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Life Coaching Certification

When most people think of a coach, they think of a sport’s coach, someone who provides training based on their years of expertise in the sport. Personal coaching, such as life coaching or business coaching, however, provides motivation and support for an individual to achieve their own life goals.

Coaching is not counseling, as counseling implies the client is “broken” or “sick” and must move past an experience or event in their life. Coaching, on the other hand, implies the person is whole but may need motivation or help realizing their business or life goals. Coaching is also not the same as motivational speaking. Motivational speakers conduct seminars attended by dozens or even hundreds of people whereas coaches provide one-on-one feedback and encouragement for each individual.

There is currently no post-secondary degree for personal coaching. Education and training are provided through a year-long process after which most programs grant a certificate upon completion. There are specialization certificates which can take additional time to complete. Personal coach courses and programs can be completed online and through distance learning, as well as in person with a certified personal coach.

For online coaching certification from the International Coach Federation, applicants must have completed between 700 and 2,500 hours of client coaching experience and many coaching programs require experience with clients prior to completion. This does not mean, however, that programs require on-site attendance as many life coaches provide their coaching through phone calls and email correspondence.

Below is more about the life coaching focus available from online coaching schools and colleges on SchoolsGalore.com:

The International Coach Federation describes coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” Many life coaches provide their motivational expertise via phone, holding a 30-90 minute weekly phone call to provide that “thought-provoking” process for their clients. Life coach Jeannie Yoder, subject of a New York Times article on life coaching, provides both personal and conference calls to her stable of clients, as do life coaches Kellie deRuyter and Carmine Leo, owners and operators of LifeCoaching.com.

While some coaches may work one-on-one with their clients, in person or through telecommunications, other coaches write blogs on general coaching principles or contribute columns on self-help to print and web-based publications. Still more life coaches have turned to what Forbes calls, “coaching the coaches,” or providing support or training for other, aspiring life coaches.

Personal coaching programs can vary in length, with some lasting 30 days and others lasting weeks. The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching offers coaching programs that last 8-to-9 months on average. IPEC is accredited by the ICF and their programs satisfy ICF credentialing requirements. With credentialing time added in, the entire process, from course enrollment to certification, can take as little as 11 months to complete.

There are three credentials, the Associate Certified Coach (ACC), Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and Master Certified Coach (MCC), offered by the ICFin addition to the Certified Life Coach (CLC) credential offered by The Institute for Life Coach Training and the Board Certified Coach (BCC) credential offered from the Center for Credentialing and Education. All credentials have a sliding scale of required training; the greater the credential, the more time is required both during training and spent coaching clients. The MCC credential requires 200 hours of coach training and 2,500 hours of experience coaching clients.

All ICF credentials require either completion of an ICF accredited training course or a minimum number of training hours and completion of an exam. All credentialing by the ICF requires continued education. The BCC credential is only available to individuals who have a bachelor’s degree or higher, specifically in a social behavioral science.

There is no data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on life coaching or motivational coaching. According to 2006 survey results published by Solution Box, a website dedicated to personal and business coaching, almost 57 percent of life coaches made less than $10,000 per year, the next 30 percent made between $10,000 and $75,000 per year; only 10 percent made more. However, in a 2006 article Forbes.com said that internal life coaching data reported 20 percent of life coaches “earn six figure incomes.”

O*Net Online groups life coaches with general counselors and reports a national median salary, as of 2011, of $42,030 per year. O*Net Online also suggests the profession will see an additional 13,500 jobs from 2010 to 2020, or a growth of 20-28 percent. This may provide guidance for individuals looking to enter the personal coaching profession.

Learn more about accredited life coaching programs from online coaching schools and colleges on SchoolsGalore.com:

When researching online colleges and universities, make sure to verify that your choice of school is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council or by another accrediting agency that approved by The U.S. Department of Education or The Council for Higher Education Accreditation, or both. DETC and CHEA both provide a searchable list of approved schools.

Some of the institutions for life coaching may not be accredited by DETC or CHEA or the U.S. Department of Education though, instead, many are accredited by the ICF. The federation provides a searchable listof international and domestic coaching institutions that provide traditional education as well as distance learning.

Recommended Life Coaching Programs

Carmine Leo, founder of Carmine Leo & Associate, Inc., a founding member of the Elite Coach Team at The Coaching Staff and former Director of Emotional Intelligence Development Services for iPEC Coaching recommends life coaching programs offered from the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching or other programs certified by the ICF.


Sources and further reading:

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation

The U.S. Department of Education

The Distance Education and Training Council

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

O*NET Online

Center for Credentialing and Education

International Coach Federation

The Institute for Life Coach Training

The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching

Life Coaching

New York Times, Should a Life Coach Have a Life First?

Forbes.com, Surprising Six-Figure Jobs