Frequently Asked Questions

What is a life coach?

A life coach is an individual who supports and encourages people to fulfil their potential and really make the most of their life. A life coach can help to empower individuals to take control of their life, or certain areas of their life, for example, their career, confidence/self belief, finances, health, relationships, spirituality and/or work/life balance.

It can be easy to lose direction in our lives and life coaching aims to explore ways to enhance the skills, qualities and creativity we already have but may not be making the most of. Life coaching often involves exploring our attitudes, beliefs and values, discussing our aims in life and setting appropriate goals to help us to reach them. Unlike trying to achieve goals on our own, having a life coach should help to keep us committed, motivated and focussed. Just like sports men and women have their own coach, a life coach helps us to become the best we can be in our own lives.

What happens during a life coaching session?

Life coaching sessions will typically be for a specific duration, often between 45 minutes and 60 minutes (depending on the life coach you choose). Sessions are usually conducted over the phone, but face to face, email or Internet sessions may be available from some life coaches too.
During the session, you and your life coach will discuss certain aims and together you’ll set goals and work towards these. Although a life coach will work with you, it’s often up to you to challenge or reflect upon certain ideas to help you move forward with your life. You will not be forced to make any decisions you’re not comfortable with and the sessions are confidential, so you can explore your thoughts and feelings privately.
Life coaching is often seen as a partnership between you and your life coach, in which your life coach will encourage you to explore how to make positive changes in your life. A life coach should offer support and feedback, and help you to stay focused on your goals.

What qualifications and experience should life coaches have?

Life coaching is not currently regulated in the UK. However, when choosing a life coach it can be reassuring to know that they work to certain standards of good practice. Life coaches can register with a professional body with its own code of ethics, and those who have accreditation/membership with a professional body work to strict guidelines and ethics.

What are the professional bodies in the UK?

UK International Coach Federation (ICF)

Life coaches can become accredited by the ICF, who have three grades of membership:

1 Associate Certified Coach (ACC) – requires 100 hours’ coaching experience and 60 hours’ training, with a minimum of 10 hours with a mentor coach.
2 Professional Certified Coach (PCC) – requires 750 hours’ experience and 125 hours’ training, with a minimum of 10 hours with a mentor coach.
3 Master Certified Coach (MCC) – requires 2,500 hours’ experience and 200 hours’ training, with a minimum of 10 hours with a mentor coach.

Association for Coaching

Life coaches can become an Associate Member, Member or Accredited Member of the Association for Coaching:

Associate Member (AMAC)

1 Experience only (no coaching qualifications) this requires a minimum of 75 hours coaching delivery.
2 Experience combined with training this requires a minimum of 75 hours of coaching

Member (MAC)

Experience only (no coaching qualifications) – requires a minimum of 250 hours of coaching delivery.

Experience combined with training – requires a minimum of 215 hours of coaching delivery plus 35 hours of training.

Training combined with experience – requires a minimum of 100 hours of training plus 150 hours of coaching delivery.

Accredited Member (AC Accredited or AC Accred)

A minimum of 250 hours of coaching practise.

Evidence of Continued Professional Development.

Submitted a case study and account of coaching philosophy.

Evidence of coaching supervision.

European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC)

EMCC exists to promote good practice and the expectation of good practice in mentoring and coaching across Europe.

The EMCC is a unifying and inclusive body covering a broad spectrum of organisations from the voluntary and community, professional training and development, counselling at work, life coaching and academic psychology sectors.

Association for Professional Executive Coaching and Supervision (APECS)

APECS is the professional body for executive coaching and for the supervision of executive coaches:

Accredited Executive Coaches

Accredited Executive Coaches have extensive one–to–one executive coaching experience of at least five years.

Associate Members

Associate Members (working towards accreditation) have extensive one–to–one executive coaching experience of at least two years.

Accredited Coach Training Programmes (ACTP)

The International Coach Federation (ICF) have a list of Accredited Coach Training Programmes (ACTP) so if a life coach has a qualification from one of these training programmes you can be assured they are working within ICF guidelines, and often towards accreditation/membership with a professional body.

Other courses and qualifications

As well as Accredited Coach Training Programmes (ACTP), there are a wide range of other training courses and qualifications available from many organisations, colleges and Universities across the UK. As with any qualifications, different courses will offer different levels of expertise. Please ask your life coach to clarify what their course(s) included if you’d like to know specifics.