How to Become a Life Coach: Is Training Really Necessary?

Author : Jennifer Pirtle

11th April 2019

If you’re wondering how to become a life coach, you may find the options for training confusing — and perhaps a bit overwhelming. It’s not surprising: if you were to talk with a dozen coaches, you may well find they’d undergone nearly as many different types of training.

Some may have honed their skills using distance learning; others did so through more formal classroom settings. Others might be self-taught, fuelled by their own personal curiosity, or may already have some coaching skills gleaned from years working in a related profession (such as a career coach who has a background in human resources).

But how do you know which is the best option?

Becoming a life coach: possible routes

One thing’s for sure: in exploring options around how to become a life coach, there are various paths and it can be tricky to know what is right for you. And the reality is that in terms of becoming a life coach, it’s possible to set up a business without any kind of certification. Given this, you might be tempted to skip the training altogether – a step that may work, and certainly has done for some, but which is more likely than not to seriously hinder your future ability and success as a coach (more about that later!). Below is a quick discussion of the main routes


Some individuals may already have some of the skills, aptitudes, and experience that will help them become a successful life coach. Indeed, coaching shares certain core competencies with other helping professions such as teaching, mentoring, and counselling. So skills like goal-setting, listening, empathising, questioning, and giving feedback may come naturally to those already working in these professions.

Other curious individuals might learn certain aspects of coaching by reading how-to books, listening to audio, watching online videos, reading articles online or by attending an occasional workshop. These options, however, don’t include other aspects important to life coach training, such as live demonstrations, one-to-one practice sessions with real clients and mentoring around these.

Online or Distance learning

Another training option is distance learning, a way of learning remotely using a computer and an internet connection. Offered in modules usually delivered via an online learning platform, distance learning generally features a combination of notes and recorded lectures and may also use livestream video conferencing as well as group chat forums.

This type of training can appeal to people with busy schedules or full-time jobs, those who live in rural areas, or individuals simply wanting to complete assignments at their own pace. Generally, the cost of a distance learning program is less expensive than formal, in-person training. However, some programs lack rigour and depth, and students may miss having face-to-face tuition and interaction with peers. And as with self-learning, this option may lack an opportunity for live practice or much support, such as mentoring or supervision, that can play such a pivotal role in your development as a life coach.

Formal training

A third option is formal training, which can offer a more comprehensive approach by combining live training, supervision, mentoring, online support and real-life practice. Formal training also offers the benefit of a ready-made peer support community, which can be invaluable for providing you with a supportive community as you delve into your development and evolution as a life coach. Some of these people may even become your life-long friends!

Is training really necessary to be an effective life coach?

Despite learning a bit more about some of the options, you may still be wondering if training is really necessary to become an effective life coach, especially if you already have some prior knowledge. You may not be surprised to learn that we at Animas feel there are a number of reasons why professional coach training can give you a significant advantage when you get out there to coach, whether that’s on a full-time or part-time basis.

  • You want to be the best coach you can be. Admittedly, this is pretty cliche, but it’s true, isn’t it? A solid grounding in coaching skills and knowledge allows you to be more flexible, adaptable and versatile to whatever challenges and situations come up with a wide variety of clients. Many students say that training has provided them with a massive confidence boost, as they know that whatever arises they have the knowledge and tools to really help their clients. They feel ready, able, willing, and perhaps most importantly, adaptable! High-quality coach training also enables you to learn how best to use the skills and talents you already have. Some of us naturally possess the traits of an effective coach. The key, however, is understanding how best to apply these strengths and a good quality course can help you do that.
  • A lot clients do care about certification. Not having formal training could hold you back from ultimately having a successful coaching business. Although the coaching industry is self-regulating, the International Coaching Federation (ICF), the largest professional coaching body in the world, sets the global standard for coach training. In its most recent coaching survey – the largest, most ambitious industry research project to date (involving over 15,000 responses from 137 countries) — ICF reports that almost all coach practitioners (99%) reported receiving some form of coach-specific training. Of those, a large majority (89%) received training that was accredited or approved by a professional coaching organisation, such as the ICF itself. Given this, if you haven’t received any form of accredited coach-specific training, you may miss out on the individuals and organisations who seek (or require!) certification when selecting a coach. This is particularly true if you’re looking to work as a corporate, executive or internal coach.

By choosing an accredited course, you can be assured of the quality of the training you receive, given the rigorous assessment process training providers must undergo to obtain this accreditation.

Coaching practice hours and continuing education

As coaching is, at its heart, a person-centred profession, it’s crucial that you learn by doing. And that means coaching real-life clients while you’re learning! Indeed, one of the most important parts of the certification process at accredited courses is completing a required number of practice client coaching hours. Once certified, many ambitious coaches often pursue additional certification, which includes logging additional coaching hours, to move them upward in their careers.

It’s also important for coaches to take a life-long learning approach, by embracing additional learning (which doesn’t just have to mean more courses), skills and opportunities to work with like-minded practitioners. These might include lectures, seminars, courses, mentoring, and peer support groups led by industry thought-leaders, authors, and teachers.

How To Beome A Life Coach

How much do life coaches make and what can a career in life coaching involve?

How much do life coaches make?

For most would-be coaches, forging a career in life coaching stems from a drive to help others. Yet making money is also important – we all have bills to pay, lives to support, and exciting things we want to do. Although it’s difficult to give a simple answer, here are some hopefully useful views on one of the main questions that often comes up – “how much do life coaches make?”

Coaching income can range from simply offering a supplemental income of a few thousand pounds per year, all the way, in exceptional cases, to several hundreds of thousands of pounds annually. Of course, this depends greatly on the desire, attitude, needs and aspirations of each coach, as well as the clients you enjoy working with.

Equally, how much coaches charge per session, or coaching program, varies widely. To some degree, the amount a coach can charge will depend on their level of experience. But more typically, fees and earning will be more related  t0 the kinds of clients the coach works with as well as their own sense of confidence.

What can a career in life coaching involve?

Although many coaches use the term “life coach”, within that broad umbrella there is a wide scope for diversity, depending upon your experience, who you want to work with and your goals for your coaching business. When it comes to a career in life coaching, some coaches specialise and examples of fields that Animas graduates have gone into include:

  • Executive coaches
  • Corporate or internal coaches
  • Public sector or third sector coaches
  • Relationship coaches
  • Skills-based coaches (e.g. working as a Cognitive Behavioural Coach)
  • Wellness Coaches
  • Business coaches

Others find joy in not restricting themselves and working as general life coaches. Some coaches also pursue public speaking, create online courses, run groups, write, and author books as ways to both engage their passions and create additional revenue streams. Others integrate it into other lines of work.

Really, if you’re committed, dedicated and persistent, your coaching business is limited only by your drive and your imagination!

Taking the next steps

We’re pleased that you’re interested in pursuing life coaching to help facilitate profound change in people’s lives. While there are many training schools to explore, we’d obviously love for you to consider Animas!

Our Diploma in Transformational Coaching (DTC) is accredited by both the Association for Coaching (AC) and the International Coach Federation (ICF), which we feel is one of several stamps of approval for the quality of training we provide. As well as being accredited by the AC and ICF, you may be familiar with our Transformational Coaching approach. This moves beyond the basic performance-level coaching offered by many training providers and provides a much richer coaching experience for coach and client alike. Ultimately it allows you to work with clients at a much deeper level and to facilitate profound change in their lives.

If you are thinking about joining us, clearly, we want you to feel confident that our course is the right one for you before you commit. Therefore, we offer a Free Introductory day in the three locations where we provide training (London, Edinburgh and Berlin). In this day, you can find out more about the world of coaching, our Transformational Coaching approach and Animas more generally. Please feel free to come along – this will allow you to get a real sense of whether we’re the right training provider for you. Alternatively, feel free to book a call directly with one of our course consultants here, where you can ask any questions you have about the course, or indeed speak with them about enrolling if you’re ready to do so.

Thanks for reading this article, and if you do decide to jump on board with us, we look forward to welcoming you on your learning journey!

If you would like us to help tell your story or you would like to share your coaching niche, philosophy or agenda in the form of a blog, like this one – contact Sam to express your interest:

Categories: Becoming a coach  

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