Life coaches help their clients navigate life’s sometimes choppy waters to help them achieve their goals. They provide support for all types of clients, from corporate executives to students, parents to trauma survivors. Most Canadian life coaches receive formal training and many obtain certification to add credibility to their services and boost their careers. Life coach salaries vary by location and experience.
What Is a Life Coach?
Life coaches serve as a support system for people facing challenges or changes in their lives. They help clients find direction, achieve goals, recognize obstacles and clarify objectives. Life and career problems, along with positive challenges, often leave people overwhelmed and unsure of how to take the next step in their lives, so they turn to a life coach to help them find the best way forward.
Life coaches work with individuals and groups. A life coach does not counsel her client. Instead, she offers strategies for working through problems. For instance, a client in management might need a life coach to help him find a more effective way of communicating with his staff. A stay-at-home mother might enlist the help of a life coach to help her evaluate her talents and skills to reenter the workforce.
The role of life coach often depends on the client he serves. One client might need a life coach as an emotional hand to hold while making a personal transition, while another might need assistance when reorganizing a multinational corporation. In each situation, the life coach must help guide the client to find the best solution.
The role of a life coach differs from a counselor or therapist. While a therapist might help a client explore his past to find root causes to issues, a life coach deals his current situation. The life coaching profession bases its techniques on the belief that every person can find his or her own best way forward with proper support and motivation.
Life coaches work in a variety of ways. Some assist clients over the phone or through online teleconferencing programs such as Skype or Google Hangouts. Others meet face to face with clients. Some clients need a few sessions of life coaching, while others require months or years of ongoing assistance.
Some life coaches work independently, acquiring clients through referrals from counselors or by word of mouth from other clients. Other life coaches work directly for companies or institutions. For example, a corporation might employ a life coach to help its staff deal with issues such as job stress or balancing their work and personal lives. Universities often employ life coaches to help senior students develop action plans for entering the workforce.
After an initial meeting, a life coach works with the client to develop a customized plan to meet the desired objectives. For example, a life coach might help a new college graduate develop an employment plan that includes writing a resume, submitting job applications and establishing online career pages on websites such as LinkedIn. The coach also might help the client practice for interviews or develop presentation skills.
During the process, life coaches usually meet with their clients for 30 to 90 minutes per session. They also might correspond in between sessions through email or over the phone. Client workloads vary. Some independent life coaches may carry a workload of a dozen clients, while institutional coaches might meet dozens of clients each week.
Types of Life Coaches
Many life coaches specialize in a particular area of personal or career coaching. Life balance coaches help clients with hectic schedules find more time for family, friends and personal pursuits. Relationship coaches assist people who are recently divorced, looking for love or struggling to find common ground with a partner or spouse.
Health coaches create action plans for people with a variety of health challenges, from losing weight to chronic or terminal illness. Personal finance coaches help individuals and families sort out financial entanglements such as credit card debt or bankruptcy, as well as establishing saving plans for buying a home or saving money for their children’s college education.
Small business coaches support new business owners starting a new business, as well as established owners facing a changing marketplace or economic downturns. Executive coaches work with business executives to help them develop plans to achieve promotions, change careers, make major organizational decisions or find new opportunities within their industries.
Life Coach Training
Many Canadian and international life coach training companies offer in-person and online training. For example, Certified Coaches Federation (CCF), an internationally recognized coaching organization, offers live Certified Coach Practitioner courses in Calgary, Toronto, Sudbury, Vancouver, Montreal, Kingston and London, Ontario. At the time of writing, the program costs 980 to 1,180 dollars (CA $745 to CA $897). The two-day program covers life coaching skills and business strategies.
CCF also offers an online 10-week Business Development Certified Master Coach program that costs about CA$4,150. CCF gears the course to advanced life coaches and provides coursework in business practices, marketing and public speaking.
Rhodes Wellness College in Vancouver offers a more extensive program for novice coaches. The two-semester, 32-week course costs around CA$4,750 and provides training for working with a variety of types of clients. It covers topics such as communication skills, acquiring referrals, coaching methods, achieving goals, preparing reports, interpersonal skills, life skills, group coaching and coaching survivors of sexual abuse and other traumas.
Life Coaching Certification Canada
Canada does not require life coaches to hold a license. However, many life coaches obtain certification from training institutes. Most certification programs require you to complete training offered by the certifying organization. Many of the above-mentioned training programs include certification.
For example, CCF offers numerous certifications, including Certified Coach Practitioner, In-house Coach Certification, Certified Master Coach Practitioner, Certified Advanced Coach and Certified Group Coach Practitioner. Each CCF certification requires you to first complete a corresponding training program.
Rhodes Wellness College, an international coach training company, offers a program that leads to International Coaching Association (ICA) certification. The Rhodes program offers certification for new and experienced life coaches.
Obtaining certification adds credentials to your practice, which can help you obtain clients independently or help you land a job.
Essential Life Coach Skills
Training helps life coaches learn their trade, but they also must have certain personal skills to succeed. They must have good listening skills and patience to work with clients who feel overwhelmed, frightened or insecure.
Life coaches must have good interpersonal skills, a calm demeanor and a trustworthy personality. They must care about their clients and present a genuine interest in their clients’ objectives.
Life coaches need good decision-making skills to help clients devise initial action plans and remap after setbacks. They must show empathy toward clients’ issues and have a keen understanding of human emotions.
To juggle the demands of working with multiple clients, life coaches must have good organizational and prioritization skills. Life coaches in private practice need business and marketing skills to manage their businesses and attract clients.
Life Coach Salaries
Statistics Canada, a government agency, does not track salary data for the life coaching profession. Other data sources offer somewhat conflicting salary information.
Numerous jobs websites offer salary data based on user-submitted information. According to Neuvoo and Indeed, Canadian life coaches earn an average salary of around CA$36,000 per year.
Independent life coaches often charge an hourly rate, while full-time corporate coaches typically earn a salary. According to Sherpa Coaching’s global 2014 Executive Survey – conducted in association with The University of Georgia, Howard University and Change Partners –executive coaches earned an average hourly rate of CA$440. Business coaches made around CA$318 per hour and general life coaches took home CA$223. Coaches working with employer-paid clients earned the highest incomes, as did those with 6-10 years of experience. While hourly rates remained consistent over previous years, the report showed a decline in the number of clients served. Canadian life coaches earned the lowest incomes in North America.
A search of current life coaching jobs returns positions offering hourly wages and annual salaries. Hourly wages range from CA$15 to CA$20 per hour, while salaries range from CA$51,000 to CA$69,000.
Life Coach Job Outlook
Statistics Canada does not collect job outlook data for the life coaching profession. However, according to a 2015 Toronto Sun report, which cites data from an IBIS World research study, about 8,000 life coaches worked in Canada in 2014. In recent years, job opportunities for life coaches have grown by about 2.7 percent.