How can I Become a Life Coach?

Sheri Cyprus

Life coaching is a fairly new occupation that began in the early 1990s in the United States and then expanded worldwide. The two main certifying organizations to contact to find out the exact details of how to become a life coach in your area are the International Coach Federation and the International Association of Coaching (IAC).

The corporate world often hires life coaches and usually pays well for proven leaders who can help others achieve goals.
The corporate world often hires life coaches and usually pays well for proven leaders who can help others achieve goals.

These bodies set professional standards for life coaches and can connect you with training programs and other information. Certification is not mandatory for life coaches at the time of this writing, but it may end up being a requirement. Whether certified or not, a life coach usually has an area of specialization and works from home.

Life coaches may focus on help people with career or personal goals.
Life coaches may focus on help people with career or personal goals.

It is possible to start your own life coaching business from home with little, if any, money up front. However, with any entrepreneurial venture, it’s a good idea to have at least a few months of income saved. This way, you can cover your living and other expenses while you work on building your business. You need time for training and for constantly marketing your services to establish a steady client base. Also, you must be sure to understand your legal responsibilities and requirements which vary greatly and depend on your location.

Many life coaches have overcome their own adversities.
Many life coaches have overcome their own adversities.

A life coach who specializes in one or two areas is more likely to find enough work and clients than a general type of life coach. This is because clients want experts and you need solid expertise to give people a good reason to hire you to coach them. The corporate world often hires life coaches and usually pays well for proven leaders who can help others achieve goals, but other options are out there if you think of a need you can meet.

Life coaches might give people other options for tackling challenges in their life.
Life coaches might give people other options for tackling challenges in their life.

Don't discount any experience you've had in reaching your own successes in any area. Think about the successes you've achieved in your life and decide if a market exists that will pay you for your expert guidance in that area. Marketing is a huge part of being a life coach, especially when you start, as you need to convince potential clients that you have the skills they need. Most life coaches work in one hour sessions on the telephone, or in person in business environments. However your non-billable time involving marketing, planning and record keeping can add up to several hours per day, especially in the beginning.

Life coaches can focus on specific goals, such as fitness.
Life coaches can focus on specific goals, such as fitness.

If you genuinely want to help others succeed and can do it without feeling in competition with them, the career of life coach may be for you. Think about your problem solving skills and how you've coped with setbacks and turned them into eventual success. With the proper business planning and your belief in human potential firmly in place, it is possible to enjoy a successful career as a life coach who helps others make the changes they need to achieve the successes they want.

Life coaches can help people tackle life goals.
Life coaches can help people tackle life goals.
Life coaches can help people overcome social phobias.
Life coaches can help people overcome social phobias.
A life coach may help an individual with mild developmental disabilities live more independently.
A life coach may help an individual with mild developmental disabilities live more independently.
Life coaches can encourage adults to go back to school.
Life coaches can encourage adults to go back to school.

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Discussion Comments

Rotergirl

@Pippinwhite -- I see where you're coming from, but life coaches can be very helpful. I think the most effective life coaches have a lot of expertise in a particular area and can help someone within the confines of that expertise, which is kind of what the article implies.

However, seeing a resume that lists "life coach" as the occupation without much else to back it up should raise some red flags.

Pippinwhite

If someone has gotten benefit from a life coach, that's great, but in general, this profession strikes me as one of those touchy-feely, woo-woo businesses that is a good general cover for people who often don't have any other kind of income-generating employment.

Working with a career counselor makes sense, but I am very wary of life coaches. I wonder how many people pay a lot of money for not many results.

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