For being a life coach, (like most other professions in this digital age) a degree is not necessary.
However, International Coach Federation accredited programs can be taken to learn the basics of coaching people and to present yourself more professionally. These programs generally take 6–12 months. Can be done online, too. And classroom program fees could fall between $2,000 and $10,000. You’ll find many ads showing programs that complete in 2 months and $500, but they are all crap. To be honest, no program makes you a life coach. It will only make you look professional. Healing hearts is a born ability, and can be developed by practice. That is all.
Life Coach is nothing but a torch which shows the way in the dark. Life Coach is nothing but a gentle breeze which blows on your face while you are being tortured by the scorching heat. Life Coach is nothing but an ear which listens to all that you’ve have to say, and understands all that you couldn’t express in words. He is a shoulder. He is a best friend. He is a lap of your mother.
These qualities are very rare. People of this generation do not open their heart. They do not talk about their fears, their insecurities, their confusions, their inabilities. But, if you have across some people who have discussed these things with you. If you have come across people who came to you - crying, and went back - smiling, only to never come back with similar difficulties again. Then you have the ability to become a Life Coach.
Practically, I would suggest you to
1. Talk to people whenever you get a chance. Preferably, in person.Smile at them genuinely. Ask how their day is going. If they are in a hurry, do not hold them back. If they seem free enough to chat with, ask sensible questions. Do not directly get into their personal life. That is not the aim. You are not being their life coach here. You are only practicing to be comfortable with people, and making them feel comfortable with you. It is very important. Practice this more and more and more. With each time, it will make you a better communicator. It will erase your own doubts, and your ideas will get clearer and clearer. It is again very important. People only trust and follow the man who speak well, and whose thoughts are clear.
2. Listen to people patiently. Observe their actions. Observe their body language. Observe what makes them awkward, what makes them switch the topic, what makes them smile, and what makes them open up. Again, you are not being their life coach here. You are only experiencing to talk with people. You are only experience to know about people. You are experiencing to communicate with people. Not just talking.
3. Be calm. Be genuine. If they ask about your opinion, tell them genuinely. If you do not know, tell them you do not know. If you are scared, tell them you are scared. It will reciprocate. People will start being more genuine with you. They will be calmer with you. And that is again very important.
4. Be a good writer. Be a good storyteller. Whenever someone comes to you with some problem, share a personal experience with them.May it be something you read somewhere. May it be your friend’s. Doesn’t matter. But, always start with a story. Then tell them what happened when you did X, and what happened when you did Y. What you realized years after that incident. How has the passing time showed you different frames of reference, and what have you learnt from it. You do not have to give them exact solutions. People are intelligent enough to figure it out themselves. You just have to share your experiences with them.
5. There will be times when you’ll have no experiences to share. Not enough knowledge. Times when you’ll be skeptical about sharing your friends’. Or times when you’ll find unsatisfactory look on the faces of people. Well, that is what you need to discover. That is what will show you your niche. Your expertise. Your specialty. You can’t coach everyone. You can only coach people who are walking the path you’ve walked in the past.
6. Now, after having fun by doing all this for years (after being confident enough,) start charging people. Build a professional website. Quora works, too. That is what I’m doing right now. Market yourself. Be shameless. Give talks. Print out posters. Jot down your thoughts. Share your experiences. Share your learning. You’ll not get clients often. In India, hardly anyone pays for counseling. But, if your previous clients - those good old people - were really benefited by your counseling, they would definitely bring money to you. They would direct their friends to you. Word of mouth will do wonders if you have brought wonders in people’s lives. Selflessly.

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