What is a Life Coach Certification- is it even necessary?

When I made the full decision to become a coach back in 2013, one of the first things I noticed was how much talk there was on the internet about life coach certification. What astounded me though was the fact that there were certification programs available at every price range from $20 – $5,000.  So naturally, I had to dig deeper.

What clients look for in a Coach

In my experience, clients start to look for a life coach when they’re at a portion in their lives where they know they need help in getting to the next level.  For me, you know how high-performing professionals set goals over and over, but can’t seem to hit those goals no matter how hard they try?  Or maybe they hit the goals but their entire quality of life feels like shit?

Well, I come as a coach to help them clarify what’s going on in their lives or careers. Usually, the challenge is that they’re setting the wrong goals. My job then becomes helping them clarify, and achieve their goals fast.

A few other examples of why clients  hire coaches include:

  • For help to lose weight by a certain time
  • To improve self-confidence as a business persons
  • To attract the right lover
  • To become more spiritual
  • To have a deeper relationship with their children 
  • Etc

Whatever the reason is why a person will need a coach, the fact remains that clients hire coaches because they want RESULTS.

The result is the name of the game, and it is the right amount of training and experience that will enable you to help your clients create the results they seek, and not your certification. 

Life Coach Training VS Life Coach Certification

It wasn’t long before I realized a serious distinction in the coaching industry, and that distinction was in the difference between coach training and coach certification. 

For you to become a professional life coach, you need to undergo adequate training. There’s really no other way around that. Do not make the mistake of thinking that just because you’ve read some personal development books and possibly attended some live seminars, or taken some online courses, you have what it takes to become a professional life coach. 

There are two ways to obtain the right training as a life coach: One is as an apprentice or student of a more experienced and successful life coach, or from a coach training school, or something to that effect.   personally, I’ve done both – understudying more successful coaches and undergoing training programs.

All Life coach training programs offer certification; however, not all certifications are accredited.

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What is Accreditation in Life Coaching Training?

With such a low bar to entry in the life coaching profession, anyone can hand their shingle as a life coach.  Now, most people who come into our profession certainly come in with good intentions; however, there are those who end up doing more harm than good because they’ve not taken the time to learn the skills required.

Accreditation helps to develop standards, ethics, morals, confidentiality, and professionalism in the coaching industry. As mentioned earlier, there are great coach training programs out there who for one reason or the other may choose not to be accredited. But that does not mean that they don’t have high standards.

I am trained as a Life Coach, a Business Coach, and an Executive Coach. I got each of those training from a different source. Only the Executive Coach Training is technically accredited.  The other ones aren’t, But that does not mean that I am not a professional Life or Business Coach.

For you to become an accredited coach, you will need to apply individually to your desired professional body. Each one has its own set of criteria you must meet, but all require that you successful0ly complete an approved and accredited training.  Many of the accrediting bodies have a list of accredited training providers who they recognize.

There are many life coaching training programs that are accredited with coaching accreditation bodies such as the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC), The Association of Coaching (AC), and the International Coaching Federation (ICF). When you graduate from an accredited program, it makes the process of you getting credentialled a lot easier.  That said,  remember that No client pays for credentials. they pay for results.

The Four Leading Coaching Accreditation Bodies 

When evaluating a coaching training program, there are a few things to look for, and one of the most important things to consider is the coaching accreditation body the program is affiliated with. Here are four of the most widely recognized coaching accreditation bodies:

1. International Coach Federation (ICF)

The ICF is the leading and globally renowned organization dedicated to advancing the coaching profession. It sets high standards, provides independent certification, and builds a worldwide network of credentialed coaches.

The ICF has three levels of individual accreditation/credentialing:
• ACC (Associate Certified Coach)
• PCC (Professional Certified Coach)
• MCC (Master Certified Coach)

2. The International Association of Coaching (IAC)

The IAC seeks to provide a highly accountable professional development model for aspiring and experienced coaches, as well as professionals in other fields, so their mastery of coaching is valued and contributes to evolving human potential worldwide.

The IAC has two levels of individual accreditation:
· Certified Masteries Coach CMC (IAC)
· IAC® Master Masteries Coach (MMC)

3. European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC)

The European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) exists to promote good practice and the expectation of good practice in mentoring and coaching across Europe. It is a not-for-profit organization.

The EMCC has four levels of individual accreditation:
• Foundation
• Practitioner
• Senior Practitioner
• Master Practitioner

4. Center for Credentialing & Education (CCE)

The CCE is a not-for-profit organization that advances professional excellence in practitioners and organizations with assessments, business support services, and credentialing.

For the coaching field, the CCE currently has only one certification:
· Board Certified Coach (BCC)

Choosing the Right Life Coach Certification

I cannot tell you which life coach certification is right for you. I can however recommend this highly-rated program based on my over 10 years of experience in coaching and consulting. Ultimately, you must be the one who makes a wise and informed choice to put you on track to your goal.

  1. Investigate the fees they charge for their courses. This is very important. Some may have payment plans, and others don’t. Make sure you have all the payment related details
  2. Time available is very important when choosing a coaching training program. You will need to check and make sure that you have the minimum amount of time that is required by the school to dedicate to class and your studies.
  3. If a coaching training program fits with your schedule, needs and personality then there is nothing stopping you from succeeding.
  4. Finally, you should determine if the school fits the individual needs that you have. If a school does not fit the most basic needs, then it will not be of much worth to you as a student. If you have special needs or require an aggressive course study, you should check with the coaching training school advisor to ensure that they can accommodate such a need or desire.

When Certification becomes necessary

With that said, certification does have its place especially if you indeed working with corporate organizations that have bureaucratic decision-making processes.  They may have as a requirement that any coach they work with be certified. So in that case, you’ll need to be a certified coach.  

I am personally at a point in my life where working with bureaucratic systems like that no longer excites me. So the Executive Coaching Certification may not be useful in that regard.  But there was a time when it was.

How to get clients even if you’ve not gone through any Life coach certification program

Getting coaching clients without being certified can be done in one of four ways.  Depending on how far you are on your coaching journey and you choose one and run with it.

The three ways to get more clients are:

  1. Referrals
  2. Partnerships
  3. Inbound Content Marketing
  4. Paid Advertising
  5. Organic Outreach

Let’s take a quick look at each of these approaches.

Referrals: – This is a particularly effective system for creating coaching clients as it leverages existing connections and relationships to build a full practice in a relatively short period of time. But not all referral systems are created equal, that is why in a recent post, I outlined a complete 4-step strategy for creating an unlimited supply of clients.  I encourage you to go check it out.

Partnership –  This is by far the best way to best way to build your practice the fastest.  Here we forge a relationship with an influential individual that serves the same audience you want to serve but offers them something different for serving them in a different way. You leverage the partnership and get yourself in front of multiple target audience members at the same time.

Inbound content marketing – involves you writing and publishing relevant and helpful content in online communities where your target audience members often congregate. Building relationships through helping community members

Paid Advertising – 
This is where you pay for exposure on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, Google, YouTube.

Organic Outreach – There are multiple ways to go about this. Organic outreach involves reaching out to people who are your target clients and building a connection.

So, are you certified?
Do you feel you MUST be certified before hanging your shingle out?

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