Do you have to be licensed to be a life coach? The short answer is: no. Instead, you need to undergo formal education and on-the-job training to obtain the relevant skills required to coach clients. One of the differences when it comes to being a life coach versus a therapist is that the life coaching industry isn’t heavily regulated by the government, which partly explains why it attracts many individuals each year.
While it’s not mandated by law, it is often best to be trained and certified—such as going through an ICF accredited life coaching program online—to help you stand out from the crowd.
What Does Life Coaching Without a Certificate Look Like?
You can still have a decent life coaching career without being licensed, although that might be a slightly steeper hill to climb. Being certified isn’t necessarily an indication of success— but most clients, especially as they are paying for these services, do like their coaches to have gone through an ICF accredited program. So, while being certified certainly isn’t a requirement, it is an added advantage.
Of course, like most other certificates, a life coaching certificate is just that—a document. What also matters is having the skills to help clients with the issues they are facing, and that’s where the great training programs truly stand apart from the average ones.
What to Do if You Don’t Have a Certification
You don’t have to fret if you don’t have a life coach certification—you can still become successful. Here are a few tips on what you can do:
- Find a mentor–Before you invest in someone else, invest in yourself. Take the required classes and consider working for a life coaching company or organization, as being employed lets you learn from the best.
- Begin practicing–There isn’t a better time than now to begin sharpening your life coaching skills. At first, you may not make much money, but this shouldn’t discourage you. Your biggest motivation should be to help clients.
- Don’t forget to network–Use every available opportunity to interact with like-minded individuals. This way, you’ll learn a variety of aspects about the practice that might not be taught in class.
Skills Matter, in addition to Certification
Many skills are invaluable to becoming a successful life coach:
- Being a good listener–In order to help customers, you must first listen to their issues. Only when you do that, can you assist them with their goals.
- Possess both empathy and compassion–Individuals who lack empathy and compassion do not make for good life coaches. You must be able to put yourself in your client’s shoes and truly understand what they’re going through to be able to help them.
- Hone your interpersonal skills–This applies whether you’re an introvert or extrovert. You should have the skills required to establish and nurture relationships with clients, so your clients are able to be honest with you about your life.
While a life coaching license is not required to practice, it does help to have certification, especially because the profession is highly competitive. Before you ask what a life coach makes, be sure to consider all aspects of what a life coach needs in order to be as successful–and helpful to future clients–as possible.