What to Look for When Selecting a Coach Certification Program

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

If you’re drawn to the idea of becoming a professional coach, it’s important to choose a coach training program that gives you comprehensive, well-rounded instruction on how to best support your future clients.

The Importance of a Strong Foundation

Whether your ultimate goal is to become a certified life coach, a spiritual coach, a career or business coach, or a different kind of coach entirely, it’s always a good idea to choose a program that provides comprehensive, foundational training.

While there are many “life coach schools” and programs out there that offer niche or specialty coaching training, many of them will not give you the broad range of skills and knowledge you need to become successful in your career.

Foundational training gives you a strong base upon which to build your professional coaching practice. It teaches you the basics of how to coach, including how to establish rapport with clients, how to create powerful coaching relationships, and how to effectively use questioning and other communication tools.

While continuing education is important for coaches, one wants to find out too late that their original training didn’t provide them with a solid foundation. Since the foundations of coaching are the same regardless of what type of coaching you specialize in, it’s important to choose a program that covers all the basics—even if you have no certification goals at this time.

What if I Only Plan to Work with One Type of Client?

While most will naturally gravitate towards specific coaching niches or specializations, students who only receive niche or specialty training may find themselves limited in their ability to help clients achieve their goals. This can be especially true if they later decide to branch out into other areas of coaching, or if they eventually would like to seek ICF-accredited certification.

When choosing a coach certification program, look for one that covers topics like:

Anyone who is considering a career in coaching should make sure that they enroll in a program that will provide them with a thorough understanding of the ICF Core Competencies. These competencies provide a framework for effective coaching, and they are absolutely essential for anyone who ultimately wants to become certified in this field.

Life coach certification programs should not only teach the basics of these competencies, but should also provide students with an opportunity to discuss how they can be applied in the real world.

Instructors with experience in coaching should be able to mentor students; sharing their personal insights on how to build rapport with clients, set goals, and create action plans that lead to lasting change.

Some life coach training courses will also provide you with opportunities to practice your new skills through role-playing exercises and real life coaching scenarios.

Some programs will have an online community where you can connect with other coaches or students, get advice and feedback, and continue to learn and grow in your new career. This experience is essential for developing the confidence and competence you need to become a successful coach.


Enrolling in a coaching certification course is an investment in your future. The right program will give you the foundation you need to be successful, and it will provide you with the support and resources you need to continue growing and developing in your career.

Select your coaching school wisely, and you’ll be on your way to a successful and rewarding coaching career.