This has changed, and more people are turning to coaching to help them in their lives. This has meant that more people are considering becoming a Coach to meet this demand.
Perhaps you’re one of them?
Maybe you’ve been wondering for a while about becoming a Life Coach and you’ve already done some research, or perhaps it’s a new idea for you that you’re just beginning to explore. Either way, we hope you’ll find this information really helpful.
Settle in somewhere comfy, get yourself a coffee or cup of tea, and let’s get going…
This guide aims to give you a wide overview of the kinds of things you need to consider when deciding whether becoming a Coach is the right thing for you. It’s a potentially life-changing decision, so you want to make sure you get things right!
Life coaching is more than a job, it’s a way of life. It needs to be a great fit for who you are and for what you want to get out of your life, professionally, personally, financially and in terms of contributing to others.
We’ll cover what a Life Coach does, how you train and develop as a Coach, the factors you need to consider when choosing a training and even some of the different factors you need to consider when setting up a business.
You’ll learn about the benefits of becoming a Coach and we will answer many of the commonly-held assumptions and myths about the profession. We’ll also cover some frequently asked questions to finish off.
We hope that this guide will help you in deciding if life coaching is for you. Of course, ultimately, only you know what’s best for you—you’re the expert on you!
You can choose how you want to read this guide. You might choose to dive straight in; you might want to spend time reaching out to talk to people. You might find that you want to research the training school or schools you are considering. You can take the time that you want to take to read, learn, and then decide what your action step is going to be.
Just a heads-up that the action thing is kind of important in all of this if you decide that you do want to be a Coach. So many of us spend years thinking about doing something and never do it. We invite you to take the action that is right for you!
Some Life Coaches coach full-time, many others incorporate it into their work or have it as an additional source of income.
The International Coaching Federation (ICF), the world’s largest organization of professionally trained Coaches, defines Coaching as:
“Partnering with Clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”
“Partnering”—means the Coach and the Client are alongside each other, working together, focused on the agreed outcomes.
“Thought-provoking”—one of the possibilities of good coaching is the emergence of new perspectives and ideas. Clients will often have ‘wow’ or ‘eureka’ moments when an inner shift happens, and they see themselves, their situation and their life in a different light.
“Creative process”—while coaching can be structured, most experienced Coaches will tell you that the joy and potency of coaching arise from trusting the innate creativity of the coaching process.
“Personal and professional potential”—there is no area of self or life that a Coach can’t support Clients in getting clarity on. The beauty of Coaching is that it doesn’t require you the Coach to be a subject matter expert. Built into the coaching process is the means to help the Client help themselves regardless of the situation. Many Coaches will however, have a certain niche area or target Client to work with, one that naturally reflects their inclinations and interests.
Coaching tends to attract intelligent, conscious humans who are interested in health and personal development and who want to do fulfilling work. You can have the satisfaction of helping others to make a real difference in their own lives. You can inspire the people you work with, and in turn, be inspired by them.
Does that sound like you? If so, then read on.
So now we’ve talked about what a Life Coach is, let’s move on to discuss:
Because it provides the means for you to live a deeply fulfilling life helping others fulfill their potential and, in return, the potential to enjoy considerable financial, personal and professional rewards for doing so. Let’s look at each of those elements in turn:
Being a Life Coach can be a great way to make a good living. In a 2016 report , the estimated 53,300 Coaches worldwide generated over $2.3 billion (USD) in annual revenues. The greatest concentration of Coaches and highest paid Coaches are in high-income areas like North America, Western Europe and Oceania (Australia and New Zealand).
While the latest study demonstrated average annual earnings for North American Coaches of almost $62,000 , an earlier study also showed that globally, the average fee charged for a one-hour coaching session was $229. The average number of Clients at any given time, 10. The average number of hours spent coaching Clients each week, 13.
Of course like any other vocation, it requires you to work hard and smart, and to conduct yourself effectively as a business. A good training program will give you an outline of the kinds of things you may choose to consider when setting up a business. Then you can continue to learn to build on that.
Learning and growing in the community of other Coaches can be hugely empowering and help to keep you motivated.
It’s important to recognize that some of the claims about coaching being a ‘get rich quick’ option are unsubstantiated. Claims such as being able to make a six-figure income in a very short amount of time are not grounded in reality. However, with dedication, hard work, excellent training and a community to support you…so much is possible.
Many people learn to become a Coach in preparation for a transition that takes place over time. They may combine coaching with other sources of income and build up their coaching practice so that eventually it becomes their primary source of income.
When supported and in the community of a great training organization, this transition period can be a hugely positive time. You can be helped and guided towards being a full-time Coach if that’s your goal.
Then the rewards can be significant. It’s satisfying to earn your income doing something you genuinely enjoy, that makes an important difference in the lives of those you work with, and that then ripples out through their work.
Being a Coach is intellectually stimulating, especially when in your training program and, of course, in your interactions with Clients, either one-to-one or in a group setting. As a professional Coach, you’re always learning and growing and changing…and helping your Clients do the same.
There are so many different tools, skills, models, methodologies and approaches to learn about. One of the many joys of being a Coach is that when you graduate you can then fine-tune and deepen your effectiveness through taking advanced training in areas that interest you, such as positive psychology (the science of human flourishing), meditation, biohacking and embodied cognition.
Of course, you build the foundational knowledge you need to begin coaching when it has been distilled and organized by a thorough coaching school or training. Then you can then continue to build on your foundational knowledge over time and at a pace that feels appropriate to you.
Every person you coach is an individual and with their own situation, and this adds to the variety of your work. You have the privilege of going behind the scenes on what is really going on for someone, within the relationship of trust that you help to co-create with the Client.
If you choose to work with organizations, every organization that you work with will be unique..and that’s the challenge! You’ll dive deep to get to the heart of what is going on within that organization to provide coaching for employees, sometimes with very different viewpoints as they navigate the way forward.
As you work with the individuals or organizations that you coach, you can ask for feedback or will naturally receive feedback from them. They may recognize and thank you for the impact that you have made and go on to refer you to new Clients or write excellent testimonials for you.
A Coach does not set out just to make Clients happy. That isn’t the end in mind, but when Clients do experience excellent results, it feels rewarding that the work you did together has helped the Client make a positive impact.
Beyond what your Clients are telling you, it can be wonderfully satisfying to notice the positive changes that you see in your Clients’ situations and perception of themselves over time.
Completing training with a well-regarded Coach training school can be a source of professional recognition. Some training schools also offer higher levels of training which give further opportunities for professional development. There are also opportunities within the field for professional recognition such as ICF credentialing.
Coaching provides flexibility in terms of how you work and who you work for. You can choose to have your own coaching practice, to find freelance work for businesses/organizations or to find employment by businesses or organizations to work in a coaching capacity.
You may even choose to move towards working within a coaching organization and may find it highly rewarding to pass on the skills that you have learned to others.
It also provides flexibility in terms of where you work and when you work. For example, someone who does not live in a population dense area could grow a coaching practice online and coach people from around the world using technology to connect with them.
A Coach could choose to travel or relocate; once you make sure your legal and tax issues are all in line, you can coach from anywhere!
Coaching is a great way to stand in and to own your life-purpose. Often the most successful Coaches are ones who have packaged up their individuality and presented it as a gift to the world.
You get to be YOU doing your best work and helping others to do theirs. That’s hugely satisfying.
As the coaching profession grows, you can also find yourself with an amazing peer group who love personal development and growth just as much as you do.
That’s an inspiring place to be.
You are within a positive community of like-minded individuals who are also interested in personal development, growth, and positive change.
Depending on the focus of the training that you select you can have the opportunity to improve your health. That might mean more energy day-to-day to do the work that matters to you and to be there for those you love. It might mean a healthier body and greater longevity. It could mean more focus and better sleep. It might mean developing skills and tools that help you to be calmer and more mindful. You will be able to choose which areas of life you apply it to.
You might work on your productivity, and this not only helps you as you develop your coaching practice but also helps you to be productive in ALL areas of your life.
It can be a huge advantage for people to have the work-life balance that coaching can bring. Being able to coach people around the world using technology means that you really can choose when you want to coach. You can also choose how much you want to coach.
You can choose if you want to be there for the performance at school or the sports game cheering your kids on and then know that you can fit your work around that commitment that’s so special to you.
You get to prioritize the interests that give you a rounded life rather than a one-track life. Mountain-biking the trail on a Friday morning? Sure. Art exhibition on a rainy afternoon? Absolutely.
Your self-care is also part of your work as a Coach. It’s part of ‘walking your talk’ as a Coach. This means that you can decide for yourself that it’s A-O-K to prioritize your health and your work-out.
You get to have a lifestyle that you design. You could go to motivating conferences and retreats and hang out with positive, uplifting people. You can choose to work in an environment that supports your work and your health. You can choose to work with positive people who are also motivated to make a difference in the world and who also work on their own development.
You can choose to continue to learn about the many aspects of personal development.
Part of that development will be your professional development as you grow your skills as a Coach. This brings us to our next question:
So the invitation is to work on yourself and to go more in-depth with your personal development to be able to help others with theirs.
A Coach who does their own personal work and who is challenging themselves to reach new personal standards comes from a credible and authentic place.
Other than working on your personal development, there are a number of traits that can be advantageous to have as a Coach.
Being open and curious is foundational to being a Coach as this will facilitate you asking the open questions that help your Client to make breakthroughs in their thinking. Being open means you will be able to detach from the Client’s outcomes or your own perspectives on what the Client ‘should’ do and come from the empowering knowledge that Client’s are the experts in themselves.
Your ability to be open and curious will also help you adapt, grow and learn as your business grows. Every day is a new day, and each one brings new challenges and invitations.
Being a dedicated learner can help in the field of coaching. When taking part in a robust Coach training, Coaches learn coaching skills and models, and they also learn the craft, art, and skill of coaching, the practical side of the learning equation. The learning does not end when Coach training ends. As a Coach, you learn new skills, tools, and approaches as you continue to develop your mastery as a Coach.
Beyond this, the Coach will need to learn numerous different skills as they build their coaching practice, such as marketing, time management, social media, speaking skills, etc.
Being patient can be a wonderful attribute to have as a Coach. Sometimes you will see things that seem obvious to you, but you will need to let your Client find them in their own time. Sometimes you may have a Client that gets frustrated and being patient can help you hold a non-judgemental and calm space for them.
Coaches can also benefit from a willingness to reflect on their coaching and learn from their reflections to help grow their coaching skills going forwards. It does not help a Coach to think that there is no room for improvement in their coaching. This also included being willing to be open from feedback from Coach trainers during training.
Many people drawn to coaching are kind and empathetic people. They see that coaching has the potential to make a profoundly positive impact on the world by working with others as they work on their lives.
This kindness and empathy is deeply valued by Clients who feel that they are listened to, acknowledged, understood and not judged by the Coach. Being kind and empathetic does not mean that the Coach never challenges the Client, only that the foundation of the coaching relationship is one of goodwill, kindness and empathy.
Having a good degree of emotional intelligence and self-awareness can be important traits of a Coach. They help you to understand the viewpoint of the person you are coaching more easily, even when that is sometimes very different from your own, and also to be aware of your own reactions within the coaching relationship.
You don’t need to be perfect to work as a Coach. No one is perfect.
You also don’t need to be perfect for people to want to work with you as their Coach.
Which brings us onto the next consideration…
The reason so many people are willing to pay good money to work with a Coach is that the support, guidance, clarity, and accountability they experience enables them to achieve meaningful goals more effectively and efficiently.
The process of personal transformation and achievement is so much easier in the presence of a skilled companion, a Coach.
Over the last 10 years, numerous studies have explored the benefits of Life Coaching.[5-11]. Overall, they found working with a Coach is a highly eﬀective way to:
Coaching works by building growth-promoting relationships (through Presence, support, respect, Client-empowerment), eliciting motivation and increasing energy levels (the jet fuel for change); enhancing the likelihood of sustainable change (through positivity, resilience, reality-based optimism and self-efficacy), and facilitating the process of change (through perspective shifting, vision and goal setting, planning, accountability, reflection and feedback).
Beyond these, it’s always up to you if you want to delve a bit deeper. You can consider whether you want to ask staff at the Coach training you are considering or graduates of the Coach trainings you are considering, rather than assume. It would be a great shame to miss out on a way of life that was just right for you just because you hold some belief that isn’t necessarily true.
Myth: You can’t make a living from Coaching.
Reality: Many people do make a good living as a Coach.
Those that do tend to be positive and proactive, and willing to invest the time and energy into developing a successful Coaching practice. Realistically, of course, this takes time.
There are different levels of success in every kind of business, and coaching is no exception. Some people do make an excellent living out of coaching, as outlined in the professional benefits section above.
Some people have coaching as a stream of income alongside other sources of income, and some people fail to make a living out of coaching.
Investing in great training that includes an overview of the business-building element can be a great help if your goal is to make a living from coaching.
Also, if this is a belief of yours, and you think that it’s not possible to make a living doing something you enjoy, you may want to consider doing some work with a Coach on your beliefs around money.
Myth: You are too young or too old to become a Coach.
Reality: Adults of all ages can learn to be a highly effective Coach
Someone in their 20s can make a fantastic Coach. They can coach people much older than themselves as they can bring vitality, openness, enthusiasm and a sense of possibility to the Client. They can coach people of a similar age too and build on the shared knowledge of what it’s like to be at a particular life stage. They can have had valuable experiences along the way or an incredible personal journey that makes them highly qualified to coach.
Some people come to coaching much later in life, and they can bring maturity and a wealth of real-world experience. Many older people come to coaching having had a previous and sometimes highly successful career. Many of the skills that they honed in their previous career will be transferable and highly useful in the field of coaching.
For example, a manager could bring to coaching an understanding of dynamics in groups or of leadership skills. They may have organizational and marketing skills that will help them in building their coaching practice.
An accountant would be able to use their accountancy skills when completing the accounts for their own business, but more than that they may bring a thoroughness to their coaching style and in doing so help Clients to ‘account’ for what is happening in their lives. Their coaching might even have a niche that was related to money management.
A teacher would bring their people skills and communication skills and could also use their teaching and speaking skills when promoting and networking for their business. They then might go on to be involved in training aspects of coaching itself.
A stay-at-home parent could perhaps have a reserve of patience, determination, an ability to see things from another’s perspective and be able to be flexible, adaptable and reliable.
A photographer could bring an understanding of how people feel about how they are seen and about body image…
The message here is that you don’t have to wipe the slate clean to become a Coach. Quite the contrary, your coaching is made all the richer because of your experience.
Myth: You have to have a certain level of education to be an effective Coach.
Reality: People of very varied backgrounds and levels of education can be highly effective and successful Coaches.
You don’t need to have a college or university education to be a Coach. In coaching, life experience and wisdom are of huge value. The value of the insight you can help your Clients to have is more important than the level of your education.
Myth: Coaching isn’t a serious or recognized profession.
Reality: Credentialed Coaches trained by organizations with an accredited Coach training program are highly respected.
Coaches who put in the time and effort to graduate from an accredited Coach training program will emerge with the confidence and knowledge to conduct themselves as a professional Coach.
You may want to consider engaging with an ICF accredited training program. This would then allow you to apply to the ICF for Certification. The ICF Certification is in particular recognized and taken seriously in business and industry.
The ICF states that: 
“The ICF Credential is the only globally recognized professional coaching certification. With an ICF Credential, Coaches demonstrate their knowledge, skill, and commitment to high ethical and professional standards.
An ICF-accredited Coach training program will count toward the training requirement for your ICF Credential.
ICF Credential-holders have fulfilled rigorous education and experience requirements and demonstrated their commitment to coaching excellence. To earn an ICF Credential, a Coach must:
There’s a significant difference between completing an online course with no teacher guidance and no meaningful assessment versus completing a course that includes online and in-person elements, alongside a rigorous feedback and certification process. Teacher guidance and assessment are key elements to help you build the skills and knowledge to be taken seriously in your new profession.
The section on choosing a Coach training gives more guidance on this important element.
Myth: Coaching isn’t effective.
Reality: Coaching can be highly effective in helping individuals and organizations achieve their desired outcomes.
One of the challenges (and opportunities) for the entire field of Coaching has been to demonstrate conclusively using the scientific method that Coaching works.
Many Coaches and Clients will say it works and is of benefit, and many Coaches receive wonderful testimonials from Clients who are delighted with their outcomes, but to demonstrate the effectiveness of coaching within the setting of a controlled study is not as easy as you would imagine.
There are many reasons why, including different definitions of Coaching, Coaching methods and contexts, varying levels of training and competency of the Coach and of course different motivations and levels of engagement of the Client.
Despite the complexity, it is becoming increasingly clear that effective Coaching can lead to specific favorable outcomes.
If you love to delve into research, here are some starting points:
Myth: Leaving paid employment to become a Coach is a high-risk move.
Reality: A move from employment to being a Coach can be navigated safely and with guidance.
Most people who train as Coaches and are also employed will remain employed until their Coaching business has built up enough to transition out of employment–if that is what they choose.
Handing in your notice this Friday with the intention to become a Coach on the following Monday is high risk. If this is what you feel called to do, you CAN do it…and there is more than one way your coaching business can unfold.
But what if you could take your Coach training and establish your business while you stay in your current employment? What if you could build your business to the stage where it is sustainable and can support your needs? Then you can weigh up the risk from this viewpoint.
A Coach training with a supportive community can help you as you navigate your way from paid employment to becoming a Coach.
Myth: People don’t want to be coached.
Reality: Many people who are committed to becoming their best self and being effective at work are open to Coaching. The most passionate advocates are often those people who have been coached.
Coaching can be a wonderful vehicle for your creative work in the world. As a Coach, you might run retreats, work 1-1 with amazing people, write books, appear on podcasts, create courses, create videos…
There are so many creative outlets for your work, and these creative projects will help to spread the news about your work.
Your work as a Coach will fit into your overall lifestyle and you will have the CHOICE to decide what that whole picture looks like.
Here are some ideas:
You might choose to:
Develop a new career as a Coach. You decide that coaching is going to be your new career and go all in to make that happen. You get the training that will place you in the best position to make this your reality. You do the marketing and networking. You do the inner work, and you make it happen.
Continue in your existing work but enhance what you do using the skills and knowledge you have acquired. You turn up at meetings with the clear-headedness and presence that your coaching has given you. You are able to handle difficult situations at work with more ease. Perhaps you find that your newly found coaching skills also help your leadership skills and therefore your potential and progress in the organization.
Combine coaching with another ‘new to you’ kind of work that may be in synergy with the coaching, or maybe something completely different. An example of this might be someone who works as a Coach and is also a writer. Someone who works in seasonal work could, for example, teach cookery workshops in Italy every summer, perhaps even with a coaching element, and then devote the rest of the year to coaching. There are so many other types of work that could be integrated into a portfolio career with coaching, as coaching is very flexible.
Combine coaching with homeschooling or parenting. The flexibility of coaching can allow you to be there for your family when you want to be in a way that some other careers do not. You will need to be proactive and organize your time well as a business owner, but that is a skill that you can choose to learn if it does not come naturally to you and you think it would help. If this is your intention then having the clear structure laid out by a great coaching school can help you get a great start.
Stay in your current work and build up your coaching practice on the side and then transition when the time is right for you. We don’t encourage people to jump ship and leave their 9-5 when they don’t yet have the resources to support themselves through coaching.
Work towards becoming a Coach and building a practice to help when a future life change arises, e.g., kids leaving for university or a move with your partner’s career. You may know that your life circumstances are going to change in the future, and want to make a plan for yourself. You feel ready to make a new future for yourself, and you want to get things lined up for that time. It can be wonderfully comforting to know that when all around you is going to change that you are still going to be able to continue onwards on your journey to becoming a Coach. If you are part of a Coach training where the community is strong and supportive, you will also have the support of your Coach buddies as you make your transition to a new way of life.
Leverage your coaching certification as a unique selling point when applying for jobs or promotions. Having coaching skills can take you to a new level in terms of how you interact with others at work. Investing in yourself makes a statement about how much you value progress and your development.
Expand your services to include coaching. There are many instances where this could work, and some examples are of a therapist or counselor who also decides to Coach, a Reiki healer, yoga teacher, nutritionist or other wellness professional may choose to become a Coach to expand and also to enrich their services.
Work within the corporate environment as a Coach. This works particularly well when you have a history of working in business or industry. You marry your corporate knowledge with your coaching knowledge to contribute to the organization. It can be a powerful combination. Large businesses are calling on the services of Coaches more and more. This is further explored in the section about Future Trends in Coaching, towards the end of this guide.
Work in an educational environment as a Coach. (e.g., career Coach) As the jobs sector becomes increasingly competitive high-performing schools are seeing the need to have careers help that goes beyond the old ways of getting children to complete a multiple choice and then handing them a printed sheet with job options.
Schools are also waking up to the importance of mindfulness, mindset, and well-being and this also opens up opportunities for Coaches to work in or alongside the education sector.
Use the training solely for your personal development. Some people go through training without the intention of becoming a Coach for others. They instead become the Coach of their own life. This can impact their own life positively and then may go on to impact the lives of those around them positively.
Use coaching skills in a voluntary or charitable capacity. Some charities advertise for Coaches to help. For example, a youth mentoring charity may have Coaches working for them on a voluntary basis.
Financial considerations — Can you/your family reasonably afford the investment? Is the value of the expenditure likely to be worthwhile to you/your family when considered in terms the longer term impact? Does the training offer different payment options?
Your emotional well-being and openness to your own growth–If you are thinking of becoming a Coach, you need to be ready to be coached. Are you ready to commit to your own personal transformation? Every Coach must be dedicated to their own personal development, seeking out tools and skills that enhance their own life. Coaches get coached!
Input from family and friends on whether you should become a Coach — Just because people in your immediate peer group do not understand what coaching is, doesn’t mean you should rule it out. Articles like this can help those around you to understand what you are proposing. By all means talk to those around you; however, be sure to check in with yourself and see what YOU really want.
Weighing up the options — Examine the different options at this point in your life and the pros and cons for each one. Think about the shorter term outcomes and the longer term ones. Also, you can choose whether you want to tune in deeper. For example, you might want to examine your options through meditation, tapping into your intuition, tuning into your body or listening to your heart or gut in whatever way works for you.
Taking the next step and then the next — finding out more about different Coach trainings may be the next simple step for you. The very next smallest step can help you on your way to finding out if this is right for you.
Giving yourself permission — After all the research on different Coach trainings and checking in with your inner knowing, sometimes the only step in your way will be whether you give yourself the permission to do what you want to do.
Being open to what comes next — The path to any new way of life and work is not going to be completely smooth. Building a business is a challenge for most people. You can choose to take that challenge step-by-step and can decide to ask for help when you need it.
It’s an exciting time to be looking for a Coach training. There are so many different offerings available now, and the possibilities that may open up to you on completion of training can be highly motivating.
Depending on the Coach training you choose it can also be the case that a significant investment of time and money is involved in committing to taking Coach training.
Therefore, you may want to take the time to research different training schools to find one that meets your needs. Different training schools will be the right one for different people, and it’s important that you find one that is a good match for you.
Below you will find some of the factors you might want to consider when you are choosing a Life Coach training:
Accreditation — If you are motivated to be the best Coach you can possibly be, want to charge a premium rate and/or if you intend to work with executives and companies, an ICF-accredited training is worth seriously considering. The International Coach Federation (ICF) is the leading global organization dedicated to advancing the coaching profession and the world’s largest organization of professionally trained Coaches.
Approved Coaching Specific Training Hours — Does the training school you are considering offer sufficient Approved Coaching Specific Training Hours to apply for the Associate Certified Coach credentialing process with the International Coach Federation?
Mentoring Hours for ICF Accreditation — Does the school have a process in place for you to complete the mentoring hours for ICF accreditation?
The Scope of the Curriculum — Look at the curriculum guide for the school. Does it cover learning the skills of being a Coach, learning the skills of building a business and personal development too?
When comparing trainings, also consider the balance between knowing and doing. Are you going to mainly concentrate on learning about coaching tools and concepts or mainly get involved in hands-on practice with Coach buddies, practice Clients, Clients and feedback your Coach trainer, or is the coaching school going to give you the opportunity to do both? Ideally, you want a coaching school where both theory and practice are seen as important and therefore given time and focus during the training.
Knowledge, Tools, and Practices — Are the skills and tools that the school is teaching grounded in recent research? Do the different elements of the Coach training appear to have been carefully thought out to make a cohesive whole?
Niche — Does the Coach training niche your practice before you are ready to decide what your niche is? For example, do you just want training that prepares you to be a Health Coach or do you want training that prepares you for more options?
Your teachers and their expertise — Investigate who your teachers will be. What experience do they have in the industry and outside the industry? Where did they train? Do they bring a breadth of life and coaching experience to their teaching?
Coaching Process — Does the school teach a coaching process that you can take Clients through that gives a basis for your work, but that is flexible and adaptable to the needs of the Client?
Coaching Practice — Does the Coach training involve live and online elements where you will get an opportunity to practice your craft of coaching?
Coaching Presence — Does the training reflect the fact that coaching is not just about using a series of tools with a Client, but also an art and that the importance of your Presence in the moment with the Client is vital?
Infrastructure — Is the school run by one person and depends on their expertise only, or are there a range of instructors that you can learn from? Does it look like they have robust systems in place and an established way of doing things? Established in this case does not mean rigid. Established can also mean having processes for change.
Community — Is the school well established with people who have already gone through the training? This will mean that in the coaching community you will have people with more experience than you who will be able to share their knowledge with you.
Live element of training — Is there a live element to the training? Online is an excellent way to learn, but there is still no substitute for synchronous learning with real people in real time. Factor in the cost of getting to the live training. For example, if you are in the UK and the trainings are all in America that might mean a significant additional cost for travel and lodgings.
Flexibility — Be sure to look at the times and dates of virtual sessions and live sessions. Because many schools are international, be sure to pay attention to time differences. While you certainly can get up at 2 AM to make a coaching class, you may want to consider picking a course that fits your current schedule. After all, taking care of yourself makes you a better Coach.
Time commitment — Look at the time commitment involved. Is it reasonable to fit in training with your other responsibilities? Can you develop a plan to create the space and time needed for you to succeed? Would any compromises arising due to lack of time be worth it in the long run for you?
Certification Process — What is the school’s Certification process? Is the process optional or part of the overall training and is the price of certification included? Does the certification include feedback about your coaching? This can facilitate your growth as a Coach.
What’s included — Look at the different elements of the training. Besides the main Coach training offering, are business and marketing elements included? Remember as well as learning to become a Coach, you also need to learn how to be a business owner. Does the training also facilitate your personal development? Is the training virtual, live or a mixture of both?
More expensive vs. less expensive options — Weigh up the value of more and less costly alternatives. The most expensive option isn’t necessarily the best, and the least expensive is not necessarily the worst. The range goes from around $500 to $3000 for a course that is all online to $10,000 to around $15,000 for training that is all in person and then there are hybrids where the training is a mix of in-person and live training.
Coaching ethics — Are coaching ethics taught as part of the training? This is an important consideration. Coaching ethics are a necessary and essential part of a training that meets ICF requirements, and an understanding of coaching ethics is required when moving forward for ICF certification.
Ongoing professional development — Does the training organization give opportunities for ongoing professional development and further training?
Reputation — Does the training school have a reputation and established following in the personal development field and coaching field?
Feedback—Look at feedback and testimonials from people who have already been through the training. Are people from different backgrounds and locations? Are various elements of the training praised?
The X-factor — It’s possible to walk into a potential home and feel it’s the right one for you. It’s similar to deciding upon a Coach training school, you’ll get a feel for it and the fact that it just ‘feels like a good fit,’ will come into your decision-making process. Tuning into your intuition and body will also be important for you in making your decision.
Becoming a business owner is usually an important part of becoming a Coach.
If you are training for self-development, or you wish to put these skills to use in your workplace setting, maybe this isn’t as important to you…and really, why learn all about this? At the very least, it’s a tool in your toolbox that you can share with others.
Legal entity — Research the different legal entities that your business can have in the country that you live in to decide which is best for you. Different types of business entities are likely to be taxed differently, reported on differently, and the risk to your personal assets may vary from type to type. Get professional advice to decide what’s best for you.
Insurance — A Coach can have different kinds of liability that they may want to consider having insurance for. Professional liability and public liability are two of the types of insurance you can choose to investigate. Other forms of insurance may be relevant for the work that you are doing, for example, if you run a retreat this may need a particular sort of coverage.
Where you will work from — Will you work from an office or home? Again you will need to check the regulations where you live regarding each of these options.
Business Address — You may not want your home address to feature online for example and therefore may wish to have a business address. Again regulations vary on what can be used as a business address.
Business bank account — For some business entities, it will be essential to have a separate account. For others, you have a choice. It can make things simpler to have your business accounts different from your personal account.
How you will work — Online or face to face or both — You are likely to figure out what works best for you over time. This will depend a great deal on where you find your Clients. You may have a mixture of local and national/international Clients. It can sometimes work very well to have international Clients that are in time-zones that allow for meetings at times that fit in with your other responsibilities.
Hours you will work — You can join a scheduling service that syncs with your online calendar. This can save going back and forward to arrange appointments by email and also saves working out time-zone differences if the scheduler works these out automatically. If you are keeping overheads low and don’t have many Clients then paying for an online scheduler, in the beginning, may not be worth it.
Boundaries — You may want to decide when you want to work and when you don’t want to work and try to stick to that. Calls at all hours and every day of the week could lead to burnout as a Coach. You can decide how you want Clients to contact you and let them know how long you will generally take to get back to them. Some of these guidelines may be included in your coaching contract with the Client.
Are you going to do your own bookkeeping?
Are you going to have an accountant?
How will you keep your records?
What will be your financial management routines?
How will you invoice and how will you be paid?
What will you charge?
Find out about the reports that you need to submit and when and plan for these. Get help if you need to.
Data protection regulations — Research these for where you are based and consider how to apply them in your business. The requirements will differ according to your location and also factors such as who you market to. These, for example, would include GDPR regulations if you live in Europe or market to people based in Europe.
Health advice regulations — If you are coaching around the subject of health, it’s important to be aware of the health suggestions that Coaches can make depending on country, state and territory. Again, this is something to research and apply as is fitting for your business.
Overhead — When starting in your coaching business you can choose whether you want to keep your overheads low. For example, a Coach might decide not to pay for the most expensive list management provider when its features are beyond what they need when they’re starting out.
Imagine who your ideal Client is and what he/she does in their everyday life. Get to know them well so that you can speak to them when you write for your business. Where do they shop? What do they eat? What do they read? What do they worry about? What do they dream about? What films do they like? What podcasts do they listen to? (if any) What keeps them up at night? (or do they sleep soundly?) You get the idea.
Here are some of the most common niches:
Human Potential Coach
Problem solved — Generally, your niche will be who you serve and what problem in their life you help them solve. Solving this problem will give them a particular result or outcome that they desire.
Discovery calls— Many Coaches offer free discovery calls. Some don’t. Sometimes people won’t turn up for discovery calls because they are not paying for them and this means that they don’t value them. If you build a group of people who really want to hear from you this is likely to happen less often, and the person on the call is likely to be someone you have already interacted with in your marketing efforts and when you have been contributing online.
Establishing rapport — If you train with a great coaching school, you will gain lots of practice gaining rapport with your coaching buddies and practice Clients. Take the time to listen to your potential Client. Let them feel heard and let them know you understand them if you do. Trust yourself and your judgment and intuition and don’t take on a Client that isn’t a fit for you.
Sales — Sales can come from a completely authentic place. The person has a requirement, and you can help them with that. The money is an exchange of energy that makes space for the coaching to take place.
Onboarding — Create a simple onboarding process. Outline the steps you will take when someone says, “Yes, I want to work with you!”
Contracts — Have an agreement in place for your coaching engagement. An excellent coaching school is likely to give you some guidance on this.
Confidentiality — Confidentiality needs to be spelled out on the contact. There are likely to be some exceptions to confidentiality, e.g., if you were required by a court of law to give information. A lawyer can help you to get a sound coaching contract in place.
Testimonials — Ask Clients for testimonials when you have finished working with them and ask for permission to use the testimonials in the ways that you wish to use them.
Referrals — Many Coaches build their practices through referral. Asking for referrals can help grow your business, and it can work very well especially if the Client was an excellent match for you. You can ask the Client to refer other people who they think might be an excellent match for your coaching.
Professional boundaries and ethics — You are in a position of trust as a Coach. A good training school will have elements of training relating to these topics. They are an integral part of ICF accredited trainings.
Backup support — If you have been trained at an excellent coaching school you are likely to have a group of people to call on if you have queries or tricky situations come up as you Coach. There are likely to be highly experienced Coaches that you can turn to for advice.
It’s interesting to consider how each of these relates to the features to look for in a Life Coach training. Investing in a thorough Coach training can prove to be an excellent foundation for becoming an effective Coach.
Being a highly effective Coach is one part of becoming a Coach. You also need to connect with your ideal Clients…
Even if someone is selling such a formula you cannot be sure it will work for you; we’re all different!
To spread the word, you need to decide which ways of working play to your strengths and then make a plan and be consistent on following through with that plan.
Prospective Clients then have the opportunity to get to know you over time, and this builds trust.
Other than content marketing (sharing knowledge to build trust), you can decide whether you want to invest in advertising with the aim of growing your business, but of course, there are costs associated with this.
Your website — Some training schools will give you help with getting a basic site set up. At the outset, it’s not essential to invest heavily in a website. It can really help to have more of an understanding of your ideal Client before spending a lot on a site. Different platforms for websites give you different levels of ownership and control.
Your website security — Research how to protect your site from being hacked.
Your website and computer back-up — Again these are tech precautions that can save you a lot of headaches further down the line.
Photography — You don’t have to have the world’s best photographer to take your shots, but it can be helpful to have clear and up to date photos. Local photographers that you find through networking groups can be a great place to start, particularly as they will be able to recommend photographers for business shots. Other people in the group may be able to recommend one to you that they have worked with.
Networking — Try different networking groups to see which ones feel like a good fit for you. Sometimes you will need to give a group more than one chance. If you go a few times and continue to feel uncomfortable or out of place, it’s probably not the group for you. If you are shy, set the bar lower for yourself. You could try telling yourself that the only requirement is to turn up at the event, anything else is a bonus!
Regular participation in online groups is also networking — It can help authentic connection in groups if you contribute to the group as well as promoting your work in the group.
Blog — Regular blogging can help your prospective Clients to get to know you. For some Coaches, it also builds a platform and eventually helps them land a book deal.
Guest blog — Find where your peers are guest blogging as this can give you some ideas of where you might want to start. Look at the site and see if you think it’s a good match for your work and your values. Then look for the submission guidelines and write a piece in line with those guidelines. Guest blogs ideally need to include a link to your site and the offer so that if the person goes there, they can sign up to be on your list and to get whatever freebie you are offering (in a way that is compliant with data regulations).
Copywriting — Write the way you speak and read your pieces aloud before publishing. Get a good editing program to spy glitches for you. Speak to your Client, so they know you understand their problems, and you build up a picture of what can be possible for them. The Client should think, ‘Wow, it’s almost like they can read my mind.’
Social media — Social media can be a time suck. Use it strategically and consistently. You may want to use software to queue posts rather than posting them all manually.
Podcasting — If you love to talk, then this might be a vehicle for you to expand your reach. Podcasts can have many different formats. Do some research and find what’s right for you. Like anything, your podcast will develop and become more professional over time.
Video — The advantages are that this is very immediate and can build trust quickly as your potential Clients feel that they are getting to know you.
Writing a book — Books help to underline expert and specialist credentials. Self-publishing is an entirely valid option now in a way it didn’t use to be. The “Beautiful Writers’ ” Podcast with Danielle LaPorte and Linda Sivertsen is a good place to start for more on this path.
Speaking engagements — You might decide to dip your toe in with this to build confidence. Find somewhere that the audience is likely to be kind for a good beginning. Join a speakers’ organization if you want this to be an important part of your marketing strategy and hone your craft.
Opt-in that is GDPR compliant and compliant with data regulations for where you live — Having an opt-in for a website and also the option to join your mailing list helps you to market to people over time. Some regulations need to be followed to make sure that the opt-in on your website is GDPR/data regulation compliant. You can research if and how this applies to you and for any other regulations that apply to your particular business.
Email management system — For you to be able to send people emails about your business and its offerings people need to opt-in to receive them, and they need to have the option to opt-out. You can’t just get a list of people and start sending them marketing material. An email management system can help you to send people emails in a way that is in line with regulations. (You will still need to check if they are GDPR/data regulation compliant.)
Branding — When you are starting out, basics include thinking about colors and fonts you want to use consistently and how these fit with the brand image you desire. Design Seeds website is a good source of color combination ideas. Similarly, creating a simple logo or having one created need not mean a huge investment.
Plagiarism — As you know, it’s not ethical (or legal) to copy other people’s work. You can also make it clear that your work is not to be copied.
Becoming a Coach is a professional journey, a business building journey, but it is also a personal journey…
Becoming a Coach is about so much more than just going through a Coach training and getting certified. It’s a way of life and a way of being. At the same time, it is always a journey of growth and learning.
So many people come to this work because they believe deeply in developing themselves as individuals to reach their full potential in different areas of their life. For this reason, the following considerations are part of what it means to become a Life Coach:
Being in integrity — Along the journey ask yourself if you are in integrity. Do your own work so that you can be in the right space and frame of mind to help your Clients do their work.
Blocks — Becoming a Coach is a journey, and on that journey you will sometimes run into blocks. Some will be external, and some will be internal. The internal blocks are your beliefs about what is possible for you. Be in community with other Coaches, keep in touch with your Coach buddies and get coaching when you feel you need to be coached. Beyond every block, there is usually a break-through.
Leap of faith — There are times when you can do all the research that there is to be done. You can weigh up every pro and con and could carry on doing that for evermore. In building a coaching practice, you will find yourself needing to use your best judgment and sometimes to take a leap of faith. It’s sometimes scary, and you don’t know for sure if it will all work out. There isn’t a way of knowing for sure.
Creativity — Becoming a Coach and establishing your own business is a creative act. Your marketing is a creation; your blog posts are a creation, your online community is a creation. When you become a Coach, you can step into inhabiting the role of creator fully.
Self-care (including nutrition, exercise, and sleep) — Being well nourished, fit and well-rested helps you to focus on your Client. Coaching is a giving profession, and giving to yourself can help you to be able to give to others.
Mindfulness — Your Clients will be able to pick up when you are fully present with them in a session. They will pick up when you are caught up in your own issues and cares and when you are holding space for them. Mindfulness practice can help you to hold the space for your Client so that they feel fully heard.
Coaching from a ‘clean place.’ — Notice when your own issues are triggered by what is going for the Client and get coaching on it if necessary and support from your coaching community. When you do this, you can respect the confidentiality of the Client as laid out in your coaching agreement and also be in alignment with your values.
Support for you, the Coach — You can choose to be part of a vibrant community of Coaches that support and encourage each other. You will find like-minded people who are also committed to personal development. It can prove to be a genuinely inspiring peer group.
Claiming your identity as a Coach — A great coaching school will help you to transition into your new identity as a Coach and then to claim it. You get to this point when you truly understand the difference you can make when you Coach and you are also able to communicate this to potential Clients.
Resilience — When you go through Coach training not every part of it will be comfortable and not every part of building a business will be easy. With good supports in place, you can grow your resilience. You can learn how to overcome obstacles from others who have been right where you are. You can get back up again and get back in the game.
Intuition — Not all the answers can be found in books or even in the very best training available. Your trust in yourself and your intuition, and trusting that intuition enough to follow it will play a part in you becoming a Coach. A robust training program will include how to access and develop your intuition, both in service of you and your Clients.
Fun and play — One of the reasons for becoming a Coach is to create a life that’s enjoyable. You work towards creating a life where getting up on Monday morning is just as positive as getting up on a Saturday. You get to choose to have a peer group who see the importance of this too.
In 2016 the ICF carried out a Global Coaching Study. Human Resources Today reported that the study found that as “organizations struggle to navigate the volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous environment we find ourselves in,” more and more organizations are turning to coaching. 
The study also showed that coaching is valued in those organizations that have a strong coaching culture.
The article speaks of a definite shift towards “building organizational coaching cultures,” as exemplified at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
When big businesses are communicating the value of coaching within their organizations, it helps create more opportunities within the coaching sector as other businesses watch and learn. This is excellent news for Coaches looking to engage with organizations.
Forbes Coaching Council recently outlined some of the trends that will define future development within the coaching industry.  Amongst these trends are that:
“Increasing regulation will define the different coaching types,” and “standardized training and credentials will likely become the norm.” — It’s likely that the ICF will play an important part in the discussions surrounding this.
Good news for people considering coaching are the trends listed that coaching will be given “greater acceptance by Executives,” and that “coaching will overtake consultancy.”
Indeed the article even goes as far to say that “working with a Coach will be the norm.”
Coaching takes people who are in general functioning well in life and helps them make progress personally or professionally. It tends to be more future-focused and less focused on examining the past.
Coaching can sometimes take place alongside therapy, but this would need to be carefully managed and communication channels set up so that the needs of the Client were fully met.
Therapy is undertaken with a trained and certified therapist. It often, but not exclusively, helps people who are finding aspects of day to day life difficult. It uses both similar, and different models to those used in coaching. Traditional therapy included past-focused models, while newer forms, including Solutions-Focused, also uses more future and action-oriented approaches.
A Coach helps a Client to find their own answers rather than giving a Client the answers. A Coach does not tell someone what to do. The Coach helps the person to figure out for themselves their course of action.
When the Client and the Coach have set up an agreement ahead of time, working in an alliance together, a Coach may ask permission to take off their ‘Coach hat’ and put on their ‘consulting hat.’ This might happen for example where, in the Coach’s judgment, the Client is asking for a particular resource that would be helpful towards their goals.
Some people set themselves up as Life Coach without training, or with limited training. We don’t recommend doing this.
With a solid Coach training, you can know that you are using tried and tested methods and are also kept in touch with the latest findings. You have a community to call on for support and guidance. You have guidance as you learn as a Coach and as you learn to build a business.
Also, the industry is likely to become more regulated over time, and the ICF is likely to be highly involved in the development of this regulation.
Working with another human being is an honor. And it requires not only what we already know, but all the tools, science, practice and our own self-development that we can bring to bear.
Our Clients deserve everything we’ve got because the business of working with other humans is a privilege.
The guide includes ideas of some of the things you may want to consider on your journey to becoming a coach. It does not cover everything as that would be beyond the scope of one piece. It’s not meant to be advice, legal advice or advice relating to the regulations about building a practice where you live. It also includes some opinions. Your own research and judgment will help you to make the decisions that you want to make about your future and concerning your own actions.
We hope you found this guide to be informative and useful!
Coaching, as you now know, provides the ideal professional vehicle for channeling your passions and interests into a service that people will pay you for.
Most Coaches love coaching. They love the freedom, flexibility and fulfillment of working with motivated Clients who want to change. They love the emphasis on growth, learning and development. They love belonging to a community of like-minded, professional people.
Many Coaches will tell you—becoming a Coach was one of the best decisions they ever made.
If you are considering training as a Coach, and as we shared in the guide, you will be well served to choose a program that has been accredited by the International Coach Federation. The ICF is the leading global organization dedicated to advancing the coaching profession and the world’s largest organization of professionally trained Coaches. If you want to charge a premium price or work with executives, this is a must.
The next question we recommend you ask is this: Will you choose to train as a Life Coach, Health Coach or Performance Coach? Our response here at the Human Potential Institute is you don’t need to decide. Our premium, 4-in-1, ICF-accredited Coach training program covers them all, plus more!
Becoming a Human Potential Coach is the fast-trackway to creating a deeply fulfilling life by helping others realize their unlimited potential. In return, you get to enjoy considerable financial, personal and professional rewards!
Our content and coaching methodology is what truly differentiates us from other Coach training programs. Our International Coach Federation (ICF)- accredited program integrates four specialties: life, health, performance and personal development coaching into one extraordinary Coach training experience.
If you haven’t already done so, please download our Curriculum Guide and take your time to read about our training. I hope you find it inspiring.
Our 8-month curriculum combines everything you would expect from a premium Life Coach training program, plus cutting-edge insights from positive psychology, nutrition, neuroscience, human development and more.
Human Potential Coaches all over the world are changing lives daily by helping their Clients tap into their unlimited potential. Are you ready to join them?
If you have any questions whatsoever, we would love to hear from you!
Wishing you well, and hoping to welcome you to Human Potential Coach Training!
https://www.effectiveservices.org/downloads/CoachMentor_LitReview_Final_14.03.17.pdf (Headings for Elements of Effective Coaching taken from here.)