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Best Training Certifications for Life Coaches

August 20, 2021 by Coach Training EDU

Do I need certification to be a life coach?

Life coaching is a unique helping profession in that specific training is not required to practice, like a therapist or a psychologist. On a practical level, this means you don’t need a license or even a certification to practice as a life coach. But with nearly 90% of life coaches worldwide possessing a formal certification, that accreditation could be the deciding factor for your potential clients. The right kind of training can be a huge differentiator between you and your competition. 

If you’ve been an expert in a specific field like business or academics for decades, your experience and accomplishments may speak for themselves. But as this profession grows, training and accreditation have increasingly become the norm. 

Life coaching is a sought-after and profitable path for many who have a passion for helping people achieve their goals. Qualifications for this profession come in many forms. Though formal training is not a requirement to get into the business, becoming accredited as a life coach is becoming increasingly important for building business credibility, particularly if you don’t have decades of specialized professional experience behind you.  Here are some answers to some of the most common questions about life coach certification. 

What kind of certification do I need?

There are dozens of training programs available for life coaches that vary in price, duration, and training hours. But the most thorough, comprehensive, and serious programs will have the International Coaching Federation (ICF) stamp of approval. The ICF has risen as the gold standard by which all other training programs are judged. As a body, the ICF also has the power to accredit institutions and universities, so whatever training program you choose, look for the ICF logo in their credentials. Many clients and institutions won’t even consider hiring a candidate without that ICF credential. The ICF (and equivalent training programs) recognize three levels of coaching, determined by a handful of factors, including the number of hours in coach-specific training. The three levels are Associate (60+ hours of coach training), Professional (125+ hours of coach training), and Master (200+ hours of coach training).  

Can I get certified for my niche?

Quite possibly. There are many training programs available that prepare you to coach in a specific niche. Niching is a great strategy for obtaining a solid client base and one we highly recommend. Whether health coaching, business coaching, academic coaching, or something else capitalizes on your strength and experience, training is available in dozens of different specialties. Coach Training EDU is one life coach training hub that offers many different programs in different niches. Specializing can indicate to your potential clients that you are an expert in your field, and thus, the trusted guide they should choose to help them along their journey.

Where can I get trained? How long does it take?

There are many options for training. Consider your learning style. Do you prefer a self-directed, online method of learning? Studying under a mentor? Taking a course at a university? Getting accredited as a life coach is a process that can take anywhere from a few months to several years, depending on what route you take. Education is a life-long process, and getting certified at Coach Training EDU is a great place to start. 

What if I don’t want to get trained?

That decision is fully in your hands. But consider this: in a study by the ICF, it was discovered that 85% of potential clients (both individuals and institutions alike) expect their life coach to be accredited before hiring. Only 5% didn’t require or expect it. Many coaches have begun a successful life coaching practice without formal training. However, it can be a much more challenging place to start.

Is there anything else I should study? 

Any kind of learning is likely to enhance your experience as a life coach. Any college degree you may already have, your work experience, your passions and drives all play a key role in building a career as a life coach, especially if they lead you into a specialized niche. Every ounce of training and experience you have already gained in life will make you a more well-rounded and empathetic coach. Put yourself in the shoes of your potential clients: Who are they? What do they need? What expertise are they hungry for? At the end of the day, they will likely end up being your greatest teachers. Their unique challenges can be a catalyst for your growth as a guide and an inspiration for deeper learning.

To train or not to train?

Life coaches come from a host of backgrounds and many different levels of education. Their journeys are as diverse as they come. People hire life coaches because they believe these individuals are qualified to guide them and prompt them through some of the most critical decisions of their lives. Some life coaches have decades of experience in their fields that qualify them to speak on these decisions, while others gain their experience through formal education. The most successful people usually build their business on a good mix of both. Getting trained won’t automatically make you a successful coach, but it is almost certain to contribute to the strong foundation you’ll need to get started.

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