Coaching is a non-regulated industry in almost every country because there is no government institution that requires coaches to have any type of coaching certification. This means there is no barrier to entry. On the flip side, it also means anyone, no matter the qualifications—or lack thereof—can claim to be a life coach. In fact, the ICF observes that the biggest threat to the life coaching industry is untrained pretenders who brand themselves as life coaches. Coaching certification should be the first aim for anyone who wants to have a career as a life coach.
Is Coaching Certification for You?
Many people try to become a life coach because their friends have told them how good they are at giving awesome advice. If that is the reason you are thinking of getting into life coaching, you have the wrong idea. A life coach is not in the business of giving advice. Unlike therapy, coaching is a process that is client driven. Your role as a life coach will be to discover, clarify, and align with the unique needs of your client. In order to do this, you must encourage your client to self-discover his or her intrinsic potential. The idea is to develop client-generated strategies that they can implement to achieve their goals—goals to which the life coach holds them accountable and responsible.
In order to successfully run a life coaching business, you will need to truly understand what it means to become this type of coach and obtain the necessary training. This means taking a certification course in order to gain the prerequisites of the trade. There are two broad career paths for life coaching. Internal coaches are hired within a company, and they will have a clearly mapped out job description. External coaches are hired by a company or an individual.
If you take this second route, you will need to develop your niche and then work on building your personal brand around it. Whichever path you take, the first step is learning the trade. Keep in mind that business development is an important skill to have as a life coach. Some training programs will incorporate this in their courses, but you may also want to take a dedicated program. This will help you in branding, marketing, and other important aspects of growing a business from scratch.
According to the ICF, the average life coach spends 13.9 hours a week in coaching and earns $47,900 per annum from their life coaching business. This allows a life coach to pursue other skills that can be monetized during the remaining work hours in the week, if desired. Possible revenue streams include training, speaking engagements, or becoming a published author. As well, if you already have a full-time job, you can life coach on a part-time basis when you are starting out.
Steps to Become a Life Coach
Understand your reasons
Before starting your journey towards becoming a life coach, you will need to analyze and articulate your reasons for doing so. As stated, it is not advisable to go into the life coaching business because people think you give good advice. Take time to understand the coaching process and determine if it meets your passion, and if you are willing to follow the procedures. For instance, will you be okay in allowing your client to take the lead or will you continually want to impose your opinions on them?
It is true that life coaching can be a lucrative business; but like any other business, it will not succeed overnight. If you became interested in life coaching only because you heard of someone who was making lots of money just by “talking to clients,” then you might be in for a rude shock. Life coaching is more than just chatting with your client. You will have to invest your time and emotions into the entire process. As easy as that may sound, it will take its toll on you. As well, like all businesses, it will take time to gain traction in your business.
Get the relevant training
The next stage is to get the relevant training. If you are looking to start a Christian life coaching business, then you may want to take the training through a Christian program. The same applies to whatever niche you are looking to specialize in. It goes without saying that you should register for programs that are ICF certified.
The only way clients will know for sure that you have solid life coaching skills will be your coaching certification. Find a training program that will help you get certified, keeping in mind that the International Coaching Federation is the gold standard in life coaching. The ICF doesn’t offer coach training, but they accredit programs from various life coaching schools. Before a program is approved by the ICF, it will have undergone a rigorous review process to establish that the curriculum is founded on the ICF’s eleven core competencies and is well-equipped to prepare you to be a great life coach.
Join the ICF
Apart from the high-quality training you will obtain, taking an ICF-accredited life coach training will also provide you with the opportunity to become an ICF member. ICF members must have completed at least 60 hours of coach-specific training in tandem with the standards outlined by the ICF. An ICF membership includes many benefits. For starters, you earn credibility, which makes it easier to get clients. You will also have both local and international access to various ICF life coaching events. This will give you a unique chance to network with like-minded coaches who can open a new world of opportunity and possibility up to you.
Earning ICF credentials is a great way of pushing your coaching business to the next level. With an ICF credential, you join over 20,000 life coaches all over the world who have obtained a credentialing level. These are the crème de la crème of the life coaching industry. There are three main credentials that you can earn from the ICF, and each has it own important requirements. For the Associate Certified Coach credential, you must have completed an ICF-accredited training program. In addition, you will need to have logged at least 100 hours of coaching experience, with 75 being paid hours. You also will be required to have gone through at least 10 mentor hours. Application for ACC credential costs $100 for ICF members and $300 for non-members.
For the Professional Certified Coach, you must have completed an ICF-accredited training program. You also need to have logged at least 500 hours of coaching with a minimum of 450 paid hours. These hours must be spread out over at least 25 clients. You must also prove that you have gone through 10 or more mentor hours. The PCC credential application costs $300 for ICF members and $500 for non-members.
The Master Certified Coach is the highest ICF credential. In addition to the mandatory ICF-accredited training program, you must have logged at least 2,500 hours of coaching with at least 35 clients. Additionally, the MCC will only be given to a life coach who has a PCC credential. The life coach should also demonstrate that they have at least 10 hours of mentor hours over a minimum period of three months. The MCC credential application costs $575 for ICF members and $775 for non-members.
All life coaches, no matter their credential level or experience, have one thing in common: they want to help others succeed in life. Life coaching certification will give you the advantage you need to separate yourself from the pretenders within the industry.
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