions.

Recovery coaches can be a good alternative.

Recovery coaches are helpful during the recovery time as well.

The first 90 days after leaving the treatment are difficult. Familiar sights and reality of lives are overwhelming.

This is where a recovery coach can be most helpful.

A recovery coach helps people to make smart and healthy choices.

The number one priority is:

Minimizing addiction.

A recovery coach stands on the tripod of:

Encouragement, Guidance, and Support.

Recovery coaches boost habits that lead to a healthy lifestyle.

They find resources to protect clients’ sobriety. These may include:

  • Therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other medical support staff
  • Outpatient programs that ensure clients get an appropriate level of support
  • A gym, yoga studio, or athletic activity groups, like running or cycling club
  • A sponsor to take them through their recovery program

Hiring a recovery coach is like buying an insurance policy against relapse!

What does a recovery coach do and doesn’t do?

You may come across several similar roles.

Two such terms associated with a recovery coach are:

  • Therapist
  • AA sponsor

People may compare you with a therapist or an AA sponsor. So, how are you different?

You should know!

Let’s check.

What does a therapist do?

Therapists work with clients who are in psychological pain or trauma. They hold education and license. Some therapists provide other behavioral health services.

Therapists focus on the past of the clients. The idea is to analyze past patterns. Then they decide how to change habits for a better future.

Some charge a fee. Many work with insurance companies.

What does an AA sponsor do?

AA sponsor provides a non-therapeutic approach to recovery. They ‘work’ for free. There is a Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions. Most 12 step sponsors follow the steps in this book.

Sponsors do not invest much in education or training. They share their experience, strength and hope with others.

What does a recovery coach do?

Person in black pants and black shoes sitting on brown wooden chair
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Like therapists, a recovery coach invests in education and training. Unlike them, they do not deal with traumas and diagnosis.

The biggest difference is that:

Recovery coaching is future-focused.

A recovery coach helps people to create plans. These focus to achieve future goals. They remove the barriers in the path of recovery of the clients.

Unlike sponsors, recovery coaches charge a fee.

So, if someone asks you:

Why are you charging money? Aren’t you a glorified AA sponsor? You can answer:

“No, I am a recovery coach who is doing his/her job!”

Different types of Recovery Support Roles

There are various types of recovery support roles.

Let’s have a look at them for a better understanding.

Sober Escort

It can be difficult for the client to reach from point A to B.

Sober or travel escort accompanies the client to events. He/She ensures that the client maintains sobriety.

Recovery Support Specialist/Peer Recovery Support Specialist

The specialists go off-site to meet the clients. They do this on a voluntary basis. Recovery organizations may hire them.

RSSs maintain a contract for engagement known as- Personal Recovery Plan. They are known as “Peer Mentors”.

Family Recovery Coach

Family Recovery Coaches create a calm family environment of the addict.

Mental obsession grips many families. Love may drive members to neglect the seriousness of the situation. A non-judgmental environment of the family must for a recovering addict.

A family recovery coach uses different models to achieve the right balance. He/She increases the family’s energy to help the addict.

Phone or virtual recovery coach

These link with the client’s through phone or on a virtual basis. This can work as aftercare support as the client leaves the treatment center.

This adds to the results of face-to-face meetings. It helps the clients to avoid the feeling of loneliness. It keeps the recovery process on track.

This version of a recovery coach is the most challenging. Their need is when a court requires a client to stay sober as per the law’s mandate.

Specialists perform assessments. They work with the client on a daily basis. Then they re-assess clients after a period of time.

The coach suggests court appropriate alcohol/drug treatment center.

The below people perform these tasks:

  • Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialists
  • Licensed clinical social workers
  • Certified Alcohol and drug counselors

What kind of certification do I need?

Well, certifications aren’t a must. But yeah, they add to your credibility.

Of course, there are other ways to prove your competency.

The best one is your USP and business model. Your goals should be making your clients happy by working on their pain points. You will get clients through a solid referral system.

Still, if you wish to go for certifications that’s not at all a bad choice.

You can either go for certified training programs. You can also apply for state board certification.

To run your own coaching business, training certification would be enough.

One requires state board certifications for working in the following:

1. Treatment centers

2. Recovery community organizations

3. Hospitals

Follow this for a list of recovery coaching training organization. Verify once that you hold the required qualifications.

You can get basic coaching training from any of the ICF schools. These are listed on the ICF Website.

Are you a chemical dependency professional?


Are you a psychotherapist specializing in addiction recovery?


You can consider training from any ICF-approved school.

Certifications will give you the confidence to exhibit your skills.

Still, remember that at the end of the day it’s about your process.

What are the responsibilities of a recovery coach?

Curious to know what are the daily responsibilities of a recovery coach?

Duties of a recovery coach will include but are not limited to:

  • One on one coaching and support to clients
  • Participation in staff and community meetings
  • Data collection and timely reporting
  • Create client-oriented plans for recovery
  • Monitoring the performance of the client
  • Re-assessment to check the progress
  • Identifying the barriers to recovery. Overcoming the same.
  • Critical analysis of the behavioral patterns of clients
  • Identifying the need for change in personal or family’s ecosystem. Building the process to bring it.
  • Constant support to the client via phone calls, follow-ups, and other resources
  • Maintaining client confidentiality. Compliance with HIPAA rules.

What skills you must have to become a recovery coach?

You must have the below skills to become a recovery coach:

  • Sense of empathy
  • Shrewd listening, questioning and analyzing skills
  • Patience and tolerance power
  • Computer skills like Word, Excel, outlook

Above are some of the common skills. Depending on your niche you may have to develop special skills.

For instance, if you are a legal recovery coach you must be aware of the legal laws.

Additionally, you should be aware of the recent coaching trends.

Do you know there are skills and habits that successful coaches follow?


Then why not learn and start implementing them from today?

Clinical foundations of an RC

Certain models that create the foundation for a Recovery Coach.

You can consider them as the primary strategies.

These will help you to understand the role of a Recovery Coach.

Let’s consider 3 such clinical foundations.

Strenth-Based Care

This model focuses on how an individual can use his/her strengths for the recovery.

Model: The RC and client both complement each other. They draw upon personal and environmental strengths to achieve the goals.

Motivational Enhancement

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Model: You plan recovery on the tripod of hope, empathy, and optimism. Motivational enhancement works as the primary therapeutic strategy.

The tone and clinical skills play a major role.

As a recovery coach, you need to listen and reflect. Jumping on solving the questions is not a good approach.

Understand the experience of the client. You will gain and lose.

Measure success in small units and support. No matter how small success may be. Discuss goals than jumping to action. Help the client to build self-efficacy. It is the key through which the client will try something new or make a change.

Shared-Decision Making

The treatment process should be a collaborative process.

Model: Both the client and you share knowledge and information. Together you guys take part in decision making.

You discuss options and decide the path to proceed. The RC educates the client and helps in clarifying his/her preference. The coach encourages clients to become active in the decision making the process.

Recovery coach sessions

As an RC, you will deal with diverse personalities. Some will be impatient, others stubborn. You need to have the ability to handle situations well.

The below points will help you to conduct engaging coaching sessions:

Content of sessions

The content of the sessions can revolve around the following:

Social Skills Training which helps to talk and interact with others.

Substance Abuse Treatment, for clients that have addictions with alcohol or drug.

Behavioral Action which helps the clients to find activities to kill isolation.

Coping skills training, it helps clients to deal with difficult feelings. Like feelings like depression and anxiety.

Location of sessions

Locations can vary- office, homes, community. Clients can benefit even more from the combination of these locations.

For instance, if there is community engagement a personal visit can be better.

Family education meetings can likely take place at the office.

The key here is flexibility. You should have options for working with clients.

Types of Sessions

You can either have individual sessions, group sessions or family education meetings. One-to-one coaching sessions will be most effective.

If you are going for group sessions, master the art of group coaching.

Practicing skills with the group is beneficial. Peer learning and social network building have advantages.

Family education meetings are vital. You can alert members about things relating to treatment.

Use Recovery Videos

Clients may enjoy watching and learning from videos. You can have various video clips to serve various purposes.

Transformation videos where the client realizes the need for change.

Videos to bring the topic that the client won’t like to talk about

Videos illustrating the possibilities of recovery

Videos that illustrate the stages of change.

RC assessment activities

Are you following the right strategies to help the client?

If not, how can you improve them?

Let’s see at what stage which is the best strategy to apply.

State of changeTreatment GoalsStrategies
“I don’t see a need to change.”Here you need to establish a working alliance. Discuss the impact of the behavior on the client’s present and future life.Express empathy and support self-efficacy. The client may feel anger or shame. He/she might not want to discuss the past. Build relationships. Talk to family members to get more idea about the client and the situation. Avoid arguing.
“I know I should change I like this part of mine.”Weight the negative aspects of the behavior. Explain in a gentle tone what harm the client is facing. Highlight how the situation may get worse.Put efforts to make the client feel the need for change. Use tools to identify the reasons for the change. This may include the pros/cons list, decision balance, functional analysis. Support self-efficacy and avoid an argument. Don’t push the client for making a change. Stay in touch with the family members to watch and test.
“I am ready to change but I don’t know how”Strengthen the commitment to change. Learn strategies that will fit the client. Change strategies according to the client’s comfort and outcome.Self-efficacy becomes the most important here. The client must believe that he/she can change. Set goals to align the clients’ commitment to change. Provide practical skill training to achieve the goal. Find community support and link with community resources. Provide encouragement and support. Ask the family members how is the change. Ask them what can they do to improve the process. Assist the client in finding new reinforces. Support realistic small changes. Track positive changes. Generate ideas for self-rewards.
“It is not easy to keep up with my change.”Discuss ways to keep up with high-risk situations. Discuss having time for fun in life. Continue to practice skills and apply them to new situations.Discuss lifestyle changes that will support the change. Identify new activities and sources of pleasures. Lay special emphasis on motivation and self-efficacy.
RelapseHelp the client to re-enter the change process.The level of motivation and self-efficacy can fall at this stage. Identify the causes and remove barriers. Take the support of family and community resources.

Salary of recovery coaches

According to Neuvoo, the average coaching salary of a recovery coach is:


This is equal to $15.38 per hour. Entry-level coaches begin at $22,557 per year. Experience coaches make up to $48,750 per year.

Recovery coaches’ salary varies as per region. It is highest in Minnesota ($34,291). Washington ($30,849), Massachusetts($29,991) and California ($27,788) rank later in order.

Final Thoughts:

So, we have come to an end!

I hope it was meaningful.

Today addiction is one of the prime causes of pain. It disturbs the family. People lose their lives. Recovery is not at all easy at such times.

Do you have a personal experience with addictions?


Do you have sympathy for addicts and wish for their recovery?

Do you realize its harmfulness?

Do you want to help others in recovery?

By becoming a recovery coach you can save a life. Along with that, you can earn a good amount.

Recovery Coaching is new. It does not have much attraction. It will be easy for you to make a mark here. You only need great marketing strategies and coaching business plan.

Seek mentorship. Meet with people and spread the word of mouth. Follow a rigorous routine. Build your coaching skills and methods. Make the best use of this time. Feel your day with excitement and hope for your aim.

I hope this article was engaging and helpful enough. If there are any other comments please mention them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a recovery coach?

A recovery coach is a person who helps individuals in their journey to recovery from addiction. A recovery coach helps individuals in their journey to sobriety by providing support and guidance. They help connect their clients with resources, provide motivation, and offer accountability.

What does a recovery coach do?

A recovery coach provides support and guidance to individuals in recovery, helping them to stay on track with their goals and maintain abstinence from drugs and alcohol. They also work to build a strong support network for the individual, encouraging them to connect with other people in recovery and get involved in community programs.

What does it take to be a recovery coach?

To become a recovery coach, one must have a strong understanding of addiction and recovery. They should also be able to empathize with their clients, be nonjudgmental, and be supportive. The skills and responsibilities of a recovery coach vary depending on their level of training and experience.

What are the responsibilities of a recovery coach?

Responsibilities of a recovery coach include the following –
Helping individuals in their journey to recovery.
Providing support and guidance.
Building a supportive network. 
Encouraging involvement in community programs.

What skills do you need to become a recovery coach?

The primary skills required to become a recovery coach are empathy, communication and support. It is also important to have a basic understanding of addiction and recovery, along with strong understanding and guiding skills.

How to become a recovery coach?

There are a number of ways to become a recovery coach. Some organisations offer certification programs, while others may require that you have a degree in a related field such as social work or psychology.The best way to become a recovery coach is to find an accredited organization that offers certification and go from there.


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