Coaching Techniques

11 Best TED Talks Every Life Coach Must-Watch

Want to enhance your skills as a coach? Develop new insights from this collection of can't-miss TED Talks for life coaches curated by Lumia Coaching.

Our Favorite TED Talks for Life Coaches

What’s not to love about a really great TED Talk? 

In 20 minutes or less, they offer up a quick hit of inspiration from some of the world’s leading experts and thought leaders. But with so many incredible speakers and topics to choose from, sometimes finding the right ones can be a bear!

We’ve cut through the noise and rounded up the best motivational TED Talks for life coaches. There’s so good, in fact, that we feature many of them in Lumia’s life coach training program curriculum.

So grab a snack, get comfy, and prepare to expand your thinking on the following subjects.


Establishing Your Coaching Presence

Building Trust and Emotional Safety 

Future Visioning and Goal Setting

Coaching Conversation Skills (How To Ask Good Questions!)

Coach’s Toolkit

Coaching Presence

1. All it takes is 10 mindful minutes | Andy Puddicombe

Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe kicks off this talk with a provocative question: “When is the last time you took any time to do nothing:10 minutes, undisturbed?”

Many of us have heard about the benefits of presence and mindfulness, but in the hustle of everyday life it often feels difficult to achieve. Listen in as Andy offers practical, scientifically proven techniques for taking care of your most precious asset as a coach: your mind. 

2. The gift and power of emotional courage | Susan David

With more than 9.8 million views, South African psychologist Susan David’s exploration of emotional agility is essential viewing for every life coach.

According to David, more than 30% of us push aside negative feelings in response to what she terms a cultural “tyranny of positivity.” As coaches, it’s critical for us to be able to hold space for the full range of human emotions - and help our clients develop the skills to do the same. Tune in and learn how.

Building Trust and Emotional Safety

3. The power of vulnerability | Brené Brown 

We’re willing to be that you’ve probably heard of researcher, storyteller, and author Brené Brown. With bestsellers like The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly, she’s spent the past two decades studying how people can live and lead more wholeheartededly. 

If you haven’t seen this one, Brown’s first TED Talk from back in 2010 is a must-watch. In it she reflects on the body of research that “fundamentally expanded my perception, and changed the way that I live and love and work and parent.”

This funny, insightful, and poignant talk on vulnerability helped catapult Brown’s work into the public consciousness, and continues to rank high on the list of 25 Most Popular Ted Talks of All Time

4. The urgency of intersectionality | Kimberlé Crenshaw

A culturally responsive coach responds to the way their client sees and experiences the world. To do this well, it’s essential for us to recognize how other people’s perspectives and life experiences may differ from our own. 

Each of us must navigate society through the unique lens of our identity, which includes factors such as gender, race, class, sexual orientation, and physical ability. In this talk, legal scholar and activist Kimberlé Crenshaw explores the concept of intersectionality. In it, she illustrates the impact of holding more than one marginalized identity in society, and how discrimination and oppression influence our ability to thrive. 

Future Visioning and Goal Setting

5. What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness | Robert Waldinger

In this talk, psychiatrist Robert Waldinger dives into the research about what REALLY keeps people happy and healthy. (Spoiler alert: it’s not what most of us think!) 

Wondering what leads to true satisfaction in life? This Harvard study has tracked a group of graduates for more than 70 years, and offers many insights into what “success” looks like. If you’d like to know which values, goals, and experiences are most likely to help coaching clients achieve happiness and thrive long term, you’ll want to check out Waldinger’s talk. 

6. Essential Questions to Ask Your Future Self | Meg Jay

For this talk, psychologist Meg Jay dives into the questions we should be asking ourselves as we work toward our desired future state. She begins with an exploration of why many of us find it so difficult to take the actions today that will be in our future best interest. 

According to philosopher Derek Parfit, “we neglect our future selves because of some sort of failure of belief or imagination.” In other words, it’s hard to actually care about - or act on behalf of - a version of ourselves that we haven’t met yet. In her TED Talk, Jay discusses how we can recognize - and overcome - this “empathy gap” within ourselves. 

Coaching Conversation Skills

7. The Art of Powerful Questions | Allen Saakyan

Allen Saakyan hosts the Simulation Series, in which he interviews some of the world’s greatest minds on the nature of reality. In this thought provoking talk, Saakyan discusses how we can capture and hold people’s attention in an oversaturated world. He offers observations about how asking the right questions, in the right way, can help to “shatter through surface level conversation, and get to the depths of the soul.”

8. 10 ways to have a better conversation | Celeste Headlee

Journalist, speaker and author Celeste Headlee shares her ten ingredients for facilitating a great conversation. She offers simple strategies that you can immediately apply in upcoming client sessions, and in every future conversion you’ll have. She deftly breaks down the differences between talking in order to be heard, and listening with the intent to understand.

9. Playful Inquiry | Robin Stratton-Berkessel

The ability to ask good questions is an essential skill for life coaches, and forms the foundation of every life coaching session. So how do you ask powerful questions - the kind that build rapport and generate meaningful insights for your clients? In this compelling TED Talk, coach and author Robyn Stratton-Berkessel offers strategies for asking better questions that are grounded in positive psychology.

Coaching Toolkit

10. The new era of positive psychology | Martin Seligman

Many of the frameworks, tools and interventions we use as life coaches are drawn from the field of positive psychology. And while this remains a relatively new branch of scientific inquiry, its principles are rooted in thousands of years of human inquiry into what it means to live “a good life.” 

In this TED Talk from one of the founders of the positive psychology movement, you’ll learn more about the research on what makes life worth living. Consider Seligman’s evidence-based food for thought as you help your clients identify what goals and experiences hold the most meaning, and how best to achieve them.

11. The cure for burnout (hint: it isn't self-care) | Emily and Amelia Nagoski

According to a recent study conducted by Visier, 89% of respondents reported experiencing burnout in the last year. Regardless of your coaching niche or specialty, it’s important to have a working familiarity with the symptoms and causes of burnout, along with the physiological impact of stress in the body.

In this informative talk, authors Emily and Amelia Nagoski discuss themes from their book, Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking The Stress Cycle. Discover what works - and what doesn’t - in dealing with chronic stress and recovering from burnout. 

Want To Be A Coach?

Grab your copy of our guide: 6 Steps To Start Coaching Today!

Cover art for 6 Steps guide

This free publication, written by Lumia Coaching co-founders John Kim and Noelle Cordeaux, will give you the tools to discover your niche, find clients, and get started on your path to becoming a successful coach. Just jump on our email list below to get yours.

Plus, when you sign up -- we'll keep you up to date weekly with coaching techniques, and the occasional much-needed kick in the pants to keep you motivated on your coaching journey.

So, what're you waitin' for? Let's get started!

Lumia Coaching: Vibrant community. Evidence-based life coach training. Lifetime support.

[Free Guide] 6 Steps to Start Coaching Today

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Lumia is accredited by the ICF as a Level 2 Pathway Program. Want to learn more about the ICF credential requirements? Click here for further details.