Becoming A Coach

Why Everyone Cringes When You Say You're a Life Coach

Tired of getting eye rolls when you say you're a Life Coach? Try these 3 steps from John Kim (The Angry Therapist) to help legitimize your coaching practice.

Everyone is a life coach these days

Lumia coaching cofounder John Kim, The Angry Therapist

by John Kim

Life coaching has become so common that you might be wondering, is it actually legitimate?

Here's the thing: the field of coaching is expanding exponentially. And with such rapid growth, it's inevitable that a few shady characters will jump on the trend. Don't let that rattle your cage - the industry itself is the real deal.

Here's why so many people are starting to enter the profession in recent years:

1. Demand

The wellness industry is made up of any business that helps consumers incorporate wellness activities into their daily lives, including coaching. According to the Global Wellness Institute's most recent study, the global wellness economy is currently valued at $4.5 trillion.

As the world begins to open back up post-COVID, people are going to want help in navigating how they want to live, engage, and incorporate a broader definition of wellness into their lives. As life coaches, we help individuals do things that are hard and new, which often entails weaving several dimensions of “wellness” into their lifestyle simultaneously.

2. The commercialization of wellness

In the last five years, it's become on-trend to be a better version of yourself. Fitness is no longer about going to the gym with a magazine tucked under your arm. We work out daily taking classes with communities. Yoga, functional fitness, strength training, boxing, spin, kettlebells, and so many more. What we put into our bodies is something more folks are starting to pay attention to. Vegan. Organic. Grass fed. And we're finally getting the memo that those Buddhist monks have been onto something all along. Tired of drowning in our thoughts, we're learning about mindfulness and meditation.

We are interested in living longer and meeting our full potential. We are taking ownership of the reality we create, and learning how to better steward our bodies and minds in the process.

3. The internet

The internet has allowed anyone to start a coaching business with very low overhead or startup costs. This means if you've been through some form of transformation in your life and feel inspired to help others who are going through a similar experience, you can do it from the comfort of home. Enter online sessions. Packages. Programs. Life Coaching.

4. Longing to escape the 9 to 5 grind

Let's face it - many of us have always chafed at this one. And with the rise of the gig economy, we're finally able to envision a legitimate alternative and do something about it. Instead of working to forward someone else's dream or vision, our labor call now be applied directly to fowarding our own professional aspirations.

So everyone's a life coach now. Or so it seems.

But this isn't why you're catching eye-rolls from people when you say you're a life coach.

When you announce that you are a life coach, some people get the impression that what you're really saying is that you have "mastered" life. That you know everything now, and it's time to share the love. It's inherent in the title and a hard pill to swallow.

"Life Coach" is practically dripping with ego, which means that push back will come faster than you can tweet out your newfound calling. Especially from skeptical friends and family. Maybe not in words, but you'll see it etched into some of their faces.

So what do you do? You're passionate about helping others. It's something you've always wanted to do. All your friends have been coming to you for advice since forever. And you've done a shit ton of work on yourself, read all the books, and have taken life coaching courses.

Here's what you need to do.

How to prevent them from cringing

Step 1. Get very specific about what part of life you are coaching

If your best friend Bob tells you he is now a certified life coach, you may roll your eyes. But if Bob tells you he is now coaching people through divorce recovery, that's different. You watched him go through that very thing himself, and come out the other side a better human. You also know Bob has a lot of experience with the topic, and has already been helping others a lot just by sharing his story. Because you respect his perspective on the topic, you will most likely back Bob's new passion. No cringing, just support.

Want to be like Bob, but still figuring out what niche might be right for YOU? Explore the 20 fastest growing coaching specializations to find your fit.

Step 2. Stop trying to "sell" yourself

To take coching from a hobby to a full-on, income-producing career, you DO have to sell sessions, services, and products. But here's the thing: there's no greater turnoff than a life coach desperately trying to sell coaching sessions.

People need to trust you before they hire you.

They want to know you can produce tangible results, and might want some evidence that you can deliver the goods before jumping in. So instead of selling, set your intention on delivering value.

Know what transformation you're helping people to achieve, with specificity. Complete this sentence in less than 15 words:

"I help X do Y."  

Share your story for the purpose of serving others. Write or talk about what you've been through, and how you apply it toward helping other people achieve the same results. Offer testimonials and case studies to back it up.

Not sure how to do this effectively? Learn more here.

Step 3. Practice what you preach

If after step one and two they are still cringing, ignore them.


You do you. Let them do them. Keep living into everything you've learned, and continue growing. Your own transformation is what will earn you your stripes, and it will attract those of like mind.

Does this take time? Yes. But what you'll find on the other side of following your authentic truth is that you haven't just build a business, you've build an entirely new life.

Many coaches take courses, do loads of inner work, get certified as a coach, then stop the personal work and focus entirely on creating a coaching business. If their practice doesn't immediately take off, they slowly lose buy-in and enthusiasm. The way to prevent this is to continue your self betterment journey even as you build your practice.

When people notice changes in you and see your own transformation, when they can see how serious you are and sense your commitment to helping others, they will finally accept you as a life coach.

And if they don't, it doesn't matter.

You know the truth, and you are operating on a different level now. You are finding your way, building something that will last, and impacting the lives of others in the process.

- Angry

Originally published in December 2018, this post has been updated and expanded by Team Luma to provide additional resources and tips to reflect today's realities.

Ready for liftoff 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, business instruction to prepare you for liftoff as an entrepreneur.

Lumia Coaching: Vibrant community. Evidence-based life coach training. Lifetime support.

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