Last updated on September 26th, 2023.
Although it is a recently new term, Life Coaching is a $15-billion dollar industry and nothing to scoff at. Delivering famous authors and guidance experts such as Tony Robbins, Eckhart Tolle, and Deepak Chopra, Life Coaches are professional mentors that support their clients through a variety of situations to achieve their goals.
Is being a life coach a real job? Life coaching is undeniably an authentic profession. As a multi-billion-dollar industry with half of its profit margin in the U.S. alone, coaches earn an average of approximately $61,000 per year. A Life Coach will often have a specialty or niche to target, such as business, dating, Health, etc.
There is no doubt that this profession is legitimate, and if you want to get in on the action while it’s hot, the market is set to grow exponentially in the coming years. Use this quick read to understand what the world of life-coaching entails, how to make money as a life coach, rookie mistakes to avoid, as well as tips for those considering hiring a life coach. After weighing each side of the argument, you can decide for yourself if the profession is worthy of a closer look.
Is Being a Life Coach a Real Job?
A life coach is as real as any type of coach. Although the term ‘coach’ is synonymous with the sports-training-connotation, a coach can enter your life in a plethora of forms.
Whether you are focused on training a sports team physically, assisting someone in their life perspective, or assisting them in pursuing a specific goal – A coach will assist you in specifying your goals clearly enough to outline actionable steps to achieve them.
Just a few of the areas of expertise that can be ‘Life Coached’ are the popular niches of:
- Career Coaching
- Finance Coaching
- Marriage and Relationship Coaching
- Dating Coaching
- Divorce Coaching
- Christian-based Coaching
- Mental Health Coaching
- Physical Health Coaching
- Holistic Health Coaching
- Wellness Coaching
- Spiritual Coaching
- Leadership Coaching
- Small Business Coaching
- Sobriety Coaching
- Coaching for Coaches!
And the list goes on. There’s a multitude of Coaching opportunities no doubt. And what does a life coach do exactly? If the topic is teachable and there is an audience seeking to grow in that field – There is room for a Life Coach.
Why You Should Not Confuse Coaching with Therapy
A common misconception about Life Coaching is that it can be used as a replacement for therapy and professional counseling.
If you hire a Wellness or Spiritual coach that advertises their focus of helping you deal with childhood trauma or a specific psychological area of focus – Then this can, in some capacity, replace counseling.
However, most Life Coaches will not offer the problem-solving skills offered by a professional therapist. Life Coaches often do not have a degree or educational background in what they are coaching on, and there is no educational requirement standard as with professional therapy.
Essentially, your Life Coach is there to help you attain a specific and measurable goal, while your therapist is more of a confidential relationship and a safe place for professional guidance.
Differences Between Them
- Coaching is about action; therapy is about coping (does not have to entail action)
- Coaches get in your head; therapists get into your heart/emotions
- Coaches do not need a degree to coach; therapists do require higher levels of education to counsel
- Coaches focus on the future; therapists focus more on the past
- Coaches aim you towards your potential; therapists help you feel at peace
- Coaches may not detect psychological conditions you are suffering from such as anxiety and depression; whereas therapists can offer trained advisement and even medication if they are psychiatrists
Experience Can Be Worth More Than Textbooks
Although a Coach may not be trained and certified, they, of course, are commonly highly-educated and/or certified in their specialty; there simply isn’t any regulation surrounding formal education as a requirement to become a Life Coach.
Many Life Coaches take on the role because of their background in that field. For example, you will commonly see situations such as a Life Coach focused on Health that was a doctor for 30 years beforehand. These sorts of scenarios are commonly seen in the profession of Life Coaching, and you will rarely have a Life Coach with no direct experience to their emphasis.
You can search for a Life Coach that has a background or specialization in the area you want to work on. If they are a successful Life Coach, they likely have extensive training and experience in that niche – Often with more hands-on life experience than can be taught in the classroom.
Can You Make Money as a Life Coach?
Yes, you can make money as a Life Coach. In fact, you can make a very good living. Below are the figures from the main employment databases and websites:
|Employment Database||Average Hourly Rate||Approximate Average Salary|
The average Life Coach is making around $30 per hour but can charge around $200-$500 per session. The rate at which you charge will depend on:
- Your niche
- How many years you’ve been doing it
- How much value you are offering at that rate (add-ons, follow-up calls, access to long-term training modules, etc.)
- Your reputation within the industry
- How large your clientele is
- How many success stories you can put the spotlight on
- How well you promote those success stories
- How loyal your clientele is based on how you’ve positioned yourself as a Life Coach
Rates will vary greatly, but you can charge $500 per hour or $5,000 per hour – Whatever price range you feel is realistic for the value you are offering, combined with your clients’’ willingness to pay it.
What Qualifies You as a Life Coach?
As stated, there is no specified standard of education that qualifies you as a professional Life Coach. Really, anyone can be a life coach, however if you want to be successful in your field, continuing education should always be a priority for you.
Some life coaches can charge $5,000+ per session, but usually not without vast training, thousands of success stories, and experiential-evidence for their price model.
There are thousands of Life Coach courses available to take, most of which are online. You should do your homework and know what you are talking about – especially if you are guiding others to do the same. When you are claiming to be a ‘Life Expert,’ you innately have an ethical duty to follow-through on a proclamation of that scale.
Before taking any life coach course, we recommend you take a look at the things you should know before becoming a life coach, for you to be able to make an informed decision.
Coaching Courses & Certifications You Can Take
You can seek out certifications and training programs in your particular niche or utilize popular training services for the broader definition of ‘Life Coaching.’
There are a slew of great online courses you can take to become a certified life coach as well. Starting with a self-paced program is a great way to get your feet wet, dig into the lingo and begin to make the maneuver over to becoming a life coach.
Some of these more comprehensive programs that can assist anyone seeking to help others pursue their Life Coaching goals are:
These international groups are the highest-recognized standard within the coaching industry and are each ideal places to start for receiving reputable training.
Just to give you an idea of what your fellow Life Coaches will come prepared with on their resume –
Top-rated career-focused courses and certifications include:
Top-rated spiritually-relevant courses and certifications include:
And so on for every niche of Life Coach Training.
Ultimately, before they invest in your coaching, clients will expect some kind of:
- Certification or education
- Relevant experience
- References and testimonials
You can also take more casual courses digitally through platforms such as Udemy and SkillShare. However, you should never list these on your resume or as proof of your validity (because Udemy and Skillshare are often referred to as a step above YouTube on the scale of educational-worth).
Is There a Demand for Life Coaches?
As the world becomes more complex, more and more people are seeking out professional guidance.
Transformation Academy describes the growing industry:
“Today, the life coaching field is a 2-billion-dollar industry with a 5.5% yearly growth… Seven hundred million of that comes from the United States… The coaching field is only about 30 years old and has exploded in the last ten years. In fact, the National Post states that it is the second fasted growing field.”
Forbes claims that since 2016, there has been an increase of around 1,500 coaches per year.
Technology is also opening the door for this industry to expand, unlike ever before. Twenty years ago, you could only check the yellow pages for your local therapist if you needed help. But now you have the entire internet to find the best coach for your needs, able to shop coaches and analyze their programs before committing to just one.
You also do not have to commit to only one Life Coach. Many students have a different Life Coach for each sector of their life (Health, relationships, career, etc.) – Making this a field of infinite growth potential.
If you still doubt that this career is legit – More than thirty American universities have included Life Coaching programs into their curriculum, including Ivy-League schools such as Yale and Harvard.
Do Life Coaches Need Insurance?
Although the profession is not yet regulated (‘yet’ being the keyword), liability insurance is always a recommended safety net.
If a client does end up being mentally unstable and in need of professional help, there have been cases of clients seeking damages and restitution, sometimes suing their life coach.
For those that are serious about Life Coaching, we recommend obtaining some form of Professional Liability Insurance, such as Energy Medicine Professional Insurance.
Will Your Life Coach Accept Insurance?
Do note that if you are seeking to hire a life coach, your life coach cannot accept your insurance benefits to cover the coaching – unless that professional is formally trained enough to solidify them as a medical expert.
If your Coach accepts insurance will all depend on:
- The style of coaching
- Your insurance company
- The insurance policy/plan you have
- If pre-existing conditions are involved
- If the coaching is for Health (for example, dating coaching would not be covered, etc.)
Tips If You Want to Hire a Life Coach
If you are intrigued by the idea of having a professional guide you, a few words of wisdom are:
- Don’t base your decision on price alone – Budget should be a factor, but not the most critical factor. This is not like investing in a pair of shoes or something that will give you momentary gratification – This is investing in yourself, doing the hard work on the inside to offer more to your external world.
Your coach should intuitively feel like the best fit for you because they challenge you to grow, improve, and be the best version of yourself. How can one place a price on that?
- Vet a few coaches – Do not just pick the first one, interview a few, and circle back to the first one if they are the ideal fit for your needs, but don’t jump the gun.
Many coaches require an upfront investment, which should not be done lightly.
Be certain you connect to that coach and their short/long-term approach. Most coaches will offer a free consultation because they also want to confirm it is a good match; utilize the free consultation before committing yourself for the long-haul.
- Find a Coach that has a Coach – This shows they want to invest in their personal growth as well as that of their students. Your Life Coach should wish to take continuing education to improve their practice’s quality, as well as the longevity of their business. It is an optimistic sign that they give themselves the grace to grow and evolve along with their business, rather than claiming to be an infallible expert.
Life Coaching is indeed a legitimate profession, one that is making thousands of Life Coaches a highly-profitable and rewarding living. No matter what you want to improve upon, there is a Coach that can help you achieve your goals.
If you have a calling to inspire others to take action – You may well be a Life Coach in the making!