To be a life coach, you need to have the proper qualifications in order to get the correct credentials and ensure you are trusted by potential clients. There isn’t one course that covers all bases; you need to consider what area you want to go in to, training options and proper credentials, as well as a few other finishing details.
1. Choose an area of expertise
Life coaching takes many forms, and, while you can be as broad as you like with your training, in order to become an expert you should focus on one niche at a time. The main reason for this is ensuring you can provide the depth and care required by your clients, and that future clients can fully trust your expertise and qualifications. There are a lot of different areas you can go into, so do your research and take into account the different challenges each area presents. Some examples of areas of specialisation include:
- Dealing with ageing
- Work-life balance
- Career help
- Academic issues
- Weight loss
- Health and wellness
As previously stated, you need special training in a particular area to be trusted with the title of Life Coach and give effective coaching to your clients. Training generally provides prospective coaches with the knowledge and tools for assessing a client’s needs, ethics that need to be followed, best practice for communication and the core psychological principles of coaching. On top of that will be training specific to your chosen area of expertise. There are lots of courses out there, but not all of them give trusted accreditation. Ensure the program you choose is accredited by life coaching industry associations, such as the International Coach Federation, there are many trusted providers of life coach training in the UK.
Following your training, you should look into earning a certification. Certification will ensure your life coaching business is trustworthy and reputable, and when paired with a degree shows you are properly qualified to take on the intimate responsibility of life coaching. Professional associations, such as the International Association of Coaching and the Internal Coach Federation need you to show that you work to a high standard and have exceptional expertise in order to earn accreditation from them.
The International Coach Federation offers a Professional Certified Coach certification. This certification requires a professional to have at least five hundred hours of coaching experience. Four hundred and fifty hours of this coaching experience must be paid work from 25 or more clients. Once you reach this criterion, you can complete the Coach Knowledge Assessment which tests accountability, comprehension of coaching agreements, ethical guidelines, skills for active listening and goal setting.
Another available certification is the Master Masteries Coach designation, from the International Association of Coaching. Coaches must complete a number of tests that measure their understanding of life coaching principles, while also submitting recordings of their coaching sessions to be reviewed by the association’s coaching masteries.
4. Next steps
Once you have found your specialty and have achieved the necessary training and credentials, you are nearly a trusted life coach. All you need to do now is get business classification and insurance, to demonstrate absolute legitimacy and credibility.