How To Become a Life Coach – Four Steps to Take to Get Started Coaching

Are you interested in becoming a life coach?

If so, then you might be unsure on where to start.  With this article, we wanted to offer you a four-step process for getting started coaching.

FIRST STEP: Define your “AVATAR”

This might surprise you, but this is a critical first step.

How do I get started as a life coach - training to be a coach

How do you get started as a life coach?


You may be familiar with the concept of an Avatar, but if not let me explain what we mean.

An Avatar is a profile of an ideal client.  It’s a picture of the type of person you would love to have as a coaching client.   Now, you might be thinking that it’s too early to know or that you’re just not sure.  But that’s okay.  We still encourage people to give this some thought first.

You can do so by asking yourself questions like:

  • What types of people would I love to work with?
  • What types of things would I love to help them do?
  • Why would it be important for them to do these kinds of things?
  • Why might they need the help of a coach to do/achieve these things?

Sure, it may seem early to have answers for these questions but give it just a little bit of time.  I almost guarantee you that you’ll be able to come up with some responses.

And when you do… I’m also guessing that you’ll get even more fired up about life coaching!  (If not, you should probably look to something other than coaching.)

We feel so strongly about this process, that we begin our own coach training and certification with an in-depth look at this concept.  In fact, we have our coaches come up with a specific profile of an ideal client before they even start with any of the training on coaching strategies or principles.

You might be asking, “What does this tell me about how to become a life coach?”  Well it helps to do two things.

  1. It helps you to start the process of getting clear on the types of people you want to help and that will light a fire in you.   And that fire will help to fuel you as you start to move through your training and certification process. (Again, if it doesn’t then you may need to look elsewhere.)
  2. It helps you to get a jump-start on the business side of your coaching practice.  In fact, it helps you to take a step that most coaches never take.  As a result, you’ll start the process of being ultra clear on the types of people you want to connect with and build your business around!

STEP TWO: Decide on a Timeline

Now, I know that some people LOVE coming up with schedules and timelines, and others cringe at the thought.  No matter which side of this fence you’re on, this is still a vital step.

How do you want to tackle your training?  Do you need to do this while you work another job?  Do you need to consider work/family schedules and time off?  Do you need to find a training option that allows for little to no travel or time away?

How soon do you want to be coaching?  If you don’t want to start coaching for another year or two, you might have more flexibility.  But what if you want to be coaching in the next three to six months?  Do you need to find a coach training program that fits into that schedule?

Here are some additional questions to help you to put a specific short-range timeline together:

  • I would love to get started on my coach training by ______________ (date).
  • I would love to be completed with my coach training by ______________ (date).
  • I would love to have my first coaching client by ______________ (date).
  • I would love to have my fifth coaching client by _____________ (date).

Sure, it may be hard to push yourself to fill in these dates.  But give it a try.  And then start to look for programs that will help you to achieve your timeline.

You may need to be flexible, but this timeline can help you to filter some of the coach training and certification programs that are out there.  So if the program lines up with your schedule, then great!  You can consider it.  But if it doesn’t, then you can take it off your list of options!

STEP THREE: Define your Budget

This is an important step to take early on because it will also begin to act as a bit of a filter as you are investigating how to be a life coach.

Now again, you may need to be flexible.  But at the same time, this process is similar to shopping for a house.  So, if you decide that you are going to purchase a house, it’s important to give yourself some parameters before you start to go out and look at million-dollar homes.  Now obviously, if you’re ready for a million-dollar house, by all means… go grab one!  But if you realize that you’re more at the “starter house,” level, that’s fine.  It’s just important to think about that before you get started shopping.

Now, I will say that with coach training and coach certifications…  a bigger price tag doesn’t always mean that it’s better.  I might just mean that it’s more expensive.  So don’t decide on a program based on price alone, but definitely give it some consideration.

The other thing to consider here is the other costs that might be involved with a life coach training.

For example, if the program involves multiple trips to a city for training, you need to also consider travel costs.  You’ll need to budget for those as well.

Plus, you’ll need to find out whether the certification is included in the program.  I know that may sound strange, but I recently met with a woman who was going through an elaborate coach-training program.  She had spent $7,000 for the training and about $1,500 for travel costs.  But then she found out that she would need to spend an additional $4,000 for the certification segment of the training (as well as additional travel expenses.)

Now, if you budget for those things, it’s okay.  But if you don’t, finding out about those kinds of additional costs can be a crushing blow… as you can imagine.

In fact, one of the key reasons why our graduates point to our online curriculum as being the best fit for them is that they can participate in the training without having any travel costs.  Plus, they site that it’s been helpful to know that they will only pay one price and not have to worry about any hidden fees.

Here are some sample questions to help with this step:

  • I would like to be able to spend _____________ or less for my coach training and travel.
  • I would love to charge my clients _____________ for a coaching package.  (Industry average is $150 / hour) So, I would be able to recoup those costs with __________ clients.

STEP FOUR: Decide on a Good “Personality Match”

When we talk with people who are asking the question of “How to become a life coach?”  One last consideration is the “personality” of the training program.

Why?  Well, there’s a very good chance that you are going to be spending some significant time with the creators/facilitators of the program either thought live events, video training and/or conference calls.  So, you want to make sure they are the types of people you want to spend time with and learn from.

Also, give some thought to their approach.  If the program seems to be highly theoretical or full of studies and research, and you love those types of things… then great!  That might be a perfect fit!  But if you find yourself wanting to roll up your sleeves and get to the practical and the “hands-on” aspects of the training, you will want to make sure you find a program that clicks with you.

So here are some final questions for you to consider as you’re thinking about your “Personality Match” with the coach programs:

  • As I’m looking at the training offerings, I am finding myself wanting to spend ______________ (more or less) time with the organization?
  • I really (like / don’t like) this organization’s approach because _______________.
  • My gut feel for this organization is _____________________.

In conclusion, as you are asking questions about how to become a life coach, we hope these four steps will help to guide you in your decision-making.

If you would like some additional resources… on this topic… check out our “Five Critical Questions Every Person Should Ask Before Becoming A Life Coach” Mini-course.  It will help you to ask the questions you need to be asking and get even more clarity!  Just click here and get started on the mini-course for FREE!

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  1. Karen says:

    I am on Question 3 three of the preliminary to coach training and everything, everything is resonating so loudly inside me that I want to do it all right now …breathing might be a good first step for me. ;)

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7

    • Robin McGill says:

      I have been searching for life coaching classes for a long time. This blog is great! I want to get to the bottom line though what is the entire cost? Do I have to go through the 5 questions before I know the cost?

      I understand that it says 5 critical questions to answer before you start your life coaching program. Okay I’ll be patient and see what happens!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1

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