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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)

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 April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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