Okay, I Got Certified. What Comes Next as a New Coach?
Want to build a thriving life coaching practice? It's what you do with your training that counts! John Kim and Noelle Cordeaux get specific about next steps.
The Everything Life Coaching Podcast, featuring Lumia Coaching founders John Kim and Noelle Cordeaux, is a deep dive into the experience and business of being a life coach. Subscribe to get new episodes weekly!
What's My Next Step As A Certified Life Coach?
Making the decision to become a life coach often requires risk. But it doesn’t have to be a leap into thin air! As you venture into the unknown, it’s still possible to maintain some structure beneath your feet... every step of the way.
Think of coach training and certification as a sturdy bridge between where you were, and where you’re headed next. When you sign on for training, you take the first step of that crossing. And as with any adventure, your journey doesn’t end when you reach the other side.
Upon graduation, there’s a whole new landscape up ahead to explore. Just like any certification or degree, an education is just the start. It’s how you apply it that really counts.
If you’ve recently graduated from life coach training - or just want to know what to expect when you get there - here’s our recommended roadmap for navigating your next steps.
1. Revel in The Feels
It’s natural to project our minds ahead, trying to see what’s around the next bend. In fact, at Lumia Coaching our admissions team talks every week with prospective coaching students who are already thinking about what they’ll do after graduation... before their first class even begins!
We get it. It’s pragmatic and logical to consider how you’ll be using this education. But it’s also good to slow down and remind yourself that life is a series of small moments.
In this moment, you have a lot to celebrate. Pause to enjoy it.
Life coach training is rigorous. Most students juggle all that coursework alongside outside employment, family obligations, and other commitments. So before launching on your next steps, we recommend you take time to really honor and celebrate what you’ve just accomplished.
Earning your coach certification is a big deal. However you like to recognize the big wins in your life, stop and do that for yourself now.
Go ahead… feel all the feels.
2. Know the Coaching Landscape
When we enter any new field, it’s smart to get our bearings. If you haven't already, this is the time to dig in and investigate the wellness industry. Explore where you think you might fit within it.
What are the best ways to do that?
- Check out The Global Wellness Institute. GWI is where we obtain all of our industry data for Lumia. It’s recognized as the leading source for authoritative research, and is an excellent resource.
- Study the industry. Coaching falls underneath the larger umbrella of “The Wellness Industry,” which encompasses a wide range of specialties and opportunities. There’s no need for you to reinvent the wheel. So find out: Who is doing what? Who is investing where? Who’s hiring?
- Pay attention to coaching industry trends. It’s a fast moving field, and there are definitely niches that are “hot” right now. Consider where your story, your interests, your expertise, and those trends may intersect. Get our analysis for 2022 here.
- Find role models. Look for people who you admire, both in the world of coaching as well as closer to home. Who’s doing exactly what you want to do… or is in the same ballpark? Whose stance do you respect? Are there entrepreneurs in your community that you can learn the business ropes from?
- Get accountability buddies. We aren’t meant to do this alone - find adventurers to walk your path with. It may get rocky along the way, and a trail partner can help pick you up when you stumble. Whose goals and aspirations are similar to your own? Are there other coaches from your training program who might be a source of mutual support?
If you’re like many new coaches, this may be your first foray into self employment. And even if you’re an old hand at entrepreneurship, working rhythms and preferences do change over time. As you dive further into your coaching practice, pay attention to how you work best.
What does it mean to follow your own flow?
- Notice your energy. At what time of day are you at your best? Is morning when you’re sharpest? Or are you a night owl? Consider how you can structure your schedule and client sessions to best align with your natural high and low points.
- Who do you like to work with? Do your most inspired ideas come during a solo walk in the woods, or are you more creative when you’re collaborating with others? Think about whether you’d be happiest in a solo practice, or more likely to thrive in a coaching role within a larger team.
- What environment suits you best? Do you like the autonomy of working from home, or do you prefer getting out of the house and into a separate workspace?
What do you want your coaching practice to look like?
For some coaches, in-person sessions fit them best. This might be in a traditional office setting... or not. Coaching can happen on a walk, in a coffee shop, or sitting together with your client on a park bench.
Others prefer online coaching. If that’s your style, you can see clients virtually from all around the world. For online coaches, there’s still variety in terms of what this looks like. Are you in your element when you can actually see your client on a video call? Or are you able to tune into them better when talking by phone?
Who are your strategic partners?
Let’s not forget that coaching isn’t limited to 1:1 client sessions! There are many ways to coach, and that includes working in tandem with other professionals. Where are your opportunities to collaborate with others?
Here’s a few ideas to get the juices flowing:
- Co-hosting a podcast with another coach or wellness practitioner
- Offering a workshop in partnership with an aligned local business (think yoga studios, gyms, naturopathic clinics, etc.)
- Submitting articles for publication within your niche
- Creating a group coaching program with other co-facilitators
- Joining an entrepreneurs mastermind group
4. Collect Data
If you'd like to develop as a professional and continue delivering higher value to your clients, self-reflection is key.
It's our view that not enough adults take the time and space for strategy and reflection in their lives. This in itself is one of the reasons why coaching has become such a sought-after service!
Here’s how you can weave reflection into your practice:
- Notice how you feel as you do your work
- Really listen to your intuition - allow it to inform you about when you’re on the right track (and when you’re not)
- Observe what you’re really good at, and where you may be feeling uncertain
- Create space after each client session to think about what worked… and what may not have
Be intentional about how you’ll integrate what you’re observing and learning. Consider having a mentor, or confidential accountability partner to debrief with. It can be useful to have someone to talk through your learnings with, and explore how you can use them to continue strengthening your coaching practice.
5. Synthesize Your Learning
Again, we’re talking about being purposeful and strategic. A flourishing coaching practice doesn’t "just happen." It comes in stages.
At Lumia Coaching, we talk about “driving the bus while you’re building it.” What we mean by that is that it’s OK to experiment. In fact, it’s in this very experimentation that you’re most likely to discover your own zone of genius.
Some questions to ask yourself:
- Is this the population I want to be serving?
- Is this the right place for my practice (online/offline)?
- Where am I most effective in delivering my message and connecting with potential clients (social media, writing, word of mouth)?
- Am I playing to my strengths?
- Is what I’m doing today authentic, and aligned with my story?
- Have my interests changed? If so, how can my business change along with them?
As you hone in on a coaching niche and approach, allow yourself to be fluid and open to adjustment along the way. The truth is that we rarely end up where we thought we were headed in the beginning. (Psst - it's usually much better than what we'd imagined!)
6. Continue Your Education
Certification is only the start. Think of your coach training as a “survey course.” You got served a little bit of everything at that buffet.
Once you launch into your own practice area, it’s time to go deep rather than wide.
If you choose to work within a particular specialty or niche, get to know the space you’re operating within. What additional training can further enhance your expertise in that area?
- If you’re a relationship coach, it might mean following the work of researchers and thinkers in the areas of intimacy, sexuality, and human connection
- For fitness coaches, this could involve a deeper dive into nutrition and physical wellness
- An empowerment coach may want to gain training in mindfulness and guided visualizations
Pay attention to what your clients need, and where you feel your own knowledge and skills can continue to be refined or expanded. Then be on the lookout for opportunities to build those skills.
It’s good business to continue investing in your professional development!
7. Build and Grow
As you’re doing the work, remember that this is a journey. There is no finish line, and no “right” way to do things. There’s just your way. Allow yourself the room to experiment, iterate, learn, and evolve.
As you find your own unique path, let these four final principles help guide you:
- Walk the walk
- Tend to your own corner of the universe
- Beware gremlins of comparison
- Have fun and enjoy the ride
We don’t expect you to brave the unknown alone. In fact, that’s the last thing we would recommend for new coaches! Even if you’re planning to launch a solo practice, your coaching business benefits when you remain dialed into professional resources and community.
Ready to Take the Leap?
If you aspire to become a coach but haven’t completed training yet, we're here to help you launch your coaching practice right! Check out the Lumia Life Coach Training - a program that's every bit as unique as you are. Grounded in science, our ICF accredited program features authentic instructors, a robust curriculum, business instruction to prepare you for liftoff as an entrepreneur, and fellow students dedicated to becoming a collective force for good.