A rapidly growing profession in America and worldwide is life coaching. A life coach helps his or her clients grow and achieve certain goals. In many ways, a life coach is like a psychologist. The main difference is that you don't need a PHD to be a life coach, but also the philosophy of equality that fuels the life coaching industry. What that means is that a life coach is on equal footing with his or her clients. They both are whole and capable people working together to help a client reach a certain goal or improve in certain ways. Some life coaches actually administer pre-tests to perspective clients in order to ensure that every client they accept is "whole enough" and mature enough to actually gain something from coaching.
Another key difference between life coaching and psychoanalysis is that life coaching focuses on the more practical elements of a person's life. Psychologists are very open about the fact that their job isn't to tell you what to do but rather help you understand certain aspects of yourself—self "impediments"—that are holding you back. A theoretical impediment could be that you're having trouble sleeping or that you often feel sad. Life coaching is aimed at more "practical" impediments such as I can't find the right girlfriend or I'm not making as much money as I'd like to. Life coaches will give you practical advice to help you address specific, practical problems; there isn't too much theory involved. For pathological problems such as depression or codependent relationships, a good life coach will always advise you to seek out the services of a psychologist or some other trained mental health professional.
There are many niches that life coaches can specialize in. One niche in high demand right now is romantic relationship coaching. Corey Wayne of UnderstandingRelationships.com is a great example of a life coach who has established himself by focusing on dating and romantic relationships. He also offers general coaching that aims to help men become alpha males (or "3% men" as he calls them), but his bread and butter is dating as evidenced by the thousands of video coaching newsletters he has on YouTube.
Established life coaches can make a lot of money. They can charge what established psychologists charge, in the neighborhood of $400 to $500 per hour. Corey Wayne, for example, charges $1,000 for a one hour Skype coaching session. If your services are in demand, life coaching can be quite lucrative. In order to be a successful life coach, however, you have to genuinely want to help people. Your genuine desire to help others will shine through in your coaching sessions and this 'X Factor' will earn you clients.
How To Become a Life Coach
You have to be in control of your own life in order to help other people. Think about it in terms of any other coaching job. If you want to be a soccer coach, you need to be a competent soccer player or at the very least extremely knowledgeable about soccer. If you want to be a life coach, you have to be excited about your life so that you can serve as a model for your clients. Often times what clients need most is just to interact with somebody who's successful and happy. Successful and happy people are rare so a client can learn a lot from just being around you and imbibing your thought processes. If you want to be a dating coach, for example, then you have to have a rich and extremely satisfying romantic life.
One of the best ways to get your own affairs in order is by hiring a life coach. Almost every life coach working today has hired a life coach at some point, often a point at which they were struggling. A life coach helped them break through a barrier in life, and that's how they know what life coaches are and what a good life coach does.
Once you've decided to pursue life coaching, you'll probably need to get some formal training. This isn't a steadfast requirement. There's no life coaching accreditation board, at least not yet. The ICF (International Coach Federation) is the closest thing to a central authority. They approve many programs, but again, there's no official governing body that regulates life coaching and there's no degree or formal study requirements to break into the industry. Corey Wayne, for example, doesn't have formal training. He's simply seen life coaches throughout his life, studied the heavy hitters in the industry such as Tony Robbins and Wayne Dyer and refined his approach through trial and error.
There are many online life coaching certificates you can complete. Online training will be relatively quick and cheap, around one month long and $1,000. More and more, however, life coaches are getting legitimate, classroom certificates at colleges that have life coaching programs such as Columbia, Harvard and Yale. Columbia's business school is even developing a life coaching Master's program. These certificate programs will vary in terms of length and price, but will likely take one to two years of study (depending on whether you study full or part time) and $5,000 to $10,000 in tuition.
Building a Client Base
Once you have some training, you'll have to find clients, and this is the hard part. You have to get people to believe in your expertise to the extent that they'll pay you. First off, you actually have to have faith in your ability to help people. But let's assume that you're a good coach who's ready and willing to help people. Now you need to market yourself correctly in order to build a client base.
Many green life coaches work for an established life coach as an assistant or an intern in order to hone their craft as well as be exposed to a client base. Another thing many up and comers do is find a particular niche to refine their brand. An example of this highly specialized coaching model is Sarah Jones, the life coaching entrepreneur who runs Introverted Alpha, a life coaching company specifically aimed at introverted men looking to improve their romantic lives. She charges in packages; her most commonly sold package is 10 sessions for around $5,000. She makes between $10,000 and $20,000 per month on this model. It's important to note that after the initial session which occurs in person, all of her sessions are held over Skype or by phone. If you're young, holding sessions by Skype or by phone could be a good idea especially if you're working with older clients. Skype and phone meetings draw less attention to your physical appearance and your age which can better help you maintain an authoritative presence.
A coach named Fred Melchior specializes in helping men with sexual performance anxiety. Keep experimenting and figuring out what you're good at. Often times what you're good at is something that you've overcome yourself. Corey Wayne, for example, talks about how for years he was clueless with women and how hard he worked to develop a satisfying love life.
Many coaches also hold what they call 'MasterMind' sessions which are basically group sessions held over the phone or in a classroom type setting. This type of session has a different vibe than a one on one session; it's communal in nature. The plus of this set up is that for a one or two hour session, you get to charge let's say $60 per head which adds up quickly.
Establishing an Online Presence
To be a successful life coach, you have to establish an online presence. The majority of your clients will find you through online research. You can pay for a profile on Noomii.com which is a directory website for life coaches. The cheapest profile you can purchase on Noomii will cost around $19 per year. The best way to develop an online presence, however, is by starting your own website and posting content daily. Look at Corey Wayne's business model for a good example of an online coaching business. He's mastered this model and makes a lot of money doing nothing but online coaching/phone coaching.
Salary and Lifestyle
As discussed above, the life coaching industry can be quite lucrative but you need to be good at what you do as well as a good marketer. The lifestyle of a life coach is analogous to that of a CEO of any startup. Maybe you'll rent a physical office; maybe you'll just work from home or exclusively online. You set your own hours and determine how hard you work. Obviously, the harder you work, the more you'll be more rewarded financially but perhaps spiritually as well. Good life coaches love helping people. Helping people isn't easy. It's takes lots of work, patience and understanding.