You have a vast amount of work experience and have always enjoyed helping people to better themselves so you figure, why not become a life coach? As you begin to research on how to get started in the life coaching business, you soon realize there is lots of talk about coaching certification, which leads you to wonder if this is something worth your time? Aren’t your intrinsic qualities and work experience sufficient to jumpstart your life coaching business?
The truth is that obtaining your life coaching certification will set you on a higher level of competence, and it is definitely worth your time. Many non-certified individuals think that what they do is coaching; however, an ICF accredited program will teach you the difference between counseling, consulting, and coaching, and will equip you with the necessary coaching skills that will serve as the foundation for your successful life coaching business. There many benefits to reap from getting certified. Let’s have a look at some of these.
The benefits of life coach certification
- Career placement options
Professional coaching is becoming an important skillset in the corporate world. Employees who are facing pressure and stress are turning to life coaches, making the emerging coaching world a great solution. As such, there is a steady demand for qualified life coaches in the corporate sector. However, no company wants to engage a life coach who is not properly trained and certified.
- Demonstrate commitment to clients
An ICF accredited certification program such as Aim Higher will equip you with useful skills including the coaching competencies prescribed by the ICF. Taking the time to acquire this knowledge through relevant training is a sure way to demonstrate your commitment to your clients. We naturally trust doctors because we know they have spent years in training before they started practicing. Similarly, becoming certified as a life coach shows that you are committed to excellence and professionalism, and your clients will be more satisfied with your service.
Life coaching is providing individuals an avenue to either jumpstart a new career or add to their skill set as a way for growing their current career. There are countless professions where life coaching can be a great addition. These include human resources, healthcare, counseling, nursing, teaching, management, and more. Whether you are seeking to grow your career or start a new one, life coach certification is a sure way of getting some much-needed training.
- Be ready for the future
There are currently regulations the life coaching profession, outside of self-regulation by coaching organizations, such as the ICF. This is the main reason why you don’t really need to be certified to start. However, it’s only a matter of time before legislation is enacted. Governments always regulate profession that has a direct impact on the lives of people. i.e., the counseling industry, and we can expect life coaching to be regulated at some point in the future. When that happens, there is a very good chance the International Coaching Federation will be the de facto regulating body. The ICF has offers three levels of credentials, but they all start with being certified through an accredited program. Becoming a certified life coach now will help you to stay on top of the regulation curve, instead of panicking when the regulation process commences.
Getting certified is the surest way of obtaining credibility and separating yourself from the herd of non-certified coaches. Life coaches who are serious about their professionalism become certified. In any profession that is not regulated by legislation, you can only truly show your professionalism by getting trained and certified by a relevant body. Your clients will trust you more when you have the certification, and it will also boost your confidence, thereby making you a better life coach.
- New tools
As a life coach, you won’t meet two clients that are the same. Even if you niche down by targeting a certain group, each client will have their own struggles, aspirations, fears, obstacles, and goals. This will necessitate working with each client differently, which can be a tall order if you don’t have the necessary tools. One huge advantage of life coach certification is that you will be equipped with an array of skills and tools that will prepare you for various scenarios that you might face as a life coach.
- ICF credentials
The ICF is the gold standard in life coaching. It is one of the main organizations that regulates the life coaching industry and helps ensure professionalism and ethics are adhered to. Obtaining your certification through an ICF accredited program tells your clients that you mean business and you take your profession with the seriousness it deserves.
- Coach with confidence
There is no denying that your vast experience or your intrinsic talents will give you a head start in your life coaching business. But as soon as you start meeting clients, you will realize you need much more than your personal and work experience. You will need coaching skills to help your clients with the various issues they bring to the table. When you graduate from an ICF accredited certification program, you will be better prepared to utilize your skills and expertise, and that will help you to be more confident as a life coach. A client can easily tell whether you are a novice or a true professional, and that can either make or break your business.
- Be part of a professional community
Life coaching certification gives you much more than just an education; you also join an exclusive and professional community. As a side benefit to a life coaching certification program, you develop new relationships with other like-minded life coaches in your region and beyond. These relationships can provide an invaluable support system that will come in handy in your day-to-day growth of your life coaching business. You can even help each other out by coaching each other and referring clients. For instance, a life coach who specializes in coaching executives might refer someone who needs Christian life coaching to one of their friend coaches who specializes in this area.
Why are some life coaches not certified?
Even though the benefits of life coach certification are numerous, there are still some life coaches that aren’t certified for any number of reasons. One of the biggest reasons why some life coaches fail to pursue certification is the fear of failure.
The fear of failing in your life coach business is real. Some respond to this fear by steering away from advertising their business, while others adopt the try-and-see approach. As a way of minimizing exposure, they avoid spending money on certification and therefore never pursue ICF credentials. As clever as that may sound, it is actually setting yourself up for failure.
For starters, one doesn’t really commit to anything if they know they have a way out. the surest way of attaining success in anything is to give it your all. If you start life coaching as an experiment, there is a good chance you will have a bad experience. Second, a life coach who is not certified will find it tougher to get new clients. You may find a client here and there from friends and family but that will not be sustainable. If you want your life coaching business to grow, you must start by getting certified because that will earn you credibility to attract new clients.
What to look for in a life coach certification program
Not all certification programs are equal. There are several characteristics that you must look for in a good certification program. Let’s look at some of these.
The ICF is the foremost governing body that ensures professionalism in life coaching. Every life coach should graduate from an ICF accredited program, at a minimum, then consider additional ICF credentials. The ICF has put in place stringent measures that life coach certifications programs must meet before they earn accreditation. The goal of these measures is to ensure that graduates will get the best training that will well prepare them for as successful life coaching career.
- Value for money
There are two ends of the life coaching certification payment structure. On one end, there are the exceedingly expensive courses that promise access to fame and fortune just by getting their certification. There are also programs that are exceedingly cheap or even free. When looking for a certification program, look for a program that is ICF accredited, first and foremost. The overpriced options are often exaggerated, and include membership fees and upsells. Those that are extremely inexpensive or free do not offer solid training or sound business practices.
It is important to get training from a program that truly cares about its participants and graduates. Before signing up for a training program, find out how good they are at responding to inquiries and be sure to read reviews. There are many programs that purport to offer life coach certification but take weeks to respond to an email inquiry—and some don’t even respond. Others bombard you with “sign up now!” emails, and there is always a sales pitch when an inquiry is replied to. The best programs will have an we-are-here-to-help-not-to-sell attitude.
- Your niche
If you are not yet sure which niche you want to specialize in, be sure to take an ICF accredited training program that offers “niche training,” such as Aim Higher. However, if you have already identified your niche, it will help to get a certification program that is tailored for your niche. For instance, if you are looking to be an executive life coach, you may not want to take a program that is tailored for spiritual life coaching. Even though most of the certification programs cover the same coaching competencies, they often have other additional content and tools, depending on the niche.
It is true that you don’t have to be certified to be a life coach. But obtaining your certification will benefit you in the short and long term. With governments already in discussion regarding regulation of the life coaching industry, be sure to get your certification from an ICF accredited program that will set you up to pursue your ICF credentials after graduation.