Life coaches help people to move forward in their lives by working with those who are psychologically healthy to help them achieve success in their careers or relationships. Unlike therapists, a life coach's function is to encourage and cheer people on rather than to heal trauma or pain. Life coaches in New Jersey are not subject to state or federal regulations.
No Specific Regulations
As of 2011, New Jersey does not have any laws regulating life coaches. In theory, anyone can call himself a life coach and set up a business. However, the New Jersey Professional Coaching Association suggests that potential life coaches get formal training in coaching. Formal training helps coaches to be effective at what they do and gives a coach credibility with clients so that he can recruit new clients more easily.
Coaching Is Not Therapy
Coaches are not therapists and must not call themselves therapists in their marketing materials. In New Jersey, therapists must have a license to practice; thus, if a coach markets herself as a therapist without a therapy license, she is violating regulations regarding therapy as well as engaging in false advertising. Coaches should also study the differences between coaching and therapy and refer clients to therapists as appropriate.
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Although New Jersey does not require coaches to have credentials, potential coaches may gain one of three credentials if they wish: Associate Certified Coach, Professional Certified Coach or Master Certified Coach. New Jersey life coaches can get these credentials through the International Coaching Federation. Each credential requires a specific number of hours of training and work experience. The International Coaching Federation also offers credentials to educators who wish to train coaches.
Life coaches in New Jersey work for themselves. Thus, if you become a life coach you must follow all New Jersey and federal laws regarding self-employment, such as obtaining a business license and paying business taxes. Life coaches in New Jersey may set their own hours and charge as much or as little as they feel appropriate for their services. Experienced or credentialed coaches can usually command higher rates than new coaches or those without credentials.