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Second Act

Marjorie Kondrack

IN THE SHORT TIME I’ve been writing for HumbleDollar, I’ve noticed that most readers and writers are either on the cusp of retirement or not too far along in retirement. Some have expressed a desire to find new careers, perhaps part-time and preferably more challenging than being a Walmart greeter or Home Depot helper. As they say, 60 is the new 40—still time for new ventures.

Life coaching is a profession that’s become more mainstream and, indeed, increases in popularity every year, partly because no authority regulates it. A recent article in Barron’s noted that some financial advisors are partnering with life coaches to help clients navigate life issues, such as transitioning to retirement or starting a new business. Some advisors even have a life coach on staff.

If you’re enthusiastic about life, and enjoy helping people and guiding them through life’s difficulties, this unregulated profession—which doesn’t require any qualifications—might be an ideal choice for a second career. Anyone can become a coach. You can just hang out your shingle and start coaching.

A more ethical approach, however, is to get some training and become certified. This will give you more credibility with clients and improve your self-confidence.

There are many training courses available through career schools and community colleges. The benchmark for professional training, according to my research, are courses from programs accredited by the International Coaching Federation. These courses can be completed in six months to a year, depending on the level of expertise you wish to attain, and can cost $1,000 and up. Training can be even more expensive if you choose specialized coursework. You can find a list of accredited courses here.

Many life coaches focus on a single area, such as business, careers, relationships, diet and fitness, family life, finances, life skills, health and spirituality. Some coaches specialize in divorce, but that seems no fun.

One of the best reasons to consider a life coaching career is the flexible work schedule. I know a young woman who does part-time coaching in addition to her teaching job. I’ve read about a world traveler who does his coaching from a sailboat. You choose your work hours, leaving time open for family, recreation, travel and other activities. It’s your business.

What’s the difference between a therapist and a life coach? A therapist will focus on your past life, dealing with traumatic problems and how you’re handling a particular issue. A life coach is more focused on the present. They don’t give advice, but guide you to think and act with more clarity, and encourage clients to be more deliberate about their lives.

Life coaching is profitable as well. Here are some key financial data, according to the International Coaching Federation:

  • Average annual salary: $62,509
  • Average rate billed per hour: $244
  • Average number of clients: 12
  • Average hours worked per week: 12. This doesn’t include administrative work—bookkeeping, taking notes and so on.

Business life coaches command the highest salaries. Those with experience can charge $300 or more per hour—because the cost of this coaching is often subsidized by the client’s employer.

The best life coaches are those who like to help people with their problems and who have a propensity to be empathetic. With some training and experience, you just might give Tony Robbins a little competition. You may even want to consider being your own life coach. Intrigued? Check out Life Coaching for Dummies.

Marjorie Kondrack loves music, dancing and the arts, and is a former amateur ice dancer accredited by the United States Figure Skating Association. In retirement, she worked for eight years as a tax preparer for the IRS’s VITA and TCE programs. Check out Marjorie’s earlier articles.

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