Life Coaching without a certification

Life coaching is an unregulated industry.  You don’t need to obtain a certification, and no colleges currently offer a life coach degree.  Sometimes people confuse life coaching with therapy, which is regulated in most states.  Therapists focus on the past and are licensed to diagnose people with illnesses.  Life coaches strictly focus on the future and help people develop and achieve a future goal.

There are thousands of life coaches practicing worldwide with no formal education or certification.  When we think of coaches like Tony Robbins, we typically don’t worry about his qualifications.  He has a long history of running successful coaching sessions all around the world.  It’s his reputation that people look towards, not his academic qualifications.  When you decide to start your life coaching business, you’ll need to decide if getting a certification is right for you.  Here are some common questions we hear from prospective life coaches about getting certified:

Coaching Meeting

Do I need to be certified?

While MSI recommends you take the time to gain a life coach certification from us or another organization, it isn’t required in most locations.  Of course, you’ll need to check with your local city, county, and state to ensure there aren’t regulations you’ll need to be aware of.  The first sign of a good life coach is having a properly structured business that conforms to all state and local laws.

If I don't get certified, what do I say if someone asks?

You tell the truth, that you’ve decided to practice life coaching based on your experience, not on a certification.  Perhaps you’ve mentored people at your church for many years or helped couples struggling in their marriage.  Or maybe you’ve just got the gift of eloquent speech.  Tell people about your past experience helping others and how you’ve developed your own system for helping people reach their goals.

Some of the best educational content is located in local libraries.  If you’ve taken the time to self-educate yourself, talk about all the reading and self-learning you’ve done over the years.

What are the benefits of training to be a life coach?

There are many benefits to going through a proper training and certification program, even if you have experience.  Most training programs will teach you valuable skills that make your job as a coach easier.  They include skills like setting SMART goals and using techniques like LAMA (Learn, Apply, Measure, Assess).  You’ll also learn to develop an action plan, ask questions, overcome obstacles, and setting a timeline.

Will not having a certification hurt my life coaching business?

Possibly.  Most people aren’t looking for a certification when they walk through the door of your business; they just want to find someone who can help them.  Your ability to make people feel comfortable is your most important asset.  If someone finds your business online, they will most likely researched you.  People will usually check to see what type of background you have and if you have positive reviews from past customers.  If you aren’t able to list some form of education in your bio, many people may skip your business to find one that has more qualifications.  Not having any training may also hinder your ability to find critical business insurance or respect within the community.