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How to Become a Life Coach

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 26 May 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Life Coach Required Skills Coaches

Becoming a life coach is an increasingly popular choice for people making a career change. It’s a job that’s interesting, flexible, well paid and gives you the freedom to Work From Home.

That also means, however, that the world and his wife are doing it, not to mention the large numbers of unscrupulous courses promising to ‘make you a life coach for just £500’ popping up all over the place!

As an overview, a life coach is usually a self-employed person who works with a small number of individuals, helping them through challenging periods in their lives, either through face-to-face contact or telephone conversations. Life coaches offer one-off consultations or book regular slots to help with all aspects of a client's life – such as career, personal issues, time management, stress and so on.

No Qualifications Required

It’s worth remembering that you do not actually have to have any particular qualifications to become a life coach. Just because there are loads of adverts in the back of every woman’s magazine or Sunday supplement for life coaching courses, you do not have to do anything official to call yourself a life coach.

Most people who are successful life coaches have some sort of management training. They may have trained in a certain area such as NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), sports psychology or eating disorders, too.

Remember that this is not a career for the faint hearted. Life coaching got a bit of bad rap when it was thought that only yummy mummies with too much time on their hands became life coaches, telling people what to do with their lives without needing to make a success of their Own Business. But that reputation is not really accurate any more because people expect something more for their money, especially since the recession has made us all look at how effectively we spend our hard-earned cash.

Skills Required to be a Life Coach

Becoming a life coach is largely to do with being a Good Networker, being self-disciplined and motivated. You have to be interested in what makes people tick, be able to encourage others and have the confidence to ask people the questions they need to ask themselves to move forward with their lives.

The types of skills needed to be a life coach include being a good listener, being able to see problems and solutions clearly, being able to offer positive, realistic advice in an eloquent manner and being totally trustworthy.

Life coaches need to be able to inspire their clients. That’s why these £500 courses in the back of magazines are often inappropriate, because you can’t teach just anyone to be a good life coach – these are often just money making schemes taking advantage of the fact that it’s such an appealing career choice.

If you decide to change career to become a life coach, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to complete some kind of course or get a qualification. Do your research and brush up on/or qualify in a specific area that will help your life coach career. This will help build your confidence and enable you to advise in a particular area. Focus on building your network of clients and gaining a solid online presence.

First-hand Experience

Discover how one reader utilised her experience without wasting her skills to establish a successful life coaching practice in our article From Dietician To Life Coach.

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Hi I'm a health care assistant as my job requires a lot of patience and communication. I think I have a gift in Listening and advising people I most of the time have family and friends calling me for an advice or even just to listen to them and give an opinion and with my positive attitude I always make sure I encourage and help them to take the right decisions. Have got my level2 in health and social care. I want to be a life coach any advise on training or courses ?
Irish - 26-May-17 @ 11:44 PM
I've a British prison officer for 20+ years working from high to medium security, I have specialised in the past with sexual offenders and murderers , I'm very good at communicating with people, will this put me in any position to become a 'life coach ' ?
John - 9-Jan-17 @ 2:35 PM
Thanks for this topic...I lost my very good paid job as a cleaner just four days ago and needed to "Find My Passion" so to speak...and quickly. I'm a peoples' person and enjoy helping people and selling...but no longer want to go door to door with catalogues. Many people are in the wrong type of job but dont know how to find the right one. In the past Ive helped people get great jobs by changing their CV. This January coming the new resolution for alot of people is to find their career. I can target this market and become Life Coach this way. 1 hour of Life Coaching is 4 hours of Cleaning...what have I got to lose.
Sandrainc - 22-Oct-16 @ 12:40 PM
I would love to be a life coach as I do bring out the best in people and I want a job that is rewarding. I do not have any qualifications in this area and need some help and guidance to achieve the same. I would appreciate any help in putting me in the right direction. Kindest regards Sally
Brownowl - 12-Oct-16 @ 11:24 AM
Smiler - Your Question:
Hi there,I was hoping for some genuine advice on becoming a self-employed life coach. I have over 30 years experience of working with people with varied addictions predominantly alcohol, yet have no formal qualifications other than an NVQ level 2 certificate in counselling studies. I often give motivational talks to schools, colleges and youth hostels on a voluntary basis, and have received positive feedback from students, tutors and residents alike. Ideally I would like to motivate and encourage the younger generation (especially those who feel vulnerable) not to experiment with drugs of any description especially alcohol.I have Enhanced DBS clearance allowing me to work in practically all establishments in the UK, and have an absolute passion to help others. Many Thanks. Smiler.

Our Response:
If you decide to set up your own consultancy/coaching business you will be able to continue doing the work you do at the moment but also on a paid basis. There are many life coaching qualifications which you could consider if you want to addmore validity to what you offer.
ACareerChange - 5-Apr-16 @ 2:42 PM
Hi there, I was hoping for some genuine advice on becoming a self-employed life coach. I have over 30 years experience of working with people with varied addictions predominantly alcohol, yet have no formal qualifications other than an NVQ level 2 certificate in counselling studies. I often give motivational talks to schools, colleges and youth hostels on a voluntary basis, and have received positive feedback from students, tutors and residents alike. Ideally I would like to motivate and encourage the younger generation (especially those who feel vulnerable) not to experiment with drugs of any description especially alcohol.I have Enhanced DBS clearance allowing me to work in practically all establishments in the UK, and have an absolute passion to help others. Many Thanks. Smiler.
Smiler - 3-Apr-16 @ 1:33 AM
Hello! I Am a humanistic life coach that lives in Italy. I love your country and I will choise it for to stay long time, because I wish to study English Language. Now, I have a question? Please, what dopeople think about Life Coaching, in your Country? I have studied as Life Coach in Italy.
CristianCairo - 3-Mar-16 @ 11:24 PM
@KP. If you have lots of experience in managing projects, change etc, then you may find that some organisations and academic institutions will employ you on a mentor basis - which will mean you can become self employed or get contract work as a mentor through an agency etc. Revise your CV to reflect this and give it a go. Once you've done the first couple, you may find you get recommendations. Business mentors can earn anything from £50 to £1000s per day.
ACareerChange - 1-Jul-15 @ 2:13 PM
I have been working for a large utility company since I left university 16 years ago, specialising in projects, change management and continuous improvement. I've reached a point where I want to focus on the people side of things (coaching, mentoring, generally helping people), but I'm struggling to work out how to turn these aspects into a successful career. My instinct tells me that Life Coaching may be what I'm looking for, but how do I confirm this and, if this is the route for me, what are the steps I need to take to make the transition from where I am today?
KP - 28-Jun-15 @ 5:40 PM
I'm a business psychologist with an MSc in Org. Psychology and BSc Hons Psychology.I'm trained to master practitioner level in NLP and am currently completing a CBT certificate as a distance learning course.I also have BPS certificates in Level A and intermediate Level B psychological testing and run my own consultancy which specialises in workplace testing and bespoke training in management and communication.I also have a PTLLS level 4 certificate. I am considering semi retirement and would prefer to work with individuals than corporate organisations.I have also trained in solution focused and Ericksonian hypnotherapy. Without having to go through further extensive training is there anything I may need to make such a change?
colin - 31-Mar-15 @ 4:30 PM
I have been thinking about becoming a life coach for some time and wish to ask what further qualifications I will need.. So far I have the following- BSc Psychology MSc Psychology NVQ 5 Management Trained in- Addiction Mental health Communication skills And have 6 years experience lone working with people with: Addictions, homelessness issues and mental health issues. I am thinking about doing a basic counselling course- any tips? Samantha
Samantha85 - 8-Aug-13 @ 5:51 PM
I have a natural talent and a passion for bringing the best out in people
jimmy - 14-Sep-12 @ 1:14 AM
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