At a crossroads in your life, you may wonder how to find a life coach online to help you take the next steps. Seeking out the services of a reputable life coach, or even becoming a life coach yourself, could help point you in the right direction and make the process a lot easier.
But, with an estimated 71,000 coach practitioners worldwide and a swathe of results appearing when you tap the term ‘life coach’ into your preferred search engine, it can be difficult to sort the credible professionals from those who may have less concrete experience in this growing field.
To support you in this process, we've outlined a number of checks that can help you find a reputable life coach online. While the life coach you eventually choose to work with may not have ticked all the boxes below, it can act as a helpful steer if you're deciding between two or more practitioners.
Do they have a professional website and consistent social media presence?
This is one of the ‘quick glance’ gauges of whether a life coach is the real deal. Creating a high-end website and maintaining a consistent presence on social media channels, including Facebook and Instagram, require a significant investment of both time and, for the former, money.
However, it's important to note that all life coaches have to start somewhere, and that one with a basic WordPress site and a smaller social media following may not be any less committed to their profession.
Do they include testimonials?
A legitimate life coach will be proud of the work they do, and will be happy to share their successes publicly. Featuring testimonials from past clients on their website is just one way to do this, and can go a long way to helping would-be clients get a real insight into where they could be at the end of their life coaching journey.
Are they with a registered body?
There are a number of professional bodies and associations that accredit the work of life coaches in the UK, including the following:
- Association for Coaching (AC)
- UK International Coach Federation (ICF)
- Association for Professional Executive Coaching and Supervision (APECS)
- European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC)
If a coach is part of one of the above, or similar, it can provide that extra level of reassurance that what they do has met the set criteria of an external group that has expertise in this area. This criteria can include needing to complete a set number of training/coaching hours, and members may also be able to get access to mentoring, ongoing professional development, and other benefits that can support the scope of their work. Many of the organisations above will also have a set complaints procedure, where you'll be able to report any concerns you may have about a member.
Do they offer a free consultation session?
Reputable life coaches will want to ensure that they fully understand your needs, and are able to meet them, before taking you on as a paid client. Free consultation sessions also give you the opportunity to get a feel for whether you'd feel comfortable working with that particular life coach, and whether their communication/coaching style fits with your own.
Do they have a diverse offering?
As well as one-to-one life coaching sessions, more seasoned life coaches will often have branched out to offer newsletters, online courses, webinars and other video content to give their clients and would-be clients as wide an offering as possible. Some of this content will be free, giving you further opportunities to assess the work of a life coach before you sign up to their services.
Do they respond to your initial contact promptly?
Using the contact form on their website or sending a direct email is generally the go-to method for making an initial communication with any life coach. It’s not unreasonable for you to expect a response to this enquiry within 48-72 hours (don't forget to check your spam folder!) and a reputable life coach will want to mark themselves out as a reliable presence in your life from the outset.
However, life coaches are often one-man bands, doing everything from the marketing to the admin of their business single-handedly, on top of family and, in some cases, ‘day job’ commitments, so there’s room to cut them a little slack.
Are they realistic about what they can help you to achieve?
Life coaching, just as with any other form of personal development work, is a process, rather than a quick fix for any issues that you're currently facing in your life. If a life coach's website is peppered with outlandish claims that they can completely transform your internal or external world in a matter of minutes, hours or days, then it should give you cause to think again.
What does your gut say?
If you've gone through all the points above and are still hesitant, sometimes there's no substitute for a good old-fashioned dose of gut instinct. You may not know whether a life coach is completely right for you, but your gut is bound to gurgle loudly if the life coach in question is wrong for your needs.