Get Started as a Life Coach – 4 Steps You Can take Immediately

Maybe you’ve heard about coaching and you’ve wondered how to get started as a life coach? Or, maybe someone has said, “You should be a life coach!” after you helped them to sort out a problem or break through a challenge. Or maybe, you’ve got a heart for making a difference and you’re thinking that becoming a life coach might be the way you could do that.

But… you’re not sure how to get started.

Get Started as a Life Coach STEP 1: Begin to get clear on your AVATAR.

This one surprises a lot of people. But it’s advice I wish someone would have given me when I first launched my own coaching practice back in 2002.

Now, you might be familiar with the word AVATAR, but if not let me explain what I’m talking about.

I’m not talking about the purple aliens with tails made famous in the movie Avatar. (That was a good movie, but it’s not what I’m talking about here.)

In this context, an AVATAR is a profile of a “great fit” client for you… an ideal client. It’s an image of the kind of person you would love to work with. It’s the person who would light you up, if you got to work with them on a regular basis. The kind of person who would be a perfect fit for you as a life coach.

Admittedly, you might be thinking that it’s too early to know who your AVATAR might be. That’s fair. That’s why I call this first version, your “Phase I AVATAR.” It’s your first draft. It’s your best guess at who your AVATAR might be. Know that you don’t have to get it perfect. Just give these first questions some thought and see where they take you:

  • What types of clients would you love to work with?
  • What would you love to help them do, experience or achieve?
  • Why might it be important for them to do, experience or achieve these kinds of things?
  • Why might they need a coach to help?

Granted, it might seem too early to know the answers. But give it some thought. See where the questions take you. I’m guessing that if you give yourself a little time to think through these questions, some answers will come to mind.

As they do, I’m also betting that you’ll get even more excited about becoming a life coach! (By the way, if they don’t you might want to look for something other than becoming a coach. Sorry. I don’t mean to be harsh. But if this doesn’t fire you up a little, then coaching might not be right for you.)

Just to let you know, we feel so strongly about the AVATAR profile, we start our own Coach Mindset training with an in-depth walk through of the power of getting clear on your “Phase I AVATAR,” and we help you to do it so you’re crystal clear on WHO it is, and WHAT they want to do. In fact, we have our coach training participants develop a specific AVATAR before they even get started with any of our training on life coaching concepts or principles.

Why?

Well, we’ve found that starting with the AVATAR helps in many ways. Specifically, it helps new coaches to:

  1. Get clear on WHO you want to help, so you get even more excited and stay motivated as you learn what you need to learn to coach more effectively and build a successful and sustainable coaching practice.
  2. Take a huge leap forward on the business of coaching. In fact, getting clear on your AVATAR is a step most coaches never take, and that lack of clarity is the reason why many new coaches fail. But as you start to get clear on this, you’ll begin to become more and more confident as you begin to connect with the idea people you want to help and build your coaching business around!

Get Started as a Life Coach STEP 2: Think through your timeline

I’ll admit it. I know some people cringe at the thought of coming up with timelines and schedules! (But I also know that some people LOVE it!)

No matter where you land on this, thinking through your timeline is critical.

You’re going to need some training, so you’re going to want to think through how you want to tackle it. Do you need to go through the training while you’re working a full time job? (That’s how I did it when I was getting started.) Do you need to consider other people’s schedules, like your family or work? Do you need to look for training options that don’t call for travel and/or time away?

How about timing? How soon do you want to up and running as a coach? If you don’t want to start for another year or more, you might have a bit more flexibility. Bit if you’re wanting to be up and running in the next 3 to 6 months, you’ll need to find a program that fits into your schedule.

Here are some “fill in the blank” questions to help you to think through your timeline:

  • I want to start life coach training by ________________. (fill in a date)
  • I want to have my life coach training completed by ______________. (fill in a date)
  • I want to have my first paying life coaching client by ________________. (fill in date)
  • I want to have my third paying life coaching client by _______________. (fill in date)

Let’s be honest. It might be a little difficult to fill in these blanks. But give it some thought. Dream a little. Then fill them in.

Then start to look for training programs that align with YOUR timeline.

You might have to be a little flexible with your dates, but this timeline will help you to start to make decisions. It will help you to filter through some of your options and help you to make a decision with confidence.

Get Started as a Life Coach STEP 3: Get clear on your budget

This is a critical decision to make early in this process, because it can also help to function as a filter as you sort through some of your options.

This is a little bit like shopping for a house. If you’ve purchased a house, you know what I’m talking about. For example, if you decide to buy a home, but you don’t get clear on your parameters, you start to look at million-dollar starter castles. Now, if you can afford a starter-castle, by all means… get one! But if your budget is more in the “starter home” category, you’re going to want to get clear on that before you start walking through homes with six garages and diamond-studded light fixtures.

Let’s be clear here. With life coach training programs, a higher price doesn’t always mean that you’re going to get a better program. It might just be more expensive. So don’t decide on training based on price alone. There are numerous things to consider. But obviously, if you have a price range in mind, it will help you to filter out some options.

NOTE: Don’t forget to consider other costs involved in your coach training. For example, I recently talked with a participant of a different coach training. She was lamenting about the $5,000 ticket price of the program she invested in. But she was also complaining about the travel costs associated with having to attend the three live sessions in various cities around the country. In fact, she said her total costs were going to be closer to $10,000 due to the travel.

Ironically, after hearing about our training, she had decided to invest in our online training and was pointing other participants to it because of all that she was learning. Plus, our online program flexed around her life, so she didn’t have to travel or interrupt her life to complete it.

Here are some questions to consider as you think about your budget:

  • I would like to spend ______________ or less to complete my coach training. (Remember travel costs)
  • I would like to charge my clients ____________ for my coaching packages in the future. (NOTE: Industry averages are approx. $150/hour)
  • If I charged that, I would recoup my costs with ____________ clients.

Get Started as a Life Coach STEP 4: Find the right “Personality Match” for the training

This step isn’t always on people’s radar, but it’s important.

Why?

Well, training will take time. You’ll have a lot of time with the facilitators of the program you choose. So you’re going to want to be really sure that they’re going to be people you WANT to spend time with… either in a LIVE environment or in ONLINE / VIDEO-BASED environments. (Have you ever had a mono-toned teacher speak to you for a semester in high school or college? YOW! Then you know what I mean!)

Also, you’re going to want to consider their approach. Does the program seem highly theoretical and/or esoteric? Is it a lot of book-based learning? Or does it include a lot of “hands-on” and practical strategies? Does it feel “real-world” and up to date with what’s going on in our fast-paced world?

And hey… does it excite you? Does their approach seem fun? Is it appealing?

These things are important… especially when you consider the amount of time you’re going to spend.

Think about what you want. What’s best for you? What do you need the most?

Here are some final questions to help on this front:

  • As I’m thinking about this organization, I’m finding that I want to spend ___________ (more/less) time with them.
  • I really (like/dislike) this organizations’s approach to life coaching because ______________ (fill in the blank)
  • My gut reaction to this organization is ________________ (fill in the blank)

Okay. That’s it for now.

Give these 4 steps some thought as you’re considering becoming a life coach and selecting the training that’s right for you.

My hope is that this process will help you to be more confident in the decisions you make!

Lastly, if you’d would like some additional resources on this subject, be sure to check out our “5 Critical Questions” mini-course.

5 Critical Questions

Keep bringing the awesome,
Mitch