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Mike Bundrant

iNLP Center

Co-Founder and Lead Trainer

Read more from Mike Bundrant

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How to Be a Successful Coach or Trainer


If you want to discover how to become a life coach or trainer who succeeds - who actually makes it - you're going to have to be willing to do things differently than most.

Knowing how to be a trainer or coach who shines in a sea of dull, average professionals is the trick. Winners stand out!

In this post, we'll focus on life coaching. 

When potential clients encounter you - your message - the first thought that should pop into their head is: This is different - not the same old basic stuff I’ve been reading on other life coaching sites.

Learn how to be different - above and beyond average. This is why people will stick around, read your articles, ultimately hire you, keep coming back, and refer their friends. People don’t buy average. And - get this - people don’t even buy life coaching or trainer!

Life coaching has little intrinsic value. In other words, telling people you are a life coach is not enough to inspire them to spend their money. Clients will only hire a life coach who is special, inspiring and even extraordinary - the uniquely qualified person who can really help. When people see you that way, it doesn’t matter what your title is - at all.

How to be a life coach extraordinaire...

During the last 25 years, I’ve put a lot of thought into how to be a life coach. I’ve boiled it down for you here - all the way down to three key things.

Get these and you’ll know how to be a life coach with a thriving, fulfilling business. Before we get into it, let me clarify two important points:

A) You don’t need to become a life coach for everyone - just the people in your specific niche. You need to be seen as uniquely talented to a certain group of people who are searching for the specific kind of coaching you offer. That’s it.

B) I’m not writing this as a life coach who thinks he’s better than other coaches. I train life coaches for a living. My goal is to help each of them be successful in his or her own way. Beyond that, the reasons I’ve been successful in my own life coaching practice are fully represented in the points below.

1. Be a Life Coach Who Gives Massive AHA Moments

When people coach with you, you want a lot of mind-bending aha-moments. In other words, your clients need to be consistently taking in new and transformational feedback - ideas and insights which never occurred to them before that lead to positive results.

Essentially, you want your clients to walk away from each session going: Man, I never thought of that. I know what to do now!

If you can’t deliver this kind of experience, what is your client paying for? Someone to listen. Or to validate. Someone to check in with - a feedback loop. Maybe some contrived accountability. OK. These are important elements of any coaching. Still, if you want clients referring friends and coming back again and again, you’ll need to up your game so that you offer more transformative results.

Do you know you can do this for people - to really help them transform?

This is one reason I love NLP, or training in Neuro-Linguistic Programming. One of the things NLP is famous for: Making the unconscious conscious. In other words, as you work with clients using NLP, they are simultaneously discovering aspects of themselves that - guaranteed - they have never considered before. Every session can be a new revelation that inspires action.


People often know what they think, but not how they think. We know that how you think has much more influence in your life than what you think. Shockingly few people really know how mental images are structured in the mind, for example. When they discover how the structure of their thoughts has such dramatic influence over their feelings and behaviors, they are usually shocked that such hidden mental tools exist.


Often we know that we make decisions or achieve a certain level of motivation (or lack thereof) but aren’t aware of the specific inner steps we took to get there. Did you know that most decisions in life take place at an unconscious level? Once these unconscious steps are brought to light, we know how to alter them to get better results.

I could go on forever. The point is, if you use life coaching methods, like NLP, that are true revelations for your clients, they will have plenty of AHA moments and get life-changing results. That’s when you become a legend!

2. An Uncommon Life Coach Training Experience

So many aspiring coaches are focused on getting the certification. They want the piece of paper from a reputable life coaching training institute. Good. It’s important to get training and the proper qualification. But that not how to be a life coach.

It’s not just about learning life coaching models and techniques or getting the certificate. Anyone can do that. What's most important is that your life coach training experience deeply affects how you approach coaching.

The real opportunity that superior life coach training should provide involves the student discovering and refining his or her unique coaching style. Here’s what that looks like….

Life coaching students should learn the skills and have the opportunity to observe live - real-time - life coaching demonstrations. Students observe and ask questions about what the trainer is doing during the demonstration. The trainer often steps back during the coaching session to talk about the coaching process.

This is real.

Students have the opportunity to see life coaching - unscripted - in action. Why is this important? Because students absorb the skill, style and coaching nuances that you just can’t learn any other way.

Skilling-up to the point where you’re truly gifted requires having exposure to teachers who are gifted. A mentor once told me after doing some brilliant work facilitating a group: You know that stuff I just did? I don’t know how to teach you to do it, but hang around me for a while and you’ll pick it up.

Learning specific coaching skills and being around people who have mastered those skills and beyond helps you, as a coach, develop your own gifts and personal style. If you want to know how to be a life coach, study other successful life coaches.

3. Your Own Unique Approach and Coaching Identity - It’s so Important!

Speaking of developing your own style - we need to go beyond that. You need to discover and develop your own coaching identity. Who you are as a coach is your primary selling point - and represents what you can do for others.

People will choose you as a life coach based on how they identify (connect) with you - your style, approach to coaching, coaching paradigm - your identity.

Give the right clients someone to identify with. And don’t worry, developing your own coaching identity isn’t as complicated as it sounds.

How do you develop your life coaching identity?

Identify is such a vague word. When someone asks, “Who are you, really?” most of us kinda draw a blank. Good news, I have a clear, step-by-step path to developing your coaching identity. This little path is based on the NLP Logical Levels model. You’re gonna love this…

Five Simple Stages to Developing your Coaching Identity

The NLP Logical Levels Model teaches us that life  - and our various issues - can be clearly broken down into five categories:

Identity - Who you are

Beliefs - Why you do it and what’s true for you

Capabilities - How you do it

Behaviors - What you do

Environment - Where you are

Logical levels is one of those universal models that's highly applicable to clients

Notice how naturally the process works...

1. It’s so easy to begin because you start to develop a unique identity as a coach with your environment. In other words, go where coaches go. Coach training. Coach MeetUps, coaching conventions….whatever! Starting hanging out where life coaches hang out. Nothing more to it.

2. Being in a coaching environment will provide you with opportunities to do as coaches do. In a life coach training environment, you’ll get step-by-step instructions and expert help in the doing. Again, easy. Start doing life coach stuff with people who are doing life coach stuff and can even help you do it. Behaviors. Simple.

3. After you’ve been doing life coaching behaviors, before long, you’ll start to get the hang of it. Your behaviors will evolve into capabilities. Here is where your confidence as a coach begins to take shape, as confidence often follows competence. When you develop your own capabilities, you’ll also be able to improve up or put your own spin on the skills you’re learning. Your own style will begin to emerge!

Now for the exciting part...

4. Next, with these kinds of experiences, you’ll start to believe in yourself as a coach. And you’ll begin to form your own beliefs about what works and what doesn’t - and why coaching is important or effective. Beliefs come from experiences. By now, you’ve logged lots of time in the right environment, doing coach stuff and developing your life coaching skills. If you’re paying attention, you’ll become aware of what turns out to be true for you.

5. Finally - and you won’t even have to try - you’ll realize that you are a life coach. Not because of the title, but because it’s who you are. Your coaching identity is forming. Your coaching identity includes where you go, what you do, your unique skill set, and how you see the world (beliefs).

When all this adds up - you’ll feel at home being a life coach - totally comfortable and with your unique way of approaching issues and helping people. This is what the clients that are right for you need to see! They need to identify with all of the above in order to connect with you and believe you are the one - among so many -  to help them.

Author Profile Picture
Mike Bundrant

Co-Founder and Lead Trainer

Read more from Mike Bundrant

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