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Getting Your Life Coach Certification

written byErickson Coaching Internationalon 14/07/2020

Life is a journey with many choices. What is my purpose and what might meaningful work mean to me? What work can I do that both sustains and fulfills me? How can I find work that both inspires and generates an income?

During the course of life, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut, off course and even overwhelmed and confused by the endless professional paths that are out there. Some work pays well but lacks meaning, while some professions are more exciting than others. Often as we question where we are and where we would like to be, we find ourselves drawn to there areas that might have a stronger pull. Ultimately, you want to cut through the fog of flimsy futures and identify long-term goals that will lead to both personal fulfillment and create financial success. 

It takes a dedicated, passionate, purposeful, yet creative person to become a life coach, but choosing this career path offers you the benefits of helping others, making a difference and building a successful business. Life coaches rate their fulfillment levels very high, they report that being a life coach results in a very rewarding career path. If becoming a certified life coach is something you have been considering it's important to explore what your life will look like and feel like as a life coach and what it takes to really make a difference, and have an impact. As you explore this, the importance and credibility you need to succeed in living the life you desire as a life coach first requires that you earn a life coach certification.

Is coaching your calling? Discover how Solution-Focused coaching skills enable you to create transformational change in yourself and others. 

What do life coaches really do?

Life coaches primarily focus on three areas when working with others:

  • They help to inspire clients to identify their life vision and goals.
    In many cases, clients may not know what they want until they talk it out with a qualified life coach. Through the use of active listening, open-ended questions, and professional coaching exercises, life coaches can lead their clients to the powerful moments of insight and self-discovery.
  • They assist clients to develop a plan for meeting their goals.
    Life coaches are action-oriented. Once a client has identified their specific goals, a life coach will help them to develop a concrete, step-by-step plan to achieve them.
  • They hold clients accountable to their plans.
    If a client loses focus, a life coach will be able to identify and overcome blocks to get them back on track. A life coach will use specific strategies to increase motivation and commitment so that the client can overcome obstacles and challenges and ultimately succeed.

What is not part of life coaching?

Some people don't clearly understand the role that life coaches play in professional development, and they attribute a wider scope of responsibility to them than they actually perform. Here are three roles that life coaches do not fill:

  • Coaches are not therapists.
    Counselors and therapists are retrospective, they help their clients dig into the past in order to manage the present. Solution-Focused life coaches help clients examine the present in order to create the future they desire. It is not up to the coach to diagnose or treat mental health issues. If a coach is working with a client who they suspect requires medical or therapeutic intervention or treatment, the coach should refer the client to the appropriate professional for diagnosis and treatment.
  • Coaches are not consultants.
    Consultants analyze the needs of an organization or individual and then offer advice based on their experience that spring from years of specialized experience. They may even implement these solutions for the client. In contrast, life coaches use their training to help clients develop their own solutions and then hold them accountable for following through on those plans.
  • Life coaching is not like sports coaching.
    Unlike sports coaches, who frequently set and move goals by telling others what is required, life coaches allow clients to set their own goals and support them as they work to meet those objectives independently.

If you would like to explore how coaching compares to counseling, consulting and mentoring, check this page

How do coaches get their coach certification?

If a person is interested in becoming a life coach, they first need to ask themselves a few important questions before beginning their coaching journey. Some key questions include:

  • Is the career of a life coach a good fit for me?
    Life coaches spend their time actively engaged with clients, and invest significant time and effort in partnering to support their clients as they progress toward their goals. Life coaches must be good communicators and exceptional listeners. They must also have the courage needed to challenge limitations and hold clients accountable for their actions.
  • Who would I want to coach (niche)?
    There are so many different niches available life coaches, such as professional life coaching, organizational, and team coaching as well as business coaches and executive coaches. Great questions to ask as you explore this are: who do you enjoy helping and who is your ideal client to partner with?
  • What skills do I need to develop in order to become a life coach?
    A person who is interested in becoming a coach needs to be interested and invested in helping others, e a lifetime learner and enjoy human development and potential. One of the main skills life coaches must develop is an understanding of the difference between advising and enabling. Life coaches model the value of self-reflection and autonomy when helping their clients achieve their goals so as not to influence them..

What are the steps for obtaining life coach certification?

If the career of a life coach might be a good fit for you, the next major objective is to undergo ICF-certified coach training and accumulate enough knowledge and practice to apply for the life coach certification. 

The International Coach Federation (ICF), an organization designed to promote and consolidate the global life coaching industry, offers three primary levels of life coach certification:

  • Associate Certified Coach (ACC)
  • Professional Certified Coach (PCC)
  • Master Certified Coach (MCC)

To obtain any one of these certifications, one has to:

  • Complete ICF accredited training
  • Gain a specific amount of coaching experience hours
  • Learn from a partnership with a mentor coach
  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of a coach's values and competencies

Finally, when choosing the training course, it is important to inquire about the methods of coach training delivery from any given school. Some ICF-accredited programs only offer in-person training or are limited to specific niches only, whereas others offer fully interactive online programs and equip you to coach in a variety of environments with different clients at different stages. Erickson is proud to be the industry pioneer in true virtual online coach training, combine with a superior flexibility offer to combine training online and on-site.  

Becoming a life coach empowers you to help others identify and reach their personal and professional goals and attain a greater degree of life satisfaction.

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