How to Become a Certified Life Coach

There are actually three questions here: why, where and how to become a certified life coach. If you don’t have good answers to all three of these questions, you might be making some big mistakes. Let’s take these one at a time. Follow the guidelines presented below, search the internet, study the material taught, insist on lots of actual coaching experience in addition to course material, and look for a clear track record of successful graduates and clients.

Why Become a Certified Coach

Becoming “certified” at anything implies that you have officially achieved a recognized standard. You have been acknowledged by an authoritative body for successfully completing a comprehensive course of study. And this gives assurance to prospective clients that you are skilled, competent and adhere to high standards of professional conduct. Clearly, achieving a bona fide certification in any professional field is a desirable plus.

Where to Become Certified

How to become a certified coach leads directly to the question of where are you becoming certified and just who is doing the certification. Since coaching is an unregulated profession, anyone can offer certification for the completion of any coaching program. Look for programs that include certification by highly regarded professional organizations, like the International Coach Federation. Alternatively, look for well established coaching programs from coaching schools that offer certifications and that are members of these professional organizations. Beyond this be prepared for your “certification” to be a questionable marketing tool rather than a professional designation.

How to Become a Certified Life Coach

Let’s change our focus from “how to become a certified life coach” to “how to become a very effective life coach.” Just as a highly self-motivated student at a decent community college can get a good education, while a lazy student, who sleeps through classes at an Ivy League School cannot, a lot of what you take away from any program is a combination of what you bring to the table and how hard you apply yourself. What I look for in any coaching training program is that it is science-based and includes large amounts of coaching and being coached, in a monitored setting. And remember that at any point in your career as a coach, you are just beginning to learn.

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Dave Iuppa
JTS Advisors Strategy and Accountability Coach

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How to Become a Certified Life Coach Through the ICF: With or Without an Accredited Coach Training Program

Figuring out how to become a certified life coach takes quite a bit of research. The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is the most widely recognized credentialing program. There are some other agencies as well, but if you want to become a certified life coach, the ICF seems to offer the most prestige. If you want to know how to become a certified life coach with the ICF, there are 3 levels of certification to choose from.

Each level has a different set of requirements.

How to Become a Certified Life Coach - Level 1

The Associate Certified Coach credential (ACC) is the entry level ICF certification. You will need to successfully complete an Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP), or complete 60 documented hours of coach-specific training. To become ICF certified at this level you will also need 10 hours of mentoring, a minimum of 100 hours of documented coaching (with a minimum of 75 hours of paid coaching). You will also need 2 reference letters, and pass the ACTP exam or the ICF’s oral exam demonstrate competency. You can get ICF certification by going through the coaches training program that best suits your needs, which may or may not be an Accredited Coach Training Program.

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How to Become a Certified Life Coach- Level 2

The ICF Professional Certified Coach credential (PCC) is the second level of IFC certification.  To become a certified life coach at this level you will need to successfully complete an Accredited Coach Training Program, or 125 hours of coach-specific training. You will also need to have completed a minimum of 750 hours of coaching, with a minimum of 675 hours of paid coaching, with at least 25 clients. Again, you will also need 2 reference letters and be able to pass either the ACTP’s exam or the ICF’s exam.

 

How to become a certified life coach- Level 3

 

The ICF Master Certified Coach credential (MCC) is for the expert coach. To become a certified life coach at this level you will need to successfully complete 200 hours of coach-specific training, with and coach a minimum of 2500 hours (2250 of which are paid), with at least of 35 clients. You will also need 3 reference letters and be able to pass the ICF exam.

If you want learn more about how to become a certified life coach, I recommend going to the ICF website to get more specific information. In general, the ICF wants to enhance the credibility of the coaching profession by providing standards. But the only way to get credentialed is to coach paying clients. So if you want to become a certified life coach, make sure the coaching programs you take prepare you for finding lots of paying coaching clients.

Colette Seymann

Accountability Coach, JTS Advisors

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