Life coaching is a future-focused practice with the aim of helping clients determine and achieve personal goals. Life coaches select from among several methods to help clients set and reach goals. Coaches are not therapists nor consultants; psychological intervention and business analysis are outside the scope of their tasking, Life coaching has its roots in executive coaching, which itself drew on techniques developed in management consulting and leadership training.
Multiple coach-training schools and programs are available, allowing for many options (and sometimes causing confusion) when an individual decides to gain “certification” or a “credential” as they apply to the coaching industry. Multiple certificates and credential designations are available within the industry.
How to Become a Life Coach
If you like helping people and are a charismatic and energetic person, then life coaching might be a good career choice for you. Let’s first explore what a life coach is and does, then we’ll go into more detail on the process of how to become a life coach.
Life coaches help their clients discover what is most important to them, help them perform at optimum levels, and achieve what it is they most desire. They work one-on-one with their clients, either in person or over the phone, and help them set and achieve personal goals. Life coaches are not therapists or consultants.
Life coaching evolved out of executive coaching, which itself drew on techniques developed in leadership training and management consulting. Life coaching also borrows from disciplines such as sociology, psychology, career counseling, mentoring and other types of counseling. Coaches may apply mentoring, behavior modification, behavior modeling, values assessment, goal-setting and other techniques in their practice.
Some say that life coaching is similar to psychotherapy, but without restrictions, oversight or regulation. The State legislature of Colorado disagreed, and ruled that coaching is unlike therapy because it does not focus on examining nor diagnosing the past. Life coaching focuses on changing the client’s current and future behavior. Neither does life coaching delve into diagnosing mental illness or dysfunction.
According to a survey of coaching clients, “sounding board” and “motivator” were what they were looking for most in a coach. The desire that their coach “really listen to them and give honest feedback.” Time management, career and business are the top three areas in which the surveyed clients sought help.
Before traveling too far down the path to becoming a life coach, you should first decide on a specialty, or a focus for your practice. Besides the three areas already mentioned, you could also specialize in finance, health, relationships, career management or a variety of other areas. Decide on your specialty, then pursue further training in that field.
Next you should attend a life coaching seminar. This will give you a good overview of life coaching in general, and you will have the opportunity to see how coaches interact with people in the crowd. A seminar may have one or several speakers. Approach one of them after the event and ask how best to break into the field.
After attending a seminar, you should have a pretty good idea of whether or not becoming a life coach is something you really want to pursue. You want to be sure of that before you invest your time and money into life coach training.
There are hundreds of Life Coach Courses that range from $100 home study programs, to $15,000 two year life coach certification. The value and cost of life coach training varies widely and is something you should research thoroughly.
It is important that you pursue a program of instruction that results in accreditation. Without a coaching credential you will have a difficult time convincing potential clients that you are the real deal.
You are now armed with a basic outline of how to become a life coach. Make sure you invest plenty of time in researching the topic further before you open your wallet.