How To Get Certified as a Life Coach

Life coaches are professionals who help people realize and achieve their personal goals.   They are sometimes mistaken for therapists and consultants because their backgrounds mostly embody teachings of psychology, sociology and behavioral science.  These are coaches who are excellent in motivating and inspiring their clients to do well and be the best that they can be.  Nowadays, their industry has been steadily increasing as television shows like Oprah and Starting Over have given birth to the rise of their popularity.   

Are you the kind of person who is comfortable in large groups of people?  Do you like helping people?  Are you a great listener and problem solver?  Are you positive and optimistic?  If so, then maybe life coaching is the right path for you!

  • International Coach Federation.  If you have decided to pursue a career in life coaching, the first step is getting yourself acquainted with International Coach Federation or ICF as it is one of, if not, the most reputable organization dedicated in certifying coaches.  Legally, you can do without a certificate on life coaching but of course, being a certified one will certainly build your credential.  Visit and navigate through its website to find out what ICF chapter is located near you.  That way, you can personally meet with a local chapter head for further assistance.  Keep in mind that ICF is not a school but they do give out information on what programs you need to take to meet with its coach training requirements.
  • Accredited Coach Training Programs.  Accredited Coach Training Programs or ACTP is one of ICF’s requirements you need to meet before you get certified as a life coach. The website also provides a training program search service which you can use to look for ICF-approved schools that have ACTP programs and by filling out the website’s search term, it will allow you to tailor-fit your training needs to your preferences when it comes to location, language and will even provide an option should you want to train via distance learning.  
  • Choose the right school.  To meet with ICF’s standards, keep in mind that whatever ACTP you pick, it must offer a minimum of 125-hours of coach specific training.   It must also include:  Training on all ICF Core Competencies and Code of Ethics; Minimum of 6 observed-coaching sessions with an experienced coach; and a comprehensive final exam that evaluates and determines the student’s coaching competency and capability.  Feel free to visit websites such as or to get an idea on how much tuition is and how long training programs are.
  • Get certified.  Upon graduating from your program, you may now apply for an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) or a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) credential from ICF.  ACC is easier to obtain compared to PCC as the former only requires a minimum of 100 hours of coaching experience, 10 hours of “mentor coaching,” and at least, 8 clients as opposed to the latter’s 750-hour minimum coaching experience and at least, 25 clients.  Of course, if you want to continue your education and want to increase your growth and expertise as a life coach, you can also apply for a Master Certified Coach (MCC) credential, which requires a minimum of 2,500 coaching experience and at least, 35 clients.

Becoming a certified life coach surely isn’t easy.  The number of hours you have to log and the amount of training you need to go through will certainly pose as a challenge to anyone but with proper motivation and the right set of mind, the way to helping other people (and getting paid for it too!) isn’t far behind.


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