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How to Become a Certified Life Coach – A Complete Guide

Do you want to learn what it takes to become a life coach online? If YES, here is a complete guide plus requirements needed to become a certified life coach for FREE.

Life coaches are individuals that come from diverse occupations. A life coach, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, is classified as a social and human service assistant. A life coach works with people and helps them create the life they desire- this means that they work at reinstalling the faltering confidence in individuals, and ensuring that they live up to their potentials.

What is a Life Coach?

A life coach is a person who helps others, by intrinsically empowering them to make, meet and exceed their goals either in their professional or personal lives. A life coach might choose to work independently or continue with their current profession, thereby using the skills to help colleagues and subordinates who might be in a rut or are facing challenges, and would need some other form of perspective to enable them achieve their goals.

This could be either to meet with corporate goals or to better their personal lives. For a life coach to be outstanding, they would need to be exceptionally good at communicating, and also have a deep sense of compassion and understanding. They also must be good at helping people stay focused and motivated.

Duties of a Life Coach and their Job Description

  • Helping clients clear up the clutter in their lives by ensuring they dump all the excesses in their lives especially the negatives, so as to leave room for positivity.
  • Providing a structured support by ensuring that they get together with clients regularly either formally or informally, or calling their clients to find out how well they are coping with or overcoming the roadblocks in their lives.
  • Another duty of a life coach is in helping the client explore new skills. The new skills could be skiing, cooking, mountain climbing or anything that might improve the client’s previous set skills.
  • Ensuring that the client sticks to the program and not putting in the necessary hard work required to enable them meet their goals.
  • Maintaining the momentum by ensuring that the client doesn’t constantly derail or get discouraged as regards the steps they might have taken.

Tools and Equipment Used by a Life Coach

  • Telephones
  • Computer or laptop
  • Notepad
  • Writing pens
  • Success principles
  • Coaching models
  • Self-assessment checklists
  • Coaching programs
  • The Life Wheel
  • Coaching blocks

How to Become a Certified Life Coach – A Complete Guide

Facts, Figures and Labor Market Situation for Life Coaches

In the United States of America

  • The career outlook for life coaches in the United States, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics is a 28% employment growth rate through the year 2020.
  • There are about 40,000 coaches of which life coaches are a part of in the United States.
  • According to a Forbes article, 20% of life coaches reported a six-figure salary at year end.
  • According to the International Coaching Federation, 37% of American Life Coaches are 46 to 55 years old.
  • According to Harvard Business Review, the coaching industry makes about $1 billion per year.
  • In 2009, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), 90% of organizations used life coaches even during the economic downtimes; with 70% increasing or maintaining their commitment to life coaches.
  • Life coaching isn’t a regulated sector.
  • According to a report by the Economic Times, life coaching resulted in a Return on Investment (ROI) of almost 6 times the cost for employees, while that of executives resulted in a 529% Return on Investment.
  • Some executive life coaches charge up to $3,500 per hour, while others charge between $500 and $2,000 as a monthly retainer.
  • According to the International Coach Federation Global Coaching Client Study, a median of ROI of 3.44 times for investment in coaching was reported by individual clients.

In the United Kingdom

  • There is an estimate of 1,505 coaches that are practicing.
  • 57% are full time workers, and 9% are self-employed, with 70% being females.
  • Life coaches employed by organizations earn between £50,000 and £85,000 pounds per annum, while a self-employed life coach earns between £65 and £500 per hour.
  • Life coaching is not regulated in the UK; basically anyone can become a life coach with the right skills.
  • A typical work hour ranges from 30 minutes and one hour, over 4 to 6 weeks.
  • Most life coaches sell their services as a package, with the charge falling between £150 and £1,000.
  • The European Mentoring and Coaching Council promote good standards and practices as regards coaching.
  • It is easier to get a professional indemnity insurance once a member of a professional organization.
  • There is a 16% shortage of life coaches in the UK as compared to other sectors.

In Australia

  • There are about 1,300 life coaches, as compared to just 150 in 2000.
  • The basic entry requirement before getting a life coach certification is a completion of Year 12, or a Certificate III level qualification in any field.
  • Life coaching is largely unregulated.
  • Australia’s life coaches earn the highest, according to the 2012 trend by the International Coaching Federation.
  • Executive, leadership and business coaching are the main areas of coaching in Australia.
  • Coaching costs for executive coaching may be tax deductible.

In Canada

  • There are about 15,800 life coaches.
  • Canada has the highest number of life coaches in the world.
  • Life coaching isn’t a regulated profession.

Is the Life Coach Growing or Declining?
The life coach profession is still growing; this is because there is an increased emphasis on personal and mental health. Also businesses are concerned about the retention rate of their employees, and enough people are retiring from their jobs and would need someone who can broaden their perspective as to other potentials they might want to achieve.

Also, according to the 2012 ICF survey, most coaches reported an increase in revenue despite poor economic performance. This is therefore not an under saturated, saturated or over saturated industry.

The Impact of Internet Technology on the Life Coach Profession?

The Positives

  • The internet has created more awareness for life coaches.
  • Life coaches can use the internet to have sessions with their clients, either via Skype or emails.
  • The internet has also allowed for more networking for life coaches nationally and internationally.
  • The internet can be used to boost the profile of a life coach, as it enables the coach to post informative articles or tips to online users.

The Negatives

  • Due to the fact that the life coach industry is unregulated, mushroom academies have sprung up leading to a lot of quack life coaches.
  • Anyone can claim to be a life coach over the internet, and because many people are barely aware of genuine life coaches, they may end up patronizing life coaches without any genuine certification.

Career Ideas That Exist Within the Life Coaching Industry

  1. Chiropractor: A chiropractor is a health care professional that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of neuromuscular disorders.
  2. Drama Therapist: A drama therapist uses drama to achieve therapeutic goals. The aim is to get the participant to express themselves, set goals and solve their problems.
  3. Forensic Psychologist: This is an infusion of psychology and the law. A forensic psychologist works in rehabilitation centers, prisons, police departments, law firms, and schools.
  4. Image Consultant: An image consultant is an individual who advises or help improve his employer’s public presentation or impression.
  5. Nutritional Therapist: A nutritional therapist uses a specifically tailored diet to treat medical conditions, and their associated symptoms.
  6. Osteopathy: An osteopath detects, prevents, and treats health problems by moving stretching and massaging a person’s joints and muscles.
  7. Primary Care Graduate Mental Health Worker: This is an individual that provides support and treatment to people with common mental health services.
  8. Psychologist: A psychologist is a professional that studies the minds of human and their emotions and behavior. They also study how different situations might have an effect on people.
  9. Psychotherapist: This is a therapist that makes use of both psychiatry and psychology or either one to deal with mental and emotional disorders.
  10. Social Worker: This is a helping professional that help advance the social conditions of the disadvantaged by providing psychological guidance and counseling, as well as assistance in the form of social services.
  11. Counselor: This is a trained individual that gives advice and guidance on problems that might be personal or psychological in nature.
  12. Business Consultant: A business consultant gives an analysis based on the existing practice of a business and proffers solutions, or recommendations that are aimed at improvement.
  13. Personal Trainer: This is fitness professional that measures the fitness of their clients by assessing their weaknesses and strengths. They also motivate clients, by helping to set goals and ensuring that there is feedback and accountability to the clients.
  14. Psychiatrist: This is a professional medical practitioner that specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health problems.
  15. Teacher: This is an individual who teaches, instructs or passes on skills or information either in a formal or informal setting.
  16. Art Therapists: An art therapist is a mental health professional that treats clients’ mental behavior, by allowing them use artwork to express themselves via emotional conflicts, manage behavior and addictions, and develop social skills.
  17. Hypnotherapists: This is an individual who uses hypnotherapy, a form of psychotherapy to create a subconscious change in a patient.

Professional Bodies and Associations That Exist in the Life Coach Industry

In United States

  • International Coach Federation (ICF) U.S: This is a support network for coaches, which help to preserve the standard of life coach practices. They also offer growth opportunities and professional development for members.
  • The U.S Life Coach Association (USLCA): This is a professional organization that is dedicated at promoting and assisting life coaches.
  • Institute of Coaching professional Association (ICPA): This body only offers research grants in the field of personal coaching, health and wellness.
  • International Association of Coaching (IAC): This is an independent certifying body that ensures the application of universal coaching standards through a rigorous certification process.

In United Kingdom

  • Association for Coaching (AC): This is a no-profit professional body that has a standard for coaches with its Code of Ethics and Good Practice.
  • Association for Professional Executive Coaching and Supervision (APECS): This is a professional body for executive coaches and also for the supervision of executive coaches.
  • UK International Coach Federation (ICF): This is a professional body that regulates and certifies members who are business and personal coaches.

In Australia

  • International Coaching Federation (ICF) Australasia: ICF Australasia helps its members through credentialing, virtual professional development, plus access to special arrangements with suppliers.
  • The International Association of Coaching (IAC): IAC hopes to expand the mastery of coaching by inspiring the application of universal coaching standards.
  • Association for Coaching (AC): This is a non-profit professional body that is dedicated at best practice and also raising the awareness and standards of coaching nationwide.

In Canada

  • Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (WABC): This is a professional body dedicated majorly for business coaches and has stringent entry requirements.
  • International Coaching Federation (ICF) Canada: This is a network for professional coaches that provide certifications, ethical guidelines, coaching school accreditation amongst others.
  • Association for Coaching (AC): This is a professional body for both current and aspiring coaches. The body provides a Code of Ethics and Good Practice.

Benefits of Becoming a Life Coach

  1. Flexibility: The working hours of a coach are highly flexible especially as they can choose their work hours, where they would like to work and how much they would charge each client.
  2. No overheads: Most independent coaches work from home. This means that there are business expenses or overheads to worry about.
  3. Determination of work rates: A life coach determines the number of clients he or she would like to work with, which could range from one to as many as they can comfortably take.
  4. Personal growth: The coach benefits from his work as well, as the work enable him to also grow personally and understand himself, whilst helping the client.
  5. Personal fulfillment: A life coach gets personal fulfillment in helping others make, meet, and achieve their goals or reach their potentials.
  6. Average Pay: According to the International Coaching Federation (ICF), an experience coach gets about $350 per month, which might just consist of 2 hours in the whole month.
  7. Learning pace: One can become a coach depending on one’s pace. There is no requirement or regulation where becoming a coach is needed to be finished in a specified time. This is especially good for those who want to learn while still staying in their profession.
  8. Earning while learning: Learning doesn’t restrict earning as most coaches can start coaching others within 6 months of learning.
  9. Helping the client improve on the quality of their life and also achieving their set goals, by uncovering the unbelief and insecurities that they might have, and devoting the necessary time and effort required to helping them overcome this.
  10. Bridging the gap: A life coach is the bridge that links the client from where he is, to where he wants to be, he therefore acts as the link of success for the client.
  11. Launch pad: This is beneficial especially to those that would want to take their coaching skills to the next level professionally. It also allows them to engage in activities that would boost their public profiles, like writing books, forming communities etc

Factors That Discourage People from Becoming Life Coaches

  • The biggest challenge is the lack of commitment by the client towards reaching their goals and achieving their potentials.
  • The key duty or task of a coach is in listening and resisting the urge to give advice. This can be a difficult thing to do as coaching centers around the client, while an advice centers on the opinions and beliefs of the advisor.
  • Clients’ procrastination is a big challenge for life coaches and requires a lot of discipline.
  • Clear understanding of the client’s need, as lack of understanding could cause difficulty in the coach-client relationship; thereby hindering the progress of the client.
  • A lack of clear directive from the client especially if they do not know what they want to achieve can be quite challenging to the life coach as he would have to use various approaches to help set a direction.
  • The slow pace progress of the client can be quite discouraging to a life coach and flag his confidence, since progress cannot be measured quantitatively.
  • The client cannot justify the earning fees of the life coach.
  • Another discouraging factor is getting few referrals, which could stem from lack of a unique niche.

How Much Do Life Coaches Earn Monthly/Annually?

  • In the United States, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2012 and 2013, life coaches earned an average of $28,200 per year.
  • In the United Kingdom, A self-employed life coach earns between £65 and £500 per hour or £27,017 per year, while life coaches employed by organizations earn between £50,000 and £85,000 pounds per annum.
  • In Canada, the average pay for a life coach is $44,194 per year or $35.92 per hour.
  • In Australia, a life coach earns between $250 and $500 per month for individual coaching.

How Long Does It take to Become a Life Coach?

  • In the United States, the standard time for an accredited life coach academy to train a life coach is 2 years, or a minimum of 100 hours.
  • In the United Kingdom, a standard time length is 300 hours or 9 to 15 months.
  • In Australia, the length of time could be 1 year.
  • In Canada, the length of time varies between 3 months and 5 years.

Educational Requirements for Becoming a Certified Life Coach?

There are really no educational degrees for those wanting to be life coaches, but clients favor coaches that have degrees backed up with certifications. Life Coaches with educational degrees usually have their degrees in related disciplines, like counseling, psychology etc.

  • In the United States, you can take a basic bachelor degree in psychology or other related courses.
  • In the United Kingdom, you can have a degree in any course and a postgraduate in coaching depending on the university.
  • In Australia, you can take have a degree in psychology, a certificate IV, or a diploma.
  • In Canada, you can take a degree in counseling or psychology.

Certifications Needed to be Recognized as a Professional Life Coach?

  • In the United States, you could take the Core Essentials Program (CEP) which helps develop core coaching skills. The program lasts for 15 months with 77 hours of training.
  • In the UK, you can take the Level 3 Certificate in Life Coaching Studies. The course is accredited internationally and runs for 30 weeks, 3 hours each week. Candidates must have had a level 2 qualification in a related or complimentary subject like counseling skills. Applicants must be 19 and above and attendance requirement is at least 85%.
  • In Australia, the one course that is recognized nationally and accredited internationally is the Certificate IV in Life Coaching from the Life’s Coach Academy.
  • In Canada, you could take the Professional Certification Module which runs for 6 months.

How Much Does It Cost to Become a Certified Life Coach?

It might be very rare to find a profession where the courses and examinations required to be called a professional in that field is free. That is why the life coach career is no exception. Therefore, the cost of obtaining a certification in the US, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada includes:

  • In the United States, the Core Essentials Program would cost $2,415.
  • In the United Kingdom, a Level 3 Certificate in Life Coaching Studies would cost £550
  • In Australia, the Certificate IV in Life Coaching would cost $5,990.
  • In Canada, the Professional Certification Module would cost $5,900

Can You Become a Life Coach by Taking Courses Online?

These days, there has been the need to really take the internet really seriously- if nothing, because of the fact that it is full of knowledge. So, the question of acquiring certificates online as life coach comes to fore. Yes, one can become a life coach by taking an online course, since there is hardly any traditional institution that offers a degree in life coaching. The cost can be from between hundreds of dollars to thousands, depending on the qualitative courses offered by the online tutor, and the length of the course which could be in varying hours.

Also, online programs cost almost the same as offline programs, but the advantage for an online program is in schedule flexibility for the student’s convenience.

Job Opportunities That Are available Within the Life Coaching Profession

  • Human Resources Manager: The HR Manager is one who is responsible for the management of people within the organization, whose job functions include, defining work tasks, recruiting and staffing, and employee compensation and benefits.
  • Marketing Manager: A Marketing Manager is an individual who is in charge of a specific product or brand, and ensures the practical application of marketing techniques and methods.
  • Recruitment Agent: This is an individual that helps organizations find employable people for jobs, whenever the organization needs them.
  • Author: This is one who has written either one or many books, this could be a novel or an essay.
  • Columnist: This is an individual who regularly contributes in writing an article for either a newspaper or magazine.
  • Publicist: A publicist is an individual who is responsible for generating and managing publicity for a person, work or business.
  • Salesperson: This is an individual who persuasively sells goods and services to other entities within a given period.

Skills and Traits Needed to Become a Successful Life Coach

  1. Strong Communication Skill: Communication involves different skill sets such as active listening and speech clarity. A life coach must be able to gather information, and then communicate such information in a clarifying manner to the individual who is being coached. The life coach must be able to ask related questions that would give the client clarity on his or her situation.
  2. Active Listening: This skill is needed by the coach so as to understand what the client needs. This is because no solution can be fashioned out for the client except what they intend to achieve is clearly understood.
  3. Reflection: This is providing a feedback to the client by paraphrasing what they heard the client say, repeating meaningful words, and asking open ended questions that would lead to further exploration.
  4. Emphatic skills: This means that while the life coach must be emphatic, he mustn’t be sympathetic and must therefore strive to remove his emotions from the client’s life.
  5. This skill also ensures objectivity, as the coach can connect emotionally with his clients but not feel sorry for them.
  6. Lack of Judgment: A life coach should not be opinionated as regards the lifestyle or choices of their client. A good coach cannot use his or her value or moral system to decide on what is best for the client.
  7. Tolerance: A life coach must be able to tolerate the lifestyle of his client, and also the ability to accept the differences that might occur between them and the client.
  8. Patience: A life coach must be patient with his clients especially when the clients find it hard to overcome an obstacle or meet the set goals they were supposed to.
  9. Problem Solving Ability: The life coach should be able to understand the client’s problem and proffer a solution that is aimed at solving the problem.
  10. People Skills: This skill allows the coach get easily along with the client and helps them reach their life goals.
  11. Creative Skills: A life coach has to be able to think outside the box especially in helping clients achieve their potential. A life coach needs to be resourceful, imaginative and creative to achieve a balance.

Tips and Advice Needed to Advance your Career as a Life Coach

  • Network: Networking is a key tip for any serious professional. Networking ensures that a life coach gets constant referrals, through a collection of different individuals and groups. Networking spots can be found in church functions, fitness centers, male and female social clubs, life coaching organizations and other of such places.
  • Start Writing: A life coach should be able to use the writing opportunity to educate people as well as create awareness for himself. There are different avenues through which a life coach can ensure this, and it is by writing for local newspapers, having a blog, contributing articles to the blogs of others, writing articles for online groups, or writing a book.
  • Public Speaking: As well as writing, speaking is another tip that can propel a life coach. Volunteering to speak at local clubs or functions about coaching related topics or subjects, is a good way of boosting the profile of the life coach.
  • Social Media: The social media is a great place at ensuring visibility for a life coach. Activities on the social media can include, giving out tips, creating awareness, joining or creating online life coaching related groups and so many others.
  • Coaching Directories: Another tip at advancement is in listing one’s self in various coaching directories both offline and online. This is especially useful as not everyone might hear you speak, or read what you write.
  • Keep a success list: Keeping a list of satisfied clients will go a long way at bringing in prospective new clients, especially when you have a long list of satisfied client.
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