Is Training Necessary to Become an Effective Coach?

11th April 2019

Whilst still at a nascent stage compared to other professions such as Counselling and Psychotherapy, Life Coaching as a career path is growing in popularity. The International Coach Federation (ICF) now estimates that there are 53,300 professional, qualified coaches worldwide. This growth reflects the growing acknowledgment of the huge role coaching can play in helping individuals make better choices in life, as well as helping organisations perform more effectively.

Now, given that life coaching isn’t a regulated profession in the UK, it’s perfectly possible to set up shop with the sign ‘Life Coach’ above the door without any specific training. There are certainly coaches out there without formal training who by most objective standards would be considered successful. These coaches may well also be having a profound impact on their clients’ lives and not having formal training doesn’t automatically make them bad coaches. There is nothing stopping you from setting up shop without training and if you’ve got the confidence to do that – you certainly could. However, that doesn’t mean you should.

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.

1. You want to be the best you can be

Admittedly it’s pretty cliché, but we’re right aren’t we? You want to be the best coach that you can be.

Perhaps there are some traits of effective coaching that you naturally possess: an interest in making a difference to people, a curiosity about the different ways people see the world, and you find yourself energised by increasing people’s self-understanding, fulfilment and enjoyment of life. Many people possess the skills and aptitudes, and sometimes experience, which will help them become a life coach.

However, our view is that high-quality life coach training enables you to learn how best to use these traits and be a truly impactful coach. Good training will provide the core skills and grounding needed to know how to use and direct those aptitudes when faced with a myriad of client types and scenarios. A solid grounding in coaching skills and knowledge allows you to be more flexible, adaptable and versatile to whatever comes up in client sessions. It can also be a massive boost from a confidence perspective, because you know that you have within your repertoire the knowledge and tools to really help your clients. That in itself can imbue you with an extra layer of confidence that can shine through when working with people.

2. You’re an anomaly if you’ve not had formal training

It’s not bad to be different, but in this respect it could potentially be at the detriment of your coaching business.

Though coaching is self-regulating, the largest professional coaching body in the world, the ICF sets the global standard for coach training. In their most recent coaching survey – their largest, most ambitious industry research project to date, garnering 15,380 valid survey responses from 137 countries, they report that almost all coach practitioners (99%) reported receiving some form of coach-specific training, with a large majority (89%) receiving training that was accredited or approved by a professional coaching organisation.

Ultimately, if you’ve not received any form of accredited coach-specific training, you’re potentially placing your services out of reach of a large number of individuals or organisations for whom certification is genuinely important when selecting a coach.

Do they really care about that?

We’re glad you asked.

3. A lot of clients do care about certification

According to the same ICF report, a large majority of coach practitioners and managers/leaders using coaching skills agreed that individuals or organisations using coaching expect their coaches to be certified or credentialed, with a massive 77% saying it is important or very important to them.

As we said earlier in this article, there are most likely coaches who are currently successfully coaching without having trained. If, however, you haven’t received coach training and been through a rigorous assessment process, and are not certified by a training school that is accredited by a reputable organisation, there is a good chance that your services might be less appealing to lots of individuals and organisations.


Agreeing that life coach training is pivotal to becoming a truly effective coach is one thing. Finding a suitable training course in a profession which is unregulated is another. Just as you could set up shop as a life coach without training, there are life coach training courses out there that are unfortunately offered without having been through any kind of accreditation with a reputable association like the ICF or Association for Coaching (AC). That leaves you facing a conundrum – how do you ensure you choose the right training course?

The good news is that whilst there is no regulatory body for coaching, it is actually a very well self-regulated profession. There are a number of highly competent and reputable professional coaching authorities and bodies. These bodies ensure that, through membership, accredited training programmes, codes of conduct and regular continuous professional development, that effective self-regulation exists in the profession.

In the UK the two most reputable bodies are the aforementioned International Coach Federation and the Association for Coaching. By choosing a course which is accredited by one, or both, of these bodies you can be assured of the quality of the training you receive, given the rigorous assessment process training providers have to go through to obtain this accreditation.


At Animas, our Diploma in Transformational Coaching is accredited by both the Association for Coaching and the International Coach Federation, something we are very proud of and 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 basic performance-level coaching offered by many training providers and provides a much richer, deeper 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 for you before you commit. Therefore, we offer a Free Introduction to Transformational Coaching day in three locations (London, Edinburgh and Berlin), where you can find out more about the world of coaching, our Transformational Coaching approach and Animas more generally. This will allow you to get a real sense of whether we’re the right training provider for you. Please feel free to come along!

Thanks for reading this article – we hope you enjoyed reading it and found it useful!

Categories: Becoming a coach  

What's new?

The Three Ages of Coaching | Sam Chambers

The Three Ages of Coaching | Sam Chambers

Coaching explained

Times change and thoughts shift. Whatever your profession or career, it is highly unlikely that it will stay in a static state, unchanged forever. The world is perpetually changing, and as it does many aspects of our lives change with it. We adapt our mindsets, our lifestyles, our professions so…

Categories: Coaching explained

Read More

Embracing the Journey to Coaching Mastery and Success - Nick Bolton

Embracing the Journey to Coaching Mastery and Success - Nick Bolton

In this very special lecture, Animas Founder Nick Bolton gives his last, and most personal, talk to date as he explores what mastery and success look and feel like, and how the two are related. He shares what he has seen as the archetypal roadmap that, over many years, enables…


S4 E4: Georgie Nightingall - Transformational Conversations, Talking with Strangers and TedX

S4 E4: Georgie Nightingall - Transformational Conversations, Talking with Strangers and TedX

In the latest instalment of the Animas Podcast, life coach, entrepreneur and founder of unique events business Trigger Conversations, Georgie Nightingall, talks about her work around getting people to have more meaningful conversations and move away from the repetitive mundanities of questions such as "What do you do?" Georgie also…