If you’re considering becoming a Life Coach, you may be wondering what certification is and whether or not you really need it. There currently aren’t any regulations in place for certification, but it’s still important that you understand what it is and whether or not it’s right for you.
Life Coach certification is the process by which someone gets trained to coach professionally and is confirmed as qualified to work with clients. When someone completes a certification program to become a coach, they typically receive a certificate or other formal documentation to indicate that they’ve met the standards of the program and acquired the necessary skills and expertise to help clients get results.
Why Life Coaching Certification is Important
Earning your professional certification from a reputable institution is the first important step on the path to creating a successful career as a Life Coach. While you can work as a Life Coach without being certified, the truth is that if you want to be seen as credible and make a good living as a Life Coach, it’s in your best interest to get certified.
At Health Coach Institute, we believe there are three major advantages to completing a professional certification program. Completing a rigorous training means you’ll:
Be better prepared to help clients get the lasting results they desire
Gain the skills and knowledge necessary to achieve career success
Be able to demonstrate proof of expertise to potential clients and employers
of coach practitioners agreed that clients expect
them to be certified or credentialed
– 2016 ICF Global Coaching Study
Think of getting certified as an investment in your future. Your education is the foundation upon which your career will be built. So you want to make sure you’re investing your time, money, and energy into a training that’s both comprehensive and credible.
The best way to ensure this is to choose a school that has gone through an accreditation process. If a school’s program has been accredited, you can feel confident that they’ve been thoroughly vetted and that you’ll graduate an expert in your field, with the tools and resources you need to launch a successful career. Plus, your future clients can feel confident that you’re worth their investment since you’ve undergone extensive training.
Accreditation, Coaching, and
Feeling confused about accreditation, certification, and licensing? Here’s the difference in a nutshell:
- Accreditation is when a governing body grants a school or program official authorization, thereby deeming its graduates as qualified to coach professionally.
- Certification and Credentialing (which are one and the same, for our purposes) is the process by which someone who has completed a Life Coach training program is deemed qualified to coach professionally.
- Licensing is granted by a government organization. Though laws vary from state to state, generally speaking, educational institutions must be licensed by a state to legally operate.
Whatever path to becoming a Life Coach you choose, make it a priority to thoroughly educate yourself on the pros and cons (and any changes on the horizon that might impact your decision), and then decide what makes the most sense for you and the type of coaching business you want to create.
How to Become a Certified Life Coach
If you’re ready to take the plunge and get certified, there are three essential steps you need to take:
1. Research and compare training programs
2. Determine your best “fit”
3. Get Trained
Do Your Research
Coaching programs aren’t all created equal. In fact, they can be vastly different from one another in terms of what they deliver, how the material is taught, how much they cost, etc. Don’t assume that all of the programs will teach you what you need to launch a successful career as a Life Coach. The truth is, not all do. Shop around and compare several schools against one another. Here are some key areas we recommend you evaluate so you can ensure you choose a comprehensive education that gives you the most bang for your buck.
There are quite a few certification programs out there and tuition can range from free to upwards of $10,000. Yes, you read that right—there are free Life Coach training programs. Now you may be wondering, can I learn what I need to know in a free training? Our honest opinion is that if you’re looking for an education that will fully prepare you to help clients effectively and teach you everything you need to know to launch a business, you won’t find it in a free program. To put it simply, there won’t be much “meat on the bones” of what you’re learning.
Choosing a program that requires a financial investment, on the other hand, means you can expect more—like well-trained instructors, ongoing office hours, mentorship, access to peers, better resources and support, live learning opportunities, and advanced technology to facilitate better learning.
If the cost of a program is giving you pause, don’t worry. Many schools (like Health Coach Institute, for instance) offer financing options that are flexible and affordable, allowing you to get started for less than $50 a week. Any school you’re considering should be willing to work with you to make affording your education possible, so be sure to ask the schools what their various financing options are and be candid about your constraints.
That being said, however, do not make the mistake of assuming a more expensive program is a “better” program. There are several other areas you’ll want to make sure the programs you’re evaluating deliver in, like…
There’s no question…it can be overwhelming and difficult to suss out the great schools from the fake schools. That’s where organizations like the International Coach Federation come in. ICF sets the standard when it comes to Life Coaching accreditation. We recommend choosing from a certification program they’ve approved. If a school has been given ICF’s seal of approval, you can feel confident the curriculum is comprehensive and sound.
Next, you’ll want to review the scope and breadth of each training program’s curriculum. Download the materials they offer online and evaluate them for comprehensiveness and alignment with what you as a future Life Coach will want to offer. Does the program cover the topics and areas you’ll want to address with prospective clients? Does it include coaching training and business and marketing training so you can help clients achieve their goals and build a sustainable business? Is anything glaringly missing? Call the school’s admissions staff and don’t be afraid to ask anything that’s on your mind…and don’t be afraid to continue your search if you’re not confident they’ll meet your expectations.
Okay, future Life Coach, listen up because this one is critical! If there’s ONE criteria not to skip, it’s this one: please make sure the training program you choose includes practical, hands-on experience. Yes, it’s important to gain “book” knowledge as you train to become a Life Coach, but it’s equally important to apply your skills and learning on actual people!
This is crucial to building your confidence as a coach and fine tuning your coaching skills so you’re ready to hit the ground running once you graduate. Now, you may be thinking, What? I have to coach people while I’m in school?! Don’t let this scare you! This is an extremely important part of your training, intended to help you feel completely comfortable coaching actual clients once you’re ready to launch your career. Any reputable training program you choose should offer it. To be 100% candid…we recommend looking elsewhere if you come across a certification program that doesn’t include a hands-on training component.
Your future success as a Life Coach hinges on one really important factor: results. We’re being brutally honest here (you’ll thank us later!), but if the training program you select doesn’t prepare you to facilitate real transformation in clients, you won’t have much of a career. Therefore, you’ll want to do some digging to find out how grads talk about the schools you’re considering. Can you connect with a grad personally? Do they speak highly of the school? Do they share specific details about how they’ve been able to help clients achieve their desired goals as a result of what they’ve learned?
Find Your Fit
Once you’ve researched the abovementioned criteria and narrowed your selection down to a select few schools, it’s time to assess them for “fit.” A program might be fantastic, but if it doesn’t speak to you or the way you like to learn, you won’t get the most out of your experience. The right school will feel like it’s on your wavelength—like a like-minded community you can’t wait to join.
Start by combing every inch of each school’s website to get a feel for its “personality” and its instructors’ teaching style. Watch every video, read reviews, talk to grads, and learn as much as you can about who will be teaching you and their philosophy on coaching.
Here are some questions to consider as you determine each schools’ fit:
- Do you prefer to learn in a physical classroom setting or the flexibility and privacy of studying online from home?
- Do you prefer to learn by reading, listening, or watching? Or maybe some combination of all three?
- Are you motivated to learn on your own or do you prefer more engagement opportunities with teachers and mentors?
Asking yourself these types of questions upfront will help you get clear on what type of school will best set you up for learning success.
Now that you’ve completed the research and assessment phase, the final step is to get trained! Once you’ve enrolled in your program of choice, you’ll need to do the work to get to the finish line. Most certification programs will take several months to a year to complete, and will include a combination of solo study, mentorship, peer collaboration, and practice with clients. Be sure to make your education a priority and carve out time each day to focus on learning your trade.
You’ll get out of your training what you put into it. If you jump in with your whole heart, with all the excitement and passion you feel for your future, you’ll be a great success—and have fun!
The Benefits of Obtaining Your Life Coach Certification Online
If you’re considering going the online certification route, you’re in great company. Many Life Coach students are bypassing traditional classrooms in favor of flexible online trainings that allow them to learn at their own pace, and on their own time. In today’s world, you don’t need to enter a physical classroom to get a world-class training. In fact, many online programs rival (and even exceed) their brick and mortar counterparts by offering:
Interactive content that enhances learning and helps improves retention
“Live” office hours
24/7 access to peers
Coaching demos and other invaluable resources
In-person networking and training opportunities
So if being able to learn on your own schedule, from the comfort of home (or anywhere else) is important to you, know that this option is available and online trainings can offer everything you’d get in a face-to-face training (and more)!
How to Find the Best Life Coach
Certification Program For You
With the number of training programs out there and all of the different factors to take into consideration to ensure you’re selecting the right training program, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. You might not know where to begin. It does take work, but it’ll be worthwhile in the end when you find that perfect school for you. For some helpful pointers, check out our blog post How To Compare Life Coach Certification programs.
What Can You Do with Your
Life Coach Certificate?
As a Life Coach, there are a number of ways you can earn an income and share your expertise. Some coaches choose to go the entrepreneurial route, setting up their own practice where they work one-on-one with clients, in a group setting, or with families. Some decide to enter into a partnership with other personal growth or health professionals, while others prefer to work in a corporate setting. Some go on to become motivational speakers or lead seminars, while others publish books or sell products online. Still others elect to train other coaches.
As you can see, as a Life Coach, you can generate a generous income in a number of creative and fulfilling ways. All you need is drive and desire, coupled with the right education. If you’re interested in learning more about how our Life Coach training program can help you launch a rewarding career as a Life Coach, we invite you to contact a Clarity Coach today!