How to Become a Life Coach

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Five Steps to Becoming a Life Coach

Step 1 Choose a niche

Coaching is a vast field, so professionals have a myriad of niches to choose from. This helps coaches market their services to a specific type of clientele and gives potential customers confidence that the coach has expertise helping people with their unique challenges. Some of the possible areas of specialization for life coaches include:

  • Business
  • Career transition and job search
  • Romantic relationships
  • Academic issues
  • Spirituality
  • Aging
  • Work-life balance
  • Weight loss
  • General wellness
Step 2 Complete a training program

Helping people improve different areas of their life is a big responsibility—and requires specialized training to be effective. During training, prospective coaches learn the psychological principles of coaching, how to conduct a coaching assessment to determine clients’ needs, ethics in coaching, and communication skills. In order to get the best results from their training, students should find a program that has been accredited by industry associations like the International Coach Federation.

Step 3 Get a credential

Earning a certification in addition to a degree can go a long way toward gaining the trust of potential clients. Credentials, which are provided by professional associations like the International Coach Federation and the International Association of Coaching, requires expertise and demonstration of high work standards.

For example, the International Coach Federation offers a Professional Certified Coach certification that requires professionals to have 500 hours of coaching experience—450 of which must be paid—as well as at least 25 clients. In addition, people who apply for this certification must successfully complete the Coach Knowledge Assessment, which tests on their understanding of coaching agreements, ethical guidelines, active listening skills, goal setting, and accountability.

Similarly, those who want to earn the Master Masteries Coach designation from the International Association of Coaching must complete a series of tests to demonstrate their knowledge of coaching principles. In addition, candidates for this certification must submit recordings of their coaching sessions with clients in order to be evaluated for the association’s coaching masteries—such as the ability to actively listen and help clients set clear intentions—into their sessions.

Step 4 Set up a business classification

In order to get certain legal protections as a business owner, life coaches can get a business classification, such as a Limited Liability Company or Corporation designation.

Step 5 Obtain business insurance

Although life coaches are not required to carry insurance, getting coverage can help protect their business and give clients peace of mind.

FAQ on Earning Your Coaching Credential

  • Yes. One way to attract customers is to take advantage of opportunities to connect with them. Attending networking events geared toward people in their niche allows life coaches to meet the kinds of clients they want to work with.

  • Getting the word out is important for any business, especially one that is in its early stages. Placing ads in targeted publications can help life coaches get the exposure they need to boost their business.

  • Websites, blogs, and social media pages can act as the online face of a life coach’s business. Also, this can be an affordable alternative for those who can’t pay for other forms of advertising.

  • Sharing positive feedback from clients can help life coaches gain the trust of prospective customers. Life coaches should ask their regular clients to write a testimonial they can use on their website and in promotional materials.

Life Coach Salary & Job Growth

According to PayScale, the median salary for life coaches is $46,678. However, there is a wide range of what people can earn, with the lowest earners making about $28,000 and the highest earning $92,000. However, coaches are not necessarily locked into these salary figures: Since many coaches are self-employed, they’re able to determine their own hourly rates. As a result, life coaches may charge hourly fees of over $300, depending on their training and level of experience, according to a report by the International Coach Federation. Also, coaches who work with executives can make up to $500 per hour, according to Forbes.

Alabama Mean wage annual: $37,780
Currently Employed: 970
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 9.20%
Alaska Mean wage annual: $60,840
Currently Employed: 330
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 8.20%
Arizona Mean wage annual: $31,750
Currently Employed: 1,530
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 17.80%
Arkansas Mean wage annual: $37,100
Currently Employed: 430
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 12.40%
California Mean wage annual: $35,650
Currently Employed: 13,710
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 16.30%
Colorado Mean wage annual: $50,040
Currently Employed: 1,660
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 29.90%
Connecticut Mean wage annual: $47,950
Currently Employed: 2,050
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 17.00%
Delaware Mean wage annual: $36,440
Currently Employed: 370
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 12.20%
Florida Mean wage annual: $39,790
Currently Employed: 2,340
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 14.30%
Georgia Mean wage annual: $38,960
Currently Employed: 1,090
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 11.70%
Hawaii Mean wage annual: $42,690
Currently Employed: 200
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 12.10%
Idaho Mean wage annual: $38,590
Currently Employed: 1,760
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 24.40%
Illinois Mean wage annual: $36,480
Currently Employed: 3,210
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 9.90%
Indiana Mean wage annual: $39,170
Currently Employed: 1,170
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 16.80%
Iowa Mean wage annual: $36,740
Currently Employed: 2,020
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 13.80%
Kansas Mean wage annual: $31,310
Currently Employed: 700
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 11.80%
Kentucky Mean wage annual: $37,840
Currently Employed: 700
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 12.90%
Louisiana Mean wage annual: $44,360
Currently Employed: 620
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 8.90%
Maine Mean wage annual: N/A
Currently Employed: N/A
Change in Employment (2016-2026): N/A
Maryland Mean wage annual: $42,250
Currently Employed: 2,030
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 32.10%
Massachusetts Mean wage annual: $41,470
Currently Employed: 5,780
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 8.60%
Michigan Mean wage annual: $39,010
Currently Employed: 3,560
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 6.80%
Minnesota Mean wage annual: $40,940
Currently Employed: 3,640
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 9.00%
Mississippi Mean wage annual: $33,020
Currently Employed: 530
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 5.30%
Missouri Mean wage annual: $35,580
Currently Employed: 2,290
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 6.70%
Montana Mean wage annual: $36,120
Currently Employed: 420
Change in Employment (2016-2026): N/A
Nebraska Mean wage annual: $38,910
Currently Employed: 460
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 13.80%
Nevada Mean wage annual: $37,330
Currently Employed: 560
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 25.30%
New Hampshire Mean wage annual: $44,650
Currently Employed: 280
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 12.60%
New Jersey Mean wage annual: $59,520
Currently Employed: 1,120
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 3.90%
New Mexico Mean wage annual: $36,520
Currently Employed: 280
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 14.50%
New York Mean wage annual: $37,430
Currently Employed: 7,490
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 16.50%
North Carolina Mean wage annual: $40,650
Currently Employed: 2,380
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 14.40%
North Dakota Mean wage annual: $45,990
Currently Employed: 180
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 18.20%
Ohio Mean wage annual: $36,740
Currently Employed: 2,020
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 3.90%
Oklahoma Mean wage annual: $26,520
Currently Employed: 2,210
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 11.20%
Oregon Mean wage annual: $43,360
Currently Employed: 1,680
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 12.80%
Pennsylvania Mean wage annual: $37,960
Currently Employed: 8,020
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 12.30%
Rhode Island Mean wage annual: $55,520
Currently Employed: 520
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 4.60%
South Carolina Mean wage annual: $29,900
Currently Employed: 840
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 10.60%
South Dakota Mean wage annual: $41,930
Currently Employed: 300
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 11.60%
Tennessee Mean wage annual: $23,900
Currently Employed: 2,790
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 17.00%
Texas Mean wage annual: $43,650
Currently Employed: 3,720
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 22.00%
Utah Mean wage annual: $48,180
Currently Employed: 500
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 23.20%
Vermont Mean wage annual: $48,180
Currently Employed: 300
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 11.80%
Virginia Mean wage annual: $42,500
Currently Employed: 2,800
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 16.60%
Washington Mean wage annual: $46,030
Currently Employed: 4,910
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 9.20%
West Virginia Mean wage annual: N/A
Currently Employed: N/A
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 5.60%
Wisconsin Mean wage annual: $32,250
Currently Employed: 2,480
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 11.60%
Wyoming Mean wage annual: $35,960
Currently Employed: 170
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 11.20%
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According to the International Coach Federation, the need for coaches will increase because of the growing favorable view of coaching among potential clients and data indicating that there’s a strong return on investment to those who use coaching services. However, tracking the exact amount of growth these professionals can expect in the coming years is tricky because the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not collect data for this exact job title. The agency does track coaching-related jobs such as educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors; personal care and service workers; and rehabilitation counselors. Based on this data, the rate of growth for the industry is expected to be around 13 to 15 percent between 2016 and 2026.

Finding a Life Coach Certification Program

The right coach training lays a foundation for a successful career, so those who want to enter the field should choose their certification program wisely. Students should find a training program that will give them the credentials they need to build a thriving business. Although finding programs that have been accredited by the International Coaching Federation or the International Association of Coaching is the first step toward being successful in the field, it’s not the only consideration. When searching for programs, students also care about how long they will take to complete, the tuition cost, and the way courses are delivered. Use the following search tool to compare schools based on these factors in order to make the right choice.

Professional Life Coach Associations & Groups

In order to build their businesses, life coaches must make connections with people on a regular basis. The following professional organizations can help with these vital connections, while sharpening coaching skills.

Resources for Life Coaches

The resources below help life coaches as they help others.