How to Become a Life Coach
Over the course of 20 years or so, the coaching industry has evolved from a niche specialization to a mainstream career option, with over 50,000 coaches practicing worldwide. In today’s fast-paced environment, a life coach offer a valuable service for clients looking to navigate their largest challenges at home, at work, and especially balancing the two.
A life coach will ask you deep and meaningful questions to help you identify what you really want in life. They help discover what habits or beliefs are holding you back from achieving this vision of yourself. If this sounds like a career option that is right for you and you’d like to learn how to become a life coach, there are five basic steps you’ll need to to take.
Step 1: Commit to Coaching
This is important. The first mistake aspiring coaches make is to rush into a training program that they are mentally and financially unprepared for. Coaching is a wonderful profession that provides tremendous value to the world, but the life of a coach is not for everyone. Not only that, but getting certified as a life coach can be quite expensive, as most certification programs will cost $5000 or more.
Before you embark on your journey as a certified life coach and spend a lot of money on getting certified, it’s best to understand exactly what being a life coach entails. This will ensure you enter the world of coaching with confidence and a clear understanding of what you’re looking to give and get out of this profession.
The most popular and comprehensive introduction to life coaching is Walks of Life, written by Jill Fratto, a certified coach with the National Coach Academy. The book has gained tremendous popularity in recent years for its authentic account of what being a life coach is all about, and it comes complete with sample coaching dialogue and a step by step guide on getting certified. For someone aspiring to break into this field, this book serves as the perfect introduction.
Step 2: Find the School That Fits You
Once you’ve decided that coaching is for you, it’s time to get certified.
The first qualification you’ll want to look for in a life coach certification program is ICF accreditation. The International Coach Federation (ICF) holds the gold standard for helping aspiring coaches choose schools and training programs that truly prepare them well. Generally, an ICF accreditation can leave you confident that your coaching school includes necessary practice hours, curriculum that aligns with the challenges and topics you’ll face, and the ethical training you need to make decisions or judge within your scope.
You’ll also want to research possible topics you’ll cover as a life coach to ensure your training program provides you with techniques. Motivational interviewing, experiential exercises, guided meditations, conflict resolution, and goal setting are among many common topics you’ll want to see in your training program.
Step 3: Choose a Niche
Learn about your ideal client so you can make informed decisions and potentially specialize within your certification program. Perhaps you already know you want to help women specifically, or you are passionate about careers and want to help others build theirs. Knowing specifics like these can narrow your program search as many offer specialties and niche trainings as add-ons. And don’t despair if you are still exploring specialties. General life coaching certifications still prepare you to get your foot in the door for your business or as an in-house coach.
Studying personality traits of those around you is a powerful way to discover the challenges and people you want to help. For example, you may fall in love with helping busy professionals organize their lives and choose a program that includes high performance coaching. You may attract parents who need work/life balance and choose a program centered around families. Let your natural connections impact the programs you research to ensure a great fit.
Step 4: Compare Pricing and Delivery Methods
Once you’ve narrowed down courses, logistic comparisons for pricing and teaching methods come into play. You can expect to invest $3,000-10,000 into a comprehensive coaching program and the timelines range from 3 to 12 months for most. Keep in mind that this pricing may include high quality services such as expert coach instructors, live events, access to continued learning and more. At their foundations, most coaching programs include live classes, written assignments and tests, slides and literature, session or program structure examples, and a system to help you learn from practice clients.
Learning methods will also be a deciding factor in your program selection. Luckily, there are thousands of learning combinations to suit whichever style you prefer. Face to face courses are a powerful way to practice client rapport and ask specific questions to trained instructors. People enjoy this method for its delivery of live feedback and critique, especially during practice client sessions. You may prefer online courses, which can also feature live classes but are perfect for the flexible learner who likes digesting information on their own. Tests and assignments are common to both learning styles and programs exists that combine online and in-person sections.
Step 5: Open Your Doors
Whether you choose to find employment as a life coach or open your own coaching business, there are a plethora of opportunities to coach others in practically all facets of life. Whether you enjoy working with single moms, busy professionals, or recovering addicts, the coaching industry is ripe for new talent to push the mission forward.
The Path To Being a Life Coach Begins Now
Taking the time to compare top programs with diligent research will prepare you for a positive first step towards your career as a certified life coach. Enrolling in an accredited life coach certification program will set you apart from your peers and give you a competitive edge as you work with clients and organizations. Follow these steps to ensure the program you pick is aligned with your professional goals, your desired lifestyle, and will connect you to the people you were meant to help.