Being your own boss? Helping people? Working in a variety of different and challenging areas? And all for a decent salary? There’s not a great deal to dislike about working in coaching. Other than the slightly tricky bit of getting started and carving out a career in it, that is. Here are our top tips on how to become a life coach...
Make Sure You've Got the Right Academic Background
Don't Fall into the Generalist Trap
As with most other walks of life, coaching can be a broad field. And in this day and age it pays to specialise. Spend some time figuring out which area of life coaching you’re best suited to, and build your career from the ground up accordingly.
If you want to command the best possible life coach salary, being a consultant to corporate and high-profile executive clients is obviously the way forward. But there are many other areas, from fulltime jobs in business, relationship coaching or helping out with issues relating to retirement which, while not quite as lucrative, are still well-paid and fulfilling.
Find a Mentor
As you’d expect, mentoring is a fundamental part of life coaching. Making sure you have a mentor to help guide you through the early stages of becoming a life coach fulltime and beyond, to make sure your career is firmly on the right path at all times, is essential.
A mentor will not only help you to develop your career, but also make sure that your own life trajectory is optimal and that the necessary levels of empathy and care required are an ever-present.
There are a couple of decent coaching directories knocking about on the web. Two that are well worth getting yourself on are: Noomii.com, which has a global user-base, while Lifecoach-directory.org.uk is more UK-focused.
Put Time into Self-marketing
Word of mouth is all well and good (and is, without a doubt, the best marketing you can get), but putting some time into other forms of marketing, particularly online, will almost certainly be necessary, too.
Putting time into social media marketing is a sound investment: Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn can all be a significant source of clients. Find the communities there and become an active member of them; reach out to potential employers and build meaningful relationships with them via social media.
Beyond that, over time it's a good idea to invest in a properly built, well optimized website that will allow for potential clients looking for your services on search engines to find you. Having a website that clearly explains your offering, your qualifications and your past clients is also a healthy signal of trust that many clients (particularly corporate ones) will expect.
Don't Jump in Feet First
As with all freelance or consultancy roles, it’s important to leave time to build up your business. Don’t toss your steady income away before you've got a regular client base.
The age-old conundrum of how to get clients when potential clients want to see that you've got clients is truer in life coaching than in many other fields. A good way to get started is to offer your services for free to businesses of friends and extended circles of contacts. That way, you can make sure that you've got plenty of glowing endorsements to show to paying clients when the time comes.
Stick at it
Don’t get impatient or frustrated if getting your practice off the ground takes a while, either; like all things that are worth doing, it can take time. Keep plugging away at it, though, and it will come.
Thinking of becoming a life coach? Enrol in one of our online courses today.