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Do you have to be certified to be a life coach? This post will give you the simple truth. If you’re thinking of becoming a life coach, this is for you.
The simple answer is No.
Unlike mental health counselors, life coaches are not (currently) regulated by any government organization in the United States. (Check local regulations if you’re not in the U.S.). Counselors must pass state licensing exams and receive a counseling license before they can legally accept clients.
Life coaches only need to hang out a shingle and call themselves coaches. As long as life coaches do not pretend to treat mental health conditions (clinical diagnoses like PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder, or Generalized Anxiety Disorder) they are free to coach without licensing or oversight.
Most life coaches welcome the lack of red tape in the life coaching industry. Many traditional counselors welcome it too, opting to leave mental health and become coaches. The freedom to practice as you please is causing the field to grow in leaps and bounds.
But, you probably should be certified and credentialed as a life coach.
Do you have to be certified to be a life coach? No, but…..yes!
1. Certification involves professional training. Even if you have a gift for working with people, you should know the specific skill set that defines life coaching. It will turn your gift into an uncommon tool that changes people’s lives.
2. Colleagues. Getting certified as a life coach, if you choose a good organization to train with, allows you to meet other coaches.
From these relationships comes more opportunity to network and build your business than most people can achieve otherwise.
3. Your own personal development. Good life coaching institutes ask their students to work on themselves. At the iNLP Center, you will apply each NLP or coaching technique personally before you use it with volunteers or clients. This makes all the difference when you market yourself and practice as a life coach.
4. Mentoring. Some life coach trainers make great mentors. Having people you can go to for answers about your life coaching business, the industry, or for supervision with clients is an invaluable resource.
(When you enroll at the iNLP Center, you get free mentors for life.)
5. A credential could be security. Even though the life coaching industry is not regulated, it could be someday. If and when that happens, credentialed coaches may stand the best chance to be grandfathered in for a state license.
6. Added credentials never hurt. At this point, being certified as a life coach is enough to give you the skills to practice. Having an added credential behind your name (such an ICF ACC Credentialed Coach) can only help your professional credibility and never hurt it.
7. Pulse of the industry. Credentialed coaches are members of a credentialing organization and stay in the loop with best practices, the latest research, and industry updates.
Ultimately it’s a question that only you can answer. Life coaching is now a billion dollar industry that continues to grow. Certification and credentialing are becoming the norm. Common sense suggests that as the field of coaching matures, norms will turn into laws. Do you want to be that life coach who ignored the writing on the wall?
Beyond common sense and smart business practices, if you don’t get life coach training, you’re missing out on perhaps the best interpersonal skill set ever developed.
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