A life coach works with individuals or teams to provide guidance in career, personal, spiritual and organizational goals. The curriculum provides a strong foundation of training in performance management, career development, employee engagement, motivational speaking and leadership. Programs are often designed to meet International Coach Federation (ICF) certification requirements. Certification is offered at several levels, depending on education and experience.
Applicants must pass proficiency exams and maintain their certifications by adhering to ICF standards. Most certificate programs require an undergraduate degree, although some programs prefer applicants to hold a master's or doctoral degree. Certificate programs take from 9-18 months to complete. Field experience is usually required as part of the program.
Life Coach Certificate
Coursework in a life coach certificate program includes general business classes, as well as courses in pricing, marketing, developing materials and choosing a specialty. Common core course topics may include:
- Professional life coaching
- Coaching relationships & leadership techniques
- Emotional intelligence
- Positive psychology
- Organizational work behavior
- Coaching dynamics
Popular Career Options
Graduates of a life coach certificate program are qualified for several specialty careers in the field. Graduates can pursue positions such as:
- Executive coach
- Small business coach
- Leadership coach
- Life skill coach
- Spiritual coach
- Corporate coach
Job Outlook and Salary
As of October 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) did not report statistics on life coaches. A career that has some similar job characteristics is school and career counselor. The BLS projected job growth of 8%, about as fast as the average for all occupations, from 2014-2024 for school and career counselors. Educational, guidance, school and vocational counselors could expect a mean annual salary of $56,490 as of May 2015.
Graduates of a life coach certificate program may pursue certification through the International Coach Federation, which offers designations of Associate Certified Coach, Professional Certified Coach and Master Certified Coach. ICF certification typically requires a stipulated amount of education and experience, as well as letters of reference and passing an examination. Once certified, members of the ICF must adhere to specific ethical standards that cover professional conduct, confidentiality and conflicts of interest in order to maintain certification. The organization also hosts annual conferences and structured events for members.
A life coach certificate program trains students in psychology, counseling and leadership techniques needed to work in various kinds of careers in the field. The International Coach Federation offers several certifications that graduates can obtain.