How to Become a Life Coach

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As personal coaching gains a major presence in the mainstream, more and more people are looking into how to become a life coach. With its focus on improving the lives of clients through better goal-setting and smarter decision-making, life coaching is an ideal line of work for those with a passion for helping others create positive change in their lives.

A life coaching practice can take many forms. Some life coaches run a full-time business; others work part-time. Many life coaches work face-to-face with clients, while many conduct sessions over the phone or through Skype. And though some life coaches specialize in a specific subject area (such as careers or relationships), others adopt a more generalist approach to coaching.

No matter how you intend to carry out your life coaching practice, undergoing certification is one of the most important steps to becoming a life coach. To that end, certification programs are now available at a growing number of colleges and universities, as well as through coaching-specific schools and institutes.

Should You Become a Life Coach?

If you’re thinking of becoming a life coach, take some time to reflect on whether coaching is a good fit for you. At the heart of life coaching is the desire to help others find more fulfillment and a greater sense of purpose.

In addition, life coaches also possess such qualities as passion for personal growth, strong skills in active listening and overall communication, and high levels of intuition and empathy.

The First Step to Becoming a Life Coach

Hiring your own life coach is perhaps the best way to determine if a career in life coaching is right for you. By working closely with a life coach, you’ll get invaluable insight into the nuances of the coaching process.

What’s more, a life coach can help boost your confidence, improve your work performance, and enhance your communication skills—all of which are essential to becoming an excellent life coach in your own right.

Life Coaching Certification: What’s Involved?

Before you dive into the certification process, it’s important to understand what you’ll gain from your training. Like any field, life coaching calls for specific skills and techniques that must be carefully honed. Your training will also focus on the ethics of life coaching, as well as offer guidance on the business aspect of running a life coaching practice (including topics like establishing a client base).

How to Find a Life Coaching Certification Program

If you’re seeking your certification in life coaching, look for a program that is accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF). A nonprofit organization, the ICF serves as the industry’s governing body. With its global accreditation guidelines, the ICF holds training programs to stringent standards and ensures that each meets or exceeds certain levels of quality.

It should be noted that life coaching training and certification programs tend to vary in setup. For example, some schools provide in-person training, while other programs operate entirely online. For an optimal experience, make sure to consider your preferred learning style when selecting a program.

Should You Find a Life Coaching Specialty?

With life coaching becoming more commonly practiced, many coaches are now building their business around a specialized niche. Along with increasing your competitive edge, identifying your niche can help you to zero in on the type of coaching work that’s most meaningful to you.

Examples of life coaching specialties include:

  • addiction
  • career transition
  • dating
  • divorce
  • grief
  • health/wellness
  • life-work balance
  • marriage
  • parenting
  • stress relief
  • success in business
  • time management
  • weight loss

Since many life coaching certification programs offer classes based on specific niches, it might help to determine your specialty before you begin your training.

Establishing Your Life Coaching Practice

When launching your life coaching practice, keep in mind that it takes time to develop any business. In order to thrive as a life coach, you’ll need to sharpen your skills in such areas as marketing, financial management, and client relations. In many cases, people begin by balancing their life coaching work with other sources of income, then phase into a full-time practice after they’ve cultivated a healthy, prosperous business.

Once your life coaching practice is established, you might want to broaden your business to include such endeavors as writing books and participating in speaking engagements. As you set out on your path to becoming a life coach, think about how your unique skills and gifts might best be utilized in your practice and beyond.

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