Canada has no restrictions or regulations in place for the Life Coaching profession. Anyone can become a Life Coach by calling themselves as such.
The Life Coaching profession isn’t alone as this is also the case for other professions such as Nutritionists and Health Coaches—and any other type of coach for that matter.
A Better Question Might Be—How Do I Become a Life Coach That Can Transform Lives?
Since anyone aged 2 yrs+ can call themselves a Life Coach, how to become one probably isn’t the best question to be asking.
Sure, anyone can become a Life Coach—but not everyone can transform the life of another in ways they couldn’t have imagined without walking the road of transformation themselves and then coaching another to do the same.
This takes personal dedication to the craft of coaching yourself. An evolution into a transformational presence—a catalyst for deep change in another.
This my friend, cannot be done through a course from Udemy. You need live interaction with real world coaches, offering you valuable coaching, feedback and practice.
I have recommended a valuable resource toward the end of this post as a place for you to start.
On to the informal regulations of Life Coaching.
The International Coach Federation
There is a regulating body called the ICF (International Coach Federation) attempting to regulate the coaching industry. However, their accreditation is not recognized by any country as a legitimate licensing body.
Because of this, the Life Coaching industry remains unregulated. It’s not mandatory anywhere in the world to be an accredited Life Coach.
Is Accreditation Recommended?
There is an ongoing debate about this. In the end, there are valid points to argue on both sides.
Getting certified through an ICF accredited Life Coach program does generally indicate the certification quality meets a certain standard.
For example, no accreditation is given to Life Coach certifications that don’t include a live teaching component. I 100% agree with this.
Coaching is not something one can learn by watching hours of video and all of a sudden know how to coach another. It takes practice, lots and lots of practice. First, you learn to coach yourself, then you learn to coach another, through practice.
Any Life Coach Certification that is accredited by the ICF must teach what the ICF calls the Core Competencies.
These 11 core competencies are also debated by coaches. I can understand this because different types of coaches require different approaches.
For example, I believe Holding Space should be a core competency for any coach, especially a Life Coach, but it’s not.
It’s Your Choice
Whether you want to learn the art of Life Coaching through an accredited program or not is ultimately up to you.
Would I recommend to call yourself a Life Coach without any high quality training or practice? Absolutely not.
I surely wouldn’t want to be coached by someone who has no training or received their training from a low-quality certification like what you can find on Udemy.
Do Your Research
Take some time to discover exactly what type of coaching approach you want to take. Make sure it resonates with you.
I wrote a long detailed post comparing 5 online Life Coach Certification programs (1 of them I don’t recommend) and each of the programs offers a slightly different approach.
Coach Training Alliance
A very well-rounded program that predominantly takes an inside-out approach.
My goal with this post is to bring transparency on what it really takes to become a life coach or any type of coach for that matter. There is so much bull-shit marketing out there, this post will help you ween through it.
You will risk failure if you don’t understand what it really takes to become a coach. I will touch on this after I talk about what most people want to learn about…life coaching certifications.
With life coaching, and coaching in general, becoming a more and more recognized and sought after profession, there are more people than ever wondering how to become a life coach. However, before you wonder HOW, I want you to make sure you know WHY.
In my opinion, there are one too many life coaching programs and certifications that are marketing life coaching as a prestigious job that can pay you $200/hr, while allowing you to work whenever you want, from wherever you want.
Although there is truth to that statement, what they fail to tell you is that you need much more than just a certification. The work that needs to be done behind the scenes is rarely talked about. Why? Because you are being sold a lifestyle that caters toward getting your emotional buy-in. Getting your emotional buy-in makes them money.
If you knew what it took to become that person who makes $200/hr+ and works whenever, and from wherever they want, they might not get your money.
Firstly, Is A Life Coach Certification Necessary?
The short answer…no. Anybody can call themselves a life coach, or any kind of coach.
Is it recommended to get certified through a high-quality and reputable certification program? YES
The coaching industry as a whole is not regulated. The International Coach Federation has put together an attempt to regulate the coaching industry but has not succeeded thus far. They have made strides toward establishing non-obligatory standards but have not established a governing body of standards that MUST be met.
From the ICF website:
“The International Coach Federation (ICF) is the leading global organization dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high standards, providing independent certification and building a worldwide network of trained coaching professionals.”
“CF also accredits programs that deliver coach-specific training. ICF-accredited training programs must complete a rigorous review process and demonstrate that their curriculum aligns with the ICF Core Competencies and Code of Ethics.
Today, ICF is specifically recognized among coaching professionals worldwide for:
Developing coaching core competencies
Establishing a professional code of ethics and standards
Creating an internationally recognized credentialing program
Setting guidelines through accreditation for coach-specific training programs
Providing continuous education through world-class events, Communities of Practice (CPs) and archived learning.”
Just because a life coach certification is not accredited through ICF does not mean that it is a low-quality program, although it can be an indicator worth digger deeper into.
Here’s a list of some of the most sought-after coaches in the world that are not ICF accredited:
Now, this is not to say that you should just start calling yourself a coach and asking for clients. It will become evident within the 1st few minutes of a conversation with a client that you are not who you claim to be.
How To Find A High-Quality Life Coaching Certification Program
To save yourself A LOT of time and get answers to all your potential questions, you may want to check out the comparison review I posted comparing 5 affordable online life coach certifications.
5 things to look for when searching for a high-quality life coaching certification program:
1. Research the person(s) who is teaching the program
You want to make sure that whoever is teaching the curriculum practices what they preach. Search their full name on Google.
Check out their social profiles, what type of content are they sharing?
If they are a professional coach they should have their own personal website that offers their services. Browse their website, look at their about page, their services page, and look for testimonials.
For example, one of the top online Life Coach certifications available—Coach Training Alliance—has several instructors who each have their own personal coaching practice and corresponding personal websites:
Any program that advertises that you can become a life coach by taking their weekend certification is utter bullshit.
Whether the program is online or in person, if it is condensed into an immersive experience, say 8 hr days over 5-7 days, it is not conducive for a life coaching certification and here’s why.
It is one thing to learn the material, it is another to BE the material. You need to use what you learn to transform your own life before you have any hope of transforming the lives of others. This my friend, takes time.
I think the minimum length to look at when researching for a life coaching certification is 6 months. This allows time to use the teachings on yourself, to become who you will coach others to be.
3. Do you get to participate in practice coaching sessions with feedback?
Coaching is a very interpersonal experience. It is unpredictable, you never know what will show up. Yet, through it all, you need to be able to remain present, hold space, and respond from your highest self.
No matter what gets thrown at you, you need to be on top of your game. This takes practice and lots of it.
4. Is there a live classroom session either by way of video or phone (minimum 1x/wk)?
This allows discussion on the current topic between students and teachers. Students rarely don’t have any questions regarding any particular topic. This gives you the opportunity to ask questions you wouldn’t otherwise get answers to. It also allows you to hear answers to other questions you may not have thought of.
5. Do they integrate “inner work”?
In other words, is a condition of you graduating dependent upon having done a certain amount of inner work with yourself?
This means, using everything you learn about yourself as a form of personal development or personal growth to be the person that you will be coaching others to be.
This leads me to the most important topic of this entire article…
If You Don’t Do This You Will Fail…
As the old saying goes, “practice what you preach”.
Life coaching is one profession that you will absolutely not get away with not living by this. You MUST practice what you preach.
I’m not talking about practicing here and there, you must live it every single day of your life, with every single breath you take.
Some call it inner work, but I don’t like to call it that. The word “work” tends to insinuate it’s a J-O-B. I like to look at it as a way of living, a journey. So, for the sake of this article, I will refer to “inner work” as an “inner journey” instead.
For example, I am confident in waking people up from their old way of thinking to a new understanding of how the mind works. I can do this with a high degree of success, empathy, compassion, and understanding because I have done this for myself.
Now, this doesn’t mean that if you’re going to be a relationship coach that you need to be in a relationship, although having success in your own relationship is extremely beneficial. What you do need is a fundamental understanding of how relationships work and what makes them successful.
If you’re going to coach people on how to master their stress then you have better mastered your own stress.
If you’re going to coach people on how to be more mindful then you better be mindful yourself.
If you’re going to coach people on how to find peace then you better have found peace yourself.
If you’re going to coach people on how to meditate then you better meditate yourself.
If you’re going to coach people on how to wake up then you better have woken up yourself.
I think you get the point.
You Must Be What You Are Selling
If you graduate from a high-quality life coaching certification then you should be prepared to take on your first clients. This is because high-quality coaching programs understanding that you are the product, that you are what you’re selling.
Because they understand this, you will have plenty of homework to do for yourself.
How To Know When You’re Ready To Coach
If you’ve ventured on your inner journey, and continue to do so, you will know based on a feeling of knowing. This only happens if you are in touch with your highest self and intuition.
When you’re not in touch with your highest self, this is when you tend to get confusing messages. You become unsure of which thoughts and feelings to believe and focus on. Some call this the ego.
Knowing who you truly are, without confusion, is what will guide you to know when you’re ready. Just wait for the feeling, this feeling is your green light.
The Journey Doesn’t Stop There
Becoming a life coach is just the beginning of a lifelong journey. Your inner journey is infinite.
Always keep learning!
For example, here are 6 things I do every day:
Read a minimum of 45 minutes per day
Listen to podcasts whenever I’m driving
Meditate every morning for 15-20 minutes on gratitude, intentions, various life topics, and teachings from Sydney Banks
Journal every morning in The Daily Stoic
Writing on my blog is a form of learning for me. It keeps me in touch with my zone of genius, flow, and creativity.
Learn from every experience I have throughout each day
Check out these posts for more info on books and podcasts I recommend:
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