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How to Become a Certified Leadership Coach in 5 Steps 

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Do you want to become a leadership coach? Then this article is for you!

We’ll cover all the steps and information you need to become a successful leadership coach.


Let’s dive straight in!

You’ll learn:

What is leadership coaching?

Let’s start by nailing down what leadership coaching means.

Leadership coaching is about boosting the skills and performance of ‘leaders.’

Leaders can be:

  • Managers
  • Executives
  • Entrepreneurs
  • And so on

The focus? Improve their performance and help them lead better.

You give them the tools to:

  • Make better decisions
  • Improve communication
  • Navigate complex team dynamics

Leadership coaching has different formats.

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You can work one-on-one with a client. 

Or, you can offer group sessions or leadership coaching to entire teams.

In that case, you work on a team’s leadership skills. 

There’s also the option of running group sessions with leaders from different fields. 

That said, if you’re new to coaching, I recommend you start with private one-on-one sessions.

Now that we have a clear picture of what leadership coaching is, let’s compare it with executive coaching.

What is the difference between leadership coaching and executive coaching?

Leadership coaching and executive coaching are sometimes confused.

Let’s clear that up.

Leadership coaching is about helping all kinds of leaders.

It’s not just for current managers but for anyone who wants to lead better — no matter where they are in a company.

The focus is less on personal or life goals and more on becoming skilled leaders.

Executive coaching is more specific.

It’s for the top people in a company, like CEOs or managers.Executive coaches focus on: 

  • Strategic decision-making
  • Visionary leadership
  • Organizational transformation 

So, leadership coaching is for anyone who wants to lead, while executive coaching is specifically for those who are already in executive positions.

With this in mind, let’s explore what you’ll do as a leadership coach.

What does a leadership coach do?

Alright, let’s dive into what a leadership coach does.

Here’s an overview of tasks you might take on:

  • Boost performance and productivity: Support clients to perform at their best.
  • Guide through limitations: Help identify and break through personal limitations.
  • Set goals: Work with clients to set clear, attainable goals.
  • Create strategies: Put together plans for each client’s unique leadership challenges and needs.
  • Track progress and offer feedback: Keep an eye on how your clients are doing and give them constructive feedback. You help them see what’s going well and where there’s room for improvement.
  • Improve leadership skills: Your main goal is to sharpen leadership qualities. This includes communication, decision-making, team management, and so on.

Through your coaching, leaders can excel in their roles.

And in turn, they inspire and guide others.

Sounds good?

Then let’s look at how you can become a leadership coach.

How do you become a certified leadership coach? (5 steps)

How do you become a leadership coach?

The process isn’t too complicated.

There are five key steps.

Let’s take a closer look at each one.

1. Find your niche

The first step is picking your niche.

Yes, leadership coaching is a niche. But specializing even more increases your coaching impact.

Plus, you can earn more too.

Let me explain…

Clients hire a coach because they’re looking for specific advice and solutions.

When you have deep knowledge in an area, your advice is more targeted.

This expertise lets your clients achieve their goals quickly.

And that’s what GREAT coaching is all about: Getting awesome results within a specific timeframe.

Now, how do you find your specialty?

Ask yourself:

  • What leadership skills do you have experience in?
  • Which type of leaders or organizations do you want to help?
  • What challenges will you solve?

By combining these three elements, you have a unique offering.

Here are some examples of leadership coaching niches:

  • Leadership coaching for women 
  • Leadership development for startups
  • Conflict resolution and communication skills for team leaders
  • Strategic leadership coaching for business owners
  • Team building and collaboration coaching for remote teams
  • Innovation leadership for tech industry managers

Not sure what you’ll specialize in? In this video, I break down how to find your niche:

Once you’ve picked your niche, it’s time to develop your coaching skills.

2. Develop your leadership coaching skills

To help your clients get the BEST results, you need coaching skills.

Here are four essential ones:

  • Experience: Real-world experience is INVALUABLE. Know the nuances of leadership challenges and how to solve them. Of course, you also need to know how to coach. That’s why I always recommend my students to start coaching ASAP. (But more on that in a bit…)
  • Empathy: This skill helps you connect with clients on a deeper level. It lets you give targeted advice that fits their situation.
  • Communication skills: As a coach, you need to communicate clearly. But communicating isn’t just about talking — you also have to listen. That’s where empathy comes into play.
  • Self-awareness: To be a great coach, you have to be self-aware. Reflect on your coaching style and how it impacts your clients.

Becoming a skilled leadership coach is an ongoing process.

You learn as you coach.

That’s why it’s best to start with a few clients at a lower rate.

This approach lets you refine your skills through real-life feedback and results.

The trick is to view each coaching session as a learning opportunity.

Over time, you improve your skills and thus also the value you provide your clients.

3. Get a leadership coaching certification 

First: You don’t NEED a certification to be a successful leadership coach.

What matters most is whether you have the right experience to help your clients get results. (Some businesses might require or value certifications, though.)

That said, if you want to call yourself a certified coach, you need a certification.

Plus, some organizations might require one. So, always look up the requirements for your specific niche.

Decided you’ll get certified? Then go for accredited certifications.

For instance, the International Coaching Federation (ICF) is a respected organization.

To become a certified leadership coach, you’ll first need to complete an accredited coach training program.

After that, you can earn a credential from the ICF or the CCE.

Here’s a quick look at the different ICF certification levels:

  • ACC (Associate Certified Coach): 100 coaching hours (75 paid) with 8+ clients and 60 training hours.
  • PCC (Professional Certified Coach): 500 coaching hours (450 paid) with 25+ clients, plus 125 training hours.
  • MCC (Master Certified Coach): 2,500 coaching hours (2,250 paid) with 35+ clients and 200 training hours.

Apart from accreditation, there are some other factors to keep in mind when choosing a program:

  • Location: Is the program offered online or in person?
  • Flexibility: Can you balance the training with your current responsibilities?
  • Duration: How long will it take to complete the program?
  • Cost: Does it fit within your budget?
  • Curriculum: Does it cover the topics you’re most interested in?

Once you’ve sorted out if you want to get certified, it’s time to create a coaching package that delivers results.

4. Create a leadership coaching package 

Why work with coaching packages when you could simply charge by the hour?

Let’s break it down:

When you charge by the hour, it’s all about the clock.

You’re trading time for money, which puts a cap on your potential earnings.

Get the Ultimate Guide

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6-Figure Coaching Business so you can achieve more freedom!

On the other hand, coaching packages shift the focus to what your clients will achieve.

That’s what clients are willing to invest in: RESULTS — not just your time.

Another great bonus is that coaching packages offer clarity. Clients get a clear picture of what they can expect.

Now, how do you create your coach packages?

Here’s my advice:

Start with a three-month program. This timeframe is long enough for meaningful change but not overwhelming.

For your sessions, aim for regular, spaced-out meetings. Bi-weekly sessions, paired with consistent email support, are perfect.

This gives clients the time to put strategies into action and see progress. Plus, if things aren’t working as planned, you can adjust the course.

As for pricing, a great starting point is $1,500 packages.

With more experience and testimonials, you can then increase your rates.

For example, most of my experienced students offer +$5,000 packages.

With your coaching package set up, you can offer clients a real transformation.

Now, all that’s left to do is find your clients…

5. Find leadership coaching clients 

Finding your first clients can seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.

You just have to know where to look.

Here are three great options to find leadership coaching clients:

  • Tap into your network: Maybe someone around you can use leadership coaching or knows someone who does?
  • Engage on social media: LinkedIn and other professional networks are perfect for leadership coaches. Join relevant discussions and offer tips. The key is to create real connections while also positioning yourself as a leadership coaching expert.
  • Feature on leadership podcasts: Podcasts are a great way to get noticed. Besides hosting your own you can also feature on someone else’s. This lets you reach listeners who already trust the host. And that trust can then transfer to you.

Looking for more strategies to find your first paying clients? Then check out this video I put together for you:

These were the five steps to becoming a (certified) leadership coach.

But what benefits can your clients expect to see?

Let’s explore that next.

Benefits of leadership coaching

As a leadership coach, you have a big impact on an even bigger scale.

Here’s what you help your clients achieve:

  • Boosted performance: Help teams, individuals, and entire organizations reach peak performance levels.
  • More motivation: Inspire leaders to be proactive and driven.
  • Better work culture: Make workplaces happier and more productive.
  • Stronger confidence: Work on key areas like decision-making and communication to build leadership confidence.
  • Higher productivity: Teach teams to work smarter and achieve more.
  • Increased success: Good leadership often boosts a company’s revenue.

Research backs these benefits.

A study shows leadership coaching can improve self-awareness, confidence, and even personal lives.

Also, about 75% of people say leadership coaching is worth much more than it costs.

Clearly, leadership coaching is incredibly useful.

But is there a real demand for this service?

And how much can you expect to earn? 

Let’s delve into the financial aspects next.

How much can you make as a leadership coach?

Leadership coaching is a high-demand niche.

70% of organizations offer some type of leadership coaching. And over 40% of them are increasing their budget for it.

So, how much can you actually earn as a leadership coach?

How much you charge depends on several factors like:

  • Location
  • Niche
  • Industry
  • Experience

Let’s look at some numbers.

According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary for leadership coaches ranges from $70K to $116K, with an average of $89,760.

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) reports an average hourly fee of $272 and an average annual income of $67,800 for coaches in general.

These are just averages, though. They’re NOT the limit.

Get the Ultimate Guide

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6-Figure Coaching Business so you can achieve more freedom!

Here’s why:

Leadership coaching is a high-end service.

With the right strategy, you can earn more than the norm.

Many of my students make six to multiple six or seven figures a year.

You see, being your own boss comes with a nice perk: 

You’re free to set your own rates.

That’s one huge difference with regular 9-to-5 jobs.

And it’s one of the many reasons why I call this kind of business a true ‘Freedom Business.’

Next steps 

That’s everything you need to know on how to become a leadership coach!

Achieving a six-figure income in this field is absolutely possible.

Want a clear path to success?

Then get my six-figure coaching business blueprint.

It lays out exactly how to build a highly successful coaching business step by step.

Want to Build a 6-Figure Coaching Business So You Can Achieve More Freedom?

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Read more:

How to Become a Successful Business Coach

How to Become a Personal Development Coach

The 10 Biggest Benefits of Business Coaching

About Luisa Zhou

Luisa Zhou has helped thousands of students build and scale their own profitable online Freedom Business. Fun Fact: She used to work as an engineer for the Space Station and holds a B.S.E. from Princeton. Click here to learn more about Luisa.

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