How to Have a Gainful Career as a Life Coach

Would you like to pursue a career as a life coach but do not know where to start? Or are you already pursuing a career as a life coach? Now the challenge is to grow your practice.

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Either way, I may be able to help. Read on to find out more.

Can I make enough money from a career as a life coach?

This is the first question many ask while considering a career as a life coach. Can you make enough money to look after yourself and family?

Let us look at some statistics in this post:

  • The International Coach Federation boasts 53,300 members. It has a steady growth trend.
  • Average income for life coaches ranges from $27,100 to $73,100. Specialty coaches can charge more than $100,000 annually.
  • Growth projections for the life coaching industry are an estimated 6.7%. This would take revenues to $1.34 billion by 2022.
  • 92% of life coaches remain active in the field.
  • In Asia, there were around 3,700 coaches. They contributed $113 million in total annual revenue.
  • More and more corporations are hiring life coaches instead of mental health counsellors to work in-house with employees (no stigma).
  • Life coaches remain unregulated. There are no state licensing requirements. This suggests freedom of practice, but also raises concerns about quality.
  • Executive coaches can earn a handsome salary too. Salaries start at $150 and can go up to $350 for most coaches. Executive coaches can also charge $1,000 per session.

This news report reported from the 2017 ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study. The research was also conducted by PwC Research. It stated:

  • 89% people in India are aware of life coaching
  • 59% have partnered with a life coach at some time
  • 97% were satisfied with the experience

How much money can you make if you have a successful career as a life coach?

This article by Amy Bastow states that most life coaches charge between $75 and $125 per hour. It can go up to $150. Some new coaches may also charge as little as $50 per hour.

Differences in rates for life and career coaches are about the experience, she feels.

The coaching market is still growing and evolving. The need for qualified, trained and reputable coaches is on the rise. Increased awareness is driving interest in sports, religion, personal or business coaching. This means there is a great demand for good coaches in the market.

Your earning could go up to a five-figure return on your investment whether you practise coaching full-time or not. Find out how a simple shift in mindset helped me to grow my business here.

What does a career as a life coach involve?

What are the traits of a good life coach? How do you go about building a career as a life coach?

My earlier blog post here will tell you how to become a life coach. What does a life coach do?

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A life coach empowers you to take on the challenges that life throws at you. These may be related to your career, personal growth or relationship. Challenges may also be related to difficult times. Are you finding it difficult to cope with stress? Have you lost a job or a dear one recently? Or are you considering a transformation in your career choice? In all these scenarios, a life coach can help.

A life coach helps you:

• Recognize obstacles

• Set measurable goals

• Work towards achieving results

What traits will help build your career as a life coach?

While there is no guaranteed recipe for success, some traits that all good coaches have are:

  • Effective listening skills. A good life coach does not need to be a problem solver or a “great” listener. Coaches listen but do not problem-solve. Encourage the client to verbalize his problems. And then empower him with ways to solve his own problems. The golden rule is:
    • Listen carefully
    • Respond thoughtfully
    • Resist providing solutions but work with the client

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  • Empathy, kindness and compassion. These are 3 essential qualities that life coaches need to have. Life is harsh. Change is hard. The client’s work at self-improvement requires tremendous will power. At a time like this, a client will need your faith in him.
  • Interpersonal skills. How do you bring out the best in your client? How can you empower him to make life-altering habits? No coaching school will teach you how to do this. This is where your skills as a life coach will be tested. Don’t make things personal.

Here are a few things you will need to do:

  1. Listen, observe and analyze
  2. Question, challenge and hold accountable
  3. Empathize, support and motivate
  4. Instruct, provide feedback, encourage

In an earlier blog post I have mentioned the top 10 coaching skills you must have if you are pursuing a career as a life coach.

How do I start a career as a life coach?

When you are starting a new career as a life coach, it is natural to be a little nervous. Common fears that most new coaches have are related to performance and client retention. The market is already overcrowded so how will you distinguish yourself? Should you be doing coaching for free in some cases? Which should these cases be?

Are you ready to start a career as a life coach?

  1. The coaching process usually involves:
  • Intake and assessment (including 360-degree feedback)
  • Goal setting
  • Ongoing coaching and skill development
  • Measurement of results

As part of the coaching, you will be responsible for:

  • Gathering and giving feedback
  • Building awareness about shortcomings
  • Facilitating solutions by asking powerful questions
  • Setting goals and creating action plans
  • Facilitating learning
  • Supporting and encouraging over the long term
  • Monitoring progress and holding client accountable

What should the best life coaches avoid doing?

  • Telling, teaching, or giving advice
  • Counselling, therapy, or consulting
  • Correcting mistakes
  • Managing performance
  • Focused on fixing problem behavior
  • Mentoring

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What is the secret to building a successful career as a life coach?

I have written several times here and here on how to pursue a career as a life coach. There is no magic pill for success. Hard work and preparation will help when it comes to building your career as a life coach. This is true of all vocations.

  1. Before you start your career as a life coach, remember this: success is dependent on how well you prepare and read the market. First, identify your niche. You may want to read my earlier blog post on the value of identifying your niche early in your career as a life coach.

Some of the possible areas of specialization for life coaches as I have mentioned in my blog include:

  • Transformation: This can be during career transition and job search or change of life situation (divorce, death), ageing
  • Work-life balance
  • Romantic relationships
  • Academic issues
  • Spirituality
  • Weight loss
  • General wellness
  1. Complete a training course yourself. As of now, you do not need to be certified to be a life coach. But you need training to pick up the knowledge and skills in order to have a flourishing career as a life coach. You need to learn the psychological principles behind coaching, ethics, coaching assessment patterns and communication skills. If you wish to get certified, find a program accredited by industry associations like the International Coach Federation. Some clients may be willing to try you out even if you do not have a degree. Others may not be willing to consider you without an accredited certification. Only you will be able to decide whether you need certification to practise. I have written a blog post on how you can pursue a career as a life coach without certification.
  2. Do your market research thoroughly. Identify gaps and turn those into your USPs. Then, conduct a background research into the competitors’ USPs. What gives them an edge? Are they targeting a particular sector? If so, what are your prospective clients looking for? Where will you get to meet your clients? What can you do to meet their needs?

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  1. Marketing yourself. One of the hardest things to do is to sell yourself. Yet it is this that gets us most returns. I have written several blogs on marketing skills you need to pick up to boost your career as a life coach. You may want to read this if you are still uncertain about whether marketing is crucial for your business.

Life coaching is much beyond merely the coaching. You must be able to market yourself in order to start attracting clients. There are 3 blog posts related to this that you may want to read. They are:

  1. How to promote your life coaching business
  2. Social media marketing: How to bring in clients from anywhere
  3. How to promote your workshop

How do I grow my career as a life coach?

Do you have a flourishing career as a life coach? However, do you feel that your business can grow? In an earlier blog post I have talked about how to promote your life coaching business. Here are a few things that will help:

  1. Networking events are a great way to meet like-minded clients and fellow coaches. This website has a list of professional life coach associations and groups that you may want to be a part of.
  2. Advertising yourself is important. You may be an introvert but do not let that stand in the way of chasing a flourishing career as a life coaches. For starters prepare a great elevator speech. This podcast has an interesting list of elevator speeches for different target audience. There is one for the escalator and another for investors! You may also want to tune in to the Entrepreneur’s elevator pitch.

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  1. Websites, blogs, podcasts and social media pages are all great ways to source your next client. I have written extensively about the importance of websites and social media to boost the career of a life coach. In this post, I have highlighted one key learning about social media marketing. Post something that genuinely gives value to your clients and they will be giving you all of their attention.
  2. Collaborate and partner with like-minded individuals. If you are pursuing a career as a life coach, partner with a motivational writer for youngsters. This way, your services get promoted on his page. Without a lot of expenditure, both of you can get exposure and clients. He is not your competitors. But you have the same target audience. Hence, it is a win-win situation for both.
  3. Word of mouth remains the single most trusted source of advertising. So remember to ask your current clients for a good testimonial and client referrals. If they had a good experience with you, chances are that they will recommend you highly.

How do life coaches get clients? There are several ways to do this. In my earlier blog post, I have charted some ways to get clients fast and boost your career as a life coach.

  1. Go where your audience is. Once you have identified your target niche, make an ideal client profile. Then find out where they go. Do they frequent libraries or community centres? Are they to be found on sports fields or churches? Are they signing up with groups to take care of addictions? Do they read a particular newspaper or listen to a particular radio show? Are they in corporate houses looking for support with teams? Once you have zeroed in on their location, target them by engaging with them.
  2. Speak to their needs. The simplest question to ask in any business is “What can I do for you?” Your prospective client is not interested in what you offer. They only want to know whether you can offer what they need. Responding to that need will ensure you have a steady stream of clients.

Here is a Forbes article on how leaders choose the coach they want to work with. Is age a criterion when it comes to choosing a coach? This article published in Harvard Business Review claims that it is. The authors claim that younger and older executives need different things from coaching.

Here is my article on why people hire life coaches. The International Coaching Federation recently conducted studies on the effectiveness of life coaching.

Results showed:

  • 99% of the people interviewed liked working with a life coach.
  • 96% would do it again.
  • 65% said it helped improve work performance.
  • 80% said it helped improve self-confidence.

Can I pursue a career as a life coach without certification?

Yes, you can!

I have earlier written a blog post on this. The truth is that coaching is still an unregulated industry. You do not need a degree to be a coach. But you certainly need to know what you are signing up for. And a degree will not necessarily get you either the skills or the training for that.

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If you want to practise a career as a life coach without a degree, here are the top things to do:

  • Find a coach that you want to imitate. Do you admire someone practising a career as a life coach? What is it about them that you like? Is it their meteoric rise to success? Or their business principles? Reach out and see if he/she will coach you. Then start working towards achieving your goal. Having a coach or mentor who will understand your challenges is a strong move. You will often need professional advice as you start out. Having experienced good coaching yourself, you will know what standards to set for your clients.
  • Start practising by working for free. Eventually, the hours will lead up to valuable experience. Identify businesses who would be your ideal clients. Make a business plan and offer them your services at discounted rates. Ask for referrals.
  • Network, network, network. You will need the contacts. So start building them. Attend networking events and host library talks. If there is a need in your locality, fill it. Sign up for pro bono tasks or for assignments that will not be very financially strong but will bring you exposure.

You can read my whole blog for more tips on how to practise a career as a life coach without certification.

Can I pursue a career as a life coach online?

Yes, you can!

I have provided several tips on how to pursue a career as a life coach online in this blog post. Online coaching provides a lot of flexibility with zero overhead costs.

A common reason for choosing not to take a business online is often a fear of security. This is a genuine concern. You will need to learn some basic tips on how to prevent any damage to your bank balance and online credibility. This article provides 10 tips on how to protect yourself from malware attacks.

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Statistics about pursuing career as a life coach

I have mentioned this post earlier as there are some interesting statistics here:

  • Average income for life coaches ranges from $27,100 to $73,100. Specialty coaches can charge more than $100,000 per year.
  • Growth projections for the life coaching industry are an estimated 6.7%. This would take revenues to $1.34 billion by 2022.
  • 92% of life coaches remain active in the field.
  • In Asia, there were around 3,700 coaches. They contributed $113 million in total annual revenue.
  • More and more corporations are hiring life coaches instead of mental health counsellors. Life coaches work in-house with employees (no stigma).
  • Life coaches remain unregulated. There are no state licensing requirements. This suggests freedom of practice, but also raises concerns about quality.

Are you ready to become a life coach?

Are you?

Yes, you are…of course, you are. So why are you waiting?

This is my webinar:

How Your Coaching Business Can Let You Live The Lifestyle Of Your Dreams.

Because of the demand for the webinar, the seats will be filling up very fast, so please make sure that you register as early as possible.

I don’t want you to miss out on it because you were lazy. Just go and register right now.

I will see you on the other side 🙂

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