Life Coach Certification: Do I Really Need One?

You may want to know this...

by Jean-Paul Cortes

If you're looking to get a life coach certification, you probably already have questions on whether or not you really need one. Do you? We'll get to all that answer in a second.

And I guess one of the first questions you asked yourself is, is there a difference between being a certified life coach or not? 

Do you need to be a certified life coach?

Not really. But let me explain first. You see, coaching is one of those careers where you don't need to be certified to coach.

Especially in life coaching, it's hard to disqualify someone as a hoax, being that we all have at least one area of expertise that you could coach people on, that no one else can compare to. And although you may not realize it, you've probably coached someone before (although you may not have thought of it that way).

I happen to believe that we're all coaches to some degree, having a certification just means that you've studied and learned coaching techniques and use its principles in a structured way to help someone achieve their goals.

That being said, some life coach certifications given by recognized schools tend to give potential clients assurance that they are getting what they pay for. And let's face it, there will always be people out there that you probably should work with or receive life coaching from (Your intuition is perfectly suited to tell you that.) 

What are some benefits of being certified?

Some people argue that we tend to prefer working with a coach that has studied and undergone a process of certification to be coaching. You may have a harder time getting clients to trust you if you lack credentials. And it's a fair argument. 

Then again, some of the world's most sought after coaches aren't necessarily certified, they've just had the benefit of having years of coaching under their belts. And trust is trust. You cannot gain it lightly regardless of whether or not you have a piece of paper saying you're "certified"

You can get a lot out of learning basic life coaching techniques, things that they do teach you in most life coaching schools but nothing beats experience when it comes to being a life coach. After all, there's certainly something that you can do better than anyone else and you're more than likely to best candidate to coach someone on that subject.

However, as you may find, a lot of the people you coach aren't really interested in where you received, or whether you have, a certification. That's not been our experience as well. For the simple fact that folks are only interested in how you can solve the problem to which you have the solution. If you can offer a scratch to that burning itch for people, that's what they're going to choose you as a coach.

How much does getting certified cost?

Here's the thing, with the growing popularity in coaching, so many schools have opened in the last few years that you may have a hard deciding what your choice will be.

Some schools will cost upwards of $3,000 or more for a professional coaching degree, others might be relatively inexpensive, at around $100 or so for a certification.

Keep in mind that price doesn't necessarily imply a better quality of education. What should matter to you is the content that you'll be receiving, how the courses are structured, how the material is taught and presented, what support you'll receive from the faculty and from your peers, access to materials and the possibility of being able to network, things like that are important if you want to get the most bang for your buck.

There are many routes for your to become a coach. Not all coaches go for, or are interested in, getting certified. In fact, many coaches have been coaching for years (back when coaching wasn't even called as such) without ever having to get a paper that says they're a Certified Professional Coach.

What are you really getting certified for?

Coaching has gone mainstream, there's a lot of research that tells us that coaching works. It's also been around for quite some time now, so we pretty much know what works and what doesn't.

So what you're really getting when you seek certification is a solid knowledge on the general principles of coaching.

Things like effective listening, building rapport and effective questioning skills. Important best practices that you need to help the people you coach through a process of change in their lives, businesses or whatever field you happen to work in.

And you shouldn't leave out what you really need to learn to set up your coaching business. It's one thing to learn about life coaching and how to coach someone and quite another to have (motivation and ability) what you need to do to make your coaching business work.

Unless you're doing life coaching as a hobby, in which case you're clearly on the wrong website, you're still going to have to figure out how to get clients to coach. But this is quite another matter entirely.

Who offers life coaching certification?

There are literally dozens of schools out there offering a life coaching certification.

Some universities have begun to offer coaching specialties as part of their curriculum. Other private institutions also have programs specifically tailored to meet the growing demand for coaches worldwide.

These programs usually take anywhere between 6 and 12 months to complete and some are recognized by the International Coaching Federation (always a good sign if you want to make sure you're making a good investment when you enroll.)

My suggestion, in case you're not prepared to pay thousands of dollars for something you might not be committed to do in the long run, is to start small.

Get to know the field before you jump in, consider making a small investment in one of the relatively inexpensive courses you can find online and then decide if life coaching is something you feel can turn into a career.

You'll learn much more by coaching someone, once you have the basics down, than by how long you spend learning about coaching.  

Here are some alternative life coaching certification options:

Before you click through: I might make a small commission if you buy any of the products below. I've personally used them and only offer insights as to my experience. You should use your own best judgement always before you make a choice. :)

Rapid Coaching Academy Home Study Coach Training Program Created by coach Christian Mickelsen. He has a host of coaching specific products. This one specifically is 12 modules plus a bunch of other bonuses like audios and videos.

The Fast-Track Life Coaching Certification Program You might have heard about Mike Litman or Steve G. Jones. They teamed up to create this life coaching certification program that's a mix between life coaching and hypnosis. It's a good introduction to coaching, if you're starting out. For the price, you might want get it even if you're a seasoned coach. It always helps to see what other coaches are doing.

David Wood's Coach Start Manual This is a step by step manual for building a coaching practice. It was created by David Wood. It is fairly complete even if it was made quite some time ago. Some lessons you'll learn are still valuable today. Things like how to get your first clients, how to focus on a niche, who you should coach, etc. There's a $1 dollar 30 day trial going on...(full price is $97)

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