3 Reasons to Get a Life Coach Certification
One of the trends we repeatedly hear about from life coaches who use the profi.io platform is the growing move toward “life coach certification”. You might be wondering if getting such a certification is the best use of your time and money. To make an educated decision, it helps to examine the case for the benefits of certification so you can decide if it makes sense for you. After speaking with dozens of experts, we found three major reasons why someone might seek this credential; after laying these out, you hopefully will be in a better position to decide whether doing so would be worthwhile.
1. Coach, Know (and Teach) Thyself
There is much more to the process of getting certified as a life coach than simply taking a test to get a credential you can show off. There also is an intense education process involved that many coaches have found useful. While some of the material may be familiar to experienced coaches, the training is especially valuable in helping coaches identify their strengths and weaknesses, fill in knowledge gaps, and even recognize blind spots.
For example, life coach Isabella Zaczek, owner of IZ Consulting and coach at the Co-Active Institute, found that getting her certification was worth the investment despite her previous expertise in the field:
Becoming a life coach was a costly and time-intensive year-long endeavor that was well worth it - not just for my own growth as a human and a people leader, but for my team members and external clients. It helped me identify my strengths, weaknesses, comfort zones, and boundaries. I believe that the best possible coach for a client is one who goes through the process itself to fully experience both the impact and the outcome.
For her part, psychologist and life coach Dr. Marie Stopforth of School of Coaching Psychology found that the life coaching certification process helps develop a coach’s ability to be psychologically sensitive and empathetic with clients:
Coaching is arguably most successful when you’re able to get ‘on the same page’ as your client psychologically, so understanding how to do this is useful. There are several core conditions for this, including congruence, unconditional positive regard, and empathy. Finding a certification program that includes information and training in these areas will really help coaches to connect with - and support - their clients at a much deeper level.
Another way in which even experienced coaches can benefit from life coaching certification comes in the form of increased confidence. Life coaching is a very broad field and it is very easy to worry about knowledge or skill gaps, especially when someone ‘doesn’t know what they don’t know’. By going through a structured curriculum, coaches can have an opportunity to address these issues if they come up and, upon completion, to know that they likely have a comprehensive understanding of life coaching. As professional coach Katherine Golub of Center for Callings and Courage puts it, “I was surprised to find that going through this training and getting the certification dramatically boosted my confidence. I now felt like I could stand strong as a coach and trust my skills.”
Furthermore, the process of getting a certification can also help a coach clarify their values, as life coach Diane Martinez of Conscious Creating Life Coaching, LLC discovered. “The very process of choosing a certification course forces you to get clear on your beliefs and priorities. I researched many different programs as I was zeroing in on what I believed and what I wanted to bring to my future clients.”
2. Modeling Self-Improvement
Top life coaches often try to help clients develop a self-improvement mindset. One way that they can contribute to this is by modeling their own personal development. (In fact, not being coached has been identified as one of the most common mistakes coaches make). Executive coach Lindsey Hood of LindseyHood.net strongly endorses this approach:
From a client point of view, working towards a certification means you are working with a coach who has a growth mindset, wants to continuously grow and develop, is aware of and uses new techniques and ideas, and 'walks the talk' in terms of self-improvement.
Similarly, executive coach Erica McCurdy of McCurdy Solutions Group strongly endorses the idea that going through the life coach certification process provides credibility for coaches who practice what they preach, explaining that “having a certification shows your clients, your peers, and your network that you have taken the time to learn the craft. That you have put yourself through the rigor of proper training and testing. It gives clients some level of assurance that the investment will be well spent.”
3. The Proof Is On The Paper
Does being certified as a life coach help attract clients? For an experienced coach with an existing client base, probably not, at least not today. For example, professional coach Katherine Golub, of Center for Callings and Courage explains that she has never had to show her credentials, despite being a proponent of certification:
Since I started my coaching practice eight-plus years ago, not a single client has asked to see my certification. If you have coaching skills from other areas of your life, the paper will not make a difference. However, to stand in integrity as a coach and confidently share your work with a larger audience, it makes all the difference to know that you have what it takes to call yourself a certified coach.
Nevertheless, the coaching industry is rapidly maturing, and with that process will come an increasing emphasis on standards and credentials. Credentials are already a “nice to have” for newer coaches marketing themselves and expanding their practice, this trend is likely to continue as the life coaching industry grows in size and sophistication.
Coaches love showcasing certifications in their profiles on Profi which helps them attract new clients.
While it is still probably not worth getting a certification purely for business development, the credential certainly can’t hurt and is likely to become increasingly valuable as time goes on. If you are already considering life coach certification, think of the sales and marketing angle as a tiebreaker.
Many experts on and off the profi.io platform agree that getting certified as a life coach is an investment that pays personal and professional dividends. In particular, it can round out your knowledge, surface blind spots, and expose you to specific niches and approaches that you might not have considered, while also modeling self-improvement for your clients and getting ahead of the game for when credentials become more important in the marketplace.
That said, it does require an investment of time, money, and energy. Hopefully by laying out the case for pursuing certification, this article will help you make a decision about whether the benefits are worth these costs.