How to Become a Life Coach
What is a life coach?
In the Oxford dictionary, a life coach is "a person who counsels and encourages clients on matters having to do with careers or personal challenges." Many socialites and non-socialites can relate to this sentiment. Hearing a friend out about their particular situation, maybe a friend looks up to you and feels you're qualified enough to offer advice. Either way, many people have had to "counsel" or "encourage" a peer at one point or another. Maybe for you reading this, this comes up a lot. Your friends tend to come to you with their problems or concerns because they know you'll listen and help them through it the best you can. If you are one of these people, becoming a life coach is not a new or surprising thought. You might have even looked into it before but decided it would be too difficult or maybe that you wouldn't be good at it. But here you are again, ready to do some research and dive headfirst. So, let's get started.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Is this for me?
One of the first questions you should ask yourself if you consider becoming a life coach is What type of person am I? Do I enjoy helping people (maybe you have prior coaching experience)? Am I naturally extroverted? Am I comfortable with promoting myself? Would I like to run my own coaching business and be my own boss? If you said no to any of these questions, becoming a life coach might not be suitable for you. Being a life coach requires all of these skills and much more. Even therapists need their own therapist. Taking on other people's problems and issues all day is taxing on the mind, heart, and soul, and being a life coach is no different. People come to you wanting to change something in their life, and it's up to you to help them find the best path to get there.
What is my niche?
Before you start, you should be keeping in mind your niche. Your niche is how you will set yourself apart from the competition. Maybe you'll focus solely on spiritual guidance and wellness. In contrast, someone else might focus more on being a business or finance mentor or tackling family and relationship issues. The coaching industry is vast; with different coaching certifications, ways to earn accreditation, you need to specialize to be your community's certified life coach. But regardless of what you pick your niche to be, you need to specialize to offer the best services to your clients. If you have a client that needs coaching for planning their new startup, on your off time you should be reading help books and researching best practices to give your client the best guidance you can offer. Now imagine you have another client that has come to you to coach them through complicated family dynamics. It would help if you were reading on your off time about these topics to serve your clientele best. The International Coaching Federation (ICF) says their practitioners, on average, have about 11.7 clients at a time. The example given was just two—picture 11 different people with an infinite amount of diverse, individual problems. Again, to better serve your clients, you need to specialize and find your niche. Having all your clients be focused on similar issues will help you relate and coach them through their experiences.
Do I need to be certified?
Now that you understand what your coaching niche might be and the repercussions of failing to do so, you need to look at the competition. Do a quick google search as if you were the person looking for a life coach in your niche. Find out what others are charging and keep an eye out for how many you see who have participated in a life coach certification program (they might be listed as "associate certified coach"). You might be wondering if it's worth it for you to start credentialing. According to the ICF, 89% of practicing life coaches are certified. This doesn't mean you have to shell out the big bucks in the early game; there are ways to sell yourself and your brand and have that weigh much more than your credentials. Still, it could give peace of mind to potential clients who are considering their options between someone who might be a professional certified coach versus a master certified coach. One might suppose that most of the competition are accredited life coaches. Still, starting, it can be hard to fund a certificate as they can range upwards of $5000. These online courses for coaching certification will show you the step-by-step guide to being accredited. Life coach training programs can include webinars, coaching practice, and all-around life coach training. They could train you on being a business owner, mastering LinkedIn, and answering some FAQs.
Getting one early opens several doors for you right out the gate. Regardless of how many doors might open for you, putting down that much cash at the start of your own business is risky, and you might not be comfortable with that. Start thinking about how, besides your niche, you will set yourself aside from your peers, be thinking about your rates, profit margins, and how much of a bargain you want to drive. With fewer credentials, marketing and branding will be your friend; building up a reputation is how you will succeed. Further down the article, we will talk more about branding and marketing. That said, if you choose to become a certified coach, you would be able to charge more as you would worry less about competitive pricing. As it goes with any business, you have to spend money to make money. Paying for ad spots and conducting A/B tests will help you find the best way to hook your audience and clientele.
Branding and Marketing
What tools to use?
Bookvid emerged on the scene earlier this year as one of the top monetization platforms for Creators. At a high level, the Bookvid tool is like Calendly + Zoom + Venmo, all in one. It allows your followers to easily pay you for 1-on-1 video calls. You set the prices, it syncs with your calendar, and you get instantly Venmo’d at the end of the call. While other companies take 20-30% fees, Bookvid is completely free for Creators. Sign up on bookvid.com today.
Social media and other networking platforms allow direct influence and interaction with your audience. For life coaching programs, platforms like Instagram will be the most powerful to build their brand and clientele. A medium of pictures, captions, polls, and even surveying tools lay right at your fingertips free of charge. And suppose you're willing to shell out the extra dough. In that case, Instagram allows you to promote specific posts to users who aren't following you. Networking apps like Instagram are essential, but places like Twitter can also be beneficial, if not just to promote posts on Instagram; you can share quick tips, advice, or inspirational quotes. By occupying multiple media platforms, you generate more clicks and more attention to your online presence, sharing your insight to more people but leaving them wanting more, wanting your one-on-one guidance. How you advertise yourself can be very nuanced and specific. If you're striving to be a positive presence in your local community posting on nearby bulletin boards or leaving business cards at office spaces could be a powerful way to lead locals to your services; you'll garner the attention of people in your community. Instagram connectivity with Facebook is one of the key benefits of using it, as you're able to create a Facebook page that syncs up with your Instagram feed. This method allows you to cover two of the largest social media platforms all at once.
Some of the best life coaching practices include helping your clients with goal setting. Successful life coaches show their clients what they can achieve and help them figure out how to get there. Professional life coaches use active listening skills to illustrate to their clients that they care about what they're saying. Running a life coaching business is hard work and can be emotionally draining, especially when you're doing it full-time. Launching your coaching career without having the necessary coaching skills might lead to your life coaching clients turning away after just the first session. Make sure to set aside time to learn and sharpen up your skills. Consistent outside research will not only help your clientele but cause professional and even personal development in your own life. Personal growth can be a powerful thing. The better life coaching you provide, the more positive testimonials you will collect, creating a positive feedback loop where these testimonials encourage new clients.
Cost Evaluation and Longevity
A big thing to consider when becoming a life coach is the entry cost. We already talked about certification and the bar of entry that comes with that. Still, another aspect to consider is if you plan to have a physical space. Having an office, notably focusing more on your local community, could be a massive factor for a potential client; however, a remote, online option could compel other clients. As many things stated in this article, it's case-specific. A life coach focusing on nutrition or fitness might benefit by having a physical space, showcasing proper form, and how to execute specific exercises. A spiritual guide or mindfulness life coach might also help from a physical space. Curating how a room looks, feels, and the energy surrounding it can make all the difference in that first meeting. Mindfulness can be hard to achieve at first if the environment around them is chaotic or just unsuited for the types of meditation one might offer. When one has a location they can go to outside of their typical environment, it can better solidify that symbol of betterment and self-love.
On the flip side, a life coach that focuses on helping people start their businesses or financial guidance might not need a separate location and would be adept at working remotely over the internet—scheduling online meetings with people from all over the world or just their tristate area.
It's all about your passions and your abilities, and what you deem necessary.
As with any business, you need to be thinking about longevity. You'll want to make time for research, learning, and honing your skills. If you realize you don't have the necessary knowledge to help one of your clients, then take the time to better serve them by picking up a book on the subject and bring what you've learned to the next session. Ensuring your clients feel respected and that you are at the cutting edge of your field. It can go a long way if you work to make a meaningful connection.
Rowan LivenGood | Head of Content