The Simple Truth About Whether Life Coaching Without Certification Works – and Is a Coaching Certification Worth It
Do your personal goals include becoming a life coach – or do you even feel called to follow this rewarding and lucrative career path? If you’re like many other aspiring life coaches, one of your top questions is “Do you need any certification to be a life coach … or can I just call myself a life coach and get started right now?”
This question is common – and very understandable. Aspiring life coaches are unique for their intense desire and innate gifts for helping others in their personal and professional lives. You want to make a difference in other people’s lives. Because you’re a self-starter, you want to dig in and start impacting others as soon as possible, leaving you to wonder, “How do I become a self-taught life coach?”
In addition, you may be in the position of holding a full-time job or already running a successful business. You may have financial obligations and goals that need to be met. Not earning money for a period of weeks or months is simply not an option that you want to entertain.
Instead, you’re exploring how it might be possible to start your life coaching business right away – even without certification or hours of training. If certification and hours of training are necessary, then you want to make sure that you’re making a wise investment. You want to avoid wasting time, energy and/or money, so you can build a profitable life coaching business – and start impacting others – as quickly as possible.
This article will answer pressing questions about starting a life coaching business without certification or training – and even answer questions you might not know you should be asking.
What Does a Life Coach Do Exactly – and Are Life Coaches Legit and Legal?
Some people question whether life coaching is a scam. But if you’re thinking about starting a life coaching business, trust your instincts. According to the 2020 ICF (International Coaching Federation) Global Coaching Study, life coaching is the second fastest-growing industry in the world with an average yearly growth of 6.7 percent – and continues to trend upward.
There’s a good reason why life coaching is growing so rapidly as an industry. Life coaches help clients achieve their dreams by tapping into their inner wisdom. Can you imagine how rewarding it is to see someone achieve a long-held goal, especially one that they thought was out of reach, because of your support and guidance? It’s an incredible feeling.
You’ve probably had a taste of this feeling already.
Most people who are drawn to the idea of a life coaching business already coach people informally. Are you a person that people naturally turn to for advice? Do you enjoy sharing your wisdom in a certain area of life, affirming others, and encouraging the people around you to go for their dreams – no matter what? It sounds like you’re a natural life coach.
Life coaches are not the same as business coaches. Business coaches tend to focus on business development and leadership, while life coaches focus on creating dreams and success in all areas of life. Life coaches are also not mental health counselors and do not provide counseling services.
After certifying more than 3,700 life coaches in 96 countries – including all 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. – we’ve identified a noteworthy difference between life coaches who thrive and those who limp along in their businesses. They all share a desire to serve others. But the successful coaches who thrive are those who have a proven system to both transform their clients’ lives and also level up their own game.
Do You Need Any Certification to Be a Life Coach – Or Can You Coach Without Certification?
I like to joke that a great way to become a life coach is getting a name tag and writing “Life Coach” on it.
Because the life coaching industry is so new, there is no governing body that sets industry standards or regulates who can call themselves a life coach, whether life coaching certification or hours of training are required, or how a life coaching business must be conducted. It’s not like the medical or legal industries, where there are government bodies and associations that license, govern, and oversee the industry.
(That said, you may need a license to run a coaching business. Check with your local municipality and secretary of state to verify the regulations that apply to where you live.)
This is both good and bad news for people with aspirations of starting a life coaching business. It means that if you have a desire to help others and you have any level of skill and/or experience that you can use to serve others (think of me giving out relationship advice in the seventh grade), you can use your gifts and innate ability to help others move closer to your personal goals of becoming a life coach.
Many coaches start offering life coaching without any hours of training. And it’s absolutely possible to be a life coach without certification.
However, it doesn’t mean that you’ll be good at life coaching, that you’ll be able to help clients achieve results consistently, or that you’ll be able to run a successful business.
To create a thriving life coaching business online from home, best practices indicate that you need life coach training and a repeatable, proven, reliable system for helping clients to transform and achieve the results they want. When you are able to systematize the way you help clients, their success becomes more predictable – and their willingness to refer others to you grows.
You also need a system for attracting right-fit clients and running a life coaching business. There is a huge difference between “being a life coach” and owning a business. Without the ability to structure, manage and grow a successful business, you won’t be able to make the impact that you’re meant to make as a life coach. Having a proven, reliable, repeatable system is the best way to help more people, more quickly … ultimately having a greater impact on the world.
Ricardo Gonzalez learned this lesson firsthand.
Before becoming a DreamBuilder Coach, had been a life coach for four years and experienced only mediocre success. No matter what he tried, he couldn’t generate more than $25,000 per year.
Ricardo felt called to be a coach, and he didn’t want to give up his dream. But he also knew that something needed to shift.
Then Ricardo heard of Brave Thinking Institute and attended his first Dreambuilder LIVE, where he heard about the DreamBuilder Coach Certification training. Despite having no idea how he’d pay for the coach program, he stared down his fear and signed up. He recognized that it was the best move he could make to reach his dream.
When he went home, he completely immersed himself in the online training. He was so committed to his vision of becoming a highly successful life coach, he worked three hours a day and studied for five – every day.
…and his results quickly reflected his resolve and how much time he invested into mastering the coach program content!
Within his first month, Ricardo generated $7,000 as a coach. Within two months, he generated $8,000 more. The following month, he generated $25,000 – his previous annual income!
Is a Coaching Certification Worth It?
You may be wondering whether life coaching certification is worth it – whether it will produce a positive return on the investment of time, money and energy you’ll make to complete the training and certification process.
Some people say that certification is worth it simply to gain credibility. Depending on the audience you want to attract, this may be important. Some clients will be more swayed by a certification and may even look for it when evaluating coaches. For example, if you’re coaching full-time for your employer or if you’re coaching executives, being able to prove that you’re a certified coach may be helpful.
If you’re looking merely for a piece of paper saying that you’re certified, you can easily find a coaching course that gives you a certificate for just a few dollars.
Most life coaching clients, however, choose life coaches based on their belief that the coaching program can help them achieve a result.
Clients ultimately care about whether you can help them have deep and lasting transformation so they can create the results that they want.
This requires not only demonstrating that you’ve helped others achieve results, but also building rapport and a relationship with your prospective clients. You can’t create this type of emotional experience by simply waving a certificate as a logical reason why you should be hired. However, it is a skill you can develop by going through a certification program.
Life coaching certification will help you gain valuable skills to help your clients achieve the results they want more reliably and quickly. The best certification programs give you a proven coaching system to follow, offer support, and help you turn your skills into an income-producing business.
A good certification program will lead you through the same process you’ll take your clients through, allowing you to experience transformation yourself. Having experienced the same transformation that you hope to lead them through, you’ll be better equipped to connect with them emotionally. By learning a proven system to produce results, you’ll gain confidence in your coaching skills, and your clients will enjoy the bigger results you support them in creating. Certification demonstrates that you take your commitment seriously.
How Do I Start a Life Coaching Business from Home and Become an Online Life Coach?
If you have a passion for serving others and really want to help people via life coaching, there are 3 skills you want to have as a coach. These 3 skills take great training.
Life coaching skill #1: Know how to reprogram limiting beliefs
As a life coach, it’s helpful to know how limiting beliefs get created and how to reprogram them because limiting beliefs are what stop your clients from achieving the results they want.
Clients hire coaches because they want to create something they can’t do on their own. They’re looking to you for a breakthrough.
But unless you and your clients understand what’s at work beneath the surface of their thinking and how to override those limiting beliefs, clients will sabotage themselves. They’ll get close to a breakthrough … and then they’ll pull back or otherwise derail all of their efforts. Witnessing this behavior is frustrating as a coach, because you care so deeply about people and want them to break through to the next level of success.
Knowing how to uncover and reprogram hidden limiting beliefs is almost like a superpower. Even when a client has been stuck for decades, you’ll be able to zero in on what’s keeping them trapped and then free them to move onward to the success they desire.
Life coaching skill #2: Know how to work with the Universal Spiritual Laws
If you want to become a pilot, you must learn the laws of aerodynamics. If you want to be an electrician, you must learn the laws of electricity. And if you want to be an amazing, effective life coach, it helps to know the universal spiritual laws.
Your clients are not just their physical bodies. They are spiritual beings having a human experience in physical bodies. Coaching that doesn’t address the spiritual side of our nature is incomplete and will produce limited results.
Most people don’t understand the spiritual side of their nature, much less the spiritual laws that govern how we create results in our lives. When you learn how to connect to your higher power and help your client do the same, you have access to the infinite side of their nature.
In recent years, many people have heard of the Law of Attraction, but it’s actually just one of 11 Spiritual Laws that govern our universe. The physics law of aerodynamics has always existed. But humans spent hundreds of thousands of years earth-locked before we learned them and took flight. When you help your clients understand what these spiritual laws are and how to deliberately apply them to create results, their lives will take flight.
Life coaching skill #3: How to ask evocative questions
There’s a huge difference between a life coach and a consultant. A consultant gives their client the strategies, plans, and blueprints for how to create a desired result – basically telling them exactly what to do and when. There are times and places when hiring a consultant is the right move.
A life coach, on the other hand, helps someone unlock their inner potential and create change at the core, so they can build a dream they are passionate about. To do this, you have to help clients get in touch with their potential and make self-discoveries. Evocative questions are designed to call forth wisdom that clients already have inside of them.
While earning my masters degree in education, I discovered how powerful the Socratic method of learning can be. Socrates said that wonder is the gateway to wisdom, and the method of teaching that he pioneered hinges on asking questions and letting students discover the answers.
The same process works in coaching. When you ask a profound question, it interrupts your client’s train of thoughts and creates space for profound inner discoveries. There is a proven scenario of questions to use in different situations to help people get unstuck.
How Do I Become a Self-Taught Life Coach?
You may feel confident about becoming a life coach without certification or personal development training to develop necessary skills. And you’re certainly not alone.
Many coaches start without formal training or certification. They rely on their life and business experience, gut instinct, and natural gifts. Confidence as a life coach stems from trust in your abilities as a life coach, and your confidence will grow with every client you serve.
But eventually, you will run into questions, situations, or challenging coaching clients that you can’t address on your own with your current level of knowledge. You may experience a client whose progress is sabotaged by limiting beliefs. You may struggle to enroll the types of clients that you want to work with. You may even find yourself struggling to manage the demands that life coaching places on your energy.
This is where life coaches with access to a proven, reliable, repeatable system of transformation gain the upper hand.
A system is what transforms you from a good coach to a great coach.
Our coaching system makes it easier and faster to create predictable success with clients, which builds the confidence of coaches enrolled in our life coach certification program. In addition, by first experiencing the coaching system themselves, our coaches experience a lasting transformation that makes it easier and faster for them to create their dream of having a thriving coaching business.
No matter which life coaching certification program you choose, look for one that gives you the opportunity to practice new skills with clients while receiving feedback and support from experienced coaches. Although you’ll learn plenty with every client you coach, you’ll improve more easily and quickly when you have experienced peers offering tips for improvement.
How Do I Earn a Living as a Life Coach – and How Do Life Coaches Get Paid?
There is a big difference between being a coach leveraging your life experience and innate ability to land your first paying client vs. running a successful life coaching business. Anyone can coach another person. You probably already do it, at least informally, with your colleagues, friends, and relatives.
Running and growing a business requires different skills – and systems. You need ways to keep yourself organized, manage your finances, track client progress, excel at business development, and more. It can be a lot – especially if you’re new to running a business and especially as your business grows.
Startup costs for a coaching business can be minimal.
For business-building purposes, you’ll want to establish a basic online presence so potential life coaching clients can find you. But you can begin accumulating hours of coaching experience with as little as a telephone or video conference subscription.
If you want to accelerate your business-building efforts and are serious about improving your coaching skills, invest in your professional development by enrolling in a life coach certification program.
Life coaches who run their own business get paid in a variety of ways. Many coaches charge an hourly rate, with rates varying based on industry, experience, and financial goals.
The most successful life coaches offer a package rate for their coaching services, for example, selling a package of 12 coaching sessions rather than individual sessions. A good certification program will help you figure out your coaching style, as well as how to price and package your services so you can build a successful coaching practice quickly.
How Do I Market Myself as a Life Coach?
Perhaps the most important piece of running a life coaching business is finding clients. Many life coaches mistakenly believe that getting a certification will magically attract clients like throwing a handful of birdseed on the ground in the middle of Central Park to attract a flock of pigeons. But trusting a piece of paper to do the heavy lifting of marketing your business is practically guaranteed to leave you short on clients.
Filling your coaching practice with right-fit clients requires strategic planning, consistent effort, and decent marketing skills. Some coaches shy away from the necessary work of marketing themselves and enrolling clients because they fear being too pushy or being perceived as bragging about themselves. But you still need a system for attracting right-fit clients to your life coaching business and enrolling them in your life coaching programs.
This is where attraction marketing comes in.
Attraction marketing is a high-value, low-pressure way to bring prospective clients into your world and inviting them to buy on their own initiative. You’ll want to establish a basic digital presence and consistently grow your online presence with marketing such as email marketing and word-of-mouth marketing.
By delivering great value to prospective clients through your interactions with them – for example, by sending educational emails or offering free strategy sessions – you’ll demonstrate your value as a coach and naturally create desire in your prospects to want more of what you offer.
In Brave Thinking Institute’s life coaching certification program, we teach our coaches how to use heart-centered enrollment. This low-key, low-pressure approach to selling views enrollment conversations as acts of service that you offer to your clients.
You learn to guide prospects through a discovery session to explore whether your coaching is a right fit for them – and if they are a right fit for you. The goal of the conversation is not to close a sale, but instead to ensure that the prospective client makes a decision that’s in alignment with the results they want to create. Not only does it leave prospects feeling cared for, it feels in alignment with your desire to be of service.
What Certificate Do I Need to Be a Life Coach?
The simple truth is that you are not required to earn a certification to become a life coach. You can even achieve a level of financial success as a coach without certification.
However, if you’re serious about making the difference you know that you’re meant to make in this world as a successful life coach and demonstrating your commitment to excellence in the coaching profession, a life coaching certification program is recommended. Certification gives you the tools, curriculum, and support that will be required to fully serve your clients and give them the support they deserve.
When considering which life coach certification program to choose, look for one that will help you develop 3 key skills in your quest to be a successful coach:
- How to reprogram limiting beliefs
- and how to work with the Universal Spiritual Laws
- as well as how to ask evocative questions
In addition, look for a program that teaches you more than how to coach. The gold standard in the life coaching industry is a life coach certification program that:
Offers a powerful curriculum that leads to effective coaching.
Brave Thinking Institutes offers training in evocative coaching, so you can help clients tune into their own inner guidance. We also certify you in how to guide clients through the reliable, repeatable system of transformation called The DreamBuilder(R) Program, which has transformed thousands of lives worldwide. We give you everything you need to generate results, including done-for-you lessons and the exact questions to ask your clients during coaching sessions.
Teaches you Attraction Marketing.
So you can let your light shine as a heart-centered transformational coach to attract the clients you’re meant to serve. At Brave Thinking Institute, we give you the specialized knowledge and a trusted method for attracting your perfect clients. One of the most effective tools you’ll receive is my vision workshop, which will help you inspire audiences and invite them to invest in coaching with you.
Guides you through Heart-Centered Enrollment.
At Brave Thinking Institute, we teach a 7-step process that allows you to help potential coaching clients via a gentle sales conversation. Whether they sign up with you or not, your prospects will feel supported, loved and served. You’ll learn how to deliver real value on your very first call and receive the full script and other resources so you can start using it immediately.
Helps you build your business.
At Brave Thinking Institute, we’ll teach you everything you need to run a successful business … from collecting payments on time, generating steady growth in your revenue, organizing and tracking clients, and much more. When you have a solid business, you can help many more people in a sustainable way.
By delivering these 4 pillars, our life coach certification program offers more than a certificate you can hang on the wall. You’ll gain the tools, skills, confidence and system to deliver results.
As you help clients build powerful beliefs aligned with what they love, while overriding the limiting beliefs that keep them stuck; help them understand and work with the Spiritual Laws that govern our results; and ask them questions that help them tap into and unlock their potential, your clients will have massive breakthroughs. Their breakthroughs will make them want to continue working with you, while also referring others to you. You’ll soon be on your way to a thriving life coaching business.
To learn more about all that’s required to become a successful life coach and to build a thriving coaching business using a proven, repeatable, and reliable system of transformation, here’s one of the most helpful resources around: The Coaching Success Checklist. You’ll discover time-tested secrets for becoming a successful life coach and receive a checklist of steps to set up and grow your business.