While there is no straight answer to this question, in this article we will explore the various factors that can influence the length of time it takes you to train as a life coach, from the specific coach training course that you select, through to what suits you in a training journey. We’ll also explore how long some Animas students have taken. The idea behind all of this is to give you a better picture of how long your own journey to becoming a life coach might take.
If coaching is unregulated, what stops me from calling myself a life coach now?
Before getting into the nitty gritty of the different training options and personal circumstances that will affect your training time as a coach, it is worth spending a moment around this point.
Yes, life coaching is an unregulated profession, and the reality is that it’s possible to set up as a life coach 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.
It may feel like a reasonable option for you, particularly if you have some prior knowledge around coaching or personal development, but if you are serious about being the best life coach that you can be, we truly believe that some form of professional coach training will always be a better option.
You’d be surprised how many clients do care about certification when seeking out coaching services.
So yes, technically you can call yourself a life coach now, and it might feel like a quick win, however, building a solid base of clients may be much more difficult.
Undertaking coach training will give you a step up on the untrained life coach. So let’s take a look at some of the different training routes, and how they might affect the length of time it takes you to train as a coach, but also what they give you in your pursuit of coaching greatness.
Possible approaches to training as a life coach
One thing’s for certain: in exploring training options around how to become a life coach, and how long it might take you, there are various training paths and it can be tricky to know what is right for you. Some of the options include:
Coaching shares a lot of competencies with many other helping professions, from counselling to mentoring to therapy, and if you’re someone that has some of the skills and aptitudes of coaching already, then you might consider teaching yourself further techniques or models through books, podcasts or videos.
Distance learning is a popular approach for people with busy schedules or full-time jobs, those who live further from a training centre, or individuals simply wanting to complete assignments at their own pace. It often only requires a computer and internet connection and the course will usually be a combination of notes and recorded lectures and in some instances may also use livestream video conferencing as well as group chat forums.
As an actual training programme, this approach will often give you more than a self-learning approach, as it is providing you with a structure, modules and assessments to follow. It will also be less expensive than live formal training.
Formal, Professional Coach Training
A third path to becoming a life coach is formal training, which can offer a much more comprehensive and in-depth approach by combining live training, online support, mentoring, supervision and real-life practice. Naturally, this will cost more, but should bring with it more support in your pursuit of becoming a great coach. Another benefit that high-quality formal training offers is a ready-made peer support community, which can be invaluable for providing you with a thriving and supportive community of fellow coaches-in-training as you undertake your life coaching journey.
How quick are these options?
Through self-teaching and to some extent distance learning, the onus really will be on you to decide when you’re ready to get out there and call yourself a life coach, meaning that the range of time it would take you will vary significantly based on the free time available that you have to dedicate yourself to learning and training, and the point at which you’re ready to “get out there”.
The important thing to note here though is that, paradoxically, the ambition of becoming a great life coach could take even longer than through formal, professional coach training. Without the learning, structure, accountability, rigorous qualification processes and options for valuable feedback that a formal coach training course offers you, it is very possible that your journey to confidently calling yourself a coach may drag out. On top of this, while there are exceptions, without certification the process of finding clients willing to speak with you may be much longer. And without clients to coach, the reality is you aren’t really a life coach yet.
What about professional coach training?
There are a huge number of life coach training courses and programmes that you can choose from, and some will claim to give you the skills you need in lightning time. However, it’s essential to know that not all training to become a life coach is created equally – in fact, there are vast disparities in the type and scope of training, and therefore, how long it takes.
A quick Google search will return a number of coach training schools and programmes with a spectrum of qualification time between 8 weeks and 2 years. As much as the time frame might be important to you, it is key to consider what each course gives you when selecting a coaching course. Accreditation, real-life client work and rigorous assessment procedures are all elements of a course that will make a real difference to your impact as a coach.
Remember speed doesn’t equate to quality, and a quick course, will almost certainly not be the most comprehensive available to you.
You may not be surprised to hear that we feel it’s important to choose an in-depth coach training course which is delivered in a realistic time frame, and flexible manner, and works around you and your needs. And ultimately, one that gives you the tools and support to succeed as a coach.
What are your personal circumstances and how quickly do you want to train?
As well as understanding the different options, the next obvious question is how quickly you want to train given your own circumstances.
How quickly you qualify as a life coach really comes down to you, and what suits your needs. Spend some time researching what makes a great coach, and what to look for when selecting a life coaching course.
If speed is your number one priority then by all means select a course that works for you, and trains you quickly, but bear in mind, the quality of your coaching when you are qualified might well be eclipsed by those that have undertaken more in-depth, comprehensive training. It all boils down to how serious you are about becoming the best coach that you can be.
Also consider your personal circumstances. If you have dependents, another job, or other commitments that regularly require your time, selecting a course that allows greater flexibility enables you to stay on top of your training without undue stress or pressure.
The Diploma In Transformational Coaching
The live training element of the Diploma in Transformational Coaching at Animas is delivered over a period of approximately one module (two days) per month, over five months. This live training enables you to pick up the core coaching skills that allow you to work with your clients at a genuinely transformative level. The nature of the live training is such that you are taught the core coaching skills early on, and then in each new module you learn a new repertoire of skills and tools you can add to your coaching practice. Qualification and assessment then usually take place over a subsequent period of 6-12 months depending on how much time you want to commit to the course per week and month.
That said, we do our best to offer real flexibility around our live training and assessment submissions. This means that you never have to worry about falling behind or missing pivotal training days should life get in the way.
To give you a greater idea of some of the varied training journeys of our graduates, we spoke to some of our qualified coaches to see just how long it took them to qualify:
‘A year. Alongside a full time job.’
‘I’d say around 18 months from start to finish.’
‘It took me 12 months alongside a full time job.’
‘9 months, alongside a full time job and looking after a kid.’
‘8 months – I had to delay one module because of other commitments. I think it’s great that Animas offers that possibility to tailor the modules schedule to our personal calendars.’
‘10 months alongside a 4 day a week job, along with a long commute and being a single parent.’
‘Took me just short of 2 years due to a more part-time approach to studying as I had other commitments.’
‘I finished the course in 4 months.’
‘6 months, alongside a full-time job.’
‘It took me 11 months altogether. Primarily due to studying whilst I was on maternity leave. I was effectively studying and coaching during baby’s nap times and in the evenings. The most helpful thing for me was the group supervision sessions, they really kept me going.’
As you can see, many of our students’ journeys and needs are unique. The flexibility of our course means that whether you want to complete the coach training as quickly as possible, or fit it around your current work or life commitments, the flexibility of this training programme should be able to accommodate you, subject to ensuring the quality of the training is not compromised.
We also believe that learning is a continuous journey as we gain more experience through life.
Therefore, as part of the Diploma, you get lifetime access to our resources, supervision, and our highly regarded community membership. So in a sense, the training never stops if you’re happy to continue developing!
Find out more about our transformational coaching course, and our free introductory days, or get in touch to speak with one of our course consultants and discuss your training to become a life coach by giving us a call on 0330 900 5555.