Career insights: Become a Life Coacher
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If you enjoy helping people, giving solid advice, and you have a clear sense of how to assist people in achieving their goals, you have the perfect personality to become a life coach. This career path is becoming more and more popular, with colleges and technical institutes around the world offering courses in how to become a life coach. With the ability to set your own hours, be your own boss and choose the rates that you want to charge, this is undoubtedly an attractive career. Are you thinking about making the switch? Read our comprehensive guide about what it takes to be a life coach, the education that you need, and how you can go about entering into this profession. Life coaching is becoming ever more popular, and as of 2017 it was estimated to be a $2 billion global industry[i]
Life Coaches explained
A life coach is an individual who specialises in assessing a client’s skills and desires in order to help them on a path that will fulfill their needs. Tommy Robbins defines a life coach as:
‘…someone professionally trained to help you maximize your full potential and reach your desired results. They are like a supportive friend and a trusted adviser rolled into one.[ii]’
This new path can include a change of career, a decision to leave a relationship, or the choice to make a big move across the country. By guiding clients through a series of exercises and speaking with them at length about their goals, a life coach can give people the boost that they need to make big changes.
What does a Life Coach do?
A life coach is an individual who specialises in assessing a client’s skills and desires in order to help them on a path that will fulfill their needs. This new path can include a change of career, a decision to leave a relationship, or the choice to make a big move across the country. By guiding clients through a series of exercises and speaking with them at length about their goals, a life coach can give people the boost that they need to make big changes. A life coach supports and encourages their clients as they make choices that will help them to live up to their full potential and live a life they only previously dreamt about.
Life coaches perform the following exercises with their clients:
- Talk at length about their lives and current situation
- Speak about the client’s attitudes and beliefs towards the future
- Help them to choose actionable goals for the future
- Work on breaking these goals into small steps
- Plan strategies about how to overcome setbacks
- Support them with empathy and energy to help them to stay motivated
Responsibilities of a Life Coach
As a life coach, you must be willing to keep all of the information your clients tell you completely confidential. As your clients might vary between individuals, families and entire companies, this can be a sensitive and important task. Confidentiality is one of life coaching’s most important ethical principles[iii].
our role as a life coach might be a general service that you offer as part of a larger practice, or you might have a number of specialities, such as dealing with career changes, youth counselling, or executive coaching. Remember, at times it can be necessary to turn down a client if you feel that they are in need of a qualified counsellor, or perhaps a financial adviser to help them with debt. It is your responsibility to remain ethical at all times.
What is a Life Coach used for?
People have myriad different reasons for seeking out the guidance and opinions of a life coach. Often, they feel aimless and confused about what to do next in their lives, and they need a little bit of help to decide their best course of action. All people want to be happy but becoming happy can be easier said than done. A lot of people who utilise the services of a life coach are hoping to make a big change, but they need some support, advice and compassion to help them get there.
Common reasons that people hire a life coach can include:
- A big break-up, such as a divorce or end of a long-term relationship, that has left them feeling lost and unsure about their role in the world
- Being laid off or fired from a job
- The desire to switch careers or seek out new educational opportunities
- A death in the family that has reminded them of their own mortality
- A sense of ennui and boredom in their career
- Trouble setting goals and following through
- A lack of direction or passion for life
What skills are required to become a Life Coach?
In addition to the educational skills recommended (listed below), many interpersonal skills are needed in order to become an effective life coach.
- A strong sense of empathy that does not come off as condescending
- A firm yet compassionate demeanor (needed at times to encourage clients to make a big change)
- Being a good listener, and being able to synthesize and repeat what a client has told you
- Strong note taking and clerical skills
- An ability to be a self-starter and effectively set your own hours
- Self promotion, marketing and PR for your services
What are the working hours?
Many life coaches are self-employed, and as a result they set their own hours and decide when and where they will work. This can make a career as a life coach a very desirable option for parents with young children, or for anyone who loves to travel and needs a flexible schedule. If you elect to work within a practice or as part of a larger counselling firm, you will have to discuss and negotiate your hours with them.
Where does a life coach work?
As a life coach, you can work both in person or online/via telephone. Many life coaches prefer a face-to-face approach, and they prefer to meet with their clients in an office space (often rented but can also be in the coach’s or clients home).
How to Become a Life Coach
If life coaching sounds like the perfect career for you, you should look at the steps that need to be taken to become one.
In the UK, life coaching is not regulated[iv]. Therefore, if you think that you would be good at the job, there is nothing stopping you from offering your services as a life coach.
Even though it is not regulated, clients prefer coaches who can show proof of education and qualifications from trusted awarding bodies. You may want to consider looking into becoming an accredited life coach. In the UK, noted professional bodies include[v]: -
- Association for Coacing (AC)
- UK International Coach Federation (ICF)
- International Authority for Professional Coaching & Mentoring (IAPC&M)
- European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC)
- Association for Professional Executive Coaching and Supervision (APECS)
If you don’t have the time or resources to attend a course in person, you can gain credentials from many reputable courses in a distance learning setting. For instance, NCC Home Learning offers a range a life coaching courses that you can earn from the comfort of your own home.
Whichever course you go for, you should look for the following: -
- The opportunity to liaise with coaching and mentoring bodies
- Testimonials from past students
- Plenty of resources for developing coaching skills
- Practical training in workshop and seminar settings
- Supervised sessions with a qualified life coach or assessor
- Opportunities to partake in ongoing professional development
If you have a degree you could progress to study for a postgrad or master’s course in coaching.
How much do Life Coaches earn?
One of the benefits of being a life coach is that there is no cap on your earnings; the more clients you recruit, the more money you will earn. Generally, life coaches are self employed so will charge an hourly rate that they decide on. As with most freelance roles, this means wage can vary a lot.
On average, a new life coach will charge about £30-£50 an hour, but as they gain experience and confidence, they tend to charge £50-£100 per hour. Coaches with more than 3 years of experience can charge anything up to £200 per hour[vi].
As you can see, being a life coach can be a fulfilling, exciting and meaningful career that will can potentially earn you a good living and allow you to set your own hours. If you have read the article above and the idea of becoming a life coach has piqued your interest, the next step is to get in touch with an institution that offers life coaching courses. Soon, you’ll be well on your way to a new career that will allow you to help others while doing what you love.
Animas Coaching, 2020. How Much Do Life Coaches Make?. [Online] Available at: https://www.animascoaching.com/our-knowledge/faqs/how-much-do-life-coaches-make/ [Accessed January 2021].
Life Coach Certification Institute, n.d. Chapter 5 Ethical Code of Conduct for Life Coaches. [Online] Available at: https://www.lifecoachcertification.com/free-learning-center/ethical-code-of-conduct [Accessed January 2021].
Life Coach Directory, n.d. Professional Bodies. [Online] Available at: https://www.lifecoach-directory.org.uk/content/accreditation.html#accreditedlifecoaches [Accessed January 2021].
NOONAN, A. M., 2019. The $11.6bn coaching industry continues to boom, and it’s being led by women – for women. [Online] Available at: https://realbusiness.co.uk/female-coaching-industry-uk/ [Accessed January 2021].
Robbins, T., n.d. HOW LIFE COACHING WORKS AND HOW IT CAN BENEFIT YOU TODAY. [Online] Available at: https://www.tonyrobbins.com/coaching/results-life-coach/ [Accessed January 2021].
UCAS, n.d. LIFE COACH. [Online] Available at: https://www.ucas.com/ucas/after-gcses/find-career-ideas/explore-jobs/job-profile/life-coach [Accessed January 2021].