What is life coaching, and what can you expect when you become one?

Thinking about becoming a life coach? Find out what life coaching is, and what you can expect when you start practising as one.

In a nutshell, life coaching is a profession where you give counsel or encouragement to clients on matters that concerns their personal lives or careers.

Life coaching is sometimes confused with counselling, consulting, mentoring, or therapy, but is very different.

As a life coach, it’s not your role to simply listen to a client’s problems, or unpick why these problems may have arisen. Instead, you’re expected to help your clients by planning goals and identifying the necessary steps to achieve them.

You advise your clients and guide them on the path towards success – whatever that means to them. 

Why do we need life coaches?

There are a number of reasons why people ask for help and guidance from a professional life coach.

A coaching client might be at the time in their life where they don’t know what to do, and they may need guidance to find the right path forward. Here are some common scenarios people consult with life coaches to navigate:

  • Choosing a degree or college.
  • Starting or advancing a career.
  • Investing in a business.
  • Buying a home.
  • Coping with divorce.
  • Restructuring financial plans.

People also seek help from life coaches to help them achieve personal goals, such as losing weight or fighting an addiction like smoking or drinking. Life coaches can even specialize in business and get an executive coach certification online and work with executives, managers, and other high-level leaders to help them develop their leadership skills.

How much does a life coach earn?

There’s no set salary for a life coach. The amount you earn will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • Where you live.
  • Your level of experience.
  • The type of client or work you specialise in.
  • Your marketing ability.
  • How much time you can devote to your work.
  • How much competition you have.

If you’d like to learn more about increasing your salary as a life coach, you can follow the guide on iNLP Center.

How can you become a life coach?

Becoming a life coach is not difficult. You don’t need any specific educational background or qualification. And in some areas you don’t even need a certification or license. 

But if you want to become a successful life coach, you’ll need a well-rounded education in this field. Some life coaches take or have degrees or other qualifications in counselling or psychology, but again these aren’t essential.

There are many different life coaching certificate programs and training courses that will give you the skills, experience and qualifications to confidently launch a successful and effective professional life coaching career.

What does a professional life coach do?

A professional life coach offers advice and guidance to their clients at different stages of their lives.

Clients hire life coaches to help them navigate tricky periods in their lives, or to help them become more successful and happy – either personally or professionally.

Many life coaches offer general help for any problem a client may have, while others specialise in a particular niche, such as restructuring your financial goals, or earning more money. 

Once you become a life coach, you need to be willing to listen to all of your client’s problems. Simply put, you have to be the soundboard for all your clients.

As a a life coach, you’ll be expected to listen to a client’s problems without bias, and be able to offer them new perspectives and advice to enable them to overcome their problems.

No two clients will have identical problems, and their personality, values, situation, needs and ability will differ greatly too. Ao you’ll need to treat each client as an individual and tailor their sessions to them.

You’ll also need to monitor their progress and give them homework assignments that are action-oriented to help them move forward and make genuine progress towards their goals.

You may even be a source of encouragement and inspiration for your clients in how you approach your own problems, and live your own life. 

What does it take to become a life coach?

Almost anyone can get a certificate or a license as a life coach. But to become a successful life coach – one who genuinely makes a difference to their clients, and can therefore build a successful career as a life coach – you need to be able to encourage and inspire other people to become better and to pursue their goals.

Here are the top six qualities you need to become a successful life coach.

1) You need to practise self-development yourself

A passion for self-development is one of the top qualities you can have if you want to become a life coach. 

The best life coaches are those who long to develop themselves further as an individual. Why? Because your passion for self-development will be infectious, and attractive to clients who are also seeking to make improvements to themselves and their lives.  

2) You need to love to help and inspire other people 

The primary purpose of a life coach is to inspire and help other people. So if this is your innate passion you’ll naturally be a good fit.

3) You need good people skills

As a life coach you’ll need to listen, communicate, and relate to other people on a personal level. So if you have good people skills, you’ll find it easier to understand and solve the problems of your clients. 

4) You need to relate to other people’s struggles and problems

As a life coach, being able to relate to what your client is currently going through will allow you to become more helpful and compassionate towards them.

If you have experienced something similar in the past, you may have a deeper understanding of what they’re going through, enabling you to provide more detailed insights that could help them rise above their struggles – and give them genuine hope for a positive outcome.

5) You need to be motivated

Nothing beats getting help from motivated people. Your clients will be leaning on you as a source of motivation and inspiration, and knowing you genuinely want to help them and are putting everything you have behind their progress will encourage them to put in the work and get the results they want.

6) You need to be patient and understanding

To every client, their problems are real and unique. So you’ll need to be patient and understanding when listing to your their situation and challenges. Even if you’ve heard them many, many times before you’ll need to be attentive and interested.

What are the responsibilities of a life coach?

A life coach has many responsibilities to their clients, to help them overcome their struggles and realise their goals. Here are the main ones:

  • Bridging the gap – You’ll help clients realise the gap between where they currently are and where they want to be. 
  • Become a role model – As a life coach, you need to be able to make yourself a model for your client. If you don’t make your behaviour serve as a model for your client, it’ll be hard to make them accountable. 
  • Be a sounding board – As a life coach, your role includes becoming a soundboard. This way, your clients will be able to verbalise their struggles and goals to you comfortably. This creates a safe place for your clients to voice out all their struggles, goals, and ambitions. 
  • Track progress – Tracking the progress of your clients is also a part of the job of a life coach. You’ll work together with your client on reflecting where they have been at the beginning of your sessions and see how far they’ve come. Tracking their progress will also help organise the thoughts of your clients and aid them in identifying good choices.

How do you market yourself as a life coaching professional?

Your marketability as a life coaching professional will affect how much you earn.

Life any profession, as a life coach you’ll need to plan a marketing strategy that gets your message and services in front of people who will benefit from your coaching services. This can include:

  • Social media.
  • Content marketing.
  • Blogging.
  • Guest posting.
  • Networking.
  • Podcasting.
  • PR.
  • Advertising.
  • SEO.
  • Advertising.

As with any marketing strategy, carefully consider who your ideal clients are (if you can, choose a niche to focus on, rather than trying to appeal to everyone), what they need from a life coach, and what your particular USP is.

Thinking about becoming a life coach?

To become a life coach, you must be patient, understanding, cheerful, optimistic, attentive, and encouraging. You also need to be emotionally resilient. 

If you believe you have the qualities needed to become a successful life coach – and that you’ll find the work rewarding and motivating, then maybe it’s time to investigate your next steps to becoming one?

Photo by Danica Tanjutco