How to Become a Life Coach & Other Paths

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Becoming a Life Coach and Other Professional Coaching Paths

Professional coaches help people plan out and work towards their goals. A coach meets people where they are in their journey and holds their hand the rest of the way. Basically, they partner with a client for their success. There are many different career paths for this job. For example, you can become a life coach or help with fitness. You may consider becoming a career or relationship coach. Truly, you can go anywhere with this job.

Coaching may be a great opportunity for you if you have a passion for helping others succeed. For this career, you need to be a good listener. Each of your clients will have unique goals and struggles. It’s on you to help them find the best path forward for success. Additionally, you’ll need good critical thinking skills to determine what that path looks like.

You must know how to lead and encourage your clients. Majorly, your experience in overcoming obstacles will come in handy in this field.

Curious what kinds of coaches are out there? Keep reading to learn about our top five coaching paths.

Top 5 Types of Coaching

As we mentioned, you can follow many different paths as a coach. Each one will have additional requirements, salary, and clients. For example, as a life coach, you may work with a variety of different people with many different kinds of goals. On the other hand, health coaches may work with clients with nutrition or fitness goals.

Below, we will go over five more popular coaching types. However, there are more out there than we have listed. You may find more with an online search if you have a niche in mind. Or you may create your own path.

meditation, health coach, relaxation


Generally, health coaches help clients start and maintain lifestyle changes. This role may mean a dietary change or starting a new workout routine. There are a few ways you can help people as a health coach.

For example, you can focus on nutrition, fitness, or both. You can also specialize in certain diets, like vegetarianism.

Nutrition-centered health coaches help clients find food that fits their diet and budget. They’ll also assist them in creating a sustainable plan. Notably, it’s easy to fall back into old habits, such as eating junk food. Coaches will find a way to include treats that make a new diet easier to handle. Similarly, they can help clients with diets for specific health conditions like diabetes.

Fitness-centered health coaches look at a client’s goals and help build a path to success. Sometimes, these professionals work in a gym, similar to a personal trainer. Unlike a trainer, coaches will work with you beyond the workout and gym. They’ll provide support for more than just physical goals. Basically, they help you with the mental and emotional roadblocks that can impact a fitness plan.


The median salary of a health coach is $61,817. However, this number varies with education and experience.

You don’t need a degree to become a health coach. But an associate’s or bachelor’s degree will give you a huge knowledge advantage and increase your salary. Health coaching requires a lot of dietary and fitness knowledge. In the end, a nutrition or fitness background will help you succeed.

Life Coach

Life coaching is one of the most popular paths in this job. Notably, this path will bring diverse clientele. Life coaches can help with relationships, goals, and the general day-to-day life of their clients. Basically, anything goes.

Of course, you can define your niche as a life coach. You may choose to specialize in helping solve relationship issues. Or you may wish to help people figure out their dream job.

Due to the diversity of clients, breaking down exactly what you would do in this job is difficult. However, you can expect to provide guidance and help people plan for the future. Whatever your client’s goal, you’ll be there to support them and help them find the next step forward. Basically, you’re there to help people reach their full potential.


The median salary for a life coach is $61,900. Strikingly, some make upwards of $200,000 in this position.

As with health coaching, what you make depends on your education and experience. Additionally, your niche can impact your pay as well. People are more willing to pay for certain services. Minimally, you should consider earning your coaching certificate to become a life coach. Accredited programs show clients you put time into your education and that they can trust your knowledge.

career coach, project management

Career Coach

Career coaches specialize in helping people complete their job goals. They might help someone get started in a field or earn a promotion. Majorly, they work with people looking for a new career.

Day-to-day tasks in this role can include interview prep, resume building, and feedback on goals. For example, sometimes, individuals may have unrealistic expectations for their salary or entry-level jobs. Career coaches help them create obtainable goals and a plan for the future. On the other hand, they may encourage clients to negotiate for fair pay or move on from a subpar job offer.

Overall, career coaches help people find jobs they enjoy. This process may include long talk sessions about a client’s dreams, interests, and ideal future. Basically, a lot goes into finding a job you love, and coaches are there every step of the way.


Like the life coach path, your salary in this field depends on your niche. Corporate career coaching will pay more than non-profit coaching. Your location may also impact your pay. However, you can expect a median salary of $47,161 at the start. Notably, some career coaches make upwards of $250,000.

With this career, earning your bachelor’s degree is recommended. Again, like the other fields, it is not required. Due to the importance of your work, most clients prefer higher education. They’ll want to know you won’t lead them down the wrong path. Truly, missteps in this job can cause great harm to someone’s livelihood. Giving the wrong advice can cause a client to miss out on the career of their dreams.

Mental Health

Mental health coaches work with a variety of clients. Some may have diagnosed mental illnesses, while others may struggle with their general well-being. For example, a paralegal may need guidance on managing stress from a case.

Notably, these coaches do not diagnose or treat any mental health condition. They are not qualified to do so. Rather, they help with negative thinking patterns, anxiety and stress, and overcoming obstacles. Majorly, therapists help patients process the past. Coaches focus on the future. They help develop habits to improve mental health for the future.

Consider the paralegal: the coach would help them develop a plan for when they get overwhelmed in the future. This plan may include adding stress-relieving habits like art or meditation. They may encourage them to set boundaries. Additionally, the coach will help them identify the warning signs before they get overwhelmed again. Many of us don’t realize we’re burnt out until it’s too late. A mental health coach will teach you to pay attention to symptoms.

As we mentioned, mental health coaches may still work with clients with mental illnesses. Sometimes, clients may see both a therapist and a coach to help them reach all of their goals. As a result, they get a holistic treatment plan.


Mental health coaches earn a median salary of $46,823. Again, this can vary by niche. For example, your income will change if you focus on addiction vs. stress.

You do not need a degree to become a mental health coach. However, a certificate, related degree, or experience is highly recommended. Mental health is a very sensitive field. Many clients will prefer someone who can prove their expertise if you work for yourself. Additionally, many employers will require at least one of the above qualifications.

Accountability Coach

Last on our list is the accountability coach. These professionals often work with businesses and high-level professionals. They help their clients reach specific goals by keeping them on track.

Majorly, these coaches help you overcome obstacles, create your goals, and spend time on what’s important. They hold you, well, accountable for your choices. Accountability coaches want to make sure your plans don’t just look good on paper. They want you to achieve them and will push you to do so.

Sometimes, this may mean earning new skills. For example, a client may have wanted a promotion for years, but they don’t have the proper training. An accountability coach will help them overcome whatever is stopping their client from getting that training. Maybe they’re afraid to fail. Or they’re scared of what that promotion will bring. The coach will help them prepare for change and take that first step forward.

Basically, they help you identify your goal, get you in the proper headspace, and then gently push you to get started.


Accountability coach pay varies greatly depending on your niche. If you’re working with large corporations, you may charge thousands for your sessions. On the other hand, if you prefer to work with new businesses or individual clients, you may take in a few hundred. On average, however, new accountability coaches can expect a salary anywhere from $45,000 to $65,000.

You don’t need a degree in this field. However, bigger companies will have their own requirements. We recommend you minimally earn a certification to become an accountability coach.

How to Get Started

Overall, there are many paths you can take as a coach. Even as a life coach, you will find diverse clients. Truly, no one day or client will be the same. There are an unlimited number of niches out there for you to explore.

Other popular specializations include education, relationship, transition, and life skills coaching. Briefly, as an education coach, you can work with students of any age to help them improve in school and reach their goals. Relationship coaching may involve assisting with communication. Transition coaches get their clients through difficult times. For example, they may help with divorce, job change, and losing a loved one. Life skills coaches can assist with building soft skills like teamwork and critical thinking.

Most of these fields require no specialized degree or training. However, you will find that you earn higher pay and more clients with additional education. Especially if you wish to go into nutrition or mental health.


The coaching profession has seen a huge boom over the last ten years. Indeed, the number of life coaches increased by 33% between 2015 and 2019.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, estimates that the demand for a life coach will increase by 11% between 2020 and 2030. The average rate usually sits at 5-7%. Thus, this career is growing faster than average. This statistic means you can expect higher demand and more job openings for this career.

Professional Coaching Certification

Minimally, most hiring managers and clients prefer coaches with a certificate. This credential shows that you put time and effort into your education. Without one, clients may not be able to trust that you have the expertise to help them.

Lakewood University offers an online coaching program to help students begin their careers. This 16-week course focuses on methods, practices, and standards a coach needs to know. Additionally, students learn marketing skills. You’ll also find out to either start your own business or get hired on as a professional coach.

This program is asynchronous and online. In other words, you have the freedom to complete the coursework whenever it is convenient for you. If your only free time is late at night, an asynchronous schedule allows you to continue your education without the restraints of a traditional college. Online classes are a great alternative for individuals with other responsibilities or whose local college doesn’t offer a coaching program.

Ultimately, an accredited coaching program is a great first step into this career. Reach out to our admissions department today to learn more.