How To Become A Life Coach

Do you enjoy helping people and are a problem solver? Are you a good listener and have an ability to help others find ways to solve issues?

Then a career as a life coach may be a great option!

how to become a life coach
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The field of life coaching has grown exponentially over the last decade, and today, millions of coaches across the globe offer their services to clients. If you want to get into the business of helping people achieve their goals, becoming a life coach is a perfect fit.

Coaching is a form of counseling where individuals receive guidance and support from a trained professional who helps them identify, analyze, and solve problems.

Becoming a coach does not require certification, but training and certification are recommended. Life coaching is an unregulated industry, meaning anyone can call themselves one with little to no education or proper training. 

Side note, this is a great job for people with back pain since there is no lifting or physical labor required. We would also say it is one of the best jobs for dyslexics since the job requires a bit of empathy which dyslexics are known for from research done!

Below are the different options for becoming a life coach or certified life coach. 

What Is A Life Coach?

A life coach provides personal help to people with issues such as stress management or relationship problems. The goal is to make a difference in people’s lives by helping them learn how to make better decisions in areas like relationships, work, health, finances, and more.

A life coach can also focus on helping someone find meaning in life through spiritual development and other pursuits.

Life coaches can help people with a variety of life changes including:

  • Divorce
  • Home buying
  • New baby
  • Adoption
  • Health issues
  • Financial stress
  • Career changes
  • College or educational decisions

It all starts with the coach asking many questions to understand what the client hopes to get from the coaching sessions. The next step is to create a plan of action that will help the patient overcome the issues or struggles they are facing. 

Once a clear path is created to help a client, the coach will use their ability to ask the right questions, active listening, and clear communication to help remove roadblocks and help them make their goals a reality.

Average Salary
Career Outlook
annual growth
None Required
how to become a life coach

What Is A Certified Life Coach

A Certified Life Coach (CLC) is someone who has achieved the highest level of professional development in the field.

This means that they have completed an accredited course with a recognized body such as The International Coaching Federation (ICF).

ICF will require a number of hours of coaching for the different certification levels. They are also required to maintain their qualifications through ongoing study and personal development.

Certified life coaches work with clients on a one-to-one basis, using coaching techniques including goal setting, self-awareness, and behavior change. Whilst this may be done face-to-face, it can also take place over the telephone or by e-mail.

Types Of Life Coaches

Coaches can come from all walks of life. This means they have different experiences and skills that may make them better in some niches than others. 

This is why it might be good to specialize in a certain type of coaching. You can really hone in on your personal experiences to help potential clients deal with similar issues. It can also help you brand yourself as a professional life coach in a certain area making you the go-to coach in your area for that issue. 

What types of coaching niches are there?

  • Weight loss
  • Executive 
  • Teens
  • Aging
  • Academics
  • Divorce
  • Work/life balance
  • Career/Job

IAP even has a happiness coach course! I cannot think of anything better then helping people get more “happy” in their lives.

These are just a few, think about your life experiences and what specialties you have that can make you unique. 

How To Become A Life Coach Without Certification

Yes, you can become a life coach without attending a life coaching certification program, or with no coaching experience, but we really do not recommend it.

Life coach certification will improve your chances of getting clients and jobs.

But, if you just want to become a life coach to try it out before investing money into certification, you can start with the below recommendations.

STEP 1: Work with a Coach

Find a life coach that has an existing business and clientele that you could shadow. Ask if they can mentor you and help you transition into a life coach career.

While this might typically not be a paid position, it can be very beneficial to understand what being a life coach is like. 

Some of the things you should be learning during this time include:

  • What a day in the life of a life coach is like
  • How to handle scheduling
  • Client paperwork 
  • Understanding how to best communicate with clients
  • Marketing and sales

STEP 2: Education

Even if you do not want to get formally certified, it is important to educate yourself.

Watch videos on YouTube from life coaches with many years of experience. Read books and mental health journals to help you understand more about how to deal with people. Take online courses to help you learn more about the coaching profession.

You can also join online forums and communities to find additional education opportunities.

STEP 3: Start Getting Clients

When you feel ready, it is time to get clients. 

You can get started by offering free life coaching sessions. Once the session is complete be sure to follow up with each person to see how they felt the session went. Getting honest feedback is so important for your growth and success.

Once you feel good about your systems and that clients are happy with your services you can begin taking on paid clients. Get your marketing hat on and get out there and let people know you are ready. 

Check out IAP Career Schools Life Coach Certificate Course!

International Association of Professions Career College (IAP) offers several quick certification courses that are affordable and short in duration. This is not an official life coach certification, but can give you a good feel for the career and help you understand the basics of how to work as a life coach. If you decide it is the right path for you – then you can get the official certification through a life coaching organization as noted below.

How To Become A Certified Life Coach

Becoming a certified life coach requires attending a life coach certification program. 

There are some online and in-person training options available for life coach training programs. Some colleges also offer a coach training program. 

When you begin researching life coaching programs to attend, we encourage you to select a program that has great reviews and is ICF accredited as that is the gold standard for accreditation in coaching professions.

You can use their Training Program Search service to find courses that they support. 

ICF has the following certification level options for life coaches that are already working as a coach:

  • Associate (ACC) – 60 hours of training/100 hours of client coaching hours
  • Professional (PCC) – 125 hours of training/500 hours of client coaching hours
  • Master Certified Coach (MCC) – 200 hours of training/2,500 hours of client coaching hours

To achieve these levels of certification the following need to be completed:

  • Complete training that meets ICF standards
  • Receive a specific number of coaching and training hours
  • Get a mentor coach to work with
  • Show knowledge of what it means to be a coach and the code of ethics
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Get information on programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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Where Do Life Coaches Work?

Life coaches have a lot of opportunities for employment, although a large portion will go on to open a life coaching practice.  

Some will be hired by large companies to act as onsite representatives to help employees. Others might find jobs in schools, hospitals, government agencies, or long-term care facilities.

Many will decide to become business owners and start their own coaching practice, whether as an LLC or sole proprietorship.

If you take this route you will need to look into local business laws, create marketing materials like a website and business cards, create a business plan, and of course be good at sales! Getting life coaching clients will be a constant effort so marketing will be a big part of your daily work. 

You also need to budget for expenses like insurance, coaching organization memberships, local licenses, marketing, and more. Then, of course, you need to decide how much to charge for your life coaching services. 

Pros & Cons Of Being A Life Coach


  • You can help people get over their problems or achieve their goals
  • You can give advice to others
  • It’s a very rewarding career
  • Start your own life coaching business
  • No previous background in coaching is needed


  • The life coaching industry is competitive due to the low barrier to entry
  • Life coaches are not always seen as a necessity 
  • Some people may just not be ready to change themselves
  • The coaching market can sometimes have a bad rap due to the lack of regulation

Certified Life Coach Salary

According to a study done by the International Coaching Federation in 2020, the average annual income in the US from coaching is $62,500

Some self-employed coaches charge hourly rates of $100 or more! 

The report also notes that many successful life coaches offer additional services such as consulting and counseling which is additional income not noted in the salary listed here.

Life Coach Job Outlook

The job outlook for life coaches is good with an expected 6.7% annual growth as noted by Market Research

With the challenges many are facing since the pandemic, it is expected that jobs for life coaches will only increase as people look for help managing their daily stresses.