Make This Your Year! How to Become a Life Coach in 2021
There are thousands of people out there today—right now, in fact!—who are experiencing a deep sense of purpose and fulfillment in their professional lives. They’re helping others become who they want to be, using their gifts at work, and creating a life they enjoy living with a sense of intention.
How would that feel for you?
For a growing number of people, the life coaching career field is the answer to fulfilling their inner purpose in a way that also allows them to live a comfortable lifestyle.
So if you’ve been dancing with the idea of becoming a coach, or quietly wondering if it’s time to make the leap, ask yourself: why not now?
Why not choose this as the year you make a wise investment in yourself that pays off in other areas of your life?
If any part of you is feeling lit up and excited at the idea of becoming a life coach this year, read on for a roadmap of the practical steps you can take to bring that dream to life.
1. Embrace professional coaching as a growing industry and a viable career
Life coaching is a booming global industry with plenty of untapped potential.
Coaching is now a $2 billion industry and continues to see tremendous growth as more and more people are choosing to pursue coach training and leverage the power of coaching skills in their careers and everyday lives.
Currently, there are an estimated 53,300 professional coach practitioners worldwide. These are individuals who are fully supporting themselves financially through coaching, which doesn’t even include the thousands of additional leaders and managers who employ coaching as part of their job. And Marketdata study findings indicate that this number continues to climb as consumers seek clarity and motivation regarding career changes, work-life balance, relationships, health, personal finances, and other important areas of their lives.
Not only are thousands of coaches already making their dream a reality, there's also still so much opportunity to grow and expand your own thriving coaching practice, or kickstart a ripple of positive change at your organization.
2. Consider the Benefits of Getting Certified
Whether you’re considering starting your own life coaching practice or you’ve already been practicing for years, at some point you’re likely to face the question: “Do I really need to be certified in an unregulated industry?”
The simple answer: No. You don't have to be certified before offering coaching services. You can certainly “hang your placard” without enrolling in a training and certification program. But that doesn’t mean it’s the best or most effective way to go.
Here are some important reasons to consider pursuing a coaching certification:
A coaching certification gives you proven tools and new techniques
Many people are drawn to coaching because they feel a profound sense of joy from helping others break through their fears and blocks and become the leaders in their own lives. And while your natural gifts and instincts may give you a wonderful foundation for doing this, a coach training and certification program is designed to equip you with the skills and tools to handle any situation your client may bring you.
By completing an immersive coach training program and learning professional strategies and techniques, you’ll know how to take your clients further to sustainably achieve their personal and professional goals.
A coaching certification establishes legitimacy
Having a certification is an easy way to stand out in the market. It boosts your reputation, establishes you as a true professional, and provides an instant layer of legitimacy. Whether it’s fair or not, prospective clients assign more value to a coach who has invested in a training and certification program. If the initial coaching certification costs seem daunting to you, keep in mind that potential clients will be quicker to trust you and pay more for the services of a certified coach.
A coaching certification opens doors
We all reach roadblocks. Sometimes we’re faced with situations that we just don’t know how to handle. When you’re part of a community of certified coaches, you have an entire network of peers, mentors, and friends to call on when you’re feeling particularly blocked. Plus, having this network is also a wonderful opportunity for referrals!
3. Plan for the Costs of a Training Program
The big question on every prospective certified coach’s mind seems to be: What type of investment will I have to make?
This is a common concern, and a very understandable one. If you’re going to make a significant investment, you want to feel confident it’s going to have a lasting and positive effect on your career, life, and your financial stability!
Coach training programs vary significantly in price, with unaccredited programs starting as low as $2,000 to $3,000, and accredited programs ranging anywhere from $5,000 to $14,000 or more.
Keep in mind: the key to understanding the price of a program is to make sure that you know exactly what’s included in the cost. Some programs appear less expensive on the surface, but if you start to dig a little deeper, you’ll find hidden fees for things like:
- Purchasing prerequisite courses or additional training to earn certification
- Finding and hiring your own mentor coach
- Acquiring additional books or materials
- Paying for business development coaching or business development kits to help you get your business off the ground
- Covering the cost of certification exams
For this reason, tuition options that are all-inclusive can often be more cost-effective in the long run. Additionally, some programs offer students a variety of tuition payment options, including loans, payment plans, and early enrollment reductions.
4. Evaluate Your Training Program Options
While there are many coaching certifications out there, only a select few programs are accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF), the coaching industry’s governing body for coaching and training schools. Upon successful completion of an ICF-Accredited Coach Training Program, you’ll become a Certified Professional Coach (CPC), recognized by the ICF.
Since there are over 200 coach training programs available in the U.S. alone, choosing one with ICF accreditation is a distinct advantage. There are three different types of accreditation or approval that the ICF offers:
- Accredited Coach Training Programs
- Approved Coach Specific Training Hours
- Continuing Coach Education
If you’re on the hunt for a comprehensive coach training experience, look for an Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP). This accreditation requires participants to gain at least 125 hours of training so as to develop a thorough knowledge of the ICF definition of coaching, ICF Core Competencies, and the Code of Ethics. Participants are observed during coaching sessions and must complete a final exam to ensure their coaching competency and to become an ICF certified life coach.
As you evaluate your program options, you’ll also want to consider/think about the curriculum itself.
Nearly all coach training schools focus on teaching traditional coaching methods that help individuals, groups, or organizations to clarify goals, create action plans, and be accountable to them. But becoming a transformative life coach involves much more.
You’ll want to learn methodologies that empower people to look deeply, honestly, and objectively at who they are, who they want to become, and what mental or energetic factors might be getting in the way.
With coach training programs focused on sustainable transformation, expect to learn about:
- Supporting your clients as they establish and achieve new goals, and open up new possibilities that were previously hidden from sight
- Helping clients step into new versions of themselves, make connections, and become catalysts for culture shifts within their workplaces and communities
- Guiding clients to gain an outside perspective so they can reprioritize, think “big picture,” and more clearly address the challenges they face
- Laying the foundation for clients to find better balance and build a more fulfilling, well-rounded life
5. Create a Plan for Finding Clients
Once your training is under your belt—or even while it’s in progress!—you’ll want to think about how and where you plan to find your coaching clients.
Marketing is one way to showcase the value you offer and connect with people who are looking for a coach just like you. There are lots of methods for doing so, and successful marketing can take on many different forms. You have the freedom to determine the path that works best for you.
To get you thinking about this in more tangible terms, some steps you might take to craft a successful marketing plan include:
- Differentiate yourself by clearly defining your ideal client
- Share your pursuits with your personal circle, and invite your biggest supporters to help you spread the word
- Create an online presence where prospective clients can easily find, learn more about, and contact you
- Get out and network by joining professional groups, attending events, and connecting with fellow coaches (there are now many virtual options out there, too!)
- Become a guest speaker or blogger to increase your exposure and highlight your expertise to a broader audience
Ultimately, there are as many approaches and paths to growing a successful life coaching career as there are coaches interested in building one. It’s up to you to create and own what works best for you. But most importantly, don’t get hung up on the process. Done is better than perfect—and don’t forget to have fun with it!
6. Find sources of support along the way
Making a full-on career change and building a new business can trigger all kinds of discomfort and nervousness, but finding sources of support you can lean on throughout that journey can make a world of difference
One way to ease that transition? Choose a program that teaches both the professional coaching skills you need to provide effective services and the business skills to build and run a thriving coaching practice.
The iPEC Advantage
When you enroll in iPEC’s ICF-accredited certified coach training program, you’re supported by priceless business development resources including:
- A peer community of fellow coaches going through the program alongside you, plus access to a lively community of thousands of iPEC graduates who will happily answer you questions and cheer your on throughout your journey
- A solid foundation of business development training that you can lean on when the time comes to officially launch your coaching practice
- A success coach to help you gain clarity on your goals, coach you to take action, and offer guidance in 1:1 sessions
- Clear guidance on how to identify your ideal client you’d like to work with, plus how to help them discover you
- Access to research-backed assessments you can use with your clients, which gives you a major boost in credibility and will set you apart from other coaches
At the end of the day, there’s no scientific or mathematical equation to deciding whether pursuing a life coaching career and certification is for you. There’s no secret formula to reveal or confirm your destiny. It’s all about trusting yourself enough to know that you have what it takes to be the best version of yourself, and to help others do the same.
Still got questions about becoming a coach? We’ve got answers!
In this on-demand edition of Coaching Office Hours, you’ll hear answers to common questions about how to gain the skills, experience, and confidence to build a coaching business that lights you up and makes a powerful difference. Be a fly on the wall as an iPEC Admissions Coach shares what it takes to start your journey as a certified coach.