Personal development has a long history dating back to the New Thought Movement in the 1890s and the launch of "Success" magazine by personal development legend Orison Swett Marden in 1897. Since that time, renowned thought leaders have emerged in the field. Personal development study can improve your health, relationships, career and personal finances. You will become more self-aware, realize your potential and set goals to achieve it. If you want to help other people improve their lives, you can become a personal development coach.
Create a reading list of classic and current personal development articles and books. You will find several works of Orison Swett Marden to read online. Read the classics including "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill; "As A Man Thinketh" by James Allen; "The Science of Getting Rich" by Wallace D. Wattles; "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie; "The Power of Positive Thinking" by Norman Vincent Peale; "The Greatest Salesman in the World" by Og Mandino; "The Five Pieces to the Life Puzzle" by Jim Rohn; "The Richest Man in Babylon" by George S. Clason; and "The Magic of Thinking Big" by David Schwartz. Also read the books that each of these personal development authors recommends. Once you have studied the classics, you can move on to reading more recent personal development titles including "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey; "Leadership Gold" by John Maxwell; "The Greatness Guide" by Robin Sharma; "The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom" by Suze Orman; "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway" by Susan Jeffers; "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki; "The Answer" by John Assaraf; and "The Compound Effect" by Darren Hardy. Many personal development experts offer audio programs to complement your study.
Choose your area of expertise and make it your specialty. Some personal development coaches provide advice on everything from wealth building to attitude improvement, but specializing in a category of personal development can hone your expertise and help you become known in your field. Consider the branding of popular personal development coaches: personal finance expert Suze Orman; health expert Dr. Mehmet Oz; goal setting expert Brian Tracy; and leadership expert John Maxwell.
Get training and certification. You don't need a specific degree to become a personal development coach, but training and certification can separate you from the masses by giving you credibility. Start with the International Coaching Federation (ICF). ICF offers coach training programs, continuing education and certification at three different levels--associate certified coach, professional certified coach and master certified coach. The number of hours you study and coach will determine your level of certification. Not only will you help improve the lives of other people as a personal development coach, but you will also improve your own life.
Visit the websites of personal development thought leaders such as jackcanfield.com, jimrohn.com and markvictorhansen.com.