Life coaches may specialize in business and corporate management, or they may have experience in health care or fitness, or any other specialization. Many work as independent consultants, with clients from various industries. They may work in corporations and businesses, or for government agencies. Companies with wellness programs may hire life coaches on a contract basis. Life coaches may also work in schools, hospitals, and long-term care centers. Some life coaches are employed full time at large companies, working closely with employees to help them identify and achieve their business goals. Nearly 17,770 life coaches work in the United States.
The life coaching industry is unregulated, and anyone can call themselves a life coach. However, those who are most successful in their field have at least a bachelor's degree and years of work experience in the specialized area they coach. Many get their start through work in a prior career, such as financial manager for those who provide finance-related coaching. They also get certified through professional coaching associations. They may start as assistants or junior life coaches, gaining on-the-job experience. They find job opportunities through sites such as Idealist, Indeed, LinkedIn, and SimplyHired, among others. They also learn about job openings by participating in professional associations such as the International Association of Coaching and the International Association of Professional Life Coaches.
Life coaches who are employed by large corporations may advance to become senior life coaches after five or more years of successful work experience. They may move up to become the manager or director of the life coaching department, supervising the work of other coaches. Those who run their own consulting businesses advance by growing their business, increasing their staff, and increasing their clientele. Life coaches also advance by getting an advanced degree in a specialized field. Those with many years of experience in the field may share their knowledge by teaching and writing, and speaking at industry-related conferences and events.
Get a part-time or summer job helping out at a life coach's office to gain exposure to this field and see if it's a good fit for you. Look for job postings on employment Web sites and also on life coaches' Web sites.
Conduct an informational interview with a life coach to learn more about their educational background, their work history, and what got them interested in this profession. Create a list of questions before the interview and be prepared to take notes.
Visit the Web sites of professional associations for life coaches to keep up with news and developments and to see if there are upcoming education programs or events that offer opportunities to meet people in the field.
Visit the Co-Active Training Institute's Web site to learn more about coach training and leadership training programs: https://coactive.com/training/coach-training.