how to become a life coach

Have you ever thought about becoming a life coach, but you aren’t sure what is required to do that, what exactly you need, who you should contact, or maybe there are just too many programs to choose from? I can help with that. You are going to have all the answers you need, just keep reading 😍.

Education & Requirements To Be A Life Coach

It is easier than you may think to become a certified life coach.

In the life coaching industry, you typically just have to take a life coach training course in order to get your life coach certification. BUT, if you are looking to specialize in a specific area of life coaching, you will require different or more advanced types of coaching skills. Here is a closer look at how to become a life coach.

Certifications Or Qualifications

The good news is… there are no official requirements to becoming a life coach 😃. According to the Certified Coaches Alliance, technically anyone could become a life coach. However, having training, rather than just being good at giving advice, will definitely help you. Completing an accredited coach training program where you can register with the International Coaching Federation (ICF) is the first step. They’ll look at things like:

  • Education
  • Experience
  • Performance Evaluations, etc.

You can find the full list and all of their requirements on their website.

Although you may not need to register with the International Coach Federation or have any formal education or training to become a life coach, it will certainly help your credibility if you receive your life coach certification through a certified life coach institute and register with the ICF.

How Long Does It Take?

Depending on the life coach certification programs you choose, becoming a certified life coach can take anywhere from 18 to 24 months. You should expect the following things to occur before the International Coaching Federation can recognize you:

  • Coach Skills Training
  • Mentor Coaching
  • Ethic training programs
  • Session Observation
  • Final Exam

Perhaps you want to become a life coach in a specialized area, then it could take longer than 18-24 months. You would need to look into a certified life coach institute with specific certification programs if you want to specialize in things like:

  • Spiritual Coaching
  • Business(working with small business owners)
  • Relationship coaching
  • Mindset Coaching
  • Wellness coaching

These are just a few examples of various personal development coaching styles available. And there are specific types of life coaching clients in need of these kinds of life coaches, so it’s worth looking into the type of life coach you really want to be.

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Benefits of Getting a Life Coach Certification

Your life coaching certification program will not only help you be

  • A successful life coach
  • meet many other coaches
  • help your own life
  • practice real life coaching
  • develop active listening skills
  • feel confident about your coaching technique
  • develop a coaching vision

BUT, many of these programs also offer business help as well. It might not always be a lot of information, they can often help you get your business started with modules like:

  • being a business owner
  • where to get business insurance
  • how to find a coaching contract
  • getting to know what audience you belong to(your coaching niche)

How Much Does It Cost To Become A Life Coach?

Investing in becoming a life coach can cost anywhere between $2,500 & $12,000. Full disclosure, my own training programs cost $5,000 💸. I know, that sounds like a HUGE investment, and it is! But what are you investing in? YOURSELF, and there is no greater investment than that.

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How to Become a Life Coach Step by Step

Now that you’ve got the background and basics of what you need to know to become a life coach, let’s get a little more specific…

Step 1: The Traditional Training Route

The traditional training route is to first find a coaching program that works best for YOU. Do NOT choose a coaching program solely based on what was recommended, the first option that came up when you searched “life coaching programs”, or anything else. Meditate on it, journal about it, sit with and make sure it aligns with your life before you sign up.

You will definitely want to do your homework 📝.

The traditional certification programs will prepare you to become a life coach by giving you the lessons and training you will need, tools, business advice, and help so that you feel prepared to start your own life coaching business by the time the program is completed.

Depending on the program you choose, you could take part in online or in-person training.

Don’t forget to start with the International Coaching Federation (ICF) to find an accredited program to take part in.

Step 2: Identify Your Niche

Your niche is the group of people you want to help. As a certified coach, and especially when you just finish your training programs, it can often feel like “Oh Yea! I’ve got this! I can help everyone 🎉.” While that may be true, I’ve got to tell you… IF YOU ARE CLAIMING TO BE HELPING EVERYONE YOU ARE HELPING NO ONE.

The truth is that potential clients expect their coach to be an expert, and no one is believably an expert on everything. So, when you say you are a life coach, who do you help? Examples of a coaching niche could be:

  • helping women who have just had a baby, and are unsure of how to find the balance in their life again.
  • supporting men who feel they do not know how to cope with hardships in life, so their go-to is alcohol or other substances
  • helping middle-aged parents who over the past few years have become empty-nesters, and do not know where to take their relationship from there.

Niche coaching will not only help you present yourself as an expert life coach, but it will also help you in your overall coaching. You do not want to end up with a client that you feel you can’t help. So, having that specific coaching experience, and knowing SPECIFICALLY who it is you want to help as a practicing life coach… that is your niche.

If you are still working out the kinks, and do not know who it is you want to help, play with it. Take on a few beta clients to test out the waters of a few types of people you are interested in coaching. Draw from your own life experiences. What do you feel you’ve gone through and could easily help others get through now? You will find out pretty quickly who exactly it is you are called to serve. 

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    Step 3: Complete Your Education

    Once you’ve got your niche, determine if there are any other programs you’ll need to complete that becoming a specialized life coach requires. Then go back and see what other requirements the International Coaching Federation is looking for.

    For example: According to both the Certified Coaches Alliance, and the International Coaching Federation (ICF), there are 3 levels of coaching credentials.

    • Associate certified coach- 60 hours of training 🧑‍🎓 100 hours of coaching 💃
    • Professional Certified Coach- 125 hours of training🧑‍🎓 500 hours of coaching💃
    • Master certified coach – 200 hours of training 🧑‍🎓 2500 hours of coaching💃

    Being that there is a plethora of life coach certification programs, getting these hours may look like a lot. But, if you are a practicing life coach, who is always helping people in their niche, it won’t be too hard to attain. Start meeting clients, in person or online. Get that extensive training, girl!

    Put it on your vision board, set a goal, and get to coaching!💫

    cold email brett larkin working from home

    Step 4: Create Your Life Coaching Business

    Creating your coaching business is one of the most fun, but most time consuming, and often stressful parts of how to become a life coach. Maybe you spend time looking at other life coaches’ websites, social media feeds, and landing pages. Maybe you checked them looking for inspiration, but then got overwhelmed looking at all of it in one fell swoop. I know I did 🙋. Don’t get discouraged! Take a breath and get back on track.

    Here’s the secret sauce, creating your life coaching business is crucial to your success. There is no room to compare yourself, or question yourself. Most life coaches, especially if they’re new, struggle with this.

    Steps to create your life coaching business

    Start here:

    1. know your niche (who you want to help)
    2. know your why (why do you want to help this particular group of people)
    3. know yourself (what is it about you that makes you different from the many life coaches you looked at)

    Once you know these three things, you can to get into the legality of it all:

    Set up your business classification.

    • Many coaches choose an LLC or Limited Liability Company. Each state is a little bit different in the fees and filings, so you’ll have to do your research in the state you live in.

    Get a coaching contract.

    • This will protect you from any legal troubles that may arise because of someone not liking their results they got from working with you.
    • There are many coaching contracts that are standard and pre-made that can be purchased online & you can start using & implementing immediately
    • If you want a contract that is more suited & built for you, you can work with an attorney to develop a contract that works for you.

    Get a coaching agreement.

    • This is an agreement between coach and potential clients that is basically expectations.
    • Your client will know what to expect from you as their coach & your client will know what you expect of them as the client.
    • Again, you can Google this and find lot’s of options for purchase, or work with an attorney to draft something specific.

    Get business insurance.

    • Your coaching practice will need this.
    • To protect you should something happen legally or medically due to an interaction you had with a client.
    • Many coaching programs that offer a business coaching segment in their training courses, will provide suggestions for what to look for based on your individual coaching needs.

    Step 5: Set Up Your Website, Social Media, And Community

    After you have your life coach certification, you know your niche, and you have your business model together, you will be ready to set up your website, social media, & develop a community complete with potential clients.

    Your social media and website need to reflect YOU. YOU are magnificent & the personal qualities you bring to your coaching business are precisely what will bring your community to you. YOU ARE YOUR BRAND!

    Your life coaching website setup does not have to be an elaborate thing (mine certainly isn’t). Just let people know who you are, what problems you solve, and a little about your process. They want to see the personal growth they will gain from working with you, so give them that.

    Pro tips:

    • stay away from spending too much time talking about your coach training, life coaching skills, and coach training programs. People want to connect with YOU. That being said…
    • know your messaging (talk to this group of people, address their problem(s), & let them know how you will help solve it)
    • have industry association after becoming a life coach

    For social media, choose one- possibly two, but only two platforms to show up on. Instagram and Facebook are the most popular, but if you want to be coaching on video in little segments at a time, maybe TikTok is for you. Here are some AMAZING tips on how to stand out on social media.

    Set up your community by showing up every day. This is the place you will mention (in small doses) your accredited courses you took, your coaching certification, and your goals about life coaching.

    Your audience wants to know you, but make sure you remember that messaging & what audience it is that YOU are talking to specifically. Otherwise, it may take your community longer than usual to find you.

    Step 6: Design And Price Your Services

    Ahhhhh… pricing. Some life coaches think this to be a taboo subject. But a life coaching practice has to set prices.

    brett larkin uplifted yoga

    Dharma Coaching Institute teaches its life coach certification trainees to work backwards.

    • What is the financial goal you have for the year?
    • What does that mean you have to make per month?
    • What does that mean you have to charge per client?

    Maria Wendt teaches it like this…

    • think about what you would charge per hour (both sessions and if messaging is available in your business as well)
    • Multiply that number by how many hours you would work with them
    • Whatever that number is, feel into what your gut reaction to that number is. Does it make you cringe? Does it make you happy? Does it make you unsure?

    The truth of the pricing is that it is like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. It has to be just right for what you are offering. If you price too high, people won’t buy. If you price too low, you may not actually be getting your ideal clients.

    Take a look at your service. Break it down.

    • What problem are you solving? (your client’s pain point)
    • What are the results you are going to give them?
    • Do you have testimonials & credibility that can back up the results you are claiming you offer?
    • How long are you offering your service?
    • Are you doing individual or group coaching? Maybe you’re doing both. 😃
      Long story short, every coaching program is unique because every coach & service is different. Most coaches charge anywhere between $750- $3,000 depending on these factors listed above. Read this guide on how to manage cash flow in your wellness business.

    Step 7: Configure How To Accept Payment

    Accepting payment also varies from coach to coach. You should use a method that is comfortable for you.

    Some of the most popular ways to accept payment are

    Make sure you have a business account on whichever you choose to use as it will help contribute to your credibility & allow your clients to take you seriously as a coach. If you have your own website set up, & you take payments through your website, most website hosts use a Stripe for WooCommerce extension.

    Personally, I prefer to invoice clients via Stripe especially if they are on a payment plan. The invoices are easy to schedule, and make it convenient for your coaching clients to click the button, type in their account information, and get started working with you. You may also need to check to see if your country has any specific platforms or requirements before setting up online or invoicing payments. Here’s another helpful article with step by step.

    And now you’re all set to take clients!

    What’s In A Life Coaching Career

    If you get the opportunity, I highly recommend trying to go through a life coaching certification program and yoga teacher training program at the same time. This is how I did it, & I truly could not imagine trying to do it any other way.

    Learning the benefits of how yoga affects the mind & body coupled with getting into the mindset, navigating the specifics of issues to address, & all the opportunity available between the two is so worth it! The reality of how the two contribute to mental health is a powerful experience. One you should definitely strive to be a part of.

    A great life coach uses all of their coaching tools, and a yoga certification can be just another one to add to your treasure chest.

    A life coaching career is one full of so much reward. Once you get beyond the scope of how much money you want to make, you can move into the mindset of who you are here to serve. Your coach training will come in handy when it comes to choosing a niche, but that niche will grow and expand as you do. Maybe you start as a certified life coach, but decide somewhere down the line to get a little more specific, or narrow down your focus.

    Life coaches truly have infinite possibilities. With the recent push & need of developing more positive psychology, there is a need for prospective coaches of all kinds to start their life coach training program. YOU ARE NEEDED!!

    A life coach can help anyone & everyone, but only YOU can offer your uniqueness as a life coach to help them reach their ultimate goals and desires.

    That is the WHY. A life coach shows up for their clients. A life coach holds space for their clients. A life coach is there (within reason) to help and support their clients both in person and online.

    Whether you own your own business, work with a partner, work with a group of other coaches, or any other options, we need YOU.

    If you have ever thought about becoming a life coach, NOW is the time. The world as a whole is in need of coaches with all capabilities. From crystal healers, to a standard life coach, to Reiki masters, to dream readers, and all spaces in between.

    Now that you know how to become a life coach, in very clear actionable steps, what are you waiting for?!

    If your passions include people, connecting the mind, body, & soul, and overall wanting to make the world vibe higher… the Life Coach industry is waiting for YOU.

    Ashlie Franey

    About the Author | Ashlie Franey

    Ashlie Franey is a Woman Rising. She is a Higher Self & Identity Coach helping women to bridge the gap from their current selves to their future selves. Using her RISE method, her clients learn to step into their power & begin to fully embody the woman they want to be.

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