How to Become a Life Coach in Wisconsin

A life coach is a professional who works with individuals to set, measure and achieve goals. Those goals can be related to work, relationships, health and other things, but the overall purpose is to improve one’s life by working with a coach. People who benefit from coaching are driven to change but need guidance.

In Wisconsin, you should have no problem finding clients if you are a trained, qualified and professional life coach. But first make sure it’s a job to which you are suited. Life coaches are good listeners and leaders; they are organized and detail-oriented; they enjoy working with and motivating people; and they are willing to work flexible hours, including nights and weekends.

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Requirements for Working as a Life Coach

The state of Wisconsin has no official requirements for someone who wants to work as a life coach. However, the best way to get started and to ensure you’re qualified and will find clients is to have completed high school and then a post-secondary training program. This does not have to be a degree program from a university, but it should be a course approved by the International Coach Federation (ICF), the premier international organization for certifying coaches.

Academic and Training Programs for Life Coaches

To become a life coach in Wisconsin, you have a few training options. Most schools that train coaches offer programs that are online, self-study, in-person or a combination of all three.

  • Academy of Creative Coaching, Milwaukee. This is a national organization that offers distance learning, but it also has a four-day intensive course with dates held in Milwaukee. To be prepared for ICF certification, you will need to complete that four-day, in-person program as well as an independent study course and a few hours of mentor coaching.
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, Continuing Studies, Madison. Not many colleges offer a life coaching curriculum, but UW’s Continuing Studies department has a Certified Professional Coach program that is approved by the ICF. The program includes coursework as well as time spent as the client of a certified coach and six months of working as a coach under supervision.

Life Coaching Certification in Wisconsin

While certification is not required, it can help you get more clients and prove your qualifications as a coach. The ICF offers three levels of nationally-recognized certification with different requirements:

  • Associate Certified Coach. The first level of certification requires 60 or more hours of training and 100 hours of work experience as a coach.
  • Professional Certified Coach. For the next level, you must have completed more than 125 hours of training and at least 500 hours of coaching experience.
  • Master Certified Coach. To be a master coach requires more than 200 hours of training courses and over 2,500 hours of work experience.

Wisconsin Salary Expectations

Records for each year and state are not available for coaching salaries through the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, there is a record of the nationwide annual average from 2015, which was $61,900, as reported by the BLS. Other sources, including Ziprecruiter.com, have reported an average annual salary of $58,048 for life coaches in Wisconsin in 2019. It’s important to remember that salaries in this career can vary widely. Some coaches work full-time, while others coach clients part-time while also holding down another full-time job.

Beginning a Coaching Career in Wisconsin

Most working life coaches, in Wisconsin and other states, are self-employed. They take on clients as freelancers, part-time or full-time, and may or may not start a small coaching business. It is possible to find companies that hire life coaches, either to work with clients or as a benefit for their employees.

You may be able to find more work by specializing, for instance as a wellness life coach or a coach who specifically helps with career or business goals. In Wisconsin, you will find the most opportunities for employment and for clients in the big population centers: Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha and Racine.