How to Train as a Life Coach: Steps and Advice

Do you love helping people become more than who they are? Do your family and friends always run to you and ask for your advice? Do you want to know how to train as a life coach and get paid for it?

According to the 2016 report from the International Coach Federation (ICD), the average annual income of a life coach is about $61,900, and there are about 17,500 life coaches in North America. This type of business is starting to grow in the U.S., especially that there are a lot of baby boomers and female clients who are seeking expert advice about relationships, spirituality, business, and career.

Life coaches guide their clients by reinstalling their self-confidence through empowerment so that they can use the full potential in reaching their goals. Life coaches are not only good at giving advice and listening actively to their clients, but they are also good when it comes to being entrepreneurs. They are leaders of their own—they help make successful leaders, and to do that, they should be a leader of their senses.

Working as a life coach might sound intimidating. But if you learn the proper skills and enjoy communicating with others, then life coaching can be a fruitful career for you.

Skills you need to become a life coach

To become a good life coach, you need a specific set of skills to help you become effective and succeed in making other people better personally and professionally. It takes a person who has the skills below to become an effective life coach. 

Strong concentration

Life coaches may handle several clients at the same period of time. These clients will have varying needs and problems that will require unique solutions or interventions. It is, therefore, important to maintain a strong sense of focus and concentration to the tasks and interventions you have for specific clients.

A life coach cannot afford to mix up plans that are dedicated to different people. When you are with one client, you need to focus on that client alone and keep your mind clear of all other clients and their individual problems. The ability to focus will allow you to give one issue your best attention, thereby allowing you to solve it swiftly and effectively.

Organizational skills

A skill that helps focus and concentration is good organization. This skill is most important when you are trying to juggle multiple clients with different schedules. You have to be able to set non-conflicting appointments, give your clients ample one-on-one time, and be prepared with all the plans and materials you need for your appointment.

Having good organization also shows your clients that you are a person they can trust because you know what you are doing and you are in control of your time and responsibilities. No one could possibly trust a life coach who misses appointments or is always underprepared when meeting clients.

Administrative skills

You are your own enterprise when you become a life coach, unless you are employed by a group or an establishment.  This means that you have to take care of your own accounting, bookkeeping, tax payments, record-keeping, insurance, and all other administrative-related tasks. If your practice is strong enough, you may be able to afford a secretary, beautiful you are only starting out, you will have to do all of these things by yourself.

Sales and marketing

You may have all the skills and attributes that make an excellent life coach, but if nobody knows that you exist, how will you put your skills to good use? Self-employed life coaches need to know some degree of sales and marketing as you will need to sell yourself and your services in order to get clients. 

Some fundamental knowledge on email marketing and social media marketing is a good start. Learn how to create promotional materials for email and social media, and try to put up your own website or even just your own life-coach business page on social media to get the word out about your life coach services.

On the other hand, you can also resort to more traditional marketing strategies such as print advertisements, newspapers, television and radio advertisements. These may cost you a certain sum, but all you have to do is to submit your material for advertising and let them do the rest.

You may also adopt a combination of traditional and modern advertising methods. For example, you can put up your own blog as well as securing a column in a local paper at the same time.

Active listening

Becoming a life coach may seem like all you need to do is to drill positive principles and good habits into a person, but a large portion of it actually involves listening actively. You need to truly get to know your clients at a deep and personal level to identify their problems, find out the root causes of their issues to be able to solve them.

To do this, you need to have great listening skills. This skill does not just involve hearing what your client has to say, but most importantly truly understanding what they mean, letting them know that you are interested to hear them out, and asking follow-up questions to get deeper answers.

With the help of active listening, you can pinpoint the real needs of your clients, identify the roots of their problems, and develop appropriate strategies to address their issues effectively. Additionally, your client will appreciate you better for lending not just a helping hand but an open mind and a listening ear. 


Networking is highly common among businesses. In fact, it has even expanded to include online networking among professionals, businesses, and potential clients. Networking is a great way to connect with other life coaches, business owners, and potential new clients. Therefore, life coaches need good networking skills in order for them to expand their circle and have a bigger market.

To be good at networking, life coaches need to be friendly, approachable, personable, sociable, and enthusiastic. You need to be comfortable with meeting new people and engaging with them in social settings.

How can a life coach benefit from a networking event? For example, a life coach who likes to help people succeed in business may attend business expositions and seminars that involve business people. Exposing themselves to these events helps them meet up with people who they can help or who may refer them to friends who need their service. 

Problem-solving skills

People who seek out a life coach expect someone who knows their way around issues. Your clients want you to contribute to their success by identifying things that they need to improve on in order to succeed. As a result, you need to have strong problem-solving skills to help them identify and address problems in order to lead a better life. 

Here are some necessary steps to become a life coach.

1. Find your niche.

Life coaching is a broad field. You can choose any area that you want to pursue, but you need to ensure that you are an expert in that specific area. This is one of the fundamental steps to become a life coach. If you are an expert in a particular field, you can guide your clients on the right path as you are able to offer them well-curated advice.

You should also do some research about the market of your niche and make sure that you have a large target to become successful. If you still have not made up your mind on what niche you are going to choose, here are some of the common niches in life coaching:

Business coaching.

A business coach helps a business owner by guiding them through creating a vision for their business in relation to their own personal goals. The ultimate goal of business coaching is to take a business from where it is to where it aims to be.

Career coaching.

Career coaches counselors guide individuals through their career life. It can be done at any point in a person’s life–a fresh graduate seeking a first job, or someone who is on the verge of switching careers.

Dating coaching.

Dating coaches aim to make their clients succeed in dating and relationships. They conduct discussions, role-playing, behavior modeling, and other methods that develop a person to meet and attract romantic prospects.

Relationship coaching.

Relationship coaches help individuals develop better and more meaningful relationships. It is not merely limited to romantic relationships, but also family, friends, and even work relationships.

Divorce coaching.

Divorce is a tough process for anyone. A divorce coach helps people going through a divorce to help them make better and informed decisions that will benefit them in the future. They may also provide support and motivation during this difficult time.

Financial coaching.

Some people need a bit of extra push to encourage positive financial habits. That is where financial coaches come in. They educate their clients on basic personal finance and help them meet their personal financial goals.

Health coaching.

Health coaches make use of evidence-based interventions to help a person develop healthy habits. They may coordinate with health professionals such as nutritionists in order to achieve their client’s health goals.

Retirement coaching.

Retirement isn’t just about preparing your finances to ensure that they last you as long as you live without work. It also involves a handful of social and personal issues that may arise at this stage of life. Retirement coaches help retirees navigate life after work and encourage them to continue developing even after they have stopped working.

Personal coaching.

A personal coach is somewhat a catch-all for all the niches mentioned above. They may help a client through multiple aspects of their life including health, finance, career, and relationships. Their primary aim is to help their clients learn how to make better decisions and make use of their strengths to succeed in life.

Also, you may consider some of the profitable life coaching niches to simplify your search and gain inspiration.

2. Take advantage of life coaching tutorials.

Another one of the steps to become a life coach is learning. Although you do not need a degree to become a life coach, certification and training will still make you stand out. Life coach training can be a bit expensive. That is why before you spend thousands and dollars for these trainings, you should try to take advantage of life coaching training programs, tutorials, and online courses, just like what we have listed below.

  • Introduction To Life Coaching – an introductory life-coaching course for aspiring life coaches or people who want to make use of basic life coaching techniques to achieve their personal goals.
  • Life Coaching: A Complete Guide – a comprehensive online course that is perfect for beginner life coaches. It tackles in-depth topics such as NLP body language techniques and other important life-coach skills to make you a successful life coach.
  • Start Your Own Online Coaching Business – If you want to work from home as a life coach, it is totally possible if you do it online. This course shows you the ropes on how to succeed with an online coaching business.
  • Life Coach Yourself: Make This Your Best Year Yet – If you want to use life-coaching techniques purely to yourself to improve your life, this course is designed for this purpose.
  • Certified Relationship Workshop Facilitator – an online course that focuses on relationship coaching through skills needed to become a successful relationship workshop facilitator.
  • Group Life Coaching – group life coaching is a high-yielding practice because you will be handling multiple clients in a session, similar to a class. This eliminates the stress of having to find individual high-paying clients to keep your practice afloat.
  • Become A Laughter Facilitator – this online course teaches you to become a laughter facilitator, conduct “laughing classes,” and encourage people to have a more positive outlook on life and a more optimistic disposition through laughter.
  • Certified Confidence And Life Coach Training – many people who look for life coaches verbalize that their main issue hindering them from success is their lack of confidence. This online course focuses on teaching you how to tackle that specific concern.

It is better to make small investments and learn what you can about life coaching. You can also apply what you have learned from these tutorials and online courses to your friends and family members who need advice. By doing this, you will discover your personal interests and strengths, as well as the life coach niche that is a perfect fit for your skills and knowledge.

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3. Obtain your credentials through training. 

The next step to becoming a certified life coach is securing credentials through life coach training. The life coaching industry does not have that strong regulation, and anyone who has a passion for helping people and solving their problems can become a life coach. However, it does not mean that you are skilled enough to practice in this field. In fact, there are untrained and incompetent life coaches that are damaging the reputation of this industry. 

If you want to start your business or work as a professional life coach, then being credible and getting certified is a must. The International Association of Coaching (IAC) and the International Coach Federation (ICF) are just two of the most popular organizations that provide such certifications to professional life coaches. These organizations offer certifications for those who are able to complete the explicit training programs.

For example, the International Coach Federation offers three (3) levels of life coach credentials, such as:

  • Associate Certified Coach (ACC)
  • Professional Certified Coach (PCC)
  • Master Certified Coach (MCC)

The IAC offers three (3) professional designations:

  • Masteries Practitioner Designation
  • Certified Masteries Coach
  • Master Masteries Coach (MMC)

How to train as a life coach?

A life coaching session or training comes in different forms. Some life coaches meet their clients in person, while some perform their coaching services through video calls and phone calls. 

Most life coaches aim to fulfill the following in each of their sessions:

  • Building a strong professional rapport with a client starts with encouraging them to talk about what they want, need, and expect from your life coaching session or training. This is also a perfect way to figure out whether you are the right life coach to help your client.
  • Being an active listener, paying attention to every word the client is saying, and observing their body language.
  • Engaging clients to participate in every session.
  • Encouraging clients to challenge themselves, develop critical strengths, and obtain valuable skills. 
  • Helping clients set realistic goals.
  • Providing proper feedback to clients to decide on their goals, challenges, career, etc.

Finally, the main role of a life coach is to train their clients to become optimistic and always be motivated to face any roadblocks. Your client should feel empowered and ecstatic after your coaching session. 

If you are just starting as a life coach in the business, it would be helpful that you offer your coaching services for free. You can either offer private coaching or group coaching. This will help you build your reputation and gather testimonials.

Most importantly, you as a life coach should preserve your integrity. Life coaching is all about building trust. 

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