Woman smiling at life coach during a session

How to Become a Great Life Coach: 5 Easy Steps for Success

Whether you love helping people and you're considering a career change or you're already engaged in life coaching and you want to jump up to the next level in your offering to land better clients, a life coach certification can help you signal your abilities to the world. After all, more people are seeing the value in life coaching, and with a life coach certification achieved online you'll be able to better establish yourself in the field. Remember: most of your market might not appreciate how much a life coach can help them out on a day-to-day basis, and you first need to build a brand that can entice your audience out from those far-reaching corners.

Furthermore, there are more life coaches than ever, and the internet has made it easy to create a life coaching business from anywhere in the world. According to the International Coach Federation, a nonprofit dedicated to professional coaching, there are more than 50,000 life coaches in the world and almost 20,000 in North America alone. That's a lot of competition for any industry, and many life coaches are indeed turning to certifications to help put their best foot forward.

But how can you become a certified life coach, and what are the things that you'll need to do to earn that certification and then run with it? In this article we'll show you how you can enhance your offering while upgrading your skills as a life coach. It may start with a life coach certification, but it certainly doesn't end there.

A life coach talking with a client

Establish Your Niche

For the most part, running your own life coaching business successfully depends on your niche. There's only one person like you, and you have a unique way of looking at the world. Indeed, wondering how to become a certified life coach often starts with focusing on what you're already good at. You can always get certified later, but if you can offer something that isn't really available in the market, that can help you establish yourself and your life coaching business more than any certification ever would. 

If you don't know where to begin in becoming a life coach, think about your core competencies and skills. Do you have a background in tech or the creative arts? Then focus on that, looking to give great advice backed by your existing education and skill set. Or, if you've always had a feel for relationships, start there. Most life coaches will focus on some sort of niche, at least until they're able to cross over and start building up clients in all walks of life.

Opt For a Life Coach Certification

While a life coach certification certainly isn't a requirement before you can offer coaching services, it can help significantly when you are starting out. Not only is it a great way to signal your competency to others, but people are just used to looking for certifications whenever they consider seeking the advice of a professional. Lawyers, doctors, and psychologists all have certifications that they must obtain before they can practice in their field, and a life coach certification - while not required - can give you a leg up on the rest.

In fact, according to the ICF, nine out of 10 life coaches have received accredited or approved life coaching training from a professional coaching association. The good news is that becoming a certified life coach is something that you can do online from the comfort of home, though to really get the most out of your coaching you may want to attend in-person instruction where you can work one-on-one with colleagues and instructors. 

Set Up Your Life Coaching Business

Once you've decided to become a certified life coach, established a niche and sought out appropriate training and accreditation, the next step is to formally set up your life coaching business. Even if you're still gainfully employed, life coaching - or any side work for that matter - means running your own business, even if you don't intend to do so. If you're collecting money for your services, you're running a business in the eyes of the law.

In order to keep everything organized and to stay on top of your income and expenditures, creating a separate bank account can make things organized for tax time. For sole-proprietorships and if you're doing business under your own name, you don't have to formally establish anything. Merely running your business is enough. But if you want the protection of a corporation or LLC, you'll need to officially register with your state before you can become a certified life coach.

Work on Your Digital Presence

Like most verticals today, it's hard to establish yourself without some kind of digital presence. Sure, you can become a certified life coach and enhance your skill set, but you'll still have to reach people where they are - and just about everyone is online. Furthermore, because of the flexibility of digital tools such as Zoom and other productivity suites, you can even coach from the comfort of home to anyone, anywhere in the world.

At the very least, you'll want to establish some kind of home base. Whether that's a website, blog, social media profile, or something else, you'll need to have one place that you can be seen and reached. Better yet, build all of your properties in unison to increase the likelihood that you can be found online. You may be able to get by with your professional and personal connections when you're starting out, but to really build your offering and your brand you'll need to step up your digital presence.

Create a Pricing Structure

When you're working for someone else, it's easy to see the correlation between the time you work and what you take home. But when you're in business for yourself as a certified life coach, you won't be able to charge anyone for all that time you spend building your business. For this reason you'll likely have to charge your clients more per hour to make up the gap, but your prices will also have to acknowledge the time you have together and what you have to do for each client.

If you'll be traveling to meet with a client in person, you'll want to adjust your prices accordingly. On the other hand, if you're taking advantage of digital technologies and meeting with clients over Zoom, a $1,000 travel budget hardly makes sense. Generally, you'll have to charge either by hour, by day, or by project, but a lot of it comes down to the clients you have and what the expectation is.

Interested in how to become a certified life coach? Click here to see how Inge Rock can help you today! We provide training books, retreats, free courses, and even academy classes to help you upgrade your offering and score the clients of your dreams.



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