Perhaps you’re interested in becoming a life coach because you enjoy supporting people and helping them create their best life? Maybe you’ve discovered methods of achievement and of overcoming obstacles you’d like to share to champion people in reaching their full potential? Or you love helping people succeed in their goals and being a part of that process?
Turn Your Passion for People into a Career as a Life Coach
How can you turn this passion for people into a career or an additional stream of income?
The first step is to add training and credentials to your passion. Most likely you already possess some skills necessary in life coaching. You’re a good listener, ask great questions, and are naturally encouraging. However, as more and more people realize that life coaching is an essential component of success, this field becomes more and more competitive.
Salaries for Life Coaches in the United States
The International Coaching Federation (ICF) conducted a study in 2016 which stated the average U.S. salary for a life coach practitioner is $61,900. (The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not collect separate data on life coaches. Instead, they are grouped with counselors, personal care and service workers).
Life Coaching Regulations
Life coaching is not regulated on a state or federal level. Nor does it have a licensing board or real oversight. There is no degree or license required to be a life coach. The closest to a worldwide governing body is the ICF. It’s advancing the coaching industry by setting standards of excellence, accrediting coach training programs (called ACTPs), and building a global network of professional coaches.
Earning a certificate through an ACTP will help you gain confidence and skills as a working professional. These programs offer you teaching, training simulations, and the opportunity to earn coaching hours with feedback from certified life coaches. In addition, you often also receive life coaching yourself which helps you experience first-hand styles of coaching that may or may not work well for you.
Education for Life Coaching
There is no formal education at the university level required to become a life coach. However, most life coaches have a certificate from an accredited training program like ICF or the International Association of Coaching (IAC). Requirements for life coaching certification is a combination of training and work/life experience.
Life Coach Skills
According to the ICF, the core competencies of a life coach include:
- Active listening
- Strong verbal communication skills
- Genuine concern
- Problem solving
- Goal setting
- Progress management
Although these are emphasized and taught during the program, use these core competencies as a form of self-assessment to see if you already possess these qualities.
Life Coach Certification Programs
Find a certification program that has values you resonate with because you will be learning to use their methodology and framework.
Programs can vary in cost from $1500 to $8000. It’s an investment in your future so it pays to do your research.
A good coaching program will also offer you professional forms, templates, questionnaires, and agreements to use with your future clients. The goal is to turn this passion into a business. The program you choose should be forward-thinking and instructive towards this outcome.
The ICF offers three levels of certification, including the:
- Associate Certified Coach (ACC)
- Professional Certified Coach (PCC)
- Master Certified Coach (MCC)
A coaching program will require you to log several coaching hours. For example, the ICF, requires coaches to complete and document anywhere from 100 to 2,500 hours of coaching, depending on the certification level. Most of these hours must come from paid coaching.
Forecast of Life Coaching Jobs in the United States
According to Forbes Coaches Council, “relationship-based, helping jobs” will be in high demand during 2020 and beyond.
As our world moves into further dependence on artificial intelligence, more people are valuing what robots can’t do- “feel, think and sit with your emotions.” A life coach profession allows you to utilize your soft skills. It’s a people-oriented industry with people skills at the forefront.
Employment of life coaches (classified by the BLS as Social and Human Service Assistants) is expected to grow by 13% through 2028.
Find Your Life Coaching Niche
As you launch your life coaching career, it’s advantageous to determine which clients you’ll serve best and will most benefit from your training and work/life experience.
Consider specializing your coaching business in one of following niches:
- Goal attainment
- Health and wellness
- Life skills
- Industry specific/skills
Alternatively, you may choose to focus on a life-stage since life coaching is often about, but not exclusive to, goal setting through change and transition.
- Empty nesters
- New parents
- Recent graduates
- People rebuilding their lives after illness, divorce or the loss of a loved one
- Corporate executives