So you’re ready to become a Life Coach? Great! It’s an exciting decision and you have an amazing opportunity to build a successful career that allows you to help people transform their lives.

As you take your first steps on this journey, you’ll want to start by deciding which Life Coach certification program is right for you. There are a ton of options out there, but we’re going to help you learn how to best compare your options!

What Types of Life Coach Certification Programs Are Available?

The good news is that you have a ton of great options when it comes to choosing a Life Coach program, so you’re sure to find one that meets all of your needs and will best prepare you to become a Life coach.

Any Life Coaching program should prepare you to coach clients by teaching you:

    • the art of active listening
    • techniques to help clients gain clarity about the types of changes they wish to make in their lives
    • how to implement programs and assign clients homework

…and other coaching basics.
But the quality of programs will vary across the board, along with price, curriculum, and the support they provide.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the types of certifications available:

Certification. We’re going to talk about Life Coach certification programs, but it’s important that you understand not every program will provide you with a certificate. There aren’t any regulations about practicing as a Life Coach with or without a certificate, but we believe that the best programs are the ones that will provide you with a certificate. The training will be more comprehensive and will better prepare you to have a successful career.

Free programs. There are free Life Coach training programs available, but we don’t recommend them as the best choice. A free program may not offer you the most comprehensive training needed to coach clients effectively and start a successful business. Click here to read our blog post on the pros and cons of free life coach certification.

Paid programs. A paid program is definitely an investment in your future, but one that is well worth it. When you enroll in a paid program you can be sure you’re going to get the most robust training available. It will prepare you to help clients to the very best of your ability, have all the support and mentorship you need along the way, and put business and marketing practices in place so that you can start seeing clients—and earning money!—soon after you graduate.

Accredited programs. There is some confusion about the various training programs out there for Life Coaches, including whether a school should be accredited or not. Luckily, the International Coach Federation sets the standard when it comes to Life Coaching accreditation. It’s best to choose a program approved by the ICF. If ICF approves a program, you can rest assured that the curriculum is comprehensive and sound. Click here to read more about the importance of accreditation.

Dual programs. Some programs offer dual certificates in Life Coaching and another niche area of coaching. Health Coach Institute, for example, offers a dual Life Coach certificate that trains future coaches to master the basics of Life Coaching and to help clients more broadly as Health Coaches too. This means our grads can coach clients across ALL aspects of their lives!

Choosing the Life Coaching Certification Program for You

The bottom line when it comes to choosing a program is to find one that best fits your goals. That includes how you best learn, what kind of practice you want to have, what problems you want to help clients address, and where and how you want to work.

Here’s a list of questions to ask yourself as you complete your research:

  • How do I learn best? Am I comfortable with online training or do I perform best in a traditional classroom setting?
  • Do I want to have practice clients while I’m training?
  • Do I have business and marketing skills to grow a business or do I need that training?
  • Do I want to become a certified Life Coach?
  • What is my budget for investing in a training?
  • How much support do I need for learning, to use technology, and in terms of mentorship?

Weigh your answers to all of these questions when you’re considering a program. They will help you get a clear picture of what’s most important to you and help you weed out the programs that simply won’t work.

Phew! That’s a lot to take in! That’s why we’ve created a printable download for you to use to help clarify and focus on your decision. Click here for a list of 20 Questions to help you find the best certification program for you.

Is there a “Best” Life Coaching Certification Program?

The short answer to that question is no. There is no one best program out there. There is the best program for YOU. The questions above should help you clarify what you’re looking for in a program and what will help you best meet your goals.

The next step will be to evaluate where you feel most at home. After all, you’ll be spending weeks or months completing your training program so you’ll want to ensure that you feel comfortable with the instructors and fellow students you’ll be spending time with. You’ll want to make sure their values align with yours and that you can learn and have FUN!

The best way to evaluate whether or not you’ve found your training “home” is to consume all the information you can about a particular program. Scope out their social media, watch videos and webinars, speak with representatives, and read content on their website. See if you can find student testimonials or if there are any opportunities to ask graduates questions.

Do you feel excited about their program and everything they stand for? Do you find yourself nodding along and envisioning what you’d like to do in your own coaching career?

When you find a program that makes you feel excited for your future and giddy about starting your training, then you know you’ve found the place for you!

How to Compare the Best Life Coach Certification Programs

Now that you have a clearer picture of what to look for in a program, you’re ready to compare!

Fair warning: you might not find a program that meets every single one of your needs. After all, nothing is perfect! But if you know your biggest priorities, that can help you make the best choice for you.

We recommend making a pros and cons list for each program you’re considering and comparing them. It should be easy to quickly weed out the ones that don’t meet the criteria that are most important to you and eliminate them.

Once you’ve whittled your list down to something more manageable, compare the offerings of each school one by one. If you have questions or don’t understand how a certain aspect of a program works, ask the program’s representatives for clarification.

Here are some of the most important things to consider as you compare:

  • Will the program teach me everything I need and want to know?
  • Does it fit with my future goals?
  • Is the learning environment one in which I will succeed?
  • Can I afford this training? If not, do they have financial options?
  • How does this program make me FEEL?

We’re certain that once you’ve spent time diving into each program’s offerings and thinking about what you want out of a Life Coach training and career, your answer will become crystal clear!

The Bottom Line: Choosing Between Life Coaching Certification Programs

When it comes down to it, you know what’s best for you. You know what your dreams are and what you want most in a training program. This is a situation in which research will be invaluable, but it’s also okay to trust your gut!

You’ll know when you find a great fit for you, and with the right training and your focused attention, you’ll be well on your way to starting your career as a Life Coach!

Start Your Health and Wellness Coaching Career with HCI

Coaching is a great career that you can help others, while also learning how to help your own personal growth. Health Coach Institute is a top health and wellness coaching certification program. Join our Become a Health Coach program and begin coaching in 6 months! If you are already a coach and want to advance your skills, check out HCI’s Coach Mastery program. Feel free to get in touch with with one of our clarity coaches directly, by calling 1-800-303-2399.


Health Coach Institute provides aspiring Health and Life Coaches with the tools, training, and support to make a great living transforming lives.