Everything You Need to Know to Get Your Leadership Coaching Certification

Leadership coaching is a crucial aspect to creating individuals with successful lives. There is a famous saying by Ronald Reagan that goes, “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”

A home or business that is run by a leader will be successful beyond measure, but how does one become such a person?  The answer is simple – they are taught by another leader.

Whether that role model is someone they work with, are related to, or is a leadership coach doesn’t matter.  What matters is that they are inspired by that person to emulate their actions and thoughts or shape their own choices to create standards for themselves.

Leaders by nature have some intrinsic qualities about them – they care about others’ success, they are humble, and they are open to growth and change.  However, leadership can be taught by others with these traits, and if you yourself have these characteristics, you have the basics to become a leadership coach.  The next thing that you need is leadership coaching certification.

What is a Leadership Coaching Certification?

A leadership coach is a mentor, motivator, and accountability partner to someone who has goals to reach but needs that extra push to get there.

Through leadership training, successful participants in a leadership coaching program work under supervision to complete peer work, mentor coaching, and webinars geared towards requirements necessary to pass an oral exam.  Through these lessons, as well as required reading, e-workbooks, and self-study projects, students will learn how to start their own coaching business or simply bring their new coaching skills to their own lives.

Once the oral exam is completed successfully, students receive a leadership coaching certificate, or Completion of Certification.  Through most schools, like iPEC, this course takes approximately one year.  After that time, you will have had extensive training hours, exposure and understanding of leadership strategies, and experience with multiple coaching methodologies that you can take into your new career as a leadership coach.

Why Become a Leadership Coach?

Some people just have a desire to help others be the best that they can be.  Maybe you find yourself giving life advice regularly and hearing feedback that you were right.  Maybe you make good choices and have people asking you questions to guide them that you consider basic common sense, or you just want to learn how to coach leaders to help them grow and develop their skills.

Regardless of your “why,” if you are considering the path to become a leadership coach, also called “life coach” (although this term is phasing out) or “executive coach,” you should know a few things before you get started.

Leadership Coach is a Real Job

First of all, leadership coaches (as life coaches) are now considered a professional career according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.  Those in this profession assist clients in establishing goals like big career changes or getting healthy through a process of guidance and motivation.  In other words, leadership coaches focus on the potential of their client and getting them to be where they want to be.

You Create Your Salary

According to Payscale, the average executive coach salary is $90,874 plus perks and bonuses of over $17,000, breaking it down to more than $125 an hour.  So, if the satisfaction of getting your client to fulfill their hopes, dreams, and goals doesn’t convince you to become a leadership coach, the salary potential is motivation for many people to enter this field.

However, the certification to become a life coach is not enough to make you successful.  You have to earn your clients through your professionalism, coaching skills, and your own attributes.  You have to be able to have a conversation with a person to get them to open up to you and trust you with their vulnerabilities.  This reputation takes time to create and forever to keep.

Your Success is up to You

While many people get their life coaching certification, those who don’t put the effort in to be successful for the right reasons end up frustrated and in a flailing business. On the flip side, those with leadership traits themselves such as the desire to see others happy and meeting their goals, the ability to take responsibility, and the knowledge to impart to others to become leaders generally are successful in this field.

What Does the Role of  Leadership Coach Look Like?

Through leadership coaching, you will work with your clients to meet their goals, tailoring your approach to their needs on an individual basis and working with them through a process.  Some clients may work with you for a short time, while others may be long-term or even permanent clients of yours.

Getting Started with a Client

Through the process, you would initially meet with your new prospective client to determine and discuss their vision and establish a basic rapport.  If that rapport is not there, you may not be a good fit together, and this would be the time to part ways.

If you both decide that you want to proceed, you are entering into a partnership in which you will work together to create a plan for success.  In this plan, you both determine your client’s specific objectives and then discuss activities that will help them achieve them. They may already know what they need to do and just need reassurance from someone with their best interests in mind, or they may need advice, guidance, and even hand-holding.

The Process

Throughout the process, you as a life coach will meet with your clients and listen to them as they discuss their progress.  You will help them celebrate their major achievements and recognize their minor ones so that they continue to feel confident throughout their changes.

The general schedule of a leadership coach varies from person to person.  As a rule of thumb, you don’t want to take on too many clients at once. Your attention will be too divided, and your clients will notice it.

Coaching sessions can range anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes of scheduled phone calls and appointments, but you will need to be sure to check in between sessions to keep the momentum going and boost your clients’ morale.  You will also have to add in time for your administrative and business tasks related to each client, so an active client base of 10-15 people on your slate is a good target.

How to Become a Leadership Coach

There is no one easy guide on how to coach leaders, or coach people to become leaders.  It takes time, motivation, techniques, and strategies, but it also takes a lot of empathy and patience.

What You Should Have to Start

Those who make good leadership coaches tend to have similar characteristics.  They enjoy helping others be successful, they are capable of strong leadership themselves but also know when to step back and let others lead, and they are organized and good communicators.  They also must be able to take the strategies they have learned and mold and shape them creatively until they find something that works for their clients’ needs.

Training and Certifications

Although it is not legally necessary to have training and certification to become a life coach, and there are no formal requirements, the proper training and certification can help you build your clientele and get your foot in the door of businesses you may not have been able to access without professional recognition.

Currently, thousands of people are in training to become leadership coaches.  This field has been gaining in popularity as it becomes more and more recognized.  To stand out in an area with so much competition, training and certification is a must.

There are leadership coach classes offered by many colleges and universities, as well as dozens of companies with recognized programs in the United States.

Types of Leadership Coach Certifications

Before you choose a program, verify that it is approved by a legitimate credentialing organization.  These companies, like the International Coach Federation (ICF), evaluate each program, using stringent standards of ethics and competencies.

Programs that are accredited by the ICF, like IPEC and Accomplishment Coaching, offer multiple credible avenues for you to become a leadership coach.

When you decide to enter this field, there are three certifications that you can choose from. You may prefer to become an Associate Certified Coach, a Professional Certified Coach, or a Master Certified Coach.  Each path has different requirements to certification.

Most Associate Certified Coach certifications require completion of an ICF Accredited Coach Training Program, or ACTP.  With this completion you must also have attested to 100 hours of coaching experience with a minimum of eight clients, and then complete the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA).

A Professional Certified Coach must have completed the ACTP as well, but also must attest to 500 hours of coaching experience with a minimum of 25 clients.  Completion of the CKA is also a requirement.

The final certification that you can obtain is the title of Master Certified Coach. This program requires 200 hours of coach-specific training, along with 10 hours of Mentor Coaching from an MCC in good standing.  For this level, 2,500 hours of coaching experience with a minimum of 35 clients must be attested to. Two audio recordings and written transcripts of your coaching sessions will constitute a performance evaluation, and then you must complete the CKA if you have not done so already.

Leaders in the Field of Leadership Coaches

If you have the drive and passion, the sky is the limit for you in the field of leadership or executive coaching.  Examples of those who have taken their ability to motivate others and become highly successful are:

  • Stephen Covey, educator, businessman, author and speaker.  Covey is famous for his books like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The Leader in Me.  Many of his books are used in schools and companies around the world to inspire people to become leaders and look for the best in others.  In 1985, he merged his company with Franklin Quest to become Franklin Covey, a global professional-services firm and specialty retailer that to this day – even after Covey’s death in 2012 –  continues to sell both training and productivity tools to large companies and individuals.
  • Deepak Chopra, physician, author, and speaker.  Chopra originally studied medicine in India before coming to the United States in 1970 and becoming a physician.  He became involved in the Transcendental Meditation movement and began writing books. In 1993, he appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show and his books and training became overnight sensations.  His philosophy endorses consciousness over matter and intelligence in nature.
  • Tony Robbins, author, entrepreneur, and life coach.  Robbins began life in an abusive home and used this to motivate him to become a speaker and philanthropist, ultimately becoming the founder of several multi-billion dollar companies.  Many of his companies focus on training life skills coaches to deal with difficult topics like drug addiction. He has written five books, of which four became best-sellers.

Each of these powerhouses in the field of leadership coaching started out as regular people with determination, passion, and empathy for others, and worked their way to the pinnacle of success in the field.  They have become globally known and have helped millions of people become stronger and meet their goals.

Your Next Steps

If your motivation to help others drives you to becoming a leadership coach, you can work in residential treatment facilities to help those in need to overcome their challenges.  You can choose to be self-employed and work as a consultant or a contractor for businesses looking for life coaching, or you can work for individuals needing help through big life changes.

Whichever goal you have in mind, your next step is to research the training programs available and choose the one that is right for you and the certification you want to obtain.

Determine your niche – what is the focus area you want to primarily target?  Do you want to be a leadership coach, weight loss coach, a relationship coach, a career coach, or other?  This will help you narrow down programs and choose your certification.

Once you have made your decision, congratulations!  There is a huge new world that awaits you where the possibilities for you to help others succeed are endless.  Your decision to become a leadership coach could potentially have ripple effects that will be felt for generations, and they all began with you.


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“Certification.”  Accomplishment Coaching.  (n.d.) Retrieved July 17, 2018 from

“Leadership.”  FranklinCovey. (n.d.) Retrieved July 17, 2018 from

“Deepak Chopra.”  The Chopra Center (n.d.) Retrieved July 17, 2018 from

“Tony Robbins: The Official Site.”  Tony Robbins. (n.d). Retrieved July 17, 2018 from