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How to Become a Certified Life Coach

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Hey there, future life coach! Excited to turn your love for helping others into a certified gig? Buckle up because we’ve got a step-by-step guide that’ll make your journey toward life coach certification feel like a breeze. Let’s get started!

What Is a Life Coach?

As a life coach, you’re the go-to person for individuals looking to embrace positive change and steer their lives toward fulfillment. You’ll be working closely with clients, figuring out their hurdles, creating action plans, and serving up a healthy dose of encouragement. 

Essentially, being a life coach is about guiding and inspiring people to unlock their full potential.

The Importance of Life Coach Certification

Life coach certification boosts credibility. It proves you’ve undergone specific training, gained the essential skills, and adhered to ethical standards. Certification instills confidence in clients, attracting them to your expertise. It also allows you to connect with a supportive community of fellow coaches, fostering continuous learning and growth.

What Are the Requirements to Receive Life Coaching Certification?

To learn how to become a certified life coach, we’ll review the requirements you need to prepare. 


Applicants typically need to submit documents such as proof of identity and any relevant work experience to establish their qualifications and eligibility for life coach certification. This is also needed to validate your background.

Educational Background

No degree? No problem! To get your life coaching certification, a bachelor’s degree in psychology, counseling, or social work is handy, but not a must — that’s just a common misconception about life coaching. A background in personal development or communication works too! 

Keep in mind that certification requirements can differ, so it’s wise to pick a recognized program that fits your educational background and aspirations.

Necessary Skills

When stepping into the certified life coach journey, you need to grab a handful of essential skills – think active listening, clear communication, genuine empathy, problem-solving, and the knack for setting goals that actually matter. But let’s keep it real: it’s not just about ticking boxes. It’s about rocking these skills to connect personally, earn trust, and stay sharp because coaching is ever-changing.

Exploring Different Certification Programs

Choosing the right life coach certification program might feel like navigating a sea of options. So let’s break it down.

Accredited Institutions vs. Non-accredited Institutions

An accredited life coach certification program, for example, those endorsed by the ICF and the NBHWC, means it has passed a thorough evaluation. This ensures it meets standards in ethics and competency. On the flip side, a non-accredited program might miss this external validation, leading to variations in quality and consistency.


Accredited Institutions

Non-Accredited Institutions


Recognized by accrediting bodies or associations in the coaching industry.

May not be officially recognized by accrediting bodies.


Generally considered more credible due to external validation.

Credibility may depend on the reputation of the specific institution.

Curriculum Standards

Adheres to industry-accepted standards for life coaching education and training.

Resource quality may vary, and there may be a lack of standardized curriculum.


May cost more due to rigorous accreditation and quality standards.

Costs can vary. Some non-accredited programs may be more budget-friendly.

Job Opportunities

Graduates may have an advantage in job placements due to accreditation.

Job opportunities may depend more on individual skills and networking.

Remember, accreditation status isn’t a quality guarantee. When picking a life coach certification program, accredited or not, dig into details. Check the curriculum, faculty, reviews, and alumni feedback. Research pays off in finding the best fit for your goals.

Online vs. In-Person Options

When choosing between online and in-person life coaching certification, think about what matches your preferences, style, and practical needs. Each option has its pros and cons, so go for what resonates with you. It’s about creating a certification journey that reflects your unique style and individuality.


Online Certification Programs

In-Person Certification Programs


Pros: Flexible scheduling, accessible from anywhere.

Cons: Lack of in-person interaction and networking opportunities.

Pros: Face-to-face interaction, immediate feedback.

Cons: Limited flexibility, may require travel and fixed schedules.


Pros: Often more cost-effective due to reduced overhead.

Cons: No/limited access to physical resources and facilities.

Pros: Potential for immersive experiences and networking.

Cons: Higher costs associated with venue, travel, and accommodation.

Learning Environment

Pros: Self-paced learning, suitable for those with busy schedules.

Cons: Requires self-discipline, potential for isolation.

Pros: Immediate access to instructors, collaborative learning. 

Cons: Dependent on the quality of the in-person learning environment.

How Much Does Life Coaching Certification Typically Cost?

Getting a life coaching certification can cost anywhere from a couple of hundred to several grand. The final tab depends on factors like program type, duration, and the certifying organization’s rep. Do your homework, and find one that fits your budget and needs. Oh, and watch out for extra costs like materials and exams!

5 Steps on How to Become a Certified Life Coach

Here are the 5 key steps that you need to follow to become a certified life coach:

Step 1: Research and Choose a Niche

Explore different types of life coaching niches. Matching your interests and expertise not only helps you stand out and draw in clients but also simplifies the process of selecting a life coaching program that fits your requirements.

Step 2: Fulfill Educational Requirements

Fulfill any necessary educational prerequisites, which may include obtaining a degree or enrolling in relevant courses depending on your chosen life certification program’s requirements.

Step 3: Gain Practical Experience

Build practical experience through internships, volunteering, or offering services to friends and family to develop essential life coaching skills.

Step 4: Select a Certification Program

Select a reputable life coach certification program to boost your credibility as a life coach.

Step 5: Complete Training and Exams

Get into your chosen program and dive into the training—it’s where you’ll really nail down those crucial coaching skills. The last bit involves tackling some tough exams that basically show you’ve got the hang of coaching principles. It’s a big moment, marking a step closer to becoming a certified and skilled life coach.

FAQs about Life Coach Certification

Navigate the world of life coach certification with ease as we tackle your top questions.

Can I Become a Life Coach Without Formal Certification?

Absolutely, you can be a life coach without formal certification – it’s not a legal must-have. Lots of successful coaches built their careers through experience and networking. But, having a formal life coach certification can boost your skills, add credibility, and give you a competitive edge.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Certified Life Coach?

Think anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. Now, this timeframe is all about how much passion and effort you pour into it and of course, the program you opt for. In this stretch, you’ll be immersing yourself in a sea of knowledge, getting hands-on experience, and navigating the exciting journey of your chosen certification program.

How Do I Choose a Coaching Niche?

When picking your coaching niche, blend your interests, skills, and experience—zero in on where you can bring the most value and what resonates with you. Also, scope out the coaching industry with some market research – find the sweet spots with demand and growth potential.

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About the Author

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