How to become a life coach
Updated: Aug 3
What is a life coach?
According to the Cambridge dictionary a life coach is “someone who helps clients decide what they want in their life and how to achieve it”.
A life coach uses an actionable plan, techniques, and tools to take you from where you are today to where you want to be. While taking into consideration your current life, they will guide you on the path of success. Anybody can benefit from a life coach especially people who want positive changes in their lives but are not certain how to proceed. For example, a life coach can use Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) to raise awareness and induce self-improvement.
Becoming a life coach
Since the profession is not regulated in most countries, everyone could claim to be a life coach. However, there are two main ways to begin a coaching career and life coaches are usually people who:
have a lot of experience and success in a field and have become an authority
or people who have a coaching certificate
To become a certified life coach you must enroll in a life coach training program accredited by the international coach federation (ICF).
Video from ICF YouTube Channel
Coaching vs Mentoring vs Consulting
Too many people get confused when it comes to distinguish the three terms above.
To keep things simple:
As a role model a mentor helps a mentee in his field of expertise. For example an experienced and successful athlete can help a young sprinter by showing the correct way of doing a workout, giving advice, providing support, ...
A consultant gives professional advice to people who wants to be more effective at work or to grow their business.
Unlike consultants and mentors life coaches does not provide answers but help people to find the solutions by themselves. A self-made coach must use experience and authority to gain credentials but has to be careful to not baffle mentoring and coaching. Coach the person, not the problem.
Life coaching skills
Coaching requires to master many skills for example “being a good listener” and to have this ability that enables you to help people. Active listening is probably one of the most important skills that will allow you to understand and later guide your client.
In the same way, a good coach knows how to communicate. One single word can put a client on the path of success but can also mislead someone.
Be aware of body language. Most of the time you can get more information about someone through non-verbal communication. A coach knows how to look carefully at the client every time they ask a question. Putting together the words and the gesture give more accurate information on someone.
You must help your client while keeping enough distance, not being affected by someone else problems in a way that can prevent you from helping. A mentor or a coach need to develop the critical skill of empathy or even sympathy. It helps having a more precise understanding of the client but also facilitate communication.
Being intuitive is a tool that can help you connect the different dots to come up with a plan that helps someone in achieving their goals.
These are some of the required skills for a successful life coaching career.
What do life coaches do?
A life coach can change someone life and helps this person in many ways and personal development:
· Setting goals, transitioning from dreams to realistic goals
· Build a step by step actionable plan
· Stay focus on what is important
· Being responsible
· Motivation and determination
· Avoid negative thinking and self-sabotage
· Become confident
· And more…
A life coach builds on a desire to create changes, to push the limits and explore different paths. Helping someone to get out his comfort zone. Steve Harvey said and I quote: “You will fail in your comfort zone. Success is not a comfortable procedure; it is a very uncomfortable thing to attempt so you got to get comfortable being uncomfortable if you ever want to be
Benefits of life coaching
· Life coaching is not necessarily an office job.
It is a job you can do from anywhere: work remotely, held webinars or conferences, work for a company to help them improve productivity for example, go directly into the client’s house, or even having your own office. We know that some well-known coaches are travelling from countries to countries to coach celebrities.
· Most of the time, you will also have the freedom to set your own work schedule.
It can be part time or full-time. Managing your time as a life coach gives you more time to spend in family or for your hobbies.
· Most successful coaches are specialized in a certain field. Doing so allow them
to become an authority in a niche which leads to more targeted customer base and higher payouts.
How much money do life coaches make
It is not easy to estimate the annual salary of a life coach.
According to the website celebworth.net, Martha Beck who was the coach of Oprah Winfrey earns about $1,000,000 per year. Another example, Tony Robbins one of the world’s famous life and business coach who coached former president Bill Clinton has built a $6 billion dollars empire.
Not everyone will make this kind of money, but it is possible to achieve financial freedom.
As a life coach, you will most likely make from $40,000/year to $70,000/year.
How life coaches make money
1) Get paid per hour
Like many workers you can decide to set an hourly rate for your coaching sessions. Therefore, the amount of money you make depends on the number of hours you work.
If your goal is to become wealthy entrepreneur this model is not for you.
2) Get paid on results
You set goals and clearly define the expectations with your client.
You focus on the benefits and the results.
For example, some people struggle with stuttering and become afraid of public speaking. Your job will be to create a personalized plan for your client to help him stop stuttering.
Your payout do not exactly depend on a working time but on how well you help this person to solve the problem.
3) Offering package deals
According to your expertise you may create different packages suitable for specific needs. You will only accept client that are interested in solving a certain type of problems that fit your packages. Each package may be built with fixed price and number of hours.
4) One on one coaching versus group coaching
Offering one on one coaching can be great because it allows very personalize programs. Nevertheless, not everyone will have good results with one on one coaching. For example, if you look at the training of the best athletes you will see that nearly all of them are part of a team and train in group. The same thing may apply for group coaching with people who has similar issues or goals. Group coaching can also bring you more money.
5) Make money coaching online
In addition to offering all the option above you can chose between online coaching and offline coaching.
Some particularities of coaching online are:
- scalability, for example it is possible to create a semi-automated coaching program. If you build an online platform like teachable with videos, audios and written content that your clients can access on their own. And, they can also have a number of live coaching session cession.
- Offering webinars
- Get more people in a group cession
- Work with people in many countries which can increase the number of potential clients.
- Get more flexibility in your schedule.
For example, you may chose to work by night with client from a different time zone and save some time during the day for you children and relatives.
Best life coaching niches
If you decide to choose a coaching niche you need to pay a particular attention to the program you enroll. I have selected for you some of the common terms and titles of coaching programs.
Best life coaching courses and certification programs
Most life coaching certification courses take generally from six month to one year.
A life coach course is generally composed of different modules depending on the specialty, for example, Neuro-linguistic programming. A typical life coach course is a mix of acquiring coaching skills and practicing coaching. According to the International Coaching Federation "applicants must have a minimum of 60 hours of coach-specific training". You will find a wide range of training and certification programs:
join a training academy in your area
free and paid training from MOOCs
courses and training at affordable prices on online platforms like Udemy
coaching certificate from University such as Columbia University
online life coach certification programs
The price can vary considerably because some programs just offer the certificate and others provide additional supports like for example helping you find your first customers or set up your business.