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What is a Trauma Coach? How to Become a GREAT One

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Do you want to become a successful trauma recovery coach?

Then you’ve found the perfect starting point.

A coaching business is not only a way to help your clients in a big way, but it can also offer freedom and flexibility.

And in this guide, I’ll walk you through the steps I’ve taught 3,000+ coaches to set up your own trauma recovery coaching business. 

Let’s get started!

You’ll learn:

What is trauma recovery coaching?

Trauma Recovery Coaching (TRC) is designed to address trauma.

In the U.S., about 70% of people have faced at least one traumatic event. And trauma can leave a profound impact on people’s lives. .

As a trauma recovery coach, you help your clients rebuild a life that feels normal and good after what they’ve been through.

You can help with different areas:

  • Childhood trauma
  • Developmental trauma
  • Nervous system regulation
  • Relationship trauma
  • And so on

However, to offer your clients a truly transformative experience, it’s best to become the go-to expert in one specific area (but more on that in a bit…)

In coaching, you actively guide your clients to a better place.

You take a very direct approach and offer expert advice. This is also what sets you apart from other people working in the mental health field…

What is the difference between a trauma recovery coach and a therapist?

Trauma recovery coaches and therapists are not the same.

Let’s break it down, so you know exactly what you’re signing up for.

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

Here’s what you’ll be doing as a TRC:

  • Focus on the present and future: Rather than digging into past trauma, you work with clients to navigate their current situation and create a better future.
  • Use coaching strategies: You teach clients how to set good goals and boost their resilience. You also work on developing a toolkit of coping methods to deal with life’s challenges.
  • Be client-led: The best type of coaching is “coach-sulting” – a combination of using traditional coaching techniques and giving advice to help your clients get results. However, the client ultimately sets the pace. You’re there to help them achieve THEIR goals.

And here’s what you WON’T be doing:

  • Diagnose
  • Prescribe meds
  • Assess clients’ mental health status

Now, tTere’s no standardized requirement for becoming a trauma recovery coach. This gives you some flexibility in how you approach this career.

Trauma recovery therapists, on the other hand, are medical professionals with specific credentials and licenses.

They focus on mental health, and it often revolves around healing past trauma.

They can:

  • Diagnose
  • Treat severe mental health issues
  • Prescribe medication

Often, clients start with a therapist for medical or psychological treatments and then move on to a TRC for ongoing support.

Next, let’s explore the specific ways you’ll be helping your clients.

What does a trauma recovery coach do?

As a trauma recovery coach, you play an important part in your client’s ongoing journey.

But how exactly will you make a difference?

You’ll:

  • Spot trauma: Your job starts with noticing if someone is showing signs of trauma. You don’t diagnose, but you understand how their trauma affects their life.
  • Set goals: Help clients figure out what they want for their future. And guide them to set clear, achievable goals.
  • Create a safe space: To explore the link between their past experiences and how they act now, clients need to feel comfortable and safe with you. (This might take a few sessions to establish.)
  • Teach coping skills: Show clients healthy ways to deal with their trauma symptoms and day-to-day challenges.
  • Give tools for a new life: Offer clients the skills and knowledge to build a life after trauma. This includes teaching them how to be resilient and maintain positive relationships.

Traumatic experiences often keep people from being their fullest, happiest selves.

You play an important role in helping clients reclaim their lives and overcome roadblocks. 

But do you need any kind of training for this? We’ll cover that next.

What kind of training do you need to become a trauma coach?

Here’s what you need to know about training and qualifications.

First off, the field doesn’t have strict qualification requirements.

This means that you typically don’t NEED certifications or a degree to become a trauma recovery coach.

However, you do need relevant experience.

I’ll explain this more below, but in short:

To be a successful coach you have to offer your clients a transformative experience.

And the ability to deliver this comes from real-life experience.

The more you coach, the better your offer becomes. That’s how you get your clients the results they’re after in a way that’s faster, better, and easier.

That said, some states require specific certifications or degrees for certain mental health coaching services. So, always check the local requirements for the coaching services you want to offer.

Ready to learn how to become a health coach? Then let’s dive into the next section.

How do you become a trauma recovery coach?

Not sure what it takes to become a trauma recovery coach?

Let’s break down the four steps.

Choose a niche

First, what’s your niche?

In other words: What area will you focus on?

Here are some examples:

  • Complex and development trauma
  • Childhood trauma
  • Relationship trauma

The right niche can turn your coaching from good to amazing.

That’s because you’re no longer ‘just any coach’ — you’re the coach for a particular someone facing a specific kind of challenge.

Now, how to pick your niche?

Start with what you know best. For instance, maybe you’ve got a background in understanding childhood trauma? Or you’re great at helping people navigate rocky relationships?

Choose a path that:

  • Fits your skills and experience
  • Meets a real need out there

In other words:

What are you good at and have experience in?

And what challenges and/or target audience do you focus on?

Need help finding your niche? This video will clear things up:

Get trauma coaching clients 

Next, it’s time to land your first client.

Here’s a strategy that works:

Start small.

Focus on getting just one client to begin with.

This approach lets you provide impactful coaching without getting overwhelmed.

Plus, you avoid one of the most common mistakes new business owners make:

Taking on too much too soon. (And being disappointed when they don’t live up to their unrealistic expectations…)

How do you find this first client? Here are three great ways:

  • Your network: Maybe one of your friends, family members, or colleagues is interested in trauma recovery coaching? They could become your first client or refer you to someone else.
  • Social media: Platforms like Instagram and Facebook, or even trauma-focused forums, are great for finding clients. Join discussions and offer helpful advice. This way, potential clients get to see the value you offer first-hand.
  • Podcasts: This one’s a bit unconventional but very effective. Either start your own trauma recovery podcast or be a guest on someone else’s. It’s a great way to reach a broader audience and establish your credibility, especially if you tap into someone’s existing audience..

Need help landing your first client? In this video, I show you how it’s done:

For the best results, you’ll need a solid plan for your clients.

That’s the next step.

Build a trauma coaching package

Getting your coaching package together is the third step.

First, define what clients can expect from working with you.

Figure out the changes they’ll see and how you’ll bring them there.

That’s how you create GREAT packages — packages that really transform your clients’ lives.

Why packages?

It’s simple: Coaching packages focus on the end result rather than the hours you spend. 

Packages also offer structure. They give clients a clear idea of what to expect and when.

Get the Ultimate Guide

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

Now, what should your coaching package look like?

I recommend my students to start with a three-month package for $1,500.

This includes bi-weekly sessions that last between 45 to 60 minutes and ongoing email support.

As you grow your coaching skills and get more testimonials, you can then raise your rates.

You see, as an entrepreneur, you set your prices.

This flexibility makes a six-figure coaching income completely doable. In fact, many of my students end up earning even more.

Curious about maximizing your earning potential? I explain the process here:

With your coaching package set, you’re ready for the next step.

Work with trauma coaching clients

In coaching, the transformation you offer is what matters most.

That said, it’s not just about the end goal — it’s also about setting smaller milestones. You then break these milestones down into achievable subgoals for each coaching session.

This method lets you guide your client in a structured and supportive way.

A trauma-sensitive approach is crucial here. You need to understand the impact of trauma on your client’s life and behavior.

You want a safe environment where clients feel understood and respected. This means being empathetic and avoiding anything that might re-traumatize them.

Now that you know how to become a trauma recovery coach, let’s take a look at the top certifications.

The best trauma recovery coaching certifications

Thinking of getting certified in trauma recovery coaching?

Let’s unpack how to choose a certification program that moves your career forward (instead of being a complete waste of time and money…)

How to choose a trauma recovery coaching certification program

There are so many trauma recovery certification programs out there. But how do you pick the right one for you?

Here’s what you should look out for:

  • Accreditation: Go for programs that are recognized for their quality. For example, NBHWC-certified programs are known for their high standards.
  • Program cost: How much can you spend on getting certified? Higher cost doesn’t always mean better, but very cheap might not be good enough.
  • Course length: Can you balance the course with your current commitments? Look for a program that’s valuable yet manageable.
  • Flexibility and mode of learning: What’s your schedule and learning style? If you’re very busy, an online, self-paced program might be best. But this also requires more self-motivation and discipline.

To help you out, I’ve selected four great trauma recovery coaching certification programs.

Let’s take a closer look at each one.

Trauma-Informed Coaching Certification (TICC)

The Trauma-Informed Coaching Certification (TICC) program is very comprehensive.

To enroll, you either need to:

  • Have a coaching certification
  • Complete their Trauma-Informed Coaching Basics

TICB covers everything from coaching mindset to ICF standards and ethics.

The TICC program dives deep into:

  • Trauma-informed practices
  • Trauma types
  • The brain-body connection
  • Client regulation
  • Behavioral responses
  • And so on

The program includes coaching practice with mentors, supervision, and exams.

However, it’s more focused on a ‘trauma-informed approach’ than direct ‘trauma recovery.’

  • Costs: $6,250 for TICB+TICC+ICF mentoring
  • Duration: 8 days (TICB) + 12 days (TICC) + 600 minutes (ICF mentoring)
  • Accreditation: ICF-accredited

International Association of Trauma Recovery Coaching (IATRC)

The International Association of Trauma Recovery Coaching (IATRC) is a globally recognized association. Their focus is on childhood neglect and abuse survivors.

The courses are science-based, and they offer an effective model for trauma recovery coaching.

Learning materials include:

  • Videos
  • Audio files
  • PDFs
  • Bi-weekly Zoom classes

They offer various certifications, including Initial and Advanced Trauma Recovery Coaching.

The IATRC is not accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF), but it’s still highly regarded in the field.

It offers a more trauma-recovery-specific approach. Plus, its focus on childhood trauma makes it a great choice if you want to specialize in helping people recover from such traumas.

  • Costs: $2,800 (for individual certification)
  • Duration: Five months (initial certification) and three months (advanced certification)
  • Accreditation: None

Coach Training World (CTW) 

Coach Training World (CTW)’s Trauma-Informed Training is perfect for beginners.

The course is split up into six modules.

You’ll learn about:

  • Identifying trauma types
  • Trauma’s impact on clients
  • Your role as a trauma-informed coach
  • Dealing with chronic stress
  • Tools and techniques for supporting clients
  • Professional boundaries
  • And so on

Plus, the course includes a 12-hour practicum for hands-on learning.

Because it only takes six weeks to finish, this option is ideal if you want to get certified ASAP.

The modules are delivered via Zoom, and as all sessions are recorded, you can revisit them anytime.

  • Costs: $597
  • Duration: Six weeks
  • Accreditation: ICF-accredited

Now that you’re informed about certification options, let’s see how much you can earn as a trauma recovery coach.

Get the Ultimate Guide

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

How much does a trauma recovery coach charge?

Can you make a great living as a trauma recovery coach?

Absolutely.

Your income depends on:

  • Certification
  • Experience
  • Location
  • The transformation you offer

While there are no exact figures for trauma coaches, life coaching salaries give an idea:

  • According to Salary.com, the average US life coach earns about $54K ($47K – $60K range)
  • Glassdoor reports an average US life coach salary of $70K ($53K – $93K range)

At the same time, the International Coaching Federation reports that the average hourly coaching fee is $244. The average monthly income in North America is $67,800. 

Is this the limit of what you can earn?

Definitely not.

Remember, as your own boss, you set your own rates.

Hundreds of my students have built successful six and multiple six–figure businesses in various niches.

And with the right approach, you can too.

Next steps

There you have it! You now know how to become a (certified) trauma recovery coach.

But how do you make your coaching business sustainable AND profitable?

Check out my blueprint for building a six-figure coaching business for that. It shows you exactly how to turn your current skills into a highly successful business.

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

Get Instant Access To My FREE Ultimate Guide Below!

When you sign up, you’ll also receive regular updates on building a successful online business.

Read more:

Checklist for Starting Your Coaching Business

How to Become a Mental Health Coach

How to Become a Recovery Coach

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.

Hope you enjoy this blog post.

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