As the idea of life coaching gains popularity, so is interest in becoming a life coach.

Many people love the idea of working for themselves and being in a profession that helps others. If you are thinking about becoming a life coach, there are several factors you need to consider.

First, decide what type of life coach you want to become.

The word “life” covers a lot of territory, so life coaches tend to specialise in specific areas. These areas include career and finance, goal setting, relationships, weight loss or fitness, and overcoming unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking, just to name a few.

What is your passion and how do you want to inspire others to create success in their lives?

When thinking about what type of life coach you want to be, examine your career, education and life experiences to find your current strengths.

Once you have an idea of what area you want to focus on, consider what a life coach does. This is tricky because there is no one definition or universal standard. You need to develop a format in which you will teach successful actions to your clients.

A qualified life coach can break down goals into manageable, easier-to-confront steps while showing the client effective techniques for completing them.

The life coach will evaluate the client’s progress and motivate him to implement a plan with consistent action to actually achieve desired results.

Before you begin on this path, know that there is a difference between understanding what to do and being able to get someone to do it.

There are three essential elements involved in becoming a life coach — training, skills and education.

1. Training

There are life-coaching academies that offer courses and some even offer accreditation. If you are considering taking any of these courses, first look into the costs involved.

Often, an inexpensive introductory course is offered only to get you started.

Since costs can add up quickly, check out the duration and the number of additional courses required and make sure you get referrals from other students.

Another important point to check is whether or not the school provides adequate tools for practical application when working with clients.

This will be very helpful for beginners in developing step-by-step methods for life coaching.

2. Skills

There are a few key skills that are absolutely essential for the life coach.

For starters, you need to be a good listener, a creative problem-solver and have considerable knowledge of human behaviour. You need to be able to set goals and develop plans of action to actualise them.

Life coaching requires that you are organised and can keep meticulous records to monitor weekly results.

Patience and the ability to deal with frustration are critical. Clients don’t always do what they agree to do, and getting people to suddenly give up destructive behaviour patterns can be a real challenge.

You also need to know how to motivate people and be creative in overcoming obstacles and objections. You have to really like and care about people.

You must also be able to accept failure, as not all clients will change.

3. Education

You should love learning because you need to stay informed of advances and trends in your field.

The areas that require consistent study include psychology, goal setting, motivation, cognitive psychology, cognitive science, human behaviour, habits of successful people, sleep patterns, relationships, business principles, principles of success, career development and leadership.

A life coach is a relentless student of these subjects.

Life coaching is a proactive approach to resolving obstacles in an individual’s life and you need a clear picture of not only why the problem exists and how to solve it, but also how to implement the solution step-by-step and resolve obstacles and setbacks as they come up.

Marketing your services

Finally, you have to address the practical aspects of embarking on a career in life coaching. How are you going to get clients?

The idea of working for yourself and helping people may sound great (and it is!), but here is a reality check.

You are not going to simply get your business cards printed and then start filling in your appointment book.

After you spend your time and money either with a life-coaching academy or developing your own style of life coaching, it will be up to you to get clients.

This is where networking and self-promoting are crucial, so you have to be comfortable doing this. You can build a clientele through friends, networking groups, professional relationships, placing advertisements and other creative ways you can think of.

You will meet many people who question what a life coach does. Be
prepared by asking yourself why someone would pay you to advise him — and come up with a good answer.

As you get clients and earn a reputation, your business will grow through referrals. All this takes time, so be prepared.

After considering all of these factors, if you decide to become a life coach, you will be entering a dynamic field.

Being able to actually help people create the life changes they want is a highly rewarding and exciting career. You will be helping others gain success while creating your own.