Are you someone who loves helping people get through obstacles in life? Do you always have words of encouragement ready for anyone who needs them? Would you follow advice you give to your friends? Do you have an infectious go-getter attitude? If you answered yes to all these questions, life coaching may be the career you never knew you could succeed in.
A life coach is someone who provides motivation, guidance, or even just a listening ear through a client’s tough life decision-making about his/her personal lives, careers, relationships or businesses.
A life coach gives his/her clients another point-of-view of their dilemma, whether it’s getting out of debt, planning and reaching goals, facing fears, creating healthy relationships, fulfilling emotional needs, and facing life transitions (such as divorce, unemployment, retirement, and more), among many others.
Unlike therapy that examines past behavior through counseling, life coaching tackles “the now” and helps whatever a client wishes to achieve in the future. As such, the title of a life coach may change depending on the type of help provided, such as business coach, personal finance coach, health coach and more.
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How Much Can You Earn as a Life Coach?
Business life coaches earn up to $100,000 a year, but like most consultation-type jobs, this amount could go higher as you take in more clients. This also depends if the life coach decides to conduct workshops, group coaching, speaking engagements, and other types of services that would double his/her earnings.
Note that income of those who coach remotely (via phone, e-mail, video-conference, Skype or other similar means) are often lower to those who coach clients face-to-face.
What Do You Need to Succeed in a Life Coaching Career?
Life coaching requires no special degree or training. However, you have an option to obtain certification from the Universal Coach Institute and take up a course that would enhance your life coaching skills.
As a freelancer, a life coach must also have advanced marketing skills in order to expand the business. You may be the best coach in a particular niche, but it will be hard to find new clients or additional sources of income if you don’t know how to take advantage of networking, internet marketing and social media. The way to go is to aggressively search for clients, instead of relying solely on word-of-mouth.
Like most jobs that deal with helping other people, you need certain characteristics and expertise in a particular niche to turn this passion into a full-time career. Generally, life coaches must have:
- Patience – People have different timelines in adapting to change. Some take in lifestyle changes quickly, while others may have a learning curve when it comes to following new routines, accepting new ideas, or other adapting new life-changing techniques you may recommend. As a life coach, it is your job to assess a client’s strengths and weaknesses, use them to achieve the client’s goals, and patiently guide a client through his/her action plan.
- Time management skills – In order to provide your life coaching services to multiple clients, you should be able to manage your time properly. This is one of the hardest things about freelancing, but it is achievable through practice and discipline.
- Passion and experience – A life coach must be passionate with what he/she is doing. If not, it will be impossible to become interested with another person’s troubles and help them with their challenges. Of course, it is just as important to have enough real-life experience to provide solid advice to clients. This is where you will shine the most, since life coaching requires no formal training, so make the most out of your experience and use them to help other people.
- Excellent research and communication skills – Every time you take in a new client, you’ll be faced with a unique set of problems. While you may be an experienced life coach who has helped numerous clients, you’ll still have to do extensive research, additional training, and combine two or more techniques in handling a particular case.
- Goal-oriented – Most clients have a timeline in mind when signing up to a life coach’s services. While every person’s needs are different, it’s important to be upfront with a realistic timeline and strive to help the client meet their goals within that timeframe. You can only achieve this if you’re goal-oriented with a go-getter attitude and exceptional time management skills.
- Empathy – Life coaching shouldn’t be all about business. At the end the day, your job boils down to helping people. This is the reason empathy is a common characteristic of life coaches – they have the ability to understand and share the feelings of their clients.
- Authenticity – Always be authentic when doing your job as a life coach. You don’t have to oversell your skills just to sign a client onto your services. People can see right through this, so it’s best to provide what you know best, and offer additional services once you’ve gathered more knowledge about a particular issue.
- Good perception and inquisitiveness – Some people may not be able to communicate their concerns properly, or find it hard to open up to you as easily. As such, it is important that you know how to read between the lines and give the right questions to learn about the client as much as possible.
Of course, life coaches must be willing to go through continuous learning since the field requires them to adapt with every client and develop their own style of coaching.
Even if you’ve ticked off every common life coach qualities listed above, one of the best ways to determine if this profession is for you is to hire a life coach for yourself. The experience would help you understand the coaching process and even pave the way to start your life coaching business.
How to Get Started as a Life Coach
Blogging to Success
Many life coaches begin their careers as a pro blogger in a particular niche. The blogs can be about anything from weight loss, personal finance, making money online, relationships, and so on. After providing valuable content (posts, videos, photos) and helping people with niche-specific questions, these bloggers are able to build a mini community within their blogs. A clue when you’re ready to offer one-on-one coaching services is when more and more of your blog readers ask for your help.
You have to understand that this method requires a ton of work, and you shouldn’t be expecting clients to line up overnight. However, if you provide value to people, life coaching is an inevitable progression (unless of course you have other income-generating techniques on your mind).
If you want to dip your fingers into life coaching while working on your blog, there are always websites like teachable.com (that promotes your coaching services in exchange for a fee), or direct-hire sites such as Real Appeal and Vida (for health-related coaching), AskMarsVenus (relationships niche), Tony Robbins (business) or RiseSmart, among others. Note that because you are affiliated with the company, you may not be allowed to accept clients on the side.
Market Your Business
As I mentioned, marketing is an integral part of your life coaching business. Plan and implement your marketing techniques continuously, whether it involves simple forum posting, or a more complicated lead generation campaign. The important thing is you work on it without fail. Other examples of online marketing you could try to mix-and-match are e-mails, Facebook groups, networking through blogs, advertising, and more.
And since your business relies mainly on your skills, you have to invest in personal development as soon as your finances allow it. Fortunately, the internet has made education completely accessible and affordable. You can join webinars, online courses, membership sites, and other online resources to improve your skills.
The Bottom Line
Because the possibilities of specializations are endless, life couching may give the impression that anyone can do it. For the right people with a special skill set, life coaching can be a challenging, fulfilling and life-changing profession. It’s a career for doers – go-getters who are serious at reaching their goals no matter the physical, psychological or even financial setbacks.
To be great at life coaching, you’ll need to devote yourself to your clients completely. The best thing about this job is that finding clients shouldn’t be so hard – to avoid time-wasters and spot model clients, find possible-clients with the same characteristics as you.
If life coaching is your calling and you’ve spared your blood, sweat and tears to help clients face challenges for years, your income potential as a life coach is only limited by the efforts you give into your marketing techniques, coaching program and business.