If you are constantly helping others see their blind spots in life, make better decisions, grow their self-confidence, and work through problems effectively, life coaching may be the perfect career for you. The opportunities available to life coaches span from helping others with careers, relationships, finances, self-esteem, health, and more. Life coaching also has potential to be a financially rewarding career, with business opportunities available for you to charge what you are worth and engage in projects you feel passionate about. If you are considering becoming a life coach, you’ll want to research the best programs to get certified as your first step.
Life coach certification programs are generally flexible, are online or hybrid with in-person workshops, and tailored to help you master the foundations of coaching. There are hundreds of programs to choose from and many are accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF) to ensure high quality. When comparing programs, consider location, price, learning methods, available add-ons, business curriculum, and continuing education options to make your most informed decision.
Below are the three best life coach certification programs to help narrow your search.
Coach Training Alliance (CTA)
First, we’ll examine the program that some might call the gold standard in life coach training: the Certified Coach Program offered by Coach Training Alliance (CTA).
Learning Methods: CTA offers extensive study tools to deliver the foundational curriculum required for successful life coaching. Because of its varied teaching methods, attention to business and marketing success, and trademarked Coach Training Accelerator, CTA is well suited to train coaches of all kinds. CTA offers a six month program with small class sizes (12 student maximum) and 1:1 mentorship available for individual questions.
CTA believes real world experience is the key to success for life coaches. You will experience coaching from expert instructors, coach practice clients, and receive feedback after performing coach exercises with your peers. CTA also offers specific business and marketing courses to help prepare you for private practice or consulting work as a life coach regardless of your future career path. The delivery of the entire course is done through online lessons, live teleconferences, interactive studying software, and a library of resources.
Price: $3,147 with a payment plan option if you prefer to pay over 9 months. This low price (compared to programs ranging up to $10,000) makes CTA the most affordable life coach certification program.
Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC)
iPEC has been well-regarded as a coaching program for almost a decade, with locations and live conferences all around the United States. iPECs program begins by providing foundations of life coaching followed by specialty options for students to develop a niche expertise. The content of its curriculum follows trademarked Core Energy Dynamics and Core Energy Coaching philosophies, which further students’ abilities to succeed in their respective specialties.
Learning Methods: iPEC begins with online education sessions for more than 350 hours of modules. Students complete the majority of their programs online and have access to live conferences in one of sixteen training locations. These live sessions provide students with real world feedback and the practice hours with peer “clients” and instructors available for 1:1 questions. Throughout the entire program, students benefit from mentor coaches who can challenge their skill building and help decide on their ultimate niche or specialty. Students also receive access to business development trainings and a peer community, which are also available after certification.
Price: $9895 as an all-inclusive package, with payment plans available.
The CoachU trademarked Advanced Coaching Program prepares students for successful completion of ICF-accredited certifications. CoachU boasts a multi-level approach to certifications, with options to complete Associate Certified Coach (ACC), Master Certified Coach (MCC), or Professional Certified Coach (PCC) tracks based on your level of expertise and training. CoachU offers the necessary skills trainings to succeed as a life coach whether you are hoping to become self-employed or work in an organization after becoming certified. CoachU also offers the option of continuing education once you receive ICF-accreditation to continue building your skills.
Learning Methods: CoachU programs begin with live teleconference classes and trainings to deliver their Core Essentials Program (CEP) which covers the foundations of coaching, ethics, and skills. From there, you can transfer into one of two advanced coaching program options based on your professional goals as a coach.
The Advanced sections either continue specific life coaching skills or shift focus into corporate coaching techniques. Both advanced coaching programs allow you to work with different types of coaches, developing the business skills to create your own coaching practice, and corporate coaching students have the chance to learn about coaching organizations. These topics include linguistics, behavior change techniques, development of coaching style, and best practices.
Practice sessions, Q&A, and staff support are available at all levels of the program. Depending on the package you choose, there are distance learning and in-person coach training sessions available.
Price: $3195-9290 depending on method of learning, package, textbooks and add-ons, as well as payment plans.
Choosing the right life coaching certification depends on your level of expertise as you begin your program as well as your professional goals for after you earn a certification.
If you are looking for a high quality general life coaching certification, CTA will offer you the most well-rounded experience in a flexible and easy-to-follow environment. The business mastery sections are invaluable to new life coaches without previous business background.
iPEC is a strong contender for students looking for a specialty in a specific niche to continue developing their personal brand as a coach.
Lastly, CoachU provides the most comprehensive corporate coaching certifications, so consider this as your option if you know organizational coaching and psychology is for you. Regardless of your choice, you can feel confident in these three programs as the best in the nation for any new life coach who is motivated and willing to make a difference.
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