How to Become a Life Coach: The Complete Guide (2020)

This is a complete guide on how to become a life coach in 2020.

In this new guide, you’ll learn:

  • How to find your life coaching niche.
  • How to get life coaching clients.
  • How to start your life coaching business.
  • Lots more.

Let’s get started.

Exclusive: Download our complimentary checklist to this article for a step-by-step guide on how to become a life coach (coming soon!).

How to Become a Life Coach in 2020

If you want to become a life coach, your timing couldn’t be better.

According to a report by IBISWorld, the total revenue from life coaching now exceeds 1 billion dollars — in the US alone.

Data from PayScale shows that life coaches earn an average annual income ranging from $30.000 to $93.000.

However, some life coaches report earning $100.000 and more when they include all their products and services.

As a whole, the industry has grown 2,2% annually on average the last five years, and that trend is expected to continue.

Naturally, there are also a lot of coaches serving the expanding market.

Right now, there are roughly 18,000 life coaching business in the US alone, and industry analysts expect that number to keep growing.

So, to become a successful life coach in 2020, you need to stand out from the crowd, market your life coaching effectively, and continually get new clients.

And you’ll learn how to do all of that in this guide.

Table of Contents

  1. Learn the Basics
  2. Find Your Niche
  3. Design Your Category
  4. Organize Your Discovery Call
  5. Get Your First Clients
  6. Hire Your Own Coach
  7. Get Life Coaching Training (Optional)
  8. Draft Your Coaching Offer
  9. Pick Your Business Name
  10. Create Your Website
  11. Market Your Coaching
  12. Add More Income Streams
  13. Find Your Peers

1. Learn the Basics

Before you set out to become a life coach, you need to know what you’re getting yourself into.

Even though the coaching industry is growing quickly and coaching is becoming increasingly common, people still have a lot of misconceptions about it.

So, we’ll start with the basics.

According to the International Coaching Federation (ICF), coaching means:

“Partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

In other words, a coach is someone who supports a client in achieving their goals.

And the coaching profession differs from similar fields in a few ways.

For instance:

  • Unlike therapists, coaches don’t focus much on what happened in the past. Instead, they help clients explore and go after what can happen in the future.
  • Unlike consultants, coaches don’t tell clients what to do. Instead, they ask questions that help people shift their perspectives and find new solutions.
  • Unlike sports trainers, coaches don’t set the goals and processes for achieving them. Instead, they help clients set their own objectives and action plans.

So, a coach generally focuses on the future rather than the past, provides questions instead of answers, and offers support rather than making commands.

If you want to learn more, you can check out our complete introduction to coaching.

When you know the basics, and if the coaching profession seems like a good fit, you can move on to the next step.

2. Find Your Niche

In the marketing world, there’s a famous quote that states:

“The riches are in the niches.”

If you want to become a successful life coach, you need to keep this idea in mind.

The reason is simple:

  • A life coach that serves the entire market will get surface-level knowledge on a wide variety of topics and a bland marketing message.
  • A life coach that serves a small piece of the market will get in-depth knowledge in one specific topic and a targeted marketing message.

So, before you start taking on coaching clients, you need to find your niche.

And the best way to do that is to pinpoint the space where your unique strengths and interests overlap with the needs of the marketplace:

how to become a life coach

To find your niche, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Strengths: What areas of life do people ask me for advice about?
  • Interests: What areas of life do I read books on, take courses in, and talk about?
  • Demand: How can I use my strengths and interests to best serve the marketplace?

When you’ve found a potential niche, do a Google search to validate it.

If you can’t find any coaches serving the niche, the demand is probably low, and you need to find another one.

But if there are a lot of coaches serving the niche, the demand is probably high, and you can move on to the next step.

3. Design Your Category

Once you’ve found your niche, the next step is to design your category within it.

You want to position yourself so you’re the #1 life coach in the world for your ideal clients.

Marketers call this strategy category design, and fitness instructor Steve Kamb provides a brilliant example of how to use it.

When Kamb was starting his business, he knew there were countless fitness websites out there.

So, instead of trying to compete with the already established ones, he focused on serving only “desk jockeys, nerds, and average Joes.”

And since starting NerdFitness.com in 2009, it’s grown into a worldwide community and seven-figure business.

Kamb deliberately narrowed his focus until he found a unique category where he could be the #1 authority in the world.

And you can design your own category too by using the “What for Whom” framework.

Answer the question: “What coaching do I do, and for Whom do I do it?”

For Steve Kamb, the answer is “Fitness for nerds.”

What’s yours?

Write down several answers until you’ve found one that resonates.

And if you feel like your category excludes a lot of potential clients, that just means you’re doing it right.

It’s much better to be a perfect fit for a few than to be a decent fit for many.

4. Organize Your Discovery Call

As you know, coaching is not a product but an experience.

So, the best way to sell coaching is not to tell people what it’s about but to show them what it’s like.

And a great way to do that is to develop a 30-minute discovery call where potential clients can experience your coaching first-hand.

You can use this template to develop your discover calls:

  1. Start the conversation — Welcome the prospect and affirm their interest. For example: ”Hey! I’m excited to meet you. I understand you might be interested in working with me as your life coach. Is that correct?”
  2. Identify the biggest challenge — Establish the goal your prospect wants to achieve and the biggest obstacle in their way. For example: ”What is your #1 challenge right now?”
  3. Ask thought-provoking questions — Help your prospect to brainstorm solutions. For example: ”What can you do to overcome this challenge?”
  4. Highlight the takeaways — At the end of the call, ask your prospect to summarize the key insights. For example: ”What are the next steps you will take to solve this challenge?”
  5. (Optional) Make your offer — If you and the prospect are a good match, ask for permission to describe your coaching. For example: ”Would you like to know how we can work together?”

As you can see, this process provides clarity to both sides.

The prospect gets to experience what the coaching is like, and the coach gets to evaluate if the prospect is a suitable coaching client.

So, use the template above to organize your own discovery call.

Create an outline that makes sense for your coaching, state the questions in your own words, and get comfortable making your offer.

Then move on to the next step where we’ll cover how to start finding prospects.

5. Get Your First Clients

As a new coach, the most effective way to get clients is through your existing network.

Unless you already have a track record, a following, and feedback on your coaching, you’re not ready for digital marketing.

If a friend hasn’t yet trusted you to be their coach, a stranger probably won’t either.

That’s why you should explore your existing network first.

Your friends and acquaintances your most likely clients, so they can help you build a track record.

Plus, it will show you what kind of coaching is in demand, and how you can refine your offer to meet those needs.

So, once you’ve developed your discovery call, ask people you know to get on the phone with you.

By the end of each call, you’ll probably be surprised at how often prospects want to work with you.

And even when they don’t, you can ask for useful feedback and valuable referrals.

Either way, each call will make you more experienced, skilled, and confident.

So, get out there and talk to as many people as possible.

The sooner you begin, the better you’ll get, and the more clients you’ll attract.

6. Hire Your Own Coach

If you want to be a coach, you have to hire a coach.

You’ll never be able to confidently sell something you haven’t experienced yourself.

Still, a lot of new coaches hesitate to get their own coach.

And that’s understandable because, in the beginning, you might not feel like you can afford a coach.

So, you might instead turn to books, podcasts, and free webinars to learn about coaching.

It seems like a reasonable approach, but it’s really just a reflection of the same mindset as the prospects you fail to close: “The information is available for free, so I’ll figure it out for myself.”

It’s not until you hire a coach that you can experience the tremendous power of coaching and become a true advocate.

A great coach will force you out of your comfort zone, hold you accountable to your tasks, and help you to achieve your goals.

On top of that, a great coach can show you how to conduct coaching sessions, market your services, and grow your business.

So, not only will you experience the amazing benefits of coaching from a client’s perspective.

It will also teach you coaching and business skills that can you can use for the rest of your career.

So, if at all possible, make this investment in yourself early on.

You’ll probably make your money back many times over.

Here’s our quick guide on how to find a coach.

7. Get Life Coaching Training (Optional)

Coaching is an unregulated industry, which means anyone can claim to be a life coach.

There is no mandatory certification process you have to go through before you can legally accept clients.

That said, many aspiring life coaches still get certified because it teaches them valuable coaching skills, expands their network, and grows their authority.

If you want to get life coaching training, you may have noticed that there are a lot of options out there.

So, I’ve compiled and sorted the best alternatives below:

→ Life Coach Certification Programs: The Complete List ←

Whatever your situation, niche, and budget are, I’m sure you’ll find a great option in the list.

8. Draft Your Coaching Offer

When you’ve worked with a couple of life coaching clients, it’s time to create a compelling offer for your ideal customer.

Whether you’ll offer 1-on-1 sessions, group programs, workshops, retreats, mastermind groups, or some other kind of coaching, make sure to include the following:

  • The biggest benefits — People don’t buy coaching. They buy results. So, ask yourself how your client’s lives will be better from working with you. Then focus your offer on those benefits.
  • Persuasive testimonials — Whenever you’ve finished working with a client, ask them to write a review about your coaching. Pick out the best ones and showcase them in your offer.
  • A fair price — Your price should be based on one thing only: the value of the results your coaching clients are getting. If you have different coaching packages, include a price point for each one.
  • Your guarantee — A money-back guarantee removes any anxiety customers may have about making a bad investment. Plus, it makes it easy for you to let go of clients who turn out to be a bad fit.
  • A clear call to action — At the end of the offer, show prospects the next step forward. Tell them to buy your coaching, schedule a discovery call, or contact you via email. Do not leave them hanging when they’re most likely to sign up!

Your offer will change as you get feedback and experience, so trying to perfect it is a waste of time. Aim for good enough, and then move on to the next step.

9. Pick Your Business Name

The time has come to make your coaching business official!

To do that, you have to pick a name for your business, and that can be tricky.

If you search Google, it might seem like all the good names are already taken.

And that’s indeed true for generic coaching business names.

But, as we’ve already covered, you don’t want your coaching to be generic.

You want it to be specific.

And if you’ve established your niche and designed your category, you should be able to find a unique name that reflects what you do.

NerdFitness.com is a great example.

Another way to go about it is to include your own name or nickname.

Your clients will ultimately buy a relationship with you, so it makes sense to include yourself in your brand.

Even if you have a common name, chances are [yourname]lifecoaching.com, or a similar variation is available.

Use a service like BetterWhois to see which domains are available.

Then buy the domain you want from a registrar like NameCheap.

10. Create Your Website

If the thought of creating a website seems terrifying, you’re not alone.

Most coaches feel that way.

But the good news is that website building is way less complicated than it used to be.

These days, it can actually be straightforward and even a lot of fun.

If you don’t know how to go about it, just google “how to build a website,” and you’ll find plenty of excellent guides.

All you need to get your website started is the following:

And once your website is up and running, all you need to publish is:

  • An about page that explains who you are, what kind of coaching you do, and whom you do it for.
  • A sales page that shows your coaching offer, including the benefits, testimonials, price, guarantee, and call to action.
  • A contact page where people can get in touch with you.

That’s it!

When you’ve published those pages, keep moving to the next step.

You’ll improve your web presence over time, so there’s no point tinkering with your website when it’s brand new.

11. Market Your Coaching

As a life coach, one of your daily responsibilities will be to find new clients.

When you’re starting out, the best way to do that is through your existing network.

Later on, as your experience grows and your business matures, you should expand into other marketing channels.

Here are some ways you can do that:

  • Offer a lead magnet — Use a service like Beacon to make an ebook, workbook, or checklist to give away to prospects.
  • Launch an email list – Sign up for a service like Mailchimp to collect email addresses, send helpful newsletters, and promote your coaching.
  • Edit your welcome email – Ask all new email list subscribers what their biggest challenge is and offer discovery calls to people who reply.
  • Ask for referrals – Look for opportunities to ask friends, acquaintances, and clients for referrals and testimonials.
  • Write useful articles – Publish them on your website and send a link to your email list subscribers.
  • Use social media – Update your profiles and answer questions related to your life coaching niche.
  • Get press coverage – Sign up as a source at HARO to connect with journalists and share your expertise in the media.

Whatever channels you use, serving is the best selling strategy. So, be as helpful as you can. Share your expertise generously, and potential clients will reach out to you.

If you want more marketing ideas, check out our guide on how to get coaching clients in 2020.

12. Add More Income Streams

As a coach, there are many ways to earn money besides coaching.

The most successful life coaches have plenty of income streams, and they are continually creating more.

So, once you are regularly running coaching sessions, consider other products, services, and collaborations to add to your repertoire.

Here are some examples:

  • Get advertising revenue — Start a blog, podcast, or Youtube channel around your niche and let advertisers sponsor your content.
  • Do affiliate marketing — Recommend products and services to your email list subscribers and earn commissions on sales.
  • Create a paid membership — Sign up for Patreon and let your audience sponsor your content.
  • Get paid for writing — Publish articles on Medium and get paid through their membership program or through publications like Better Humans.
  • Make products — Create books, courses, or seminars on topics relevant to your niche.
  • Give talks — Put together a presentation and give talks at companies, conferences, or private events.

Of course, all of these examples require an entirely new set of skills.

That’s why you should focus on your coaching first.

But once you’re continually getting new clients, adding more income streams can propel your business to an entirely new level.

13. Find Your Peers

Finally, one of the best things you can do as a coach is to connect with fellow coaches.

When you get to know peers in the industry, you can help each other with:

  • Feedback on your coaching methodologies, websites, and marketing efforts.
  • Coaching skills and business tools you wouldn’t have found otherwise.
  • Accountability to your daily tasks and business goals.
  • Cross-promotion opportunities for each other’s coaching services.
  • Affiliate marketing opportunities for each other’s products.
  • Continuous referrals by sending suitable prospects to each other.
  • Collaborations like co-creating books, courses, workshops, and so on.

Collaborating with peers makes everything much more easy, effective, and fun.

So, if you’re not yet part of a community of coaches, now is the time to join one.

Look for other coaches online, in social media groups, and at live networking events.

Different skills and perspectives are useful, so they don’t necessarily have to be life coaches.

Send them a message, introduce yourself, and be helpful.

Over time, you’ll build a powerful network of coaches supporting you.

And that can create opportunities you can’t even imagine right now.

Summary: How to Become a Life Coach in 2020

  1. Learn the Basics — A coach generally focuses on the future rather than the past, provides questions instead of answers, and offers support rather than making commands.
  2. Find Your Niche — Pinpoint the space where your unique strengths and interests overlap with the needs of the marketplace.
  3. Design Your Category — Become the #1 authority in the world by using the “What for Whom” framework.
  4. Organize Your Discovery Call — Outline a free 30-minute session so prospects can experience your coaching, and you can evaluate the prospects.
  5. Get Your First Clients — Offer friends and acquaintances discovery calls to build your track record, receive feedback, and get referrals.
  6. Hire Your Own Coach — Make this investment early on to experience coaching from the client’s perspective and jumpstart your coaching business.
  7. Get Life Coaching Training (Optional) — Consider getting a life coach certification to improve your coaching skills, expands your network, and grows your authority.
  8. Draft Your Coaching Offer — Include the biggest benefits, persuasive testimonials, a fair price, your guarantee, and a clear call to action.
  9. Pick Your Business Name — Find a unique name that reflects your coaching and register your URL.
  10. Create Your Website — Google “how to build a website,” and include an about page, a sales page, and a contact page.
  11. Market Your Coaching — As your experience grows and your business matures, expand your marketing into channels outside your existing network.
  12. Add More Income Streams — Once you are regularly running coaching sessions, add other products, services, and collaborations to your repertoire.
  13. Find Your Peers – Connect with other coaches and build a network of peers to collaborate with.

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I hope you found this guide on how to become a life coach in 2020 useful.

If you did, I highly recommend you download our complimentary checklist for a step-by-step guide on how to become a life coach (coming soon!).

Here’s to your new life coaching business!