The ultimate guide to

Become a life coach

If you’re considering becoming a coach, you may already feel a pull towards this work. Perhaps people come to you for advice, you’re often the one to help others talk through their options and make a plan, or you know you have one heckuva story that can help other people in ways you haven’t even dreamed of yet!

The most important step is to get all the information you need to make a decision about whether you want to become a coach. If you’re ready to take that step, and you commit, then everything else will follow from it.

WARNING: Becoming a life coach will change you as a person!

Are you ready to become a better version of yourself, more aware of the world around you, with a heightened sense of what’s possible in this beautiful life?

Are you in love with learning new things, expanding your worldview and love helping others achieve very personal goals?

Do you love working with others and forming strong bonds of friendship and community?

Then, becoming a coach May be Exactly right for you. Read on.

What is life coaching?

Professional coaching is a client-led process of change. You, as the coach, will help clients set goals and make an action plan to accomplish those goals. You will ask powerful questions (because everything starts with powerful questions!) and help keep them motivated and accountable along the way. 

Coaching is very different than therapy, which seeks to heal past traumas and events to bring clients to a functional state. Coaching is a joyful discipline that seeks to bring clients into a state of flourishing and accomplishment while becoming the best version of themselves.

Do I have what it takes to coach others?

Your story is your gold. Your story and the things that you’ve lived through have the ability to help others who are living through the same things. Your attitude, to the way you adapt to changes, to the skills, and everything in between.

The ability to become a coach isn’t limited to those with fancy degrees or specialized skills. Coaching isn’t limited by age or education level. Our youngest graduate was 23 years old and our oldest was in her 70’s!

If you have the desire and the initiative to make the first step in life coach training, you can find a program with a community that will lift you up and support you along the journey. Becoming a professional coach is not an overnight gambit -- it’s a long term change that will bring you into alignment with your truest desires, but also lift up a mirror to your own insecurities. You will need courage and resilience to become a life coach, but you are fully capable of doing this work!

Do I want to help others change their lives?

The work of a coach can vary from job to job and client to client, but in the end, coaching is about helping people achieve their goals and change their lives for the better. Does that excite you? It’s incredibly rewarding work, and we often talk about how powerfully it brings about change in our own lives as coaches!

Is my support system solid enough?

It is important to have a solid support system, especially if you’re in the midst of figuring out the things to know when going through life coach training and building a business. Keep in mind that as fun as it sounds, changing careers is an ongoing process to reach your greatest potential.

If you don’t have a strong support system at the moment, but have the vision to do coaching work, you can work with mentors and join your own coaching groups focused on becoming a life coach.

Thinking about your life coaching niche is the first step.

Think about how you find out information yourself, you probably ask friends or look it up on the Internet with a specific search. Not every coach needs a specialized niche, but for many coaches it can help to set yourself apart from others.

Get out a piece of paper for this next part.

Think about your skill set, talents and passions. Now, make a list of those skills and experiences that have informed the person you are today. Then, write down in another category all about your ideal client.

What specific problem or obstacle they have do you get most excited to solve?
What are they like, what do they want, what do they need most?
What specific problem or obstacle they have do you get most excited to solve?

Now look at the two lists -- Is this prospective client aligned with your passions in life? Understanding why you are connected with your chosen niche is important. You will need to clarify your coaching vision and decide if this is really a group of people you want to serve, or if you’re just falling into the trap of following a trending niche. Because if you are following a trend, chances are you will hate the journey of becoming a life coach. In order to be successful in your new coaching career, your purpose and your work must overlap in a way that you will find fulfilling.

[Free Guide] 6 Steps to Start Coaching Today

Ready to learn more about what it takes to launch your own effective coaching practice? 
This free guide, written by the JRNI Coaching co-founders, will give you the tools to discover your niche, find clients and get started on your path to becoming a coach.

Plus, when you sign up -- we'll keep you up to date weekly with coaching techniques, and the occasional much-needed kick in the pants to keep you motivated on your coaching journey.

So, what're you waitin' for? Let's get started!

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Get Professional Coach Training

Coaching goes far beyond “giving advice” or just having random conversations with random people. Coaching is a discipline and a practice. You will need training and ongoing education in order to understand WHAT you are doing, and WHY you are doing it. Too many people make the mistake of rushing out and advertising themselves as wellness or life coaches without any actual training or background in coaching.

One of the most important things about legitimate coach training and education is delving deep into the science behind coaching. Basing your practice on science leaves so much room for you to bring your own personal spark to the frameworks and processes that you’ll learn in your training.

For instance, in our training program JRNI Coaching Intensive, you’ll be exposed to positive psychology, appreciative inquiry, and a wide variety of coaching modalities and techniques taught by many different master coach instructors. You’ll then pick and choose what tools you want to work with, building your own “coaching toolbox” that will be used in your coaching practice.

How do I find the right Life Coach Training program?

Picking a Coach Training Program

It’s important to find a life coach training program that “feels” like home. A place where you feel comfortable learning, have access to instructors, where you’ll be challenged and one that supports your unique style of learning.

Some people prefer to learn in person, but many people find that as adults with busy lifestyles, learning online is the better choice. Online programs vary as well. Some are pre-recorded and self-paced and others will provide live video conferencing to simulate a real classroom experience. Different coaching study programs have different ways of teaching thus, make sure you ask all necessary questions before enrolling to make sure it fits your preferences.

Make sure the coaching organization you’re looking at will provide you with not only training, but a robust alumni network and opportunities for business development and advancement as well.

Should I Pursue Life Coach Certification and Credentialing?

As the field continues to grow, coach certification and credentialing will become more important to differentiate those with a passing interest in from those who have received actual life coach training and are equipped with the professional tools and resources to provide coach services.

If becoming a certified life coach is important to you, then check to see if your chosen program is accredited by the ICF or International Coaching Federation. The ICF is the only globally recognized credentialing program and ensures any participating training program is held to a higher standard when it comes to professional development. Just because a training program is expensive, or just because it has a fancy website doesn’t mean it is the right fit for you. Do your homework and don’t be afraid to contact the program if you can't find the information you need.

Look For: Foundational Training + Advanced Techniques

Where you are in your coaching journey will determine what level of training you’re looking for. Look for a program that offers both foundational training in how to coach as well as exposure to more advanced techniques or methods and continuing education on new topics.

Look For: Broad Topics + Ethical Training

Life Coach training should expose you not only to a wide variety of systems, people and ideas but should also prepare you for different situations and client types you may come into contact in your practice. You will need to learn the ethics of coaching as well as how to set and maintain boundaries in a coaching relationship. While a lot of it is common sense, there can be some difficulty navigating the coach/client relationship and you will want to make sure that you’re on ethically sound ground.

Look For: Community of Peers

Don’t underestimate the importance of peer support. Building a business, navigating a career change, or starting a new venture isn’t as easy as some people make it seem!

When the first excitement wears off and your family grows tired of hearing about your coaching classes, you’re going to need some incredible peers in your coach training program to lift you up and keep you going. When you’re having a hard day, need help with a client, or want to build out a new coaching program or podcast -- your community will be your biggest cheerleaders and your best source of inspiration and support.

Look For: Expert Instructors

You’re going to want to learn from a variety of instructors who will be able to lend their own personal perspective to your training. Learning from different people can expose you to ideas you may never have considered and will bring a richness to your education. Look for companies that uphold their promise of a diverse, inclusive environment filled with coaches you would want to learn from.

Look For: Student Support

Be sure to understand how much student support is offered by your chosen training program. Some programs leave you to fend for yourself, while others (like JRNI Coaching!) provide a dedicated class coach, access to founders/program directors, small cohort learning experiences and plenty of check-ins to ensure that you never fall behind or slip through the cracks. A good coaching organization should want you to flourish and do everything they can to help you graduate!

Look For: Practice Opportunities

A good life coaching program will also provide ample practice opportunities to help you get over any nervousness or fears as you continue to learn. The more you practice, the more you’ll feel comfortable as a new life coach. Nobody is a natural when it comes to coaching. Even if you’re fantastic at having casual conversations, you’re still going to want plenty of practice opportunities as you study coaching -- this will help you test out new methods and techniques as you refine YOUR unique coaching style. Make sure your program of choice offers a structured practice plan to ensure you practice the skills you learn.

Look For: Business Development & Training

Creating a successful and thriving business is perhaps one of the most important pieces of becoming a life coach. Life as a solo entrepreneur can be difficult! There’s a lot of moving parts to organize and it all depends on what kind of coaching you want to be doing.

If you want to have a solo practice and work entirely online, you’ll need a website, social media presence and a strong content strategy. If you’re interested in working within a more corporate setting or using coaching to enhance your current skill set, then your path will be different. Whatever path you choose, select an accredited program that understands the pathway to becoming the kind of coach YOU want to be, and supports you in that journey.

Time to Practice the Coaching Skills You've Learned

Practice as often as you can! Offer free sessions in exchange for testimonials, offer your services to those who need coaching and build up your coaching skills as you go. Connect with the other alumni of your program to keep your skills sharp through shared practice. Offer up your skills to local events that fall under your niche.

The Next Step: Launching Your Coaching Business

Ask Yourself: What Kind of Coach Do You Want to Be?

The final stage in becoming a life coach is to start developing your own coaching practice and it’s important to decide how you want to interact with your clients as a coach. Do you want to coach one on one? Do you want to facilitate groups? Career or Executive coaching? This goes back to understanding your ideal client and your niche. Once you know what you want, you can begin to develop a customized plan of action for achieving it.

Becoming Visible as a Life Coach

If you want to attract clients as a coach online, you’re going to need to become visible. You don’t need the world’s fanciest website but you need a place for clients to find you, to read about who you are, how your coaching business works including information about pricing and how to schedule a session with you.

Marketing Your Services as a Life Coach

Find Clients + Help Others

Learning how to market your coaching services isn’t a one-and-done effort, it takes time and consistency to understand what works and what doesn’t. Word of mouth will likely also play a big role in referrals to your coaching practice, so apply yourself fully to each client -- once they’re getting results, they’re more likely to sing your praises to others who may be in need of your services.

Too often people try to imitate others on social media instead of finding a voice that works for them. It may sound counterintuitive, but you only want the clients who are attracted to you, your message and the way you work. The more specific your niche, the more specific your content can be. Your voice will filter through everyone and reach YOUR audience that is interested in hiring a life coach.

Also, new coaches are often very excited about sharing their message and try to tackle multiple content areas at a time -- instead, we recommend narrowing your focus, picking one thing and then do it really, really well. If Instagram is your forte, make a name for yourself there. 

Or maybe be present in a few selected Facebook groups and constantly provide value. Don’t just post random stuff for the sake of visibility. Don’t settle on regularly posting content just to keep to a calendar, be sure to respond to comments and interact with other accounts to share your perspective.

CONTENT TIP: When thinking about what to post, a good question to ask yourself is “Is this valuable? Will this help my ideal client accomplish something or get where they want to go?”

Keep Learning and Growing

Do you enjoy being a lifelong learner? Never stop learning as a life coach! Keep up with your studies, partake in any ongoing education you can, and always seek to reach your full potential as a life coach. Becoming a very curious person who is always on the lookout to better yourself and the world around you will serve you very well.

Make a Bigger Impact in the World Around You

We talk a lot about how coaching can make you a better parent, a better friend, a better boss or employee. But really, coach training is a set of skills and experiences that you will choose how to employ. You likely have a dream of how a coaching practice will work for you and that is awesome. For us, it’s all about how becoming a coach can help move you from where you are now to where you want to be. We want to give you the tools and support to be effective at whatever it is you want to do, and the ability to make a bigger impact on your corner of the world.

Join JRNI Coaching and Become a Force for Good

The JRNI Coaching Intensive, founded by John Kim (The Angry Therapist) and Noelle Cordeaux, combines a no-bullshit approach with a unique blend of adaptive therapeutic training and modern day life coaching concepts and techniques.

Our certified coach training program is entirely online and lasts about five months, which includes live weekly coach training, exposure to a wide variety of evidence-based methods and techniques, peer practice coaching and business development.

We are not just a training program but a vibrant, diverse, and inclusive community of coaches who are committed to bettering ourselves and the world. 

Your journey doesn’t end when your training does. JRNI Coaching offers lifetime support, live events, real world experience and a solid foundational community to uplift and support you as you build a vibrant, unique, thriving coaching practice—whatever that looks like for you!

JRNI is accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), the only globally recognized, independent credentialing program for coach practitioners.

It’s Time to Make a Bigger Impact

Schedule a no-pressure, friendly call today with one of our team to talk about your professional goals and learn more about how JRNI can help get you to where you want to be, in as little as five months.

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