How to Start My Own Career Coaching Business Without Being a Certified ICF Coach

LEADER UOMO image by Marco from

Founded in 1995, the International Coach Federation (ICF)was created to bring a set of standards and expectations to the increasingly popular coaching profession that was gaining popularity with businesses and individuals. Individuals who wish to begin a career as a professional coach have many paths to choose from, including the independent certification offered by ICF. Certification is not required to become a successful coach but it does provide future coaches with specific skilled training, credibility and a way to enter the profession with confidence. Here’s how to get started without completing a coaching program.

Get Your Coaching Business Started

Decide what type of coach you would like to be. Coaches have many specialties similar to those of professional counselors: business coaching, leadership coaching, team coaching, career coaching, time-management coaching, organization coaching and relationship coaching to name a few.

Decide if you want to focus on individual coaching or group coaching. For example, leadership coaches work individually with business men and women and executives, as well as in group settings.

Create a list of the experience and attributes that qualify you to be a successful coach. This list will be essential to acquiring and retaining clients. Consider experiences you have had both on the job and off.

Create a pricing schedule for individual and groups sessions. For example, you may choose to price in groups of five sessions and give a discount for this. It often takes several sessions to see any real results.

Reach out to all of your business connections and tell them about your new business endeavor. Ask if anyone would like to try coaching or knows someone who would.


  • Gaining a coach certification through an established organization such as ICF may help coaches get started as these organizations offer many different resources to help new and established coaches with their business.

    Compare prices of programs carefully and make sure you compare what is included in the tuition cost as well.

    Starting any business takes work and commitment. You will need to create clear goals and stay focused to be successful as a coach with or without certification.


  • There are many coach training programs online and not all of them are well known or respected. It is important that you research any program that you're planning to take to make sure it is legitimate. Make sure you can speak with live individuals, and it's always a good idea to speak with graduates of the program to get their input about the program’s quality.


About the Author

With over 15 years writing experience, Lee's published work includes company newsletters, direct mail, articles, press releases, ghostwriting and website copy. As a communications / marketing consultant, Lee has worked on everything from marketing to communications, and executive presence to presentation skills. Lee has a M.A. from University of Illinois.

Photo Credits