Why is it important to have specialty designation for Coaches?

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How to define your coach designation

Image courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bradjward/2287100481/

Have you asked someone lately what he/she does for living and the answer came like “I am a blah blah blah… and a Life Coach”? And you got very inquisitive what a Life Coach is.

With me it has happened so many times that I have lost the count. It used to look like an impressive term initially. And then the person would give examples of many remarkable people like Tony Robbins who are also Life Coaches… and it was impressive.

As luck would have it, I also ended up joining the clan of Life Coaches to fulfill my desire to Earn BIG money while helping others. I also proudly started calling myself a Life Coach.

However, I have got weary of the hearing the term nowadays. It has lost that impact now.

The term has got diluted due to overuse and abuse.

This reminds me of of an incident that occurred few months back. At that time, I was just about to complete my Life Coach certification. I chanced to meet two Life Coaches during an event and I got inspired and approached one of them for advise w.r.t marketing my coaching business. Surprisingly, I got more than what I asked for. I got an offer from the gentleman to work with him so that I can leverage his brand name and get paying clients.

He gave me his business card which I safely kept with me to contact once I had aquired all the skill set of being a Life Coach i.e. procrastinating till the certification exam (yes, there was one) was over.

When I finally ran out of the excuses of procrastinating, I promptly contacted the guy and asked him how the arrangement will work.

And then he asked me a question which dropped a bomb on my heart – “Do you know trigonometry?”.

It took few seconds to sync in.

I asked him what does it have to do with the Life Coaching.

It appeared that the person used to call the maths, english and soft skills trainings as Life Coaching even though he himself was a Certified Life Coach or something of that sort !

When I was doing Life Coaching training from the ICF Accredited institute, our group was asked to define three things:

People were given few months’ time to come up with these three things. There was no right or wrong answer and one just had to think through the guidelines given. The most important of these was Specialty Niche Designation as it was going to be printed on the final certificate.

A specialty Niche Designation is something you will use to introduce yourself to potential clients and partners e.g. Certified Wellness Coach, Certified Relationship Coach. One could also come up with innovative designations (e.g Pro Blogger Coach). Everything was allowed, except the terms related to professional certifications (e.g. doctors, lawyers etc).

Surprisingly, less than 1/3rd class was able to come up with designation, and the rest of them were given default designation – “Life Coach”. 

This is the practice at all places offering Life Coach Trainings. As a result there is a huge number of  graduates who have no idea of where they want to go and are using Life Coach as umbrella term. 

Due to lack of clarity these coaches are not able to position themselves properly in the market. We can see these people doing free sessions in the name of practice or even charging less than $10 for their sessions, most of the business comes from the friends and family. (I would admit I have heard of some of very effective coaches who are charging a bomb and who call themselves Life Coaches, but they are few and far between.)

The issue is not that these people are charging very less, but that they joined this profession due to the promise of abundance which means they should be charging atleast $80-$100 (life coach compensation at beginner level).

How can a specialty niche designation help these coaches?

Having a specialized designation does 50% job of branding and saves you a lot of explanation. It makes the same difference as a general technician and a specialist.  Even though both might be doing the same job, the specialist can charge premium for being who he is and not what he is doing.

As per an Executive Coach, even the executive coaches end up doing Life Coaching most of the time but it is because of their designation that they can charge more for the same amount of work.

Coming back to the person who gave me the priceless lesson about the importance of a specialty designation, the one which would differentiate between confused crowd and the men and women who have attained clarity in life. And it is people with clarity who create new paths amidst nowhere and inspire others to follow.

If you are using Life Coach to describe your profession, I would encourage you to think about a designation for yourself based upon your niche and specialty, so that when someone asks you what you do for a living you could proudly say – “I am a ____ coach…” and are able to charge more.

So give it a go and find your coaching designation which suits your personality.

How do you select a designation?

Below are some guidelines and an example list of coaching designations. Follow the guidelines and refer to the list, and see what rings a bell in your minds.


  • Do not select a specialty profession (e.g Lawyer, Doctor)
  • Do not have an AND in the designation
  • Do not use – or _ or , and other special symbols

Here is the example list for your reference:

  • Career Coach
  • Wellness Coach
  • Super Wellness Coach
  • Family Coach
  • Joint Family Coach
  • Divorce Coach
  • Divorce Recovery Coach
  • Executive Coach
  • Leadership Coach
  • Pregnancy Coach
  • New Parents Coach
  • Parents Coach
  • Marriage Coach
  • Mentor Coach
  • Relationship Coach
  • Management Coach
  • New Marriage Coach
  • New Parents Coach
  • Retirement Coach
  • Success Coach
  • Happiness Coach

My personal favorite is Coach Coach :)