The Beginner's Guide To Getting Started As A Successful Coach | The Coaching Institute

The Beginner's Guide To Getting Started As A Successful Coach

Beginner's Guide to Getting Started As A Coach

Tell me if you've ever had this happen to you...

Your friends seem to come to you for advice.

You love helping people sort through their "issues".

You spend hours upon hours listening to your loved ones just so you could help them.

You have unmatched flexibility and can “morph” into who you need for the other person in the moment.

If you were nodding with a resounding YES as you read the above lines, then you may have what it takes to become a successful Life Coach.

And you want to keep reading this post. 



I didn’t become a coach for any of the noble reasons they quote, such as making a difference or contributing to the community.

(I wish!)

I became a coach because I wanted to get my act together. I was seriously making a mess of things, my self-esteem was at an all-time low, and I was stuck in a rut that was so deep it had its own post code and cable TV.

And I’m only half-joking.

I thought I should get a coach, but then I realised… I didn’t just needed help to change; I wanted to understand how to change, so I could do it anytime I needed to in the future.

So I trained to become a coach.

And then something amazing happened.

I realised, I loved helping other people. The more I helped others, the more I seemed to help myself with my own stuff.

It all started with a decision to create change within myself, and morphed into touching so many lives and bringing about transformational positive change.

I've had so many people ask us the same question that I recall asking myself all those years ago.

"Is coaching for me?"
"Do I have what it takes"?
"How can I get started?"

And you know what? It's great to ask these questions! They were the very beginning foundation of what cracked me open, of what made me question my own choices and of what allowed me to experience a much richer, fuller life and relationships. 

Instead of answering these very legit questions individually, we decided why not create a complete guide that will help you take the next step around coaching.

There was no reason not to - so here we go!

(Fair warning: This is a 2,000+ word mammoth of a Guide, so we suggest you bookmark this post, print this information and keep revisiting it as you do your research.)


Ask any coach and they will tell you this:

Coaching is a conversation like no other.

In its simplest form, coaching is a relationship between two people, the coach and the client. There may be instances when you, as a coach, may work with a group of people, as in case of corporate coaching. For the purpose of simplicity in this post, we’re going to consider coaching as an exchange of information and a relationship between two people.

As a coach, you have a singular most important goal – to assist the client close the gap between where they are and where they want to be.

You can do this in several ways:

  • Through removing the client from the stories they tell themselves
  • By helping them disassociate with the reasons they “can’t”
  • By helping them set and look forward to achieving new goals
  • By helping them to create empowering beliefs and attitudes.


There are several reasons and each coach has their own.

For starters, coaching can be a pathway to your own business, giving you the flexibility and freedom to work where and when you like. For people who want to work from home, and who want to work part-time, it provides true independence.

It provides the tools and resources to enable you to work on yourself, as you assist others with their goals. Each methodology we learn to help a client, we can apply to help ourselves, too.

Being a success coach provides the opportunity to assist people who want to move forward in their lives. You don’t spend time talking about their problems, but rather, about ways to proactively create the results they want.

Coaching can then turn into speaking engagements, workshop presentations and group coaching. This allows you to leverage your time effectively.

As you build your skills and confidence, you can develop a personal development product and make that available through a website, providing an alternative source of income for you.


Until the late 80's, there were some people who'd go to see either a psychotherapist or analyst to help them overcome a specific problem such as giving up smoking or beating depression.

It was soon discovered that a lot of these “patients” didn’t have a “condition”– they just felt that their lives were a little off balance. Some therapists started to deal solely with these clients and this branched off into a new industry known as Life Coaching.

There are 30,000 coaches in the world as of writing this, so clearly, coaching is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. The demand for coaches is ever-rising. A a coach, your clients seek your help in areas such as goal-setting, getting better results, understanding what they really want, aiming for a more fulfilled, richer life among other things.

But let's address the elephant in the room.

*Does coaching really work?*

Let me put it this way, if it didn't, there would be no coaches, and the industry would be shrinking than growing. Simple logic, yes? 

And it's not just any coaches, I'm talking about real-life, successful and passionate coaches who are making a difference to their clients' lives as we speak. Read some of their Coach Success Stories here.


If you’re unsure what it takes to become a successful coach, here are some guidelines to help.

A coach develops certain qualities that enable them to be effective with their clients. Some of the characteristics of an outstanding coach are:

  • Listen generously with curiosity: You want to dig deeper into the map of your client’s world.
  • Build rapport with the client: Rapport is defined as a state of trust and responsiveness where your words become your client’s thoughts. It’s your ultimate tool for producing results when working with clients.
  • Ask great questions: Questions are incredibly powerful tools. When combined with rapport, they are a powerhouse duo and bring about effective, lasting change.
  • Embrace uncertainty: You don’t know what’s going to happen, but you’re willing to go there and explore the depths with your client.
  • Apply coaching models that work: There are several effective coaching models that you can use. A model essentially gives you a roadmap to navigate a client session, along with specific questions in each area to explore.

For example, coaches must fulfil certain “core competencies”. Industry recognising body International Coach Guild (ICG) lists 15 competencies that a coach must fulfil and practise to gain recognition.


Life coaching session

Most coaches get asked this a lot, “Isn’t coaching is really like therapy or counselling, or even mentoring?”

The short answer? Nope.

Let me explain why. Patients seeking therapy and/or counselling usually have a problem arising from a specific incident, condition or trauma.

A coaching client usually has no experience of these. Many clients are successful, fulfilled people already and they are now looking to raise the bar, experience even more success and become more effective at what they already do well.

A therapist or counsellor usually starts with the client’s past to find the solution to an existing condition. A coach, on the other hand, draws a line in the sand and starts with the present and the future.

Mentoring has similarities to coaching but there is a fundamental difference. A mentor is experienced in a particular area and knows the answers. Think of a mentor as a teacher; a coach as a guide. 


Whilst some people who train with us don’t want to turn their skills into an income, many do. We have a very thorough step-by-step system in place to help our coaches achieve this. Coaches can earn their income through many different channels:

  • One-on-one coaching with a client list
  • Group coaching with approximately ten people, via phone or face to face
  • Workshops and seminars
  • Public speaking engagements
  • Applying for tenders for coaching ‘panels’ or teams of coaches
  • Providing diagnostic tools and methodologies, such as EDISC and Meta Dynamics™ profiling tools
  • Developing a personal or professional development CD set
  • Developing a personal or professional development DVD set
  • Writing a book
  • Having an agency of coaches and earning a percentage from the work they are given
  • Mentoring new coaches to develop their skills and abilities


Most people will hesitate to give you the real numbers.

I think that's unfair. And it instantly raises my "BS detector."

Because you're still reading this, I take you're really serious about coaching, so let's get past that.

Here's a quick breakdown of how much you can make a as a coach: 

Per hour rates are between $75/hour and $1,500/hour or more, depending on skill and experience.

A monthly retainer rate between $200/month to $10,000/month or more, depending on the services provided.

A per event fee for speaking of between zero and $15,000.

Of course, all of these fees are dependent upon your ability, expertise, skill, experience and demand. These fees do not simply "happen" because you have done a program with a coaching school. You must have talent, ability, marketing skills, and a willingness to put yourself out there.

Here the thing. Some coaches make no money as a coach, even though they originally did set a monetary goal.

These coaches receive the same training, the same materials and the same access to mentors and experts.

Yet, the complain they have no paying clients. What gives?!

It's simple. Like in any business, results come from taking the right action.

Inevitably, all results come down to how much effort >you put in; how willing you are to learn and apply what you learn and how well can you persist.

The good news is all of this is "learned behaviour". In other words, you can always seek help, surround yourself with positive, passionate people and follow the right models to make it work.

(Here at TCI, we've put together the most comprehensive and advanced coaching programs available, drawing on the latest technologies from around the world. You can find out more about these programs here.)


Successful Coaches

Surprisingly, you don’t need a PhD or a Master’s degree to become a Life Coach.

Life coaching is not (yet) regulated, but there are some great study options out there in the Australasian and International markets.

Just because you don’t need an advanced degree doesn’t mean you don’t have to work for it.

Most coach recognition will require you to study, attend in-person training, submit your knowledge paper and log in your coaching hours.

Having trained some of the best coaches in Australasia in the last 12 years, The Coaching Institute offers 4 core coaching programs with the recognition and high standards of the International Coach Guild (ICG) as well as the option to choose from Nationally Recognised Training.

Learn more about Credentialed Practitioner of Coaching here.
Learn more about Advanced Practitioner of Coaching here.
Learn more about Master Practitioner of Coaching here.
Learn more about Accredited Professional Coach here.


The Coaching Institute is aligned with International Coach Guild (ICG), the leading industry body that brings elite coaching schools and coaches together. The ICG is the only body that recognises schools, courses and coaches and ensures they meet standards of coaching excellence.

There are currently 3 levels of recognition available, rigorously developed by highly qualified trainers and assessors, globally recognised and easily transferable across borders and industries.

Regardless of where you are in your coaching career, you have a recognition level.

Associate Membership: Associate membership is open to all students and graduates of ICG recognised courses. If you have enrolled into an ICG recognised course or a graduate and have learnt your coach development based on the ICG Core Competencies, then you qualify to be an Associate member.

Recognised Membership: Recognised membership is exclusive only to those professional coaches who have graduated from an ICG recognised course (or recognised through the portfolio pathway) who have successfully completed the comprehensive recognition process with ICG.
There are three levels for your recognition.
- Certified Coach Level
- Certified Advanced Coach Level
- Credentialed Master Coach Level

Find out How to Become a Successful Coach in this short interview with Sharon Pearson, Founder of The Coaching Institute

Beginner's Guide to Getting Started As A Coach


Congratulations! As someone curious about coaching, you now have a "good enough" idea of what it takes to get started as a coach.

Here are 3 simple things you can do next:

1. Start with this blog and read through the articles posted – we have a ton of advice on what it takes to become a successful coach, how to adopt the mindset of a successful coach, marketing advice for coaches that works and more.

2. They say you’re the sum total of 5 people you hang out with. It’s only natural then that you surround yourself with positive, like-minded, passionate people. LIKE The Coaching Institute’s community on Facebook and find out how coaches are making a difference for their clients and the community through their coaching.

3. Want to download this guide as a PDF? Simply enter your details below and we'll deliver it straight to your inbox! 

[This Life Coaching infographic was recently picked up and republished by LifeHack.]

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