Life Coaching Credentials and Specialization
Life coaching, as of this writing, is not a regulated profession in most places. There are no required training, educational requirements, or tests for you to take. That being said it is always a good idea to get training to prepare you for the job ahead and protect your clients. There are many different training programs and organizations that offer certifications, such as the International Coach Federation (ICF) or the International Association of Coaching (IAC). Some programs also offer you tools and prepared packages that will get you started in your business. Getting or having a bachelor’s degree in psychology is an excellent foundation to build on, as is a master’s degree in many of the mental health programs. Some coaching programs are designed to build on the education and experience you already have. Consider your long-term career goals when choosing a program and research carefully to ensure a good fit. It is also important to do your research and learn about any specific requirements there may be for the state and city where you plan to practice or if there are plans for such requirements in the future.
Take Note: Just because there are no regulations now does not mean there won’t be at some point in the future. Getting some kind of formal training may help protect your right to practice as a life coach if the laws in your area change.
There are many different philosophies about coaching, probably as many as there are coaches, and there are many different specializations. The kind of training you pursue will likely be impacted by your perspective and area of specialization. Just a few types of coaching are: life coaching, business coaching, relationship coaching, marriage coaching, professional coaching, executive coaching, leadership coaching, transition coaching, health and wellness coaching, corporate coaching, spirituality coaching, law of attraction coaching, solution-focused coaching and much more. Do some research on how others have defined these specializations, consider where your skills and experience are, and what you are interested in doing before you invest money in a training that may not be a good fit for what you want to do.
Helpful Tip: When considering your specialization, ask yourself these questions:
- What types of coaching has life most prepared me for?
- What am I already an expert in that could be helpful to others?
- If I were asked to teach a workshop in the near future, what topic would I feel most prepared for and comfortable talking about?
The answers to these questions will also help you when choosing your niche!