What is a life coach?

A life coach is a person that wants to make a difference in the lives of others by helping them work through their challenges that get them stuck. It could be anything from setting and achieving goals, improving their relationships, or reframing the way their see their lives.

If you are serious about becoming a professional life coach because you really enjoy helping people, you will be encouraged by what you read here. We’ve outlined the process very clearly in order to help you safely and sanely make the transition into your new coaching business.


How to Become a Life Coach in 8 Steps


    • Step 1: Discover your Life Coaching Aptitude

    • Step 2: Determine the Best Life Coach Training and Credentialing for You

    • Step 3: Learn What a Life Coach Must Do to be in Business

    • Step 4: Develop your Unique Coaching Vision

    • Step 5: Understand What Life Coaching Clients Really Want

    • Step 6: Set Up Your Life Coaching Business: Required Tasks

    • Step 7: Create Custom Coaching Packages that Solve Specific Problems

    • Step 8: Start Marketing – Using the Right System to Bring in Clients

Step 1: Discover your Life Coaching Aptitude

Personal Development Lifestyle

A life coach career is a deep dive into personal development. Have you always been interested in self-improvement? This interest is what makes a life coaching career more than a job.

For personal growth seekers, coaching doesn’t feel like work. It’s something you’d do for free if you could. A high level of natural interest keeps you invested and motivated to improve your coaching and provides a depth of knowledge from which to operate.

Natural Trust

Successful life coaches are not only trustworthy but come across as such. If people naturally trust you, you’ve probably been told so from time to time. People might comment that you have a good heart or a nice energy about you.

This does not mean you don’t have issues of your own or get upset with people. It simply means you have a certain integrity about yourself.

Have people sought you out for advice?

Many of the best life coaches already had a career in casual coaching before they ever got paid for it. Their friends, co-workers, family members and such naturally seek them out for advice, problem-solving, or just to talk. Is this you?

It doesn’t need to be, but if it is, it could mean that you have a natural gift and could turn it into a successful life coach career.

Comfortable with People’s Issues

A life coach career is not a counseling venture. It’s not therapy but it’s still a confidential setting in which people reveal things about themselves that they may not reveal anywhere else. Often these are secrets or subjects involving shame.

When this happens, it’s important for a coach to remain calm and non-judgmental.

Hold Clients Accountable

Even if you’re not an accountability coach, there is accountability built into all forms of coaching. Coaches typically establish a coaching agreement with clients.

Then there’s showing up for appointments, following through on assignments, and fully participating in the process. When clients are not holding up their end of the agreement, it’s appropriate for life coaches to raise the concern.

Good Listener

Are you skilled at listening, paying attention to what people say, and really understanding? Have others commented that you’re “such a good listener” and expressed appreciation to you for being a sounding board?

Asking Powerful Questions

Beyond listening, asking questions that inspire solutions and new ways of thinking is a hallmark of life coaching. Asking powerful questions is a skill developed over time. It begins with an ability to listen well.

Tell people what they don’t want to hear tactfully?

Often what the client takes away from coaching is far different than what they’d ever considered before. They leave with a different perspective. Along the way, life coaches might challenges beliefs and opinions the client has hung onto for quite some.

This is particularly applicable to clients who realize they’ve been blaming others for their situation in life. A coach’s challenge is to help clients discover a deeper, more empowering truth.

Creative – planning actions – think outside the box?

The best life coaches are creative. They think outside the box. And they have a secret that helps them provide unique insights. Coaching models. Every coach has at least one coaching model – a lens through which they view clients. Coaching models give a fresh perspective.

Additionally, it helps to be a natural creative thinker. Are you able to look at situations from multiple perspectives?


The default for many people is to live in their minds, thinking of what they are going to say next while other people are talking. Successful life coaches pay attention to verbal and nonverbal behavior with a clear mind while their clients are talking.


Life coaches need to be open-minded because they are not positioning themselves as subject matter experts. While they may be a source of creativity and inspiration for clients, they understand that the client is the best subject matter expert concerning his or her own life.

Are you open to supporting others’ ideas, even when they’re not what you would do in the same situation?


A life coach career has many elements. Achievement, social success, and high income are some of the telltale signs of a great coach. Yet, the most meaningful element for the best life coaches is the fulfillment they find in having a positive impact upon others.

A Harvard did a study on effective management styles. They determined there were three kinds of managers.

  • Managers interested in personal achievement
  • Those interested in social status or socially connecting
  • Managers interested in power (or influence)

Harvard determined the most effective managers to be those interested in influencing others for good. When they noticed a positive impact upon an employee or the organization, that’s where they found their fulfillment.

A life coach career is similar. You spend your days positively impacting others. Does that provide the meaning you need?

How entrepreneurial are you?

The majority of life coaches are in business for themselves, although it’s increasingly common for companies to staff internal coaches. Does the idea of being in business for yourself provide a welcome challenge? Does it terrify you?

Are you able to promote yourself?

This is an interesting one. Notice we’re asking if you are able to promote yourself, not if you love to promote yourself. You don’t need to love self-promotion. You do need to be able to put yourself out there, however.

Many coaches promote the power of life coaching vs. themselves as a coach. This is a great approach. However, you do it, promoting your business with you as a coach is an essential factor in a prosperous life coaching career.

Do you believe in coaching?

This may be the make-or-break factor in your life coach career. Life coaching is a life-changing process. People who invest in life coaching will soon discover it was the best decision they’ve ever made. When you believe this, getting clients becomes much easier. Your confidence in what you do will be contagious.

Step 2: Determine the Best Life Coach Training and Credentialing for You

In-Person Life Coach Training ($$$)


  • In-person feedback
  • Personal interaction between trainers and students
  • Training completed according to a set schedule
  • Full, uninterrupted immersion learning


  • Typically the most expensive option
  • Less convenient (travel, time off)
  • Less effective for skills integration because of the speed at which you are learning
  • Can’t learn at your own pace
  • Limited scheduling options
  • Less opportunity for developing a long-term community and support network

Purely Online Life Coach Training ($)


  • Generally more affordable
  • Flexible start times
  • Work at your own pace
  • No travel required


  • May prove challenging for those less comfortable with technology, or with slow/unreliable internet connections
  • Students must hold themselves accountable for completing the material
  • Feedback, if any, is not immediate
  • No peer community
  • Students will need to find practice partners/clients on their own
  • No credentialing
  • Learning does not integrate well

Blended Online Life Coach Training ($$)

We provide this type of training


  • Often very affordable
  • Flexible start times
  • Work at your own pace
  • No travel required
  • Flexible learning pace allows for greater skills integration
  • A community of peers and trainers for on-going support
  • Live, virtual training sessions and one-on-one interactions


  • May prove challenging for those less comfortable with technology, or with slow/unreliable internet connections
  • Feedback is not always immediate
  • Students may still need to find practice partners/clients on their own

Finding the best life coach training platform will depend upon how much time and money you have available to you. If you have the resources available to travel and take time off from your regular work, then attending an in-person training might be something to consider.

If you require the flexibility of studying at your own pace as you transition out of your current career, then a blended learning curriculum will likely be your best option.

How to Become a Life Coach Step 3: Learn What a Life Coach Must Do to be in Business

Beyond the life coaching skill set that you’ll learn in training, there are a number of areas in which you will need to become a competent professional life coach. These are in the category of professional development and many will require your daily attention.


Effectively advertising and promoting your coaching business is a vital, on-going task. You may be a fantastic certified coach, but if no one knows about you, all those wonderful coaching skills will be wasted. No marketing = no sales opportunities = no clients. We’ll get more specific about marketing in steps 9 and 10.


So you’ve promoted your professional coach services and the inquiries from people are coming in. But, you’re not finished yet. While effective marketing creates sales opportunities, selling creates paying clients.

You’ll need to learn an effective system to convert inquiries into clients. Many who are drawn to life coaching are uncomfortable with the sales process, and worry that it will be too ‘car sales-y’. It should be a relief to know that a good life coaching sales process is not like that at all!

Your sales meeting is more of a consult than a sale. The sales process should follow a specific system that includes a set of questions which potential clients will find helpful, and which naturally motivates them to sign up for professional coaching where appropriate.

We call our coaching sales program the Windsong System. It takes the guesswork out of what to say and do during an initial consultation and is exceptionally effective at converting interested inquiries into coaching clients. And you’ll never feel like you have to convince or pressure anyone.


Administration is a catchall set of tasks and required skills including (but not limited to):

  • Maintaining your website
  • Billing and bookkeeping
  • Keeping your calendar up-to-date
  • Maintaining your mailing list
  • Managing between-session client communications

Much of the above can be automated or outsourced inexpensively these days, but it’s still a good idea to know how to perform most tasks yourself, especially during the early days of your practice.


The best coaches are always looking to up their game. Continuous professional development through additional training, reading, seminars, and workshops will be what sets you apart from other coaches.

Since coaching models and techniques are not one-size-fits-all, you want to be proficient in several. The more tools in your bag, the more client challenges you can address. Being the best you can be through on-going personal growth should be a way of life for life coaches.

Working with Clients

Most life coaches work directly with others, usually one-on-one via in-person, video, or over the phone.

It can be overwhelming at the start of your life coaching journey to imagine coaching actual, living and breathing clients. Being able to comfortably talk, listen to and deal with the emotions of someone who is looking to you for guidance can feel intimidating, even scary.

When new students discover that they will be submitting a real coaching demonstration audio for review, most are nervous at the prospect. We always remind them that by the end of their training, they will have practiced enough coaching and learned so many practical coaching skills that they will become quite comfortable working with actual clients.

It also helps to remind yourself of the positive and constructive impact you can have on someone in need. It’s why you signed up for this. The thrill of knowing you’ve made a difference in someone else’s life is an experience that brings with it the most profound sense of satisfaction.

During your professional life coach training, take one day at a time. Your coaching confidence will grow because we focus on that, specifically.

How to Become a Life Coach Step 4: Develop your Unique Coaching Vision

You don’t need to be perfect to be a life coach.

You are and always will be a normal person with your own unique challenges and struggles. Just like everyone else, you can choose to work each day to become the best version of yourself. The life coach training you choose should not just teach you how to coach, but also show you how to address your own challenges, giving you more confidence overall.

How to Become a Life Coach Step 5: Understand what really attracts (and retains) life coaching clients

You’d do well to realize clients want one thing:

Solutions to pressing problems.

They won’t be coming just to hang out with you. They need solutions that they cannot find on their own. If you become a life coach, you will be facilitating solutions to problems.

Many coaches consider themselves more than mere problem solvers. While this is true, clients (especially in the beginning) do not care. They want out of the painful situation in which they find themselves.

If you can demonstrate that you understand their pain and offer a believable solution, you will be hired. It’s that simple.

This is why many successful life coaches (and other businesses) regularly demonstrate their understanding of problems.

How to Become a Life Coach Step 6: Set Up Your Life Coaching Business: Required Tasks

Based on over many years of personal experience running a life coaching business, training others to do the same, and setting up and establishing my own coaching practice on three separate occasions, I have put together a list of business and administrative tasks that you will need to complete while you set up your own life coaching business.

Business Set Up Tasks

  • Registering your business
  • Designing and building a website with the necessary content
  • Creating your specialized life coaching program
  • Refining your marketing message by defining the core problem you will solve, including essential research
  • Setting up social media accounts
  • Creating free introductory material
  • Setting up your email list
  • Setting up your online scheduler and other administrative tasks
  • Designing and printing business cards, flyers and printed marketing material
  • Obtaining liability insurance
  • Dealing with unexpected hiccups and obstacles

If you’re thinking: I can knock it all out in a week…

Caution: You may not understand how long these types of tasks actually take.

How to Become a Life Coach Step 7: Create Custom Coaching Packages that Solve Specific Problems

Life coaching isn’t like going to the doctor or hiring a plumber; we all know when we need to make a dentist’s appointment or call an electrician. But most people don’t know when to seek out life coaching.

Even though life coaching is exploding onto the mainstream, it’s still too new for the average person to know when or how to use it. Trying to sell ‘life coaching’ services is too vague and undefined for most people to understand, and is not enough to inspire investment.

A critical step in your sales and marketing plan is to create custom coaching packages that offer solutions to the specific problems your ideal clients are struggling with. By clearly outlining which problems you help clients solve, showing them exactly what they will be buying, you sell ‘solutions’ rather than ‘life coaching’.

We help our students to identify the main problem they want to solve with their clients, and to then create tailored coaching programs to address those needs. In this way, you let prospective clients know when they should call you and why. Your conversion of prospects into clients will skyrocket with this simple but crucial step.

How to Become a Life Coach Step 8: Start Marketing – Using the Right System to Bring in Clients

There are numerous and creative ways you, as a certified coach, can market your new life coaching business. You can start with free options such as social media postings, local area business listings, and word of mouth. Or perhaps you have a modest budget and can afford some online ads, or a spot in the local paper. But whatever your budget, you must market your business.

Deciding on the specific advertising method you use will depend a lot on your budget, but also on your target niche. There’s not much point in using Instagram if the age of your niche clients is 50+, since most Instagram users are under 30 years of age.

Similarly, posting an ad in the local community newspaper will likely not be effective if your target market is Millennials, as this age group gets their news almost exclusively from online sources and social media. It pays to do your research to determine which marketing vehicle will be most effective for your target clients.

Here are some advertising and marketing options in more detail:

Online Networking

Having an active certified coach social media presence is an effective and low-cost way to promote your services. You can create free accounts on Facebook, Linked-In, Instagram, Pinterest, and many other social media platforms.

There are many free resources you can find in a Google search for learning the best marketing practices for each social media platform, and you can also research the specific demographics for each, which allows you to target the ones that best match your niche.

Be aware that social media sites do require on-going maintenance in the form of regular postings and building a base of friends or connections; posting can take quite a bit of time, but the reach can be significant.

Your best approach is to choose one or two of the most fitting platforms, and then be consistent in your message and your schedule of posting. There are some great free apps available that will help you manage postings to multiple social media platforms, which should make this option more appealing and less time-consuming.

In-person Networking

Joining professional organizations such as the local chapter of BNI (Business Network International), your local area Chamber of Commerce, or your town or city’s BIA (Business Improvement Association) can be a good choice if you would like to build a local coaching business.

These organizations often charge an upfront membership fee, and sometimes additional fees to attend meetings, but also usually offer a few discounts and perks exclusively to their members.

Attending these types of meetings provides a certified coach with a great opportunity to meet a variety of people you may not generally come in contact with, and to practice delivering your message. Additionally, working alone can get lonely, and these groups provide good socializing opportunities.

Tip: make sure to have business cards with you if you choose this option. You will need them!

Print and Online Advertising

If you don’t have the time for or inclination towards posting to social media or attending weekly events, you could choose the more expensive option of paid advertising.

For print advertising, you’ll need to consider that, just as for social media platforms, individual newspapers, journals, and magazines cater to a specific demographic. You’ll need to do your research and ask the right questions to ensure the demographic applies to your niche in order to get the best value for your advertising dollar.

You must also be consistent to get a good response, which means advertising over and over to the same group of people. Choose a package that fits your budget over the longer term.

Online advertising is another option. This is often referred to as ‘pay-per-click’ advertising. Search engines such as Google and Bing feature this option, which can be useful if your website itself is not showing up on the first three pages of an online search. However, it can get very expensive if you want to get results.

As an example, the search term ‘life coach’ can cost you as much as $4 USD per click. That means if someone enters the search term ‘life coach’, sees your ad and clicks on it, you will be charged $4. Be aware, as this method can add up quickly.

You can also advertise on social media platforms such as Facebook through something called ‘pay per impression’. This is a similar structure to print advertising in that you pay for your ad appearing on a page whether someone clicks on it or not. The fees are much lower than ‘pay-per-click’ advertising, but it can still add up.

The advantage with this type of online ad is that you can target the exact demographic you are interested in, which will make a big difference in how effective your ad campaign will be.