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How To Become A Life Coach (And Get Paid For It)

How To Become A Life Coach (And Get Paid For It)
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Think back on the last time you faced a major life decision. How did you handle it? Did you put it off and pretend it wasn’t there? Or did you put all your options in front of you and choose the one that best aligned with your most important short term and long term goals?

Given that you’re reading this article, it’s safe to say that you chose the second route. But many people—even those who have reached great success—struggle to handle those forks in the road in a positive and authentic way. All too often, these individuals are pulled and tugged in different directions and make important life decisions according to everyone else’s priorities but their own.

The purpose of a life coach is to bring clarity to an individual (or team of individuals) facing a critical decision point in their personal or professional lives. If you’re skilled at and enjoy communicating with others and you’d like to know how to turn that skill into a fruitful career, becoming a life coach might be a natural career path for you.

If you’re looking to learn how to become a life coach, you’re not alone. Life coaching has become one of the fastest growing careers in America. Here are the three basic steps you’ll need to take in order to make a full time career as a life coach.

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Step 1: Immerse Yourself

Life coaching can be an extremely rewarding and personally fulfilling career with flexible hours and excellent pay—but it’s not for everyone. Before spending thousands of dollars on life coach training and spending even more money to open your own life coaching business, it’s best to make smaller investments in learning everything you can about life coaching before actually becoming one. This means practicing with your friends, joining Meetups with other coaching-minded individuals, and reading books on life coaching.

Far and away the most popular book on the art of life coaching is Walks of Life, written by the certified coaching professionals at the National Coach Academy (NCA). It’s full of real coaching conversations and proven techniques to help bring out the best in your clients and further hone your skills as a coach.

Step 2: Find Your Niche

One of the misconceptions about life coaches is that they only deal with people struggling with midlife crises or inner psychological problems in their lives. The reality is that all kinds of life circumstances can benefit from professional coaching, which is why there are career coaches, executive coaches, real estate coaches, retirement coaches, fitness coaches, etc.

Your job as a budding life coach is to find the niche that lights your fire. What motivates you to get up in the morning? This is one of the hardest questions you’ll ever answer. Are you passionate about helping the elderly achieve a sense of normalcy in their ever-challenging lives? Or are you particularly interested in teenagers and those riding the emotional roller coaster of adolescence?

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If you answered “no” to both of these questions, that’s OK. The important part is to understand why not. And as you continue to engage in this conversation with yourself, try and take notice of what kinds of individuals or life circumstances you find the most fascinating. Have real conversations with all kinds of people and the internal and external struggles they face every day.

At the end of the exercise you’ll have achieved two things. One, you’ll have a good idea of which direction you want your coaching career to take. And importantly, you’ll have gained valuable coaching experience with your very first subject: yourself.

Step 3: Find a Legitimate Training Program

OK, so you’ve figured out which coaching specialty you’d like to pursue. Your next step is to become certified. Sounds simple enough doesn’t it? Not so fast.

There are literally thousands of coach training programs in existence with more and more propping up every single day. Not only must you determine which programs are legitimate and which ones aren’t, but you must also figure out which programs cater to your particular set of interests and career goals. Luckily, the International Coach Federation (ICF) has worked hard to solve both of these challenges.

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The ICF is the foremost governing body of coaching worldwide. It seeks to advance the coaching industry by setting standards of excellence, accrediting coach training programs (called ACTPs) , and building a global network of professional coaches. Put simply, ICF-accreditation is a must if you’re looking for a legitimate life coach training program, and any certification from a program that is not ICF accredited is probably not worth the paper it’s printed on.

Step 4: Find a Program That Fits Your Goals

Importantly, you need to find a program that offers (or better yet, focuses on) whatever specialties you choose to focus on. The best executive training program in the world might have a weak program for senior coaching, or worse, may not offer senior coach training at all. The ICF offers a handy tool on their website that allows you to search for ACTPs by specialty.

Before you apply, make sure to call the company and try to speak to someone about the program. I don’t just mean basic details like pricing and scheduling. You need to have an in depth conversation about the program and try to get a good feel for the personnel. Do you feel welcomed and valued as a student, or like just another customer? Remember that ICF accreditation doesn’t mean that the people who work for the company are friendly, passionate, or even care very much about their trainees.

Once you’ve narrowed your search to the one training program that checks all of your requirements, it’s time to apply.

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Life Coaching as a Career

In just the span of 10 years, life coaching has gone from the fringe to the mainstream, and career opportunities for aspiring coaches look promising. If helping others become better versions of themselves is something you’re passionate about, life coaching offers the perfect balance of entrepreneurial freedom, great pay, and a meaningful career.

There has never been a better time to learn how to become a life coach. It’s a wonderful profession with the power to improve others’ lives as well as your own.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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