There is nothing to stop you from calling yourself a life coach and going into the advice-giving business. Still, your future clients will likely want to see that you have some level of expertise and education in the field. As the job title suggests, life coaches guide people in making decisions about their careers and personal lives. Some coaches specialize in helping professionals make career changes, while others coach people as they choose colleges, ponder a relationship change or even make financial decisions.
Experience in a Particular Niche
Life coaches are often experienced professionals who have had a long career in a particular industry or niche, and are ready to guide other people in a particular field. According to a survey by the International Coaching Federation, more than 60 percent of life coaches are age 46 or over, a reflection of their years of experience. For some, coaching is a way to leave behind the world of full-time work. If you're thinking of becoming a life coach, ask yourself whether you have a level of expertise in an industry, or a specific set of life experiences that can help others. For example, if you've been a business executive, you'll be a good fit for coaching other executives.
Even with experience and an idea of what niche you'll be in, pursue training in the field. Training programs for life coaches abound, but try to locate one that is accredited by the International Coach Federation.That will lend credibility to your training and will provide you follow-up support. You'll also have the option for accreditation after completing the program. Training programs can last anywhere from several months up to two years, typically costing thousands of dollars. Options are available in person, online or through distance learning.
Starting Your Business
Some life coaches work for larger life coaching firms or as in-house coaches for corporations, but the majority work for themselves. To start your business, consider offering your services to a few people for free or for a discounted price, to get the word out about what you have to offer. Develop a professional-looking website and social media channels, and write blog posts and social media posts that describe your services. Also network with people in your area using your personal contacts along with your local chamber of commerce or other business networking groups in your field. Ask your clients to write testimonials for you on your LinkedIn page. Offer your services in person as well as online via video chat, as that can help you reach a wider group of people.
Consider becoming a certified coach through the ICF, or through other organizations such as the Association for Coaching or the International Association of Coaching. Certification will lend further credibility to your new career. According to the ICF survey, current life coaches expect a growth in the industry in the coming years, as people become more aware of what life coaches can do. Coaches working with executives might charge between $400 and $500 per hour, while coaches for less senior clients might charge around $100 per hour. Thus, the job prospects for your industry are promising.