Life coaching can be an incredibly rewarding and lucrative field. A coach helps people transform their lives for the better. For example, I’m a career coach. I work with my clients on all aspects of their careers to find a job, find a career that speaks to them, or start a business. My goal as their coach is to effect a transformation in my clients’ lives.
A coach is a mentor or trusted advisor, not a counselor. That is why you don’t need a license or certification to be a coach. But you do need to learn the fundamentals of coaching and have experience in your niche. Experience can be anything from going through your own personal transformation to unique qualifications based on your experience and education.
I wanted to build a career in counterterrorism. I worked hard and finally landed a job at the pentagon, which I found unfulfilling. But what I had was a lot of job hunting and career experience. Let’s face, it’s not easy for a 22-year-old to get a job in the Pentagon. Over the next few years, more and more people kept asking me for career advice. I found that I loved helping people who were literally in my same shoes. My authentic self was a career coach. I became a career coach by using my experience to help my clients.
I’m not arguing that life coaching courses aren’t valuable. But is a life coach certification worth it? Probably not. Your clients want results. They don’t care if you have a certificate as long as you can deliver what they need.
To become a life coach, you need master the following things:
Learn the fundamentals of coaching. The best way to do that is to get a coach. Select a coach that resonates with you, that has built a successful business, and is making a good living doing what you want to do. Working with a coach gives you three direct benefits:
- Confidence in selling your coaching to others because you’ve experienced the tremendous value a coach can offer.
- Experience with the ins and outs of the coaching business by living “a day in the life” of a coach.
- Professional development in yourself as a coach and business owner.
Work with clients. To become a successful coach, you need to get out there and work with people. I don’t know a single coach that had a paying client from day one. Most of us started by helping our friends and friends of friends. Ask these people for testimonials. Use the testimonials to advertise for more clients.
Use one of these methods to advertise for new clients who you don’t know: offer a free 30-minute coaching session or create a lost leader. A lost leader is a tangible item that clients pay a nominal fee to have. Typically, you don’t make money on a lost leader. An example might be a 60-min coaching session on one particular topic at a substantially discounted price.
The most important aspect to getting clients is delivering value. You need to demonstrate your value whether you offer a free session or create a lost leader. And you must have a call-to-action at the end of your free or highly discounted session.
Over deliver. You’ve undoubtedly heard the expression: Under charge, over deliver. That expression doesn’t mean to actually under charge but instead delivering so much value that your clients feel they got so much more for their money than expected. You do that by getting results.
Your credentials as a coach come from the results you get your clients, not from what you learn in a classroom. You need the training or experience not the certification. You get that by getting your feet wet. You have to work hard – there really is nothing as a free lunch. Getting certified does not equate to a profitable coaching business or guarantee that you’ll get even one client.
The number one way to build credibility as a life coach without getting a certification is to turn your clients into raving fans. Your clients need to feel that you fully understand their situation and can provide a solution to their problem. Then, over deliver.
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