Do you enjoy helping others succeed? Do you get a kick out of lifting their spirits and boosting their confidence? Are you good at mentoring and leading by example? Do you think you can help people turn their dreams into reality?
If you answered yes to these questions, you might want to consider becoming a life coach. But if you’re reading this article, it probably means that you have already considered it, and you’d like to know more about what this career path means and what it takes to become successful.
Life coaching can be an incredibly rewarding job. You get to help people let go of limiting beliefs, overcome challenges and find meaning in their lives. And because you can do all this, you can also make a six-figure income in the process.
What Does a Life Coach Do?
A life coach is a personal development professional who helps people gain insight through introspection, set goals, and improve various aspects of their lives according to these goals. Some life coaches focus on career growth, while others help with emotional wellness, relationships, and spirituality, among other things. Their job usually involves:
- Working with clients to set short- and long-term goals in their personal or professional lives;
- Encouraging and supporting their clients through regular meetings in order to help them achieve a more balanced life or success in various endeavors;
- Discussing recent events and progress through one-on-one meetings in person, on the phone, or through video conferencing;
- Providing personality assessments meant to help their clients better understand themselves and to help them adapt their coaching style and techniques to the clients’ needs;
- Helping clients develop certain skills they need to achieve their goals, such as communication, organization, and leadership skills.
At least for now, the life coaching profession does not have any regulatory authority, which means anyone can be a life coach. You don’t need any degree or certificate. You only have to get started.
That being said, just because someone says they’re a life coach doesn’t mean they automatically get clients. If people are going to pay for your services, they’re going to want to know a bit about your background and compare options.
One survey found that about half of life coaches have a bachelor’s degree and a fifth also have a master’s degree. The most popular degree majors are business, communication, and psychology.
You can become a successful life coach without a bachelor’s degree, but you still need to somehow show your expertise.
Many life coaches undergo an official training program that includes training on coaching methods and strategies provided by certified life coaches with years of experience. The training covers subjects such as coaching ethics and approaches tailored to specific client situations.
In addition, most of these programs require a set number of verified coaching hours, which give hands-on experience applying the concepts learned in the program.
The International Coach Federation (ICF) is the only organization that offers internationally recognized training programs and certification. The ICF provides three levels of certification:
Associate Certified Coach (ACC)
To get this certification, you have to go through the required training, complete 100 hours of coaching with a certain number of clients, complete 10 hours of mentored coaching hours, pass the Coaching Knowledge Assessment, and submit a portfolio with documented coaching sessions for review.
Professional Certified Coach (PCC)
To get this certification, you need to go through the required training, and much like the ACC certification, you need to pass the Coaching Knowledge Assessment, complete 10 hours of mentored coaching hours, submit a portfolio with documented coaching sessions for review, but you need 500 coaching hours with a certain number of clients.
Master Certified Coach (MCC)
For this certification, you first need to get the PCC certification with everything it involves and reach 2,500 hours of coaching.
Certain certifications must be updated every few years through continuous training and education, as required by the ICF.
What Skills Does a Life Coach Need?
The following are some of the most prevalent skills a life coach needs to be successful:
As a life coach, you need to be emotionally intelligent so you can understand the client’s perspective, background, experiences, and concerns.
You’ll need good communication skills to connect with your clients, discuss their goals and provide them with encouragement. You’ll also need to adapt your communication style so you can engage them on a personal level.
You’ll need problem-solving skills to help your clients address various challenges and find optimal solutions taking into account their aspirations and strengths.
Lastly, you will need business skills since you’ll be running a business as a life coach, which means you need to get a business license, insurance and start marketing. Most life coaches start part-time and move to full-time once they feel they’re ready and their business is profitable enough. To help you stay organized while also working a full-time job, you can hire a virtual assistant through an agency like Virtalent.com.
What’s It Like to Work as a Life Coach?
Life coaches may work for a company or organization, supporting employees with career advancement and other personal development challenges. Others might work for a wellness center that provides life coaching. Many life coaches work for themselves and run their own businesses.
As we already mentioned, you can start part-time progress to full-time when you’re ready, or you can continue coaching part-time if you enjoy your other job. It’s entirely up to you.
You can also specialize in a particular client issue, such as weight management. The area you choose to specialize in will have a major influence on your work environment and the type of work you do.
In terms of how an average day would look like, that also varies. Many life coaches conduct one-on-one sessions through video conferencing, but you can also do group coaching or organize live events.
Group coaching usually means three to five clients for a set amount of time – three to six months. You meet with them in person or virtually. The advantage is that this way, your clients have a group they can rely on and learn from each other.
Live events can also take place virtually, but they tend to be most effective in person, so you need to enjoy speaking in front of crowds and traveling.