At its core, life coaching is the practice of helping people understand where they are in life, determine where they’d like to be in the future, and breaking down the realistic steps required for them to achieve it. The services of a life coach can benefit people in practically any life stage: teens, young professionals, executives, divorcees, widows, seniors–you name it.
Not only do life coaches fille a much-needed role in today’s complex world, coaches themselves also enjoy a great number of benefits in their careers. The life of a coach is filled with meaningful relationships, a deep sense of purpose, and of course, potential for a very lucrative career. Not many people have the opportunity to combine these three benefits in the same profession.
If you’ve always wanted to learn how to become a life coach, here are five basic steps you’ll need to take to make your dreams a reality.
Step 1: Educate Yourself
While it can be tempting to jump straight into your new career as a coach, this is the time to educate yourself on what being a life coach truly means.
On your path to becoming a life coach, you will need to invest hundreds of hours of your time and thousands of dollars on life coach certification. Then you’ll need to choose a specialty and spend more time and money opening up your own coaching practice (or countless hours spent looking for a job). Before tackling this next step in your career, it’s best to educate and prepare yourself mentally for the task you’re about to undertake.
The most popular resource for aspiring life coaches who want to learn more about entering this field is a book titled Walks of Life, written by Jill M. Fratto and the team of coaches at the National Coach Academy. Filled with real coaching dialogue and a step-by-step guide on getting certified, this book has guided thousands of young coaches into their new careers and is a perfect introduction to the world of coaching.
Step 2: Choose a Niche
Choosing a niche is an important step of the life coach certification process as it will narrow down the type of person you are helping as well as the level of education you want to receive to develop your niche. Each certification program option will teach you the foundations of habit change and coaching, and some will include specialty niche trainings as well. You may also discover more clarity when approaching potential clients if you have a coaching specialty. People feel comforted knowing their potential coach is specifically trained to overcome their personal challenges.
Your niche will depend on the type of person you feel most passionate about helping. Every coach has a level of inclination for working with certain situations or people. You may decide to be a career coach who helps others narrow down their career development to move towards roles they will love. Maybe you become a lifestyle coach who helps others live healthier lives and develop a routine that supports their wellbeing. You will be able to choose between specialty programs or general life coaching certifications if you are unsure of your niche, so take your time if you are still contemplating.
Step 3: Find A Certification Program
The best life coach certification programs are accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF). There are many programs accredited by the ICF and you can feel confident in the quality of your education in each. This accreditation sets the standard for the type of curriculum and foundations of coaching taught in each program. ICF accreditation will also set you apart from competition whether you are sealing the deal with private clients or an organization. They can research your level of education and know you are trained by the national standard.
While comparing programs, keep in mind the factors that will determine your success in becoming certified. You can choose between online and hybrid programs that include live conferences, self-study options, or practice coaching with peers. You can expect the length of your program to be accelerated (3-6 months) or last up to a year. Consider your preferred learning style as well as the time and money you are willing to invest in your certification when comparing programs.
Be prepared to invest between $3,000-$12000 in your certification, depending on the length, package option, and in-person activities in your program. If you’re on a budget but would still prefer a legitimate, ICF-accredited training program, Coach Training Alliance offers the most affordable coach training program on the market and will guarantee paying clients within 6 months or less.
Step 4: Determine Between Self-Employment and A Coaching Job
There is no “right” career path to take once you’ve completed your certification. The type of coaching you pursue largely depends on your current network and experience in past roles as well. Most certification programs will also include a career development section where you can explore different methods of earning income as a coach as well as how to market or brand yourself depending on your specialty. You will also need to determine if you plan to become self-employed or work with organizations as a consultant or in-house coach.
You can enjoy a fulfilling coaching career regardless of the path you choose. If you become a self-employed coach, you can enjoy creating your own schedule and building a business that works around your lifestyle. This is a good choice if you feel confident navigating or outsourcing the business and legal details that support a business. You can also choose to coach as an in-house or organizational coach for a large company, helping employees find balance and move towards clear goals. This is a good role for someone open to molding their coaching style to support a larger organizational goal.
Step 5: Land Your First Client
Finding clients is the most interesting part of your coaching career. You will learn the skills needed to market yourself and seal the deal in your certification program to build your confidence. Your clients may even come from practice coaching sessions with friends or referrals from your professional community. Each conversation with someone new will help develop your voice as a coach and bring you closer to mastering the art of closing the deal for any coaching program you develop.
Earning the right accredited certification as a life coach will open doors for a fulfilling career you will love. Following the above steps will ensure you a seamless transition and prepare you for a challenging career of helping others live their best lives. By beginning your coaching career the right way, you will feel confident in your new path and enjoy the process of pursuing this new chapter.
As a life coach, you’ll be asked to wear a lot of hats.
You can expect to play the role of teacher, friend, accountability partner, and coach all in one. Your main goal as a life coach is to help people come to terms with acceptance of where they are in life while also clarifying where they’d like to be in the future. You’ll help them reach future goals by creating action steps that work with their lifestyle, challenge them to develop their own confidence, and get to the root of their self-doubt through motivational interviewing. You will facilitate positive behavior change based on each client’s vision of their best self.
With the right training and enough preparation, the sky’s the limit for motivated individuals entering the coaching profession. If you think helping others live their best lives is your idea of living your own best life, you may be the perfect life coach in the making!
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