Becoming a life coach can be a fun, rewarding and varied career.
There are many types of life coaches, each of whom assist clients in making positive changes in their lives. A life coach will help a client to draw up a plan and make achievable recommendations to accomplish realistic expectations and goals.
Life coaches are not mental health therapists, but they do act as counselors to their clients, meeting with them on a regular basis to discuss their progress and what is holding them back from meeting their goals.
Here we will discuss the various types of life coach jobs that are available.
Job Duties of a Life Coach
Life coaches work with clients, usually individually but sometimes as a group, to achieve attainable, measurable goals. Duties will vary from one job setting to another, but generally include:
- Assessing a client’s needs and goals in an initial meeting
- Developing plans and strategies to help a client meet their goals
- Keeping records of client progress towards goals
- Meeting with clients on a regular basis to evaluate progress towards goals
- Adjusting strategies to meet goals as necessary
Education and Certification for Life Coaches
Life coaches need no formal training, as their jobs are not regulated under the law. However, in order to be an effective life coach, you will need specialized training. Classes are available online and in-person to help you to learn the proper techniques and processes life coaches use.
Life Coach Certification Organizations
Depending upon your preference, you might want to become certified by one of the two main life coach certification organizations.
- The International Coach Foundation (ICF) offers training online, through private organizations and through colleges/universities. They require various numbers of hours of education and experience depending upon the credential desired (Associate Certified Coach, Professional Certified Coach, or Master Certified Coach) as well as continuing education to maintain that credential.
- The Center for Credentialing and Education (CCE) gives credit for prior knowledge and experience you may have through a degree or certification program you have already completed. Their credential, Board Certified Coach, must also be maintained through continuing education.
Types and Settings of Life Coach Jobs
Life coaches can be generalists or they can specialize with certain populations of clients. Places that they may work, and populations that they may work with, include (but are not limited to):
- Individual and family services: this type of life coach concentrates on problems that individuals and families face, from issues such as relationships to transitions in moving from one state to another
- Vocational services: this type of life coach works with clients who are looking to change careers, dealing with unemployment, or facing unwanted changes in their career path
- Private agencies: some private nonprofit agencies employ life coaches to help as counselors and lifestyle consultants. This may involve working with clients who wish to improve their health and wellness or solve other problems in their lives
- Corporations: some corporations employ life coaches to help their executives and employees with leadership skills
- Self-employment: as a life coach you may also choose to work for yourself, in private practice or on a consulting basis. Then you may choose your own jobs and hours, and focus on whatever area(s) of life coaching you like best.
Work Hours for Life Coaches
Most life coaches see 10 or fewer clients at one time, giving them ample time to devote to each one’s issues and goals.
Full-time life coaches typically work 40-hour weeks, normal daytime hours. However, they may need to work evenings and weekends for clients who are only available to meet with them then.
For life coaches who work on a part-time basis, an ICF study from 2019 found that the average hours worked per week is 13.
Many life coaches set their own hours and enjoy the freedom that this career affords them.
Examples of Life Coach Positions
While life coaches are not mental health counselors, some counselors have trained as life coaches. Make sure that you realize the difference, however, between mental health therapists and life coaches. Life coaches cannot diagnose or treat mental health conditions, as therapists or counselors do. They are also not bound by HIPAA (health information privacy protection) laws.
You will notice, if you examine databases for therapists such as PsychologyToday.com, that many mental health professionals advertise themselves as life coaches. No one should market themselves as a life coach, however, unless they have received professional certification from a life coaching organization. (For example, they should have the initials ACC, PCC, MCC or BCC behind their names).
Some examples of recent vacancies for life coaching positions across the country include:
- Life Coach, Beltsville, MD – working with developmentally disabled adults, teaching them life strategies and goals and helping them to improve their personal and professional lives
- Life Coach, Bridgeport, CT – assisting those recovering from drug and alcohol abuse to learn new strategies in achieving goals in their personal and professional lives
- Emotional Wellness Coach, remote – working with clients through online/video chat to achieve goals including stress management, life changes, workplace relationships and more
- Coach Mentor, Edison, NJ – assisting adolescents and young adults with social and emotional challenges in transitioning into the real world
- Wellness Coach, Los Angeles, CA – working with individuals who desire to lose weight and achieve health and wellness goals
- Jobs Plus Life Coach, Los Angeles, CA – this job involves working with residents of public housing in the city of Los Angeles and helping them to find jobs with upward mobility
- Master Life Coach, remote – a wellness, finance and technology company employing a life coach to help others with their wellness and personal development goals
- Relationship Coach, New York – this job involves coaching clients around the world in finding new relationships and bettering existing relationships
Salary and Job Outlook for Life Coaches
The ICF quotes the average annual salary for life coaches as of 2019 at $62,500.
The job outlook for life coaches is expected to be quite good, as more people face changes in their lives through job transitions, relationship problems, and health and wellness issues that they wish to tackle.
The ICF study found that 75 percent of life coaches expect to see an increase in clients and revenue within the year. COVID-19 has, unfortunately, affected life coaching jobs, as 49 percent of life coaches say that they have experienced reduced income as a result of the pandemic. However, many clients are looking to make transitions in their lives due to other changes being forced upon them in the pandemic, and are turning to life coaches to help them do so.
Life coaches can be a great way for people to alter their lives in meaningful ways without resorting to mental health therapy or counseling.