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Life Coach Online Certification – Who Can You Trust?

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Google “Life Coach” and you are met with over 49,500 search results. It’s the second-fastest-growing industry in the world with an average yearly growth of 6.7% and it has seen a boom since the start of the pandemic with everyone and their third cousin’s dog becoming a “life coach”.

With the plethora of life coach online certification courses available many of these coaches have little or no training, as it’s still an unregulated industry. This is creating an “MLM” atmosphere of coaches coaching coaches how to coach coaches, and taking away from the real purpose and value of coaching, which is to support people in bettering their lives.

Worse, people looking for support from a coach are struggling to figure out who they can trust.

In this post, we’re sharing insights into life coach online certification courses, life coach requirements, and how you can know who you can trust.

Whether you’re looking to hire a coach, or thinking about doing a life coach online certification, this post will help!

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Currently, there are no specific licensing requirements needed to become a Life Coach. It’s an industry that has little regulation.

Many coaches enter the field with a background in therapy, counselling, education, or business. However, there is no academic qualification required to be a life coach and many enter the field simply because they love helping people.

So, how do you know that you’re hiring someone that can actually help you? Keep reading.

Ethical Coaching

While the industry is unregulated, there are still credentialing bodies. The most well recognized is the International Coach Federation (ICF), which provides a set of universal ethical coaching standards for professional coaches.

The following Ethical Standards are taught in all ICF accredited coach training programs:

  1. Responsibility to Clients
  2. Responsibility to Practice and Performance
  3. Responsibility to Professionalism
  4. Responsibility to Society

All BLCC coaches are required to uphold the ICF Ethical Standards and you can read more about them HERE.

Other certification bodies include The Association for Coaches (AC), European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC), and the British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP).

Life Coaching Credentials

Accreditation bodies do not directly offer coach education programs. They accredit organizations that deliver coach-specific training and offer professional development for practicing coaches.

For example, any life coach online certification or in-person coach education program that is accredited by ICF has gone through a rigorous review process. The organization must have demonstrated that its curriculum aligns with the ICF definition of coaching, Core Competencies and Code of Ethics.

This means that, at a minimum, when a coach holds an ICF accredited certification they have completed at least 60-125 contact learning hours (in person or virtually), including instruction around the ICF Core Competencies and Code of Ethics. 

Once a coach has completed an accredited coach education program, they can go on to seek independent credentialing from the ICF to receive one of three credentials: Associate, Professional and Master Certified Coach.

While certification is not yet required by any government-recognized regulating body, choosing a coach who has completed accredited training will help make sure you’re not let down by some well-meaning but possibly harmful life coach.

Certifications vs. Experience

You’ll often find that people choose to become life coaches because their friends and family are always asking them for help in solving their problems. Moreover, most coaches have had some life-changing experience that sets them down the path of wanting to help others achieve the same transformations they’ve had. However, is experience enough?

Life coaching, while not therapy, is still a complex practice. It most definitely is NOT giving advice to help people solve their problems. If you’re looking for advice it’s best to seek a mentor or consultant.

That’s not to say that experience isn’t important. You always want to find a coach that has lived through the experiences that you’re trying to navigate. However, getting certified by an accredited organization gives life coaches in particular the skills they need to take their lived experiences and really be able to help people transform their lives.

This is why the Best Life Coach Collective only accepts ‘life coaches’ with an ICF-recognized certification or equiveland from another accreditation body.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a personal coach specific to a niche, such as career coaching or productivity coaching, certifications become less important than experience and personal success stories. Would you want to work with a certified money coach that is in debt, or an uncertified money coach that has amassed financial wealth? The latter of course! Yet, we would still steer clear of anyone with zero coach training or at least demonstratable client results.

Life Coach Online Certification Providers

There are many accredited training programs to choose from. You can find a full list of ICF accredited trainings using their Education Search Service HERE.

These are some of our favourite online coach certification providers:

BLCC Coaches

Anyone can call themselves a coach. However, to become a Best Life Coach Collective Coach coaches must complete a rigorous application process demonstrating at least 60 hours of coach-specific training and providing testimonials from past clients. They must also agree to abide by the ICF Code of Ethics. We do the vetting so you know that you’re in the hands of a professional.

BLCC Membership status – Only Best Life Coach Collective Members in good standing may market themselves as such and use the BLCC logo on their marketing materials.

You can find a BLCC Coach Here

Interested in becoming a BLCC Coach? Apply Here.

Conclusion

Life coach online certification courses are a dime a dozen these days. A recent CBC Marketplace piece found “some training programs are as easy to complete as paying a fee and completing a quiz — something one Marketplace host was able to obtain in about an hour, while shopping, after skipping the course material.”

This makes it that much more important to make sure that the coach you’re looking to work with has the qualifications and experience to help you reach your desired goals.

While the industry is currently unregulated, credentailing bodies such as the International Coach Federation set high standards that professional coaches will have pledged to abide by.

At the Best Life Coach Collective, we ensure that all our coaches meet the same requirements. It’s our mission to bring together coaches and provide a platform for them to share their expertise, so that anyone looking for support is able to connect with certified professional coaches and choose the BEST FIT for themselves.

Read more about how the Best Life Coach Collective is hoping to improve this unregulated and oversaturated market in our recent press release: A New Type of Life Coach Directory Launches with a Community Focus

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