Taking Coaching from Passion to Profession: How to Land a Role as a Coach
Getting a full time (or part time!) job as a coach used to be the ultimate daydream – but it’s becoming more and more of a reality as the professional coaching landscape changes.
For many years, the focus for many fledgling coaches was either to build a solo business on their own terms, or work internally as a coach within a large organization. Today there’s many more options the ability for coaches to pick and choose their path.
While many coaches go the route of establishing a private practice, working for a company offers its benefits, such as a stable income and the opportunity to collaborate with a team. If you’re considering that second pathway, we’ve put together this guide for finding a life coaching job that fulfills your goals.
Understand the landscape
Before you start job hunting, know what you're getting into (and the right places to look!). Doing research to understand who is hiring coaches and what the requirements are, is essential.
Companies that hire full-time professional coaches often belong to the corporate sector, educational institutions, healthcare, or specialized coaching organizations. But many people who want to be coaches are redefining their current roles or creating entirely new ones for themselves.
If you’re thinking of working within a certain sector, it’s wise to consider how your existing skill set can benefit a future employer. Angling for a specific kind of role in a certain field might make it easier to hone your application materials, but may also lower the number of roles for which you can apply.
Part-time or full-time coaching work?
Many people have an idea that they want to be a full time coach when they first begin life coach training. But building that practice may look very different from what they’re imagining. Ultimately, part time might work just as well for you!
The facts surrounding how much “full time” coaches work is enlightening:
According to the International Coaching Federation (ICF), most “full time” professional coaches do much more than conduct one-on-one coaching sessions. According to a recent study, the average active coach practitioner had 12.2 clients, and spent 11.9 hours per week conducting 1:1 client sessions.
Even if you decide to shoot for full time work, you may need to build up from part time as you build your business. In fact, many of our coaches who intended to work full time found that working part time was a better fit for their lifestyle and goals, or liked to coach in addition to a full time job.
However part time might not be a great fit for your goals, as Lumia alumni Laura Criscione found – many coaching companies that wanted her to work part time as a coach for their organization would not allow her to have her own coaching clients on the side, within her own business. She found this wasn’t a good fit for her goals, and now looks for roles where she can build her own business as well.
Coach training and credentialing
According to the ICF, 80% of clients expect coaches to be certified or credentialed.
The facts are clear – employers and organizations are looking for coaches who have legitimate training. Many organizational job postings also require an ICF credential, which is considered by many as the coaching industry stamp of approval.
After watching industry trends for the past ten years, we at Lumia believe the field of coaching will eventually be regulated in a similar way to the practice of psychotherapy. But whether or not that happens anytime soon, obtaining your coaching certification, and then going on to attain your ICF credential, increases your marketability and credibility.
Getting training is the ethical move too, as it provides the education you need along with the ability to practice your coaching skills and receive feedback in a “test kitchen” environment.
Plus, it increases your opportunities. Coaching is highly established within the fields of business and tech. Even companies like Facebook are getting in on the action, hiring a Head of Coaching (who’s tasked with hiring 100 more coaches!) for the whole company.
Find the right networks
Building a strong network is essential in many industries, but especially in coaching. Your fellow students and alumni can be a strong network for you – but you have to put time and energy into those relationships, and give just as much as you receive.
Other places to expand your network is through attending coaching seminars and additional education workshops.
Lumia alumni Vanessa Crues highly recommended getting involved with your local ICF chapter, as they can provide a strong guiding presence as you traverse your coaching path and give plenty of professional development opportunities as well from ICF membership, access to other high level coaches, conferences, networking and more.
Stay on top of job listings
Lumia Alumni Laura Criscione also suggested setting up alerts on all the major job search sites. Being one of the first to apply for a newly posted coaching position can make the difference on whether you get an interview or not. (If the idea of getting constant updates isn’t appealing, then just set up a time each week to do targeted searches for job postings, so you have more control over when and how you think about the job hunt.
There are several places where you can look for job opportunities:
- Company websites: Make a list of companies you'd like to work for and regularly check their career pages. (Bonus points, put together a packet and reach out to them for a role!) We’ve listed a sampling of companies that hire coaches in this blog post.
- Websites like Linked In, Indeed, Glassdoor and SimplyHired.
- LinkedIn Jobs: You can get tailored job recommendations based on your profile and network. Plus, following specific hashtags related to coaching can surface job opportunities.
Create your own luck
Many of our coaches, including Lumia instructor Barb Matias Haynes, emphasize the importance of creating your own opportunities as a coach. This means saying yes, putting your hand up, trying new things and being willing to volunteer for something – even if you’re not 100% sure if you’re qualified.
Coaching as a professional field is fairly new, which means there’s a prime opportunity to take initiative and create a new role within an established company.
Consider putting together a packet that showcases what coaching can do for an organization at every level, and then tailor it to your intended target. It’s great practice for learning what will get a positive response… and what gets crickets.
Nail the interview
Once you get that interview, prepare well in advance and with enthusiasm. Showing up with something specific to say will set you apart from many other candidates.
Research the company, and be prepared to discuss your coaching experience, your coach training and to even showcase your skills through role-playing. Be ready to explain exactly how your coaching skills can contribute to the overall organization’s mission and goals. Help them understand why hiring you will positively impact not only the bottom line but also create a better workplace for all.
Finding a coaching job at a company can be a rewarding path with its own set of challenges and opportunities. It requires tailored preparation, strong networking, and the right resources to guide you – but remember, those who succeed do so by taking imperfect action! You don’t need to have it all figured out, you just need to take that first step toward your desired future.
Ready to get certified as a coach?
One of our values at Lumia is that we dare to be different. Our coaches ignore the expectations society tries to impose on them, and seek to live from their own truth instead. If you are ready to step into your power and you’d like some partners in the process, come check out Lumia Life Coach Training. Grounded in science, our ICF accredited program features authentic instructors, a robust curriculum, and business instruction to prepare you for liftoff.