Becoming a life coach requires little more than stellar listening skills and outsized compassion, in reality, becoming a life coach is a business decision. Once you have decided that this is your calling, you will need to take at least a few vital steps in order to legitimate yourself and your services as a professional life coach. If you enjoy helping others reach their full potential and want to start your own business, you may want to consider learning how to become a life coach.

The profession is becoming more and more mainstream. Over the past few years, you might have seen a social media page for a life coach promoting their services or noticed that your yoga instructor has taken on the role of a personal, spiritual, or professional advisor to some of your classmates.

According to the International Coach Federation, there are over 53,000 coach practitioners globally and over 17,000 in North America alone. Life coaching is resonating with clientele, and there is a real market for it. But what does becoming a life coach entail and how do you know if you are qualified to help change people’s lives?

The Necessity of a Life Coach

Basically, the role of a life coach is to bring clarity to his/her client, be it an individual or an organization. This clarity is thus, usually in the form of critical decision making, which people generally face at some point in time, whether it is their personal life or a professional one.

You may thus, think of a life coach as a skilled and professional consultant or advisor, who offers his/her service to not only individuals but groups of individuals and organizations as well and aiding them in making correct decisions. Although most of the decision making is involved especially in the business sector, a life coach can also scrupulously give advice as a personal or spiritual advisor to people who are in need of motivation. So, if you are looking to learn how to become a life coach, you are not alone.

Life coaching has become one of the fastest-growing careers in the United States of America. If you are skilled at and enjoy communicating with others and you would like to know how to turn that skill into a fruitful career, then becoming a life coach might be the right career path for you.

Life coaches are not just expensive advice-givers

If that was so, it would be terrible. Rather, it is about helping others explore their choices and figuring out what is best for them. It is only the bad life coaches that dispense advice and hang up. You are really working at changing the behavior, which is about a million more times valuable than simply telling a client what to do.

No one else needs another person (much less a virtual stranger) telling them what to do with our lives. We all get that from our in-laws, our siblings and the occasional high school friend who thinks they know everything. You are, thus, answering the “how,” not the “what” here. You can give them the process.

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Become A Life Coach With These 7 Essential Steps That Will Change The Game Forever

According to the International Coach Federation, With over 53,000 coach practitioners globally and 17,000 in North America alone, life coaching is clearly resonating with its clientele. So, what does becoming a life coach entail, and how do you know if you are qualified to help change people’s lives? Here are seven crucial steps you will need to take before becoming a life coach and the potential costs involved in the process.

1. Have a Clear Concept of a Life Coach

Life coaching can be personally fulfilling career with flexible hours and excellent pay. But, it may not be for everyone. So, before spending thousands of dollars on life coach training and spending even more money to open your own life coaching business, it is best to make smaller investments in learning everything you can about life coaching before actually becoming one.

This means practicing with your friends, joining meet-ups with other coaching-minded individuals and reading books on life coaching, to name a few.

The most popular book on the art of life coaching is “Walks of Life” which was written by the certified coaching professionals at the National Coach Academy (NCA). The book is full of real coaching conversations and proven techniques to help bring out the best in your clients and further hone your skills as a life coach.

2. Find your Niche

One of the common misconceptions about a life coach is that he/she only deals with people struggling with mid-life crises or inner psychological problems in their lives. But, the reality is that all kinds of life circumstances can benefit from professional coaching, which is why there are career coaches, executive coaches, real estate coaches, retirement coaches, fitness coaches, etc.

Here’s a list of other possibilities to start with

  • Business coaching
  • Carbon coaching (helping others reduce their carbon footprint)
  • Career coaching
  • Corporate coaching
  • Executive coaching
  • Relationship coaching
  • Retirement coaching
  • Spiritual and Christian coaching
  • Time management coaching
  • Weight and body image coaching
  • Work/life balance coaching

Thus, your job as a budding life coach is to find the niche that lights your fire. Take for instance, what motivates you to get up in the morning? This is one of the hardest questions you will ever answer or have an answer to. Also, are you passionate about helping the elderly achieve a sense of normalcy in their ever-challenging lives? Or, are you particularly interested in teenagers and those riding the emotional roller coaster of adolescence? Choosing the right niche will certainly give you a good start.

The important part is to understand why not? And, as you continue to engage in this conversation with yourself, try and take notice of what kinds of individuals or life circumstances you find the most fascinating. Have real conversations with all kinds of people and the internal and external struggles they face every day.

At the end of the exercise, you will have achieved two things – one, you will have a good idea of which direction you want your coaching career to take. And importantly, you will have gained valuable coaching experience with your very first subject yourself.

3. Enroll in Training and Certification

Your next step is to become certified. There are literally thousands of life coach training programs in existence with more and more propping up every single day. Not only must you determine which programs are legitimate and which ones are not, but you must also figure out which programs cater to your particular set of interests and career goals. Luckily, the International Coach Federation (ICF) has worked hard to solve both of these challenges.

ICF is the foremost governing body of coaching worldwide seeks to advance the coaching industry by setting standards of excellence, accrediting coach training programs (called ACTPs) and building a global network of professional coaches.

ICF-accreditation importance

Put simply, ICF-accreditation is a must if you’re looking for a legitimate life coach training program, and any certification from a program that is not ICF accredited is probably not worth the paper it is printed on. You need to find a program that offers (or better yet, focuses on) whatever specialties you choose to focus on.

The best executive training program in the world might have a weak program for senior coaching, or worse, may not offer senior life coach training at all. The ICF offers a handy tool on their website that allows you to search for ACTPs by specialty.

But, before you apply, make sure to call the company and try to speak to someone about the program to know things other than basic details like pricing and scheduling. You need to have an in-depth conversation about the program and try to get a good feel for the personnel.

Do you feel welcomed and valued as a student, or like just another customer? Remember that ICF accreditation does not mean that the people who work for the company are friendly, passionate, or even care very much about their trainees. Once you have narrowed your search to the one training program that checks all of your requirements, it is time for you to apply.

4. Monetize your Life Coaching Career

You will be surprised to know that in just a span of a decade or two, the life coaching profession has gone from the fringe to the mainstream, and career opportunities for aspiring coaches now look promising. If helping others become better versions of themselves is something you are passionate about, then life coaching offers the perfect balance of entrepreneurial freedom, great pay and a meaningful career.

When setting up your life coaching business, you will first need to determine your business entity type, that is, if it is a sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation,  which are popular options.

Then, unless you decide to become a sole proprietorship (which does not require registration), you will need to officially register your business with your state.

Come up with a business plan that addresses your startup costs, from the cost of your certification program to any overhead costs associated with renting a space and outfitting it, assuming you will meet people in person. Luckily, becoming a life coach does not necessarily require high upfront costs.

A lot of life coaches want or end up having digital businesses, which means you do not need business cards, a printer, paper and toner, and folders and handouts.

Below are a few quick tips on writing a business plan for a life coaching business:

  • Give yourself time to write it. You may even need to write it over the course of a few days. Don’t just rush!
  • Make it comprehensive yet concise. That means it needs to contain all pertinent information, but you have to cut out the crap. Stick to the main details.
  • Don’t create it at work or in front of the television. Sure, you can jot down some idea or notes at work, but get away from all the distractions when you write your business plan.
  • Look at a sample business plan or a few samples. Get an idea of what a good business plan for a coach looks like.

There has never been a better time to learn how to become a life coach. It is a wonderful profession with the power to improve others’ lives as well as your own.

5. Create your Digital Footprint as a Life Coach

If you have an all-digital business, your digital presence becomes paramount. For example, you need decent equipment such as a computer and a camera to take photos of yourself to record videos

Quint says that what may be helpful, though not required, are branding courses that come with a little bit of coaching around creating her brand and how to infuse it in her website, how to use different colours and fonts, how to style things for social media, how to write copy, all of those pieces, which is helpful when you have an online business. There is literature out there about how someone needs to interact with you seven times before they even start to enter their purchase-consideration mindset.

6. Formulate and Structure your Life Coaching services

According to Toterhi, whether he is working with a client on their story, career, or a specific project, being clear and setting a goal up front is a priority. Also, even before charging his clients, he makes sure to spend a lot of time talking with people before they sign up. Almost everybody he works with, he first talks to them for free to make sure they are actually looking for a coach and not something else.

Quint offers a variety of packages, including The Breakthrough (one 30-minute session), The Makeover (a dozen 50-minute sessions), and The Quickstart (one 90-minute session). How you break down and price your services is entirely up to you.

Have a clear goal in mind when you start out with your client. If you reach your goal, you can set up another one. But give both sides a chance to move on if the fit is not right. That is life, and that is life coaching, too.

7. Decide your Fees

Once you become a coach, you will need to get clients and to get clients you will need to know how to market your business. In case you are considering becoming a life coach, it is also natural to wonder a question like, “How much do life coaches make?” It is difficult to put a value on helping people change their lives. But this is a business all the same and you have to figure out what your time is worth in order to charge people accordingly.

In terms of what to actually charge, it depends on how you approach working with clients. Will you do it by the project? Is travel involved? Do you feel more comfortable charging an hourly or day rate, like a lawyer or psychologist? Is this a one-time session or an ongoing relationship? Once you figure that out, you can price out what your hour is worth and go from there.

Bottom Line

Becoming a life coach can be an incredibly rewarding, yet difficult, career path. You need the personality for it. The background in coaching and business, and the mindset that helping people is a way to earn income, just like any other job.

The steps given above can help you fulfill your goal of becoming a professional life coach, while also making it a profitable business at the same time.

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