Living life can be a daunting task sometimes, but those who need assistance dealing with various life issues can turn to a life coach. A certified life coach helps people handle careers and relationships and aids them in setting goals, managing stress and making decisions. According to a CNN article, over half of all life coaches' clients are women, and most are between the ages of 35 and 55. Life coaches undergo specialized training that prepares them for dealing with a variety of issues; some also choose to pursue certification. Certification, which comes from third-party companies and organizations, is not a requirement for employment.
Most certification providers require the applicant to participate in some form of training courses. Certification courses come in the form of in-person classes, and some providers offer interactive online courses. The Holistic Learning Centers offer Interactive Courses, leading to Self-Mastery Teacher and Spiritual Life Coaching Certifications, where the students meet once a week via the telephone. Certification courses also come in the form of online courses and at-home sessions. The courses require students to complete reading and workbook assignments. Certification classes generally take six to ten weeks to complete, while some take six months to a year to finish, and require 60 to 200 contact hours depending on the provider. Topics typically covered by a certification course include attracting clients, coaching fundamentals, using coaching tools and code of ethics.
Along with certification courses, many providers require the applicant to pass a certification exam. The certification covers all the topics explored in the certification courses and tests the applicants to make sure they will be able to apply those concepts in a real-life setting. Some programs include a short quiz after each section. Typically, the certification exam consists of multiple-choice questions, and applicants take the exam online or at a computer testing center. In lieu of a final exam, providers may require the certification applicant to participate in group mentoring sessions, complete sample life-coaching sessions, or meet one-on-one with a currently certified life coach.
In order to maintain certification, a life coach may have to apply for re-certification every few years, usually between one and three years. Re-certification generally mandates that the life coach submit another application and earn a certain number of continuing-education credits. For example, the Spencer Institute's certification mandates a minimum of 20 continuing education credits every two years. Continuing education credits can come from post-secondary classes, relevant seminars and workshops, and industry conferences.
Several providers of life-coach certifications also serve as professional industry organizations and require a certification applicant to become a member of that organization, either before or after obtaining certification. Another requirement for obtaining life-coach certification is paying the certification fee. Some providers charge a fee for the certification classes and include the actual cost of certifying into that fee. Because a life coach certification can cost several thousand dollars, some providers provide payment plans and financial aid for students.
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