How to become a life coach: a step by step guide to follow

How to become a life coach: A step by step guide

Starting with the first questions to ask yourself to graduation and first clients, here's how to become a life coach.

Curious about how to become a life coach? Here's a step by step guide.

If you've been researching becoming a life coach, you know there's a ton of information out there about how to do it, how much life coaches earn, and how to build your business and network of clients.

To cut through to the details that matter, The Coaching Institute wrote this full rundown for our future, new and existing students. Coaching is a rewarding, fast growing industry with endless possibilities—executive, one on one, relationship—so here's all you need to know about becoming someone who helps set and achieve the life goals of others.

1) Put away your keyboard

That's right. Research isn't the first step. Not everyone is suited to becoming a coach—more about that here, in a quiz form—so before you look around more, ask yourself these basic questions to see if you're suited to the career.

  • Do you like working with people?
  • Are you a generally curious person?
  • Do you like the idea of working with people one on one and supporting them to be their best?
  • Do you want to know what makes people tick?
  • "If you say yes to those and have others already forming in your mind, then coaching will make a really good career," says Matt Lavars, head trainer at The Coaching Institute.

"Some people are a little too impatient with people. Or don’t really enjoy helping people. Some people don’t enjoy seeing others succeed. If any of this seems like you, then perhaps there’s another career that you may be better suited for," says Sharon Pearson, founder of The Coaching Institute.

Now you're ready for the next step in knowing how to become a life coach.

2) Look around properly

Find an organisation that has your own style. Check out their website, success stories and reviews. See if their mission and values align with yours, comb their content. Watch videos of the presenters and see if you like them.

Assess the marketing and make sure it's a good fit. "Ask if you resonate with the people that they are and work out if they have an example of a coach you'd like to become. Get a feel for the environment," says Matt.

  REPUTATION

Check out the reputation of the school and its trainers. If you find a negative news story, try to find another to see if there's a pattern or it was a one off. Do a Google search for reviews from actual students, for example, 'The Coaching Institute reviews.'

Things to remember: Students are sometimes encouraged to give positive reviews. See if there's a pattern with any negative reviews. Check out if people have disabled reviews on their Facebook page—it's a red flag.

  CERTIFICATION

Time was that purely online courses were to be avoided, but the coronavirus pandemic has meant most life coaching schools around the world have pivoted to a purely online presence. The Coaching Institute did in March, and plans to continue its electronic presence indefinitely so it can extend its global reach.

  LENGTH OF COURSES

Beware the short and snappy. Could you learn to fly a plane in three days? No. So you probably can't learn to guide your own life and that of others in a weekend either, although introductory short courses as great as tasters for what to expect.

The length of the course will have a parallel to its quality, says Matt: "Try and steer away from short courses. If you only do those, you're going to do them a lot and you'll end up studying for a long period of time."

 CONTENT

The best schools teach you about business as well as how to become a life coach. It's an integral part of the process. Find a school that will teach you how to find clients, not just be a coach. Make sure you can get lots of one on one mentoring.

3) Don't give up your day job

Well, not yet. While creating a new income stream or business will probably be a driving force in why you want to become a coach, Matt Lavars recommends giving yourself time to study and get good at it. "Don't put yourself under pressure to make money immediately. Stay in your job. Mostly, you'll have to study for a year while you're still employed. Then go for it.

4) Practice your skills

Focus on building coaching hours—a good goal is to get to 100 hours as fast as possible. Don't expect to feel fully confident in the beginning, says Matt, but it usually takes a year to feel that you have everything you need to serve your clients.

5) Get your certification

As with confidence, getting your certification—here's the ones that matter—takes about a year but you can practice long before that. Because the industry is unregulated, you can technically coach someone after your first training weekend. "It comes down to how good you are and if someone has previous experience or a little bit of natural talent," says Matt. "Those people might be worth $100 an hour at the end of their first training (which at TCI is Foundations of Coaching Success.)

When should you start charging? "When you know you're giving enough value."

If you're still curious about whether you're coaching could be a great fit for you, take TCI's 'Is life coaching right for me?' quiz here.

Let us know how you go!

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