The best answer to the question “What degree do you need to become a life coach?” is simple. You don’t need a college degree. You don’t need a coaching certificate. What you need most is a degree in life. The others help. And we will talk about them in this blog. But the simple truth is: if you haven’t really lived, I believe that you can’t make a very good life coach.
Look at Doctors to Understand what Degree Do You Need to Become a Life Coach
Doctors take a lot of courses before they can legitimately call themselves doctors. Lots! But beyond the theory and intense memorization of facts, doctors really learn to become doctors by doing doctoring. After all they will “practice” medicine all of their careers! So any college or university programs worth considering must include the study of coaching and behavioral theory, but they must primarily be based on rigorous mentored coaching practice. More and more colleges and universities are offering programs in life coaching, but unless rigorous mentored life coaching is at their core, they should not come to mind when you ask the question “What degree do you need to become a life coach?”
How about Life Coaching Programs that Issue Certifications?
Whether a program offers a certification or not is completely immaterial. In today’s unregulated world of coaching, attaching a certification to a program does not prove anything, in and of itself. Self certification is particularly meaningless, and while an endorsement of a program by an independent, objective and well respected organization — like the International Coach Federation — is impressive, many exceptional programs are not certified by anyone. To determine if a coaching program is worthwhile look at the content, the structure and its fruits. That is: is its content based on rigorous science and tested methodology? Is the majority its pedagogy based on mentored coaching practice? And are its graduates effective and successful, and are their clients blessed to have them as their coaches? These are the key questions, not “What degree do you need to become a life coach?”
So what about this Degree in Life?
The question actually is: “Can you be a life coach if you haven’t really experienced life?” And the answer is: “Yes and no.” Just as a doctor does not have to be a victim of cancer to effectively treat a patient with cancer, an effective life coach does not have to have been immobilized by the same issues that are plaguing their client, but they must have experienced life, first hand, and trained extensively under the guidance of a master to really be able to be an effective life coach. This is why recovering anythings often make the best coaches. They have been there and they have the credibility and perspective to make a significant difference in the lives of their clients. That is: they must have a degree in life.
JTS Advisors Strategy and Accountability Coach