How To Become A Life Coach: Best Online Certifications

How To Become A Life Coach: Best Online Certifications

Are you driven to help others achieve their goals? If you’re serious about turning your passion into a career, you’re in the perfect place.

This guide will show you how to become a life coach in seven straightforward steps, including our recommendations for the best life coach certifications online.

7 Steps To Become a Life Coach Online

The process of becoming a life coach will depend on your particular circumstances – your coaching experience, any qualifications you hold, and the life coaching niche you want to specialize in.

As coaching is still an unregulated industry, however, most aspiring life coaches get into the game by pursuing a coaching certification.

There are a few strong reasons to get accredited – the most important is that a training program can teach you valuable coaching skills.

While there are many different options for getting certified, the journey can generally be broken down into the following steps:

1. Choose a life coaching niche

There is huge demand for life coaching today, and professionals have many potential areas to specialize in.

Niching down enables you to position yourself as an expert in a particular field and target your value proposition at a specific type of client.

Here are a few examples of life coaching niches in which you may choose to specialize:

  • Habit coaching
  • Authenticity coaching
  • Mindset coaching
  • Health coaching
  • Business coaching
  • Confidence coaching

2. Complete a life coach certification

Coaching is still an unregulated industry, which means that pursuing a certification isn’t mandatory if you want to make it as a professional life coach.

There are a few strong reasons to get accredited, though, and the most important is that a training program can teach you valuable coaching skills.

Through a life coaching program, you can expect to learn a mix of:

  • Practical coaching skills such as communication, listening, and building rapport
  • Coaching models, methods and frameworks to use in your work
  • Business skills to help you build and run a successful coaching practice.

You’ll learn more about how to choose the best life coaching program for your needs as you read through this guide.

3. Get accredited

Once you’ve completed a certification, you’ll be able to practice as a qualified coach.

Professional industry associations such as the International Coach Federation (ICF) and International Association of Coaching (IAC) provide credentials that you can earn by building up practical experience.

One example is the ICF’s Associate Certified Coach (ACC) credential, which requires you to demonstrate the following over at least three months:

  • 60+ hours of coach-specific training
  • 100 hours of client coaching experience, and
  • 10 hours of mentor coaching.

We’ll cover these in a little more depth further on.

4. Set up your coaching business

At this point, you’ll be ready to start scoping out potential clients.

While the specific requirements will vary depending on your location, there are a few universal steps to setting up an official life coaching business.

Use our full checklist to help you: How To Start A Life Coaching Business From Scratch.

5. Design your signature life coaching package

Your signature coaching package or program is simply a framework for how you get clients from A to B.

Take some time to map out the steps involved in your dream client’s transformation and use it to create a product or service that you can sell.

To help you, we’ve created a step-by-step guide on How To Create Your Signature Business Coaching Program.

This article will take you through the basics of planning your first coaching package, for example:

  • Deciding on your coaching topic
  • Structuring your sessions
  • Personalizing your client’s programs using digital templates and tools, as shown below.
Quenza Mindfulness Training intake form Expansion preview
Quenza makes it easy for you to create a signature life coaching program by customizing digital templates, such as this Mindfulness Training Intake Form.

6. Determine your coaching pricing

There’s no right or wrong amount to charge your clients, but deciding on your life coaching fees for the first time can be daunting.

Take some time to look into the various life coach pricing strategies that we’ve outlined for you, research what your competitors are charging, and be prepared to tweak your fees a little as you go along.

Nailing your coaching prices can take a little amending, so don’t worry if you don’t get it right first time!

7. Find coaching clients

Getting your first coaching clients might sound tough, but if you have a strong value proposition and strong messaging, there’s no reason you can’t start attracting leads right away.

Although you will probably gain a few initial leads through your existing network, it’s a good idea to set up the basics of a scalable coach marketing strategy:

  1. Create an effective coaching website that communicates your brand
  2. Attract leads to your website using social media, organic SEO, and other marketing tactics, and
  3. Sell your life coaching packages and services through your website.

How A Life Coach Certification Can Help

Life coaches utilize a wide set of skills and techniques in their work, and training programs can be an effective way to hone yours to a professional level.

But if coaching is an unregulated industry, should you go the extra mile to get accredited?

There are a few reasons why you might want to consider pursuing an accredited life coaching program:

  1. Professional training can provide you with a strong coaching foundation and fully prepare you for helping clients achieve the best possible outcomes.
  2. The best accredited programs will also give you invaluable tools for marketing and promoting your business. This is especially helpful if you don’t have much entrepreneurial experience.
  3. Certifications can be a powerful way to demonstrate that you have the knowledge and expertise to help your clients toward success.

3+ Best Accredited Programs & Online Institutes

We’ve reviewed three of the best life coach programs below, but you’ll also find more in here: 15 Best Coaching Certifications To Become The Ultimate Coach.

Course

Details

blue and gold IPEC logo smallthe Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) offers a life coaching program that takes new coaches from zero to fully certified in ten to twelve months.

The iPEC’s Certified Professional Coach (CPC) qualification is awarded to graduates who earn three separate credentials: Core Energy™, Energy Leadership™, and COR.E Dynamics™.

Three training modules take place in person, but most of the course is run as online webinars and self-study resources.

NameCertified Professional Coach (CPC)
InstitutionInstitute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC)
Good ForNew, Aspiring Coaches, Career Changers
More InfoIPEC

Course

Details

CLCI Life Coach program logo smallThe Certified Life Coach Institute (CLCI) offers an intensive, compact course through Zoom for a total of 33 hours of learning.

This life coach program covers key coaching techniques and methods, practical strategies for starting and growing your practice, and the ICF Core Competencies of working professionally as a life coach.

This program is open to first-time coaches, who need to complete two levels to achieve the ICF’s ACC credential.

NameLevels 1 and 2 Certified Life Coach
InstitutionCertified Life Coach Institute (CLCI)
Good ForNew, Aspiring Coaches
More InfoCLCI

Course

Details

red and white ILCT Life Coaching Certification logoThe Institute of Life Coach Training (ILCT) offers an in-depth but intensive Professional Certified Coach (PCC) certification designed for professionals with 500 hours of coaching experience under their belts.

130 training hours are included over an 18 to 24-month program; a few topics include Coaching Ethics, Practical Coaching Skills, and ICF Core Competencies for coaching.

Graduates earn the ICF’s PCC credential after successfully passing exams that include a Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA) examination.

NameProfessional Certified Coach (PCC)
Institution Institute for Life Coach Training (ILCT)
Good ForAdvanced, Professional Life Coaches
More InfoILCT

How Much Does A Life Coach Training Program Cost?

Life coach certification programs are generally available as online, in person, or hybrid courses that combine the two. The delivery format of a program will often affect the price, along with factors such as the course duration and the institute’s reputation.

Broadly, you can expect to pay between $150 for an online course to as much as $15,000 for a more advanced, accredited course. Take a look at the syllabus for each program and its length when you’re deciding what’s right for you.

Is Accreditation Worth It?

When it comes to obtaining a credential, International Coaching Federation (ICF) certifications are considered the gold standard in the industry. Three credentials are available from the ICF, each of which require you to demonstrate differing levels of coaching experience or training:

  • Associate Certified Coach (ACC) credential: 60+ hours of coach-specific training, 100 hours of experience coaching clients, and 10 hours of mentor coaching over at least three months.
  • Professional Certified Coach (PCC) credential: 125+ hours of coach-specific training, 500 hours of experience coaching clients, and 10 hours of mentor coaching over at least three months.
  • Master Certified Coach (MCC) credential: 200+ hours of coach-specific training, 2,500 hours of experience coaching at least 35 clients, and 10 hours of mentor coaching over at least three months.

You can complete the training component by participating in ICF-accredited Coaching Training Programs (ACTPs) like the ones we have reviewed above. To help you, we’ve created a complete guide to ICF coaching certifications.

Final Thoughts

Getting certified and accredited are two of the important things you can do to show clients that you’re serious about life coaching.

Now that you know how to become a life coach, why not try designing your first signature program with a $1, 30-day Quenza trial?

About the author

Catherine specializes in Organizational and Positive Psychology, helping entrepreneurs, clinical psychologists and OD specialists grow their businesses by simplifying their digital journeys.

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