How To Become A Life Coach

By Leo Gura - January 19, 2014 | 8 Comments

Learn how to become a life coach in less than 15 minutes! The essential facts and strategies you must know to become a great coach.

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Hey, this is Leo for Here we’re doing another quick self-help segment where I’m going to quickly cover the topic of how to become a life coach.

I am a life coach so I’m qualified to talk about this. I went through the process. It’s actually not hard. If you’re interested in becoming a life coach, listen up because I’m going to give you some quick tips and techniques and give you a plan for how to do it.

I’ll go into much deeper detail on it in some other video where I can talk about it at length. Since this is a quick rapid-fire segment, I’m just going to give you the skinny and the practical things that you can do right now.

If you want to become a life coach, the best thing that I can recommend is to join a life coach training program. There are many programs out there. Make sure that you get one that is credible and has some good reviews and that provides you with certification.

Certification comes from the International Coaching Federation. You can look up their website. There they’ll have a list of all sorts of schools that they accredit and that will give you the kind of training that is in line with the International Coaching Federation.

You want to align with a school that’s aligned with the ICF because the ICF is the standard governing body across the world for coaches. It just came out as the standard and now everybody is on board with that.

Honestly, you don’t even need a coaching certification to be a coach. What I do find valuable in the training programs, though, is that they teach you what it means to be a coach because it’s not all that it seems to be at the beginning.

Let me give you some details on these certification programs. I went through a program called iPEC. You can Google them. They’re one of the best programs out there. It’s a comprehensive program.

It costs around $9,000 to do. It is a little bit pricey, but you have to put that in perspective with everything else that is out here.

Any decent coaching program around is going to cost you somewhere in the range of $8,000 to $10,000. iPEC is competitive there and they don’t have any extra hidden fees or anything. That’s it. You just pay the $9,000 and then you do the program. It’s pretty nice.

You have to ask yourself if that’s worth it to you. If this is going to be your career and your profession, then it’s actually not a big price to pay. With any other serious profession that you would go into, you would spend way more than $10,000 to get degrees, certifications, and trainings. It would take you a lot longer than it will take you to finish a coaching program – even a comprehensive one like iPEC.

The iPEC takes about ten months to do the whole curriculum. They do it in modules. You have four modules and you take one module then you get two or three months to do the homework assignments and the practice of coaching throughout that.

Then they have another module where they train you for a weekend and then you do another couple months of training and homework assignments. Then they do more of these modules. Through this module process, you can learn to become a coach.

What’s great about the program is that it’s not a full-time program. You can do it while you’re still working at your current job. If you’re employed right now and you can’t quit your job, then this is a great program.

You can take it on weekends and there are only four modules. Each weekend is three days and it’s not that bad. You can take a Friday off and then you have Saturday and Sunday.

You learn all of that information and then you go home and you can do the homework over the course of two or three months and it doesn’t take up that much time.

What I would say is that if you want to become a coach, the core of it is not even the training. The training is important because they’re going to teach you some techniques and some principles of coaching that actually are important and that you’re not going to get by yourself.

I find that the value of it is that you actually experience it. You can buy some books out there on life coaching, which I’ll recommend. The problem with those is that you don’t get a taste for how the process works. You want to get a taste for how to actually coach someone in person and also over the phone.

These training programs are so effective because they put you into group environments with other newbie coaches as you guys are learning it and you get to coach each other. You get to try this stuff out in a low-risk and low-pressure environment.

You also get the instructors who are coaching you and you’re coaching them. They give you immediate feedback. You’re working with a manual and you have stuff to go on. It’s actually an easy and fun process to learn some of these techniques and to learn the coaching process.

However, what I would say is that if you want to become a serious coach, you have to go above and beyond what the program is doing. The program will put you into teams where you can coach other people who are also in the program. That gets you the experience that you need, but I find that you need more than that. You need more experience.

When I went through my program, I went out and made sure to find extra people in the program and in other groups that I could coach and I just partnered up with them. I just shot them some e-mails. We connected on the message boards.

What I tried to do is get as many coaching hours in as possible. I was doing many calls a week, to the point where I wanted to get as many calls in as possible. The more calls you do and the more people you coach, the better you become.

It doesn’t take that many coaching calls. It maybe takes 100 coaching calls to get comfortable with the process. When you start, it’s going to feel scary and you’re not going to know if you’re doing it right. After about 100 calls, it’s all going to iron out and become easy and effortless and you’re going to do great.

The bottom line is that you have to join a training program. I don’t think it’s feasible to learn how to coach all by yourself in isolation just by buying a bunch of books or watching some seminars or some DVDs. You have to go out there and join one of these programs and get certified so that you know how to be professional as a coach and know some of the guidelines and principles of coaching.

Also, what’s great about the coaching programs is that they give you business and marketing support. This is actually the hardest part about coaching. The coaching is not what’s hard. You’ll master that pretty easily.

What’s more challenging is how to set up the business of coaching, market yourself, niche yourself, and find clients. That’s the tricky part. Most people that go through the program don’t actually start a business. They’re not able to get the clients and they’re not able to build enough of a client base to the point where they can actually sustain this model.

They join the program and then drop their business dreams and go back to doing their own old job. They don’t have the business mind and the entrepreneurial mind to make a coaching practice.
You have to realize that has a coach, unless you’re working in some sort of corporation, then you’re working for yourself and that basically makes you an entrepreneur. It makes you self-employed. You have to understand, beyond how to be a coach, how to be self-employed.

That means that you have to be self-motivated. You have to be able to set your own schedule. You have to be able to set priorities. You have to understand business. You have to understand money. You have to understand marketing and sales.

You have to understand the process of going out there and finding clients, whether it’s through online sources or whether it’s in person through networking events and public speaking or whatever other vehicles you’re going to use to market yourself.

Make sure that whatever coaching program you get into, the one that you choose also gives you business and marketing support. They will give you important information about the coaching business. There are just certain practices within the coaching business that you want to know.

You want to know, for example, that you need to choose a specialty and that nobody hires a generic coach. You want to be specialized in some aspect of coaching, whether it’s life purpose, spirituality, career, money, or fitness and weight loss. You have to pick a niche.

Even within all of those categories, you can still sub-specialize. The more you specialize, the better. That’s a counterintuitive notion, especially for newbies. I know that I resisted that for a long time and everybody who goes through the program does, too.

If you don’t go and people don’t tell you about these things, then you’re going to trip up on some of these points.

They also tell you what are the common ways to market yourself as a coach. They tell you what are the “dos” and the “don’ts” and how you go out there and work networking events, how you present yourself to clients, how you pitch yourself, how you share your value to the client so that they understand that they’re actually paying for something. They tell you how you charge money for your services, set up the paperwork, handle the legal side, and handle the payment processing.

They’re going to tell you about all of those logistics – at least a good training program will.

That is the gist of it. I would say that if you’re interested in coaching, research a little bit about it and then you just have to dive in. Iif you’re serious about it and you think that this is something that’s right for you, scrounge up the money. You need about $10,000. Pay it forward and then go ahead and join that program and work that program.

Work the program more than the program works you. Go above and beyond. Do more than the homework assignments. Coach more people than they’re telling you to coach. Go out there and buy books and study some books on coaching.

Eventually, what will happen is that through that process, you’ll become so good that you’ll easily outcoach and outmarket the rest of your class and then you’re going to be in a good position to go out there and create a business out of it.

A lot of people go into coaching and they think that they want to help people and connect with people. They’re “people” people. They love helping. They love contributing.

However, you have you understand that it is a business. If you’re not able to sustain the business side of it, then you’re not going to be able to help anybody. There’s a little bit of that tradeoff between helping people and then also being business savvy about it, too, and knowing how to market yourself. That is important.

This is it. This is going to do it for this quick self-help segment on how to become a life coach. If you want more information, I’m going to have more detailed videos about how to become a coach and more insights, that I can’t share in 10 minutes here, on Check that out.

Also, if you are a coach, you’ll be interested in some of the advanced personal development techniques and strategies that we have that will help you both in your coaching practice and your business and then also to help you develop yourself as much as possible.

I feel that to be a coach, the most important thing is that you have to live the example. What you’re selling is a lifestyle. You’re selling something to your clients. You’re selling them personal development and you’re showing them that they can be something more than they are.

To do that, they have to see it in you. If you are not demonstrating it, how are they going to believe it? How are they going to trust you, with their money, to deliver them real-world results if they don’t see you delivering it to yourself?

I’ve found that to do that, you have to immerse yourself in personal development. Study it. Become a master of it. There’s no better way than checking out and signing up for the newsletter. We have a lot of cool content for free that will get you up to speed fast.

That’s it. I am signing off. Go ahead and comment, “like,” and share.

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James says:

Hey Leo, I really appreciate the practical advice in this post. I have a few questions for you if you don’t mind:

•The nearest iPEC to me is in Chicago. I’m in Minneapolis. It’s a six hour drive. Do you think the program is worth it enough to make that drive or should I find something closer to home?
•I’m really interested in business coaching, executive coaching, and life coaching. Is it possible/feasible/advisable to have my hand in all three pots or do I need to just pick one?
•I’m I’m school full time finishing my BA along with working full time. Is this training going to be too much of a time commitment? Should I wait to do it until I finish my degree or maybe take a semester off?
•How long after you finished the program were you financially independent and (if you had one) able to quit your old job?

Thanks again for all you do!

Leo Gura says:

Hey James!

1) Yes, it’s worth the drive. You will only have to drive out 3 or 4 times during the whole year. Not to hard.

2) There is a lot of overlap between them. As far as coaching skills go, you will be able to do all three. But as far as marketing goes, you need to pick a single niche to build your practice around.

3) IPEC is designed to be done while working full-time. It’s certainly doable, although I personally didn’t have a 9-5 while taking IPEC. It is nice to be able to focus.

4) I was already financially independent. It took me about 1 year after the program to start getting decent clients. Although still not that much money. I wasn’t earning my main income from coaching at all. Realistically, it will take you 1-2 years to build up a client base. Those first few years will be tough.

David Miller says:

Hey Leo,
This is the first career that I’m actually going to pull the trigger on. Although i do think this will be a great choice, $9000 is a lot to risk for something I’m not 100% sure about. Im still in high school and i don’t have that kind of money. Do you think its a good option to go through an inexpensive training program, and of course work very hard, which i have been, to test the waters? Then after some time, if and when i decide the career is right for me, I would go back to a better, more expensive program. Just looking for some input, Thank you.

Leo Gura says:

$9000 is cheap as far as education is concerned. Go get a regular job and save up the money. It won’t take that long.

Also I recommend you go to college. You’re not going to be a very effective coach straight out of high school because you lack maturity and life experience. So go acquire some of that.

David Miller says:

Thanks for the imput, and I am planning on going to college for bisiness and psycology, but once again, I want to try life coaching first l, just to see if I like it before I invest a lot of time and money. So although I won’t be the most effective coach straight out of high school, I still believe I can make a great differece in people’s lives. So aside from my after school job, I coach a few of my friends for free. What crosses my mind now is if I should go through a cheap program and work as a coach to save up the money for iPEC, or another highly reccomended program.

E says:

What kind of unrealistic idiot thinks it didn’t take long to save $9000?
Someone is living in a bubble that didn’t make me comfortable with their advice. Most or families in the usa won’t save that much money outside of retirement in their lives in the current economy. And that’s not for want of trying, that it’s the economy. $9,000 dollars may as well be $9,000,000 for all the liklihood that we’ll over half the nation could save it at all, let alone quickly.
Regular jobs do not pay that much. You are out of touch. Even for a year ago.

Vitali says:

I want to dive in. I am even willing to scrap up the 10 grants to take the iPEC program, even if it takes years.

But that program is in the US, or London, I live in germany. That’s a problem if you have no cash and noone in those countries to help you.

Aaron says:

Leo – what do you see as the best way to build a coaching clientele? Do you spend money on ads? I have a few videos, but I find it hard to find a quiet time to record with my child in the house. Also, sometimes they turn out terrible and I feel as though I wasted time. I feel I am better at blogging through text, but youtube videos are so much more personal. Do you think blogging through text is a decent way to attract clients?

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