How to Become a Life Coach

Do you enjoy lifting people up? This career might be right for you!

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

Career coach coaching client

In recent times, the popularity and demand for coaches have steadily increased as people seek professional guidance to reach their full potential.

Essentially, life coaching helps others realise their raison d'être and live their best lives. Undoubtedly, it’s a highly rewarding and exciting occupation with a fulfilling and purposeful objective.

So, if you’re passionate about personal development and helping others, this could be a suitable career for you!

Here’s how to become a life coach.

Step 1: Do your research

Becoming a life coach is a big leap. It’s an occupation that requires a lot of commitment to your clients, so before you start completing certifications and training courses left, right and centre, it’s best that you first get a taste of what life coaching is all about.

A good way to understand whether this is something you could do is to first do some research into what the role of a life coach entails. You could even reach out to an established life coach to guide you through your decision and offer you some insight into their day-to-day life.

Your goal as a life coach is to help others cope with major transitions in their lives. Not only will you have to guide them through these challenges, but you’ll also help them formulate healthy and sustainable habits and mindsets that will allow them to lead better lives.

To do this, you also need to be able to practise what you preach to your clients. Indeed, if you’re not passionate about personal development, you’ll have a hard time breaking into the industry.

Step 2: Choose your niche

You can become a life coach in just about any area and subject. From helping people find their self-confidence to coaching new parents and advising people on their nutrition to guiding students through college, the list is truly endless.

So, the first real step towards life coaching is deciding what you want to specialise in. For that, you first need to think about where your true passions lie and which areas you want to coach people in.

So, what kind of life coaching could you do? Here are some ideas:

  • Business coaching
  • Family and relationships coaching
  • Sober coaching
  • Career coaching
  • Mental health coaching
  • Financial coaching
  • Academic coaching
  • Spiritual and holistic coaching
  • Health and wellness coaching

Your niche will help you market your services and bring you in contact with those who need your expertise in that particular area of their life. Plus, by having a specialisation, you can hone your knowledge and focus on becoming an expert on that matter. This will enable your clients to trust you with the guidance that you provide them with.

Step 3: Use learning resources

If you’ve never received official training as a life coach, you can start your journey by exploring different learning resources available to you. From podcasts to videos and books to blogs, there’s an endless source of information out there. For instance, short online courses are a great steppingstone for your career, and online educational platforms such as Udemy, Skillshare and Coursera can be a great place to start.

Another good way to pick up on the tricks of the trade is by following experienced life coaches on social media. Not only will this bring you in touch with your potential career, but it will allow you to amplify what you may already know about life coaching.

Make use of available resources that will give you insight into life coaching, and read up on subjects that delve into your area of expertise as well as broader spectrums. Tim Brownson, a seasoned life coach, notes that in order to succeed, you need to develop wide knowledge on subjects including psychology and human behaviour, as this will make you more adaptable. In other words, the more knowledge you accumulate as an aspiring life coach, the better.

Step 4: Practise your coaching skills

Even before you join a training programme, getting experience in coaching is an excellent idea. Life coaches have individual and unique approaches to the way they coach; the more you practise, the more you can refine your style.

You could get hands-on experience by helping friends and acquaintances. Working with familiar faces will also help you build more confidence in your skills and receive honest feedback in your approach.

You can also volunteer with different initiatives and use your coaching skills for good. You could work with youth organisations, minority groups, disabled individuals, small business owners or any other associations that could benefit from your services. The more time you spend sharpening and honing your coaching skills, the better a life coach you can be.

Step 5: Train as a life coach

In most countries, life coaching isn’t regulated. This means that you don’t necessarily need a certification or a licence to call yourself a life coach. However, if you’re serious about pursuing this career, receiving proper training could be imperative to your success.

As an aspiring life coach, there are different paths you can take, from life coaching certifications to training courses. If you would like to take a more academic route, you could earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology or counselling. Some universities and colleges also offer associate degree programmes in coaching.

Alternatively, you can enrol yourself in a life coaching programme that meets your goals and interests. This is an important step, as you will be able to learn about various aspects of life coaching such as ethics, principles and communication techniques.

However, before you select a course, first make sure that it’s accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF), as this is an important indicator of the quality and legitimacy of a programme.

Step 6: Get certified

Coaching certifications are proof of your knowledge and experience as a life coach. It can also be a great way to attract clients and assure them of your expertise.

In most cases, for you to get certified, you will need to meet certain requirements such as completing a certain amount of coaching hours with a minimum number of clients. To qualify, you may also need to pass different tests and assessments which will showcase your knowledge of important coaching practices and guidelines.

So, if you want to earn a certification that will fit nicely in a frame on your office wall, you must seek out a certification programme with professional associations such as the ICF and the International Association of Coaching.

Step 7: Set up your business

Once you're ready to begin your journey as a life coach, it’s time to set up your practice. The truth is, as a life coach, you have the luxury to work from anywhere, be it a café, an office or a virtual space. John Kim, a life and marriage therapist says: ‘Life coaching can be an art. You can do sessions in coffee shops, on walks, hikes and, of course, online.’

You could also register on online directories and freelancer sites such as Life Coach Hub, Noomii, Upwork and Flexjobs.

Most coaches tend to venture out on their own or work in groups, bringing their diverse niches and expertise under one roof. Of course, if you aren’t ready to go solo as a coach, you can always seek out positions in coaching firms, educational institutions or other organisations that might be looking for an expert in your area of focus.

Step 8: Build yourself a network

Networking is essential for most professions. For starters, it helps you build business contacts and find new and available opportunities. Raising awareness for your coaching practice among your peers could mean that you'll get more references from coaches who specialise in different areas than you, which brings us to the next point: networking helps you build your client base.

To build your brand and successfully market your services, then, you must amplify your networking efforts.

A good way to get started is to first find networking opportunities. Ask yourself where you can find your ideal client, and join events, associations and groups that will bring you in contact with them. Just make sure that you’re prepared to answer any questions related to your practice, specialty, coaching style and story behind your brand. These are usually the kinds of enquiries people have before selecting a life coach.

Step 9: Use social media

Social media plays an important role in most marketing efforts. So, once you’ve drawn up the blueprints for your business, you’ll need to devise a good social media marketing strategy.

Your social media presence will help you gain momentum and allow you to start building a community around your work. To do that, it’s important that you find ways to engage with your online audience, too. Think: webinars, podcasts, Instagram Live stories and YouTube videos. You could also use your social accounts to share testimonials from your clients, which will ultimately help you gain a bigger client base.

Final thoughts

Life coaching is a highly rewarding career to follow. Not only does it give you the much-desired job flexibility we all seek, but it can also be truly fulfilling to help others improve in various aspects of their lives.

While there’s no rigid path on the process of becoming one, this guide gives a good snapshot of the various steps you can take to build your business and establish yourself as a successful life coach!

Have you got any other tips and ideas about becoming a life coach? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!