Learn How to Become a Life Coach.

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We live in an exciting time for life coaching. As multiple generations span the workforce and society offers challenges and opportunities like never before, the field of coaching is ripe with potential as people from all walks of life have begun to appreciate and hire life coaches to help them overcome obstacles that may stand in their way.

Life coaching conforms to you and your vision for the business you want to build. Choose a specialty, find your audience and let the clients roll in. You can even coach clients from all over the world from the comfort of your home office as most life coaches meet with their clients by phone.

By this point, you’ve probably done your research about life coaching and know that you want to get certified. You also know how important coaching certification is for your reputation and overall business success. Now, it’s time to choose a life coach training program that meets your needs for training.

The criteria I looked at when evaluating coaching programs were the following:

  • Location: US Based (although some can be reached by students anywhere through distance learning options)
  • Flexibility: Is the program designed to be flexible and cater to a busy student already working inside or outside the home?
  • Learning Mode: Can all or part of the program be completed through distance learning? In my experience, this is very important to people seeking coach training.
  • Range of Offerings and Support: Does the program offer a variety of courses and support for students both during and after training? New coaches need and want support for their business after they receive their certification.
  • Cost: Are the costs associated with the program reasonable and easy to understand, without hidden costs or confusing fees?
  • Reputation: Does the school have a good reputation and representation in the coaching community?

So which schools fared best? The following three schools met all of the criteria above and are Accredited Coach Training Programs through the International Coach Federation. There are many more worth mentioning, but this will get you started in your research.

The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC)
Admittedly, I went to iPEC, so naturally it will be at the top of my list. Having that said, you don’t need to take my word for it. I believe that if you do your own research, you will also find iPEC to be among the top coaching schools in the US. iPEC stands out among coach training programs for its successful track record in the industry and powerful training process and philosophy. iPEC is headquartered in New Jersey, but it’s training locations include the US, UK and Canada. Fourteen of its sixteen training location are in the US with courses in most metro areas. Further, much of the program is completed online and by phone. Three modules, each three days long, are completed face to face at the physical training locations. This allows for both ease and flexibility for participants, but also facilitates personal integration with peers and coach trainers.

iPEC offers an experiential approach to training that is largely based on the work of founder Bruce D Schneider, MCC and PhD. iPECs proprietary methods include the Core Energy Dynamics™ and the Core Energy Coaching™ processes, both created by Schneider. Specialties for coach trainees at iPEC include life, business, career and executive coaching and include a range of subspecialties in each category.

Components of iPEC coach training include:

  • Three face to face modules and a variety of virtual education modules that make up 350+ training hours
  • A Mentor Coach for each trainee that assists with skill development
  • A business and peer support program that extends beyond program completion
  • A niche-based focus for learning while in the program (nine specialties from which to choose to focus on while in training)

iPEC is not new to the ICF either. The program has been fully accredited since 2002. Upon completion of the program, participants are Certified Professional Coaches, accredited and fully recognized by the ICF. The all-inclusive cost of the program at this writing is $9895. This includes all instruction, mentor coaching and materials. Students pay separately for lodging, travel, food and any office or long distance calls incurred for training. Tuitions specials are offered regularly so make sure to check to see what is being offered when you are doing your research.

Coaches Training Institute
Coaches Training Institute (CTI) is one of the most well-known training programs in the industry. This is due in part to their long standing program, in existence for more than twenty years. The program has trained over 35,000 coaches since it began. CTI founders were largely responsible for the creation of the ICF and assisted with the creation of the ICF ethics and competencies. Consequently, CTI was the first coach training school to receive certification from the ICF. Founders of the CTI program also wrote Co-Active Coaching, used widely by coaches and even other coach training programs. Training locations include Canada, Singapore and thirteen US locations (major metro areas).

The program teaches their proprietary Co-Active Model, built on the foundation that clients possess the ability to know what is best for them. The coach’s role is to come from a place of authenticity, encouragement and deep listening to help elevate the client to their highest natural state. CTI Trainers are leading coaches in the field, devoted to promoting a standardized profession for coaching. CTI’s training approach includes comprehensive, in person training, professional practicum for certification, business and marketing support and skill development and an ongoing community of support for coaches after graduation.

CTI’s program is organized in five in-person courses followed by a certification program. The five courses are each held face to face on week-ends (Friday-Sunday). After the courses are complete and the student has five paying clients, they enroll in the certification program, which includes one-on-one supervision with a coach to deepen and refine coaching skills. The certification process takes six months and is done completely by phone. After both components are complete, students take a written and oral exam to receive their certification. The entire process takes approximately one year and costs approximately $10,000-12,000 depending on how the program is completed (courses may be purchased a la carte and cost more when taken that way). Visit their website or call for specific pricing information.

Coach U
Coach U is another top coaching school that has led the coaching industry for many years, having started its operations in 1992. Through their Advanced Coaching Program, you can meet the requirements to become an Associate Certified Coach, Professional Certified Coach or Master Certified Coach through the ICF. Coach U is a virtual based training program where participants complete 100% of their training through distance learning. This provides ultimate flexibility for participants and caters to many different lifestyles and schedules.

Coach U training is designed for people who want to pursue life or corporate coaching. As a student at Coach U, you will focus on learning coaching skills, building a coaching practice and integrating what you learn into your current business or personal life.

To graduate and receive your coaching certification, you complete 175 hours of training. The program is comprised of two major components- the Core Essentials Program (CEP) and Advanced Coaching Program (ACP). The format for Coach U’s Advanced Coaching Program includes teleclasses and internet based work and includes weekly conference calls (delivered once weekly for one hour and last for 4 or 8 weeks), fieldwork and reading between weekly calls, internet and email collaboration with coach trainers and client and mentor coaching by phone. The final test is completed via the Internet.

The cost for the course is $6090 plus textbooks. There is also a higher-priced corporate option that is also accredited by the International Coach Federation and caters to coaches that want to have an executive or corporate coaching practice. Coach U is a great option for those looking for ultimate flexibility in their training, but also want the peace of mind of knowing their school is long standing and reputable in the coaching industry.

Of course there are many coach training programs that are worthy of praise. These three programs stand out based on the factors that I described, but there are many programs that deserve recognition. This short list will get you started and help you understand what to look for in a reputable training program. Thanks to the International Coach Federation, you can search for accredited programs by many different criteria on their website.

Every prospective coach is different in their needs. Make sure you do your due diligence and get all your questions answered before you commit to a coach training program. You want to make sure that it fits not only your needs for learning, but also your personal style and philosophy. Coaching is a great investment, both personally and professionally. You want to feel confident knowing you are getting the most for your time and money.

If you are considering career coaching as a niche for your coaching business, there are many viable options for you as career coaches are sought after more now than ever. In the past, people were more likely to stay with one company for years, sometimes only working at one or two companies over the course of their career. Today, the average employee stays at a job for just over four years according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics . That number is predicted to be even lower as over ninety percent of Millennials (born from 1977 to 1997) reported they expected to stay in a job for less than three years in a recent survey . Over the course of their careers, these young workers will have 15-20 jobs by the time they retire. This doesn’t even speak to the generation born after 1997!

STEP 1: Understand What Career Coaches Offer their Clients
If you want to get started in this field, there are three steps you can take. The first step is to understand what services career coaches offer. In addition to help changing jobs, there are other reasons people seek career coaches. Consider the following:

Reason #1: I need to differentiate myself.
Career coaches help clients stand out above the crowd. Today’s job market is saturated and competitive. Career coaches know the best strategies and tactics to help their clients rise above their competition. This can also decrease the time it takes clients to find work. Many clients say getting a job and benefits faster than their competitors more than pays the fees for career coaching.

Reason #2: I need help transitioning into a new role at work.
Leaving a job or finding a job isn’t the only reason to seek a career coach. The workplace is demanding and jobs cannot be assumed anymore. Employees have to work hard and produce results to keep their jobs. Many people hire career coaches to help them make successful transitions within with careers. This may be help transitioning into a manager role, help focusing or prioritizing or even help with a challenging task they have been assigned.

Reason #3: I need help making a career decision.
Should I stay or should I go? This question plagues people as they see other jobs that interest them or have new offers on the table. Hiring a career coach to help them sort through the pros and cons helps elevate their perspective and gives them a sounding board as they make the difficult decision. A career coach also gives their client a non-biased partner in the process. Many times friends, co-workers and family have well meaning advice, but it isn’t always objective. For example, talking to your closest co-worker may not help if she doesn’t want to see you leave your current job.

Reason #4: I need help staying motivated.
The job search can be a job in itself. Especially for people who aren’t currently employed, it can be difficult to stay focused on the task at hand. Career coaches work with clients to help them chart a plan for success. Checking in with a coach helps clients stay accountable and more likely to meet the goals they set.

Reason #5: My recruiter told me I should…
Some corporate recruiters advise their clients to hire a career coach. Companies and recruiters have described coached clients as focused and more able to tell their success stories than uncoached competitors. For these reasons, coached clients also have higher chance of getting interviews with the recruiter’s companies.

Step 2. Find a Coach Training Program
Now that you understand what career coaches can offer their clients, it’s time for Step 2- find a coaching certification program. Many coaching schools offer programs for certification. You can search for specific program by career coaching at There are a few programs that stood out to us for career coaching. In addition to a career coaching focus, we also considered the ability to complete the program on-line, if desired, in our search.

1. Coachville

The Center for Coaching Mastery program through Coachville is an accredited coaching training program focused on helping coach trainees prepare to be leaders in the coaching industry by inspiring them to use the spirit of play. The school’s philosophy is based on the belief that true success comes when one is free from self-imposed limitations and able to express their gifts and talents. The online program includes four modules, through which ones progresses. Level 1 is the Pursuit of Human Greatness which focuses on learning coaching skills and the “Play Two Win” coaching method. Level 2 is the Pursuit of Inner Freedom which focuses on deep personal exploration. Level 3 is the Pursuit of Personal Evolution Coaching which focuses on advanced Personal Environments coaching. Level 4 is the Certification Process in which you complete requirements to earn your certification. The program cost is $5480.00 if paid in full.

2. College of Executive Coaching

The Advanced Certified Personal and Executive Coach program through the College of Executive Coaching is an accredited coach training program offered face to face and online. The program boasts fifteen Ph.D. level faculty members and training for professionals with graduate degrees who seek additional training to add to their current credentials. The program also provides continuing education credit for coaches, counselors, psychologists, nurses, social works and HR professionals. The largest percentage of their students begin the program with six days of in personal focused training and complete the remainder of the program virtually; however a 100% distance learning option is available. After the core content is complete through face to face or DVD, participants complete the additional work through telecourses and individual phone conference with a faculty member. The cost for the program is $8990.00.

3. Center for Executive Coaching
The Executive Coach Training Program through the Center for Executive Coaching specializes in career and corporate based coaching. The career/transition focus is on helping professionals gain outstanding results and value from the coaching relationship. The program structures their training for the business environment—boasting “practical, results-driven tools” for the coach trainees specifically geared toward career and corporate environments. The program also provides a variety of business support to trainees to help them establish a high level in their desired market. Further, the program allows for self-paced learning as it caters to busy, working students. The cost for the program is $4950.

Step 3. Sign up and Complete your Training Program
Step three is to choose a school and get started. The sooner you complete your certification process, the sooner you can begin building your client base. Some programs even help and encourage you to begin taking clients while you are in training. Having your certification will give you an edge above your competition. Your clients will feel more at ease knowing they have invested in a professional backed by a standardized certificate.

Once you’ve achieved your certification, it’s time to go out and get clients!

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