Life Coach Qualifications

Do I need a certification, accreditation, license or degree?

What qualifications do I need to be a life coach?

There are many life coaches that come from a background working with people, such as counseling, personal fitness, nursing, massage, etc. However, the majority of coaches do not have official background. Instead, they bring with them 2 things: life experience and their own unique work experience. Often coaches coach in a specific niche, in-which they have unique knowledge and experience. For example, entrepreneurs coach business start-ups, personal trainers become health coaches, teachers coach others on public speaking, etc. In most cases, coaches enroll in training programs before beginning their coaching practice. This gives them a foundation of understand about what coaching is, the psychology behind it, and methodologies and processes used. There are a variety of programs out there. Some are basic, some advanced. Some are about coaching in general, while others focus on specific niches. Ultimately, what training you need in order to coach is up to you. There is no law that requires coach training.

Is there a life coaching degree, license or accreditation required?

Life coaching is a non-regulated industry, so there is no license or degree required. There exists no official accrediting institution or governing body in the life coaching industry. There may be organizations that claim to be an official or legal accrediting body, however this is false. Therefore, anyone can coach based on their own level of comfort with their chosen training and/or past relevant experience. As long as you are not going outside the scope of coaching, such as practicing therapy (for mental health, for instance) you are free to coach as you wish! It is recommended that any coach who is concerned regarding this matter seek advice from his/her state.

Life coaches must be aware of and strictly adhere to the appropriate role of a life coach. Life coaches are not licensed mental health care providers or therapists and must not provide medical advice, engage in patient diagnosis, or treat mental illness or trauma. Also, former therapists may receive legal consequences for practicing as a “life coach” while conducting therapy. See our video on the differences between therapy, coaching and consulting for additional information.

What are life coaching certifications?

Life coaching certifications are educational programs that train life coaches in various aspects of coaching and offer a certificate endorsing the coach who has completed the training program offered by that organization. There are many organizations that offer certification programs, and there are many types of coaching certifications. Some programs focus on general coaching principles and methodologies, while other programs teach specific processes for coaching clients on niche topics. Many coaches study general methodologies and also complete training in a particular niche, depending on their interest.

Having a coach certification simply means that you have completed a program offered by a Coach Training Organization and have acquired the knowledge that organization teaches. There are organizations that claim to be an accrediting or governing body for the life coaching industry, however no organizations currently hold any legal authority over the field or other organizations. 

Other industries, such as social services, education, aerobics, and speaking, to name a few, offer certifications that are not legal licenses or accredited by educational institutions. The purpose o such certifications and training is to obtain specialized knowledge to further develop one’s career, increase the value of the services one provides, and establish further confidence and credibility.

For example, when I worked in social services, I obtained training certifications in Batterers Intervention, Parenting 21st Century, the Nurturing Fathers program and others. These certifications provided me advanced training in these areas, as well as additional credibility that opened doors in my industry.

Our Coach Training Organization

Transformation Services, Inc., also known as Transformation Academy, offers certification programs for life coaches, as well as online courses on entrepreneurship and personal development. Transformation has developed a reputation as a leader in the personal development and life coaching industries. Instructors Joeel and Natalie Rivera each have a decade of experience in the coaching industry. As of this recording, Transformation has had over 30,000 students from 170 countries. 

Transformation is committed to using and teaching industry best practices and ethical standards, as well as providing a strong psychological foundation within all material, based off of the education and training of coach Joeel A. Rivera, who has a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Education and is completing the dissertation for his Ph.D. in Psychology.