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How long does it take to become a life coach?


Woman sitting with book in soft light studying to become a life coach

Once you’ve made the decision to change careers and move into the coaching profession, you may be asking yourself: how long does it take to become a life coach? After all, you made the decision out of a desire to help others, so you probably want to begin right away. If you’re like I was, you’re probably in a hurry to shed the job that no longer lights you up.


Answering "how long does it take to become a life coach?" is a little more complicated though. How long it takes for you to become a life coach will largely depend on how you go about it. Most life coaches take life coach certification training. These training programs can take anywhere from a month to a full year to complete.


Even if you take a yearlong life coaching certification program, you won’t have to wait the whole time to start coaching. For most coaches, becoming a life coach is a process. It begins during their training and continues as they practice their skills and gain confidence coaching people.


During your life coach certification training


During your life coach certification training you will begin to practice coaching other people. There are two types of practice coaching that most coach training programs include. The first is peer coaching, which simply means that you practice coaching the other students in your program. Peer coaching is often the easiest way to practice your coaching skills because the person you’re coaching is also training to become a life coach.


The other kind of coaching that you will do as part of your training is practice coaching. This type of coaching involves finding other people to coach during your training. You will document the kinds of skills and coaching tools you used in each session.


The interesting thing about this practice coaching is that while many life coach trainees do their practice coaching pro bono (free), you can absolutely charge for these sessions. In many ways, you are a life coach at this point even though you may not feel very confident about that yet.


After your life coach certification training


What you do after you complete your life coach certification training will have an impact on how long it takes to become a life coach. If getting an additional certification from the International Coaching Federation (ICF) is important to you, you’ll need to complete mentor coaching. Mentor coaching is a process in which you share recordings and/or transcripts of you coaching your clients with a mentor. Your mentor will provide feedback to help you improve your coaching skills and prepare for an ICF certification. One of the big benefits of our spiritual coach certification program at Starseed Academy is that we include coach mentoring in our program.


Starting your life coaching practice


Here's where you can directly impact the answer to "how long does it take to become a life coach?". You can shorten how long it takes to become a life coach by starting your practice during your training. This is especially true if you plan to do coach mentoring. You'll need to have clients to coach for your mentoring. This means that jumpstarting your practice early will shorten how long it takes to become a life coach.


By the time you've completed your life coach certification training, you should feel pretty good about your skills and your ability to coach clients. The biggest struggle the new coaches face is often getting clients. This is why Starseed Academy's coach certification program includes additional business and marketing support for new coaches.


A separate issue might be thinking about when you should quit your existing job and be a full-time life coach. The answer to that question will be different for everyone. Most coaches do best when they aren't stressed about acquiring new clients and making enough money to live on. If you have a partner or a large nest egg, you may be able to quit sooner than someone that needs a steady income to make ends meet. Ask yourself how comfortable you are with working solely as a life coach. Consider all the factors such as how much income you absolutely have to make, how consistently you get new clients, and whether the time you're spending at work would translate into bigger gains in your business.


How long does it take to become a life coach?


So how long does it take to become a life coach? As you've probably gathered by now, it is really up to you. How long it takes will largely depend on the choices you make around your life coach certification training. It will also depend on how confident you feel in your skills, your coaching ability, and your ability to attract new clients.


The good news is that if you've really set your mind to becoming a life coach, it is probably because you have a deeper reason behind it. Tapping into your big "why" will help you remain patient while you work through the process.


All things considered, the simplest answer to "how long does it take to become a life coach?" is however long it takes you to feel and decide that you are a life coach.