Never discount the impossible while you are trying to become a life coach.
Life coaching is a growth industry. It's a nice job—you help people identify and overcome their problems. Better still there's no barrier to entry, it's perfectly legal to call yourself a life coach and then start selling your services. You can set your own fees and your own working hours, as long as you can win clients. Given that certification is not mandatory for the profession, why should you become a certified life coach?
BENEFITS OF CERTIFICATION – CREDIBILITY
Whilst it's true that many great coaches have never taken an exam, particularly as life coaches have existed for far longer than certification programs, it's also true that it's a competitive profession now. With a huge number of new coaches starting out each year, you want to be considered credible by your clients.
One of the easiest ways to deliver that credibility is to become a certified professional. It shows potential customers that you care enough about your profession to study it in depth, and that someone else (from an academic institution) thinks that you are a professional.
BENEFITS OF CERTIFICATION – DEVELOPMENT
No-one instinctively knows all there is to know about any form of coaching. Life coaching is a huge responsibility; someone is entrusting you to help them through their pressing issues to make a better life for themselves.
One of the big benefits of a certification program is the training that goes along with it.
It helps you understand different methodologies of coaching (when our own preferred techniques don't work).
It enables you to work with a wider range of clients by understanding the issues they face more deeply.
All professionals need developing, there's no shame in that – it's why we have universities and colleges, and why we aren't all licensed to practice brain surgery too.
BENEFITS OF CERTIFICATION – CONGRUENCE
A coach helps other people develop. In fact that's almost certainly part of your sales pitch for your life coaching, “I will help you grow so that you can overcome your problems.” (Or some variant on the theme).
If you know that your mission is to develop others, shouldn't you be focused on developing yourself as well?
That's congruence—it allows us to walk the walk, as well as talk the talk. Nobody likes to hear; “Do what I say, not what I do!” So your approach needs to be congruent in order to gain your clients' full trust.
BENEFITS OF CERTIFICATION – PROFESSIONALISM
You wouldn't visit a doctor without certification would you? You wouldn't want an unqualified builder building your home either. Certification helps us separate the wheat from the chaff in a professional sense.
It's not that someone without medical training can't help us with our medical issues, but we'd rather see someone with a degree all the same. We know that when people put in the hard work to certify their abilities, they are more likely to deliver on their promises.
Life coaching is a real profession, it helps many thousands of people every day. In order to be take seriously as professionals, we must get certified.