The truth about becoming a life coach

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 considering your current life, they will guide you toward success. Anybody can benefit from a life coach, especially people who want positive changes in their lives but are not sure how to proceed. For example, a life coach can use Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) to raise awareness and induce self-improvement.

Life coaches help you succeed in life

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
Mind map showing how to become a life coach. Three essential steps: Get certified, be an authority in your field, build your business

To become a certified life coach, you must enroll in a 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 distinguishing the three terms above.

To keep things simple:

  • As a role model, a mentor helps a mentee in his 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, etc…
  • A consultant gives professional advice to people who want to be more effective at work or to grow their business.
  • Unlike consultants and mentors, life coaches do not provide answers but help people find solutions themselves. A self-made coach must use experience and authority to gain credentials but has to be careful not to baffle mentoring and coaching. Coach the person, not the problem.

Life coaching skills

Coaching requires mastering many skills, for example, “being a good listener” and having 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 word can put a client on the path to 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 gives more accurate information on someone.

What skills are required to be a good life coach?

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 needs to develop the critical skill of empathy or even sympathy. It helps to have a more precise understanding of the client but also facilitates communication.

Being intuitive is a tool that can help you connect the different dots to come up with a plan that helps someone achieve 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’s life and help this person in many ways and personal development:

  • Setting goals, transitioning from dreams to realistic goals
  • Build a step-by-step actionable plan
  • Stay focused on what is important
  • Being responsible
  • Awareness
  • Motivation and determination
  • Empowerment
  • Avoid negative thinking and self-sabotage
  • Become confident
  • And more…

A life coach builds on wanting to create changes, push the limits, and explore different paths. Helping someone to get out of 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 have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable if you ever want to be


Benefits of life coaching

Life coaching is not necessarily an office job. You can work from anywhere:

  • work remotely
  • hold webinars or conferences
  • work for a company to help them improve productivity
  • go directly into the client’s house
  • even have your own office

We know some well-known coaches travel from country to country to coach celebrities.

Most of the time, you will also be free to set your work schedule. It can be part-time or full-time. Managing your time as a life coach gives you more time to spend with the family or on your hobbies.

Most successful coaches are specialized in a specific field. Doing so allows them to become an authority in a niche, which leads to a 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, Martha Beck, the coach of Oprah Winfrey, earns about $1,000,000 per year.

Another example, is Tony Robbins, one of the world’s famous life and business coaches who coached former President Bill Clinton and has built a $6 billion dollar 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, your money depends on the number of hours you work. If you want to become a 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 does not precisely 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 clients interested in solving a particular type of problem that fits your packages. Each package may be built with a 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 personalized 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 a group.

The same thing may apply to group coaching with people who have similar issues or goals. Group coaching can also bring you more money.

5) Make money coaching online

In addition to offering all the options above, you can choose between online and offline coaching. Some particularities of coaching online are:

  • Scalability, for example, it is possible to create a semi-automated coaching program. Suppose you build an online platform like Teachable with videos, audio, and written content that your clients can access independently. And they can also have several live coaching sessions.
  • Offer webinars.
  • Get more people in a group session.
  • Work with people in many countries, which can increase the number of potential clients.
  • Get more flexibility in your schedule.

For example, you may work at night with a client from a different time zone and save some time during the day for your children and relatives.

Best life coaching niches

If you decide to choose a coaching niche, you need to pay particular attention to the program you enroll in. I have selected some of the standard terms and titles of coaching programs.

Table giving the best niches for life coaching

Best life coaching courses and certification programs

Most life coaching certification courses generally take from six months to one year. A life coach course is usually 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 at least 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 a University such as Columbia University
  • online life coach certification programs

The price can vary considerably because some programs offer the certificate, and others provide additional support, for example, helping you find your first customers or set up your business.

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