by Janelle Holden

My new rule is that if someone writes and asks a great question, I’ll share my response with the world. My other rule is that I don’t say things in private that I wouldn’t say in public, so the question I received yesterday from a former coaching client is timely because it gives me the opportunity to test both rules out. Here’s her question:


The short story version of becoming a life coach

So, here’s my brief story about becoming a life coach. It was sparked because I was unhappy with my career. I was writing a book. I felt trapped at work, and I dealt with a lot of my stress and unhappiness by eating. I don’t know for sure, but I think my stress and way of eating led to developing an autoimmune condition and digestive problems. (More on that in a bit).

On the way to work one day, I was introduced to coaching while listening to an author podcast interview with Martha Beck. Martha (who has a ph.d.) has a life coach training school and certification program.

Her book, Finding Your North Star, helped me when I left one job and took another. I still refer to it a lot with my clients. I hired my first life coach because of Martha and also won a trip for two to Australia because Martha taught me to set wildly improbable goals.

I highly recommend Martha Beck¬†life coach training program (even though I didn’t personally do it) to my clients because I’ve personally been coached by 4 of her coaches, and they’ve all been amazing coaches and I’m a huge fan of Martha’s.

So why didn’t you study with Martha then?

Good question. At the time I was coaching with someone who was helping start a life coach school with a woman who used to do Martha’s training and then split off because she developed her own method and she specialized in weight loss coaching.

The experience that I had healing my relationship with food and losing 50 pounds because of coaching led me to the idea of specializing in becoming a “gluten-free life coach.” Thank God I did because having a niche and a specialty is what saves people’s bacon in the life coach business.

I decided to study with Brooke Castillo because of her specialty with food and because I’m a quick learner. I like intense programs. And the price point was half of what I would have paid in Martha’s course. It fit my budget and my needs.

Would I recommend it to everyone? No. Here’s why.

First Things First

First, get clear on WHY you want to become a life coach. A lot of people in coach training school are doing it simply for the personal development opportunity, and that’s cool, but if you truly want to transform people’s lives, make a living from it and build a successful online business you need to think differently about the decision.

You need to think from the very beginning about the BUSINESS of what you are doing and who can help you set that up as well as give you the best training.

I ended up investing nearly $20k in business training AFTER life coach training because I didn’t have the skills to build an online business (I was skilled as a coach). It was the path meant for me.

There’s nothing wrong with choosing a great school and then getting business coaching afterwards, but just know that you will have to invest more money after you graduate to get help building your business. I know of NO successful coach who hasn’t (and I talk to coaches every day).

A couple of schools I happily endorse now

I’m currently a contract business coach for 2 online coach schools that include business training. The first is Christian Mickelsen’s, Coaches With Clients, and his Rapid Coaching Academy. Knowing what I know now about his program, I would probably go back and choose it, and I’m currently working on certification through his course because I’m always learning and improving.

You can get trained and certified as a coach and learn marketing and sales techniques as well as getting personally coached by his team for a lot less money than you would pay if you tried to do everything separately. And it’s a quality program.

I’m also on staff at the Relationship Coaching Institute, a highly regarded school for coaches who want to specialize in relationship coaching. It’s been around for 20 years and it is a membership program so that you get coach training and high level business training for the LIFE of your business when you become a member. Seriously, that’s an amazing concept, and the coaches I see there usually have advanced degrees, take their work seriously, and want to be professionals at what they do.

RCI has a great article about how to choose a coach training school that I also recommend reading.

Some other thoughts

  • The coaching industry is still largely unregulated, so do your homework.
  • Commit to being a professional at anything you do.
  • Know that this is an investment, not an expense. In other words, just like your college degree, this will help you make more money over time (if you get the right business training) not less.
  • Also, if you’re a network marketer, consider adding coaching to your business. It’s a great skill to have available for your team and it can help you with an additional revenue stream branded to you.

Want to chat with me some more about this or have questions about specific programs? I leave a couple of spots open a week for short chats (only 15 min.). You can click here to get on my schedule.