Life Coach Training and Certification

We are professionals committed to reaching back, inspiring, and equipping struggling young people to overcome and thrive. We have found research-based life coaching is an ideal outlet to do this work.

Do you have a passion for empowering disadvantaged young people?

Program Overview

Our complete program consists of four training stages with varying levels of training, practice, and supervision in core coaching competencies and research-based coaching practice. Coaches in training may complete a single stage beginning with stage one for the applicable completion certificate, or process through all four stages for the most comprehensive coaching preparation we offer.

Our program is ideal for professionals interested in supporting and empowering young people and professionals working directly with underserved youth or leading organizations serving these populations.

Because socioeconomic disadvantage is a common issue for our audience, trainees who certify through our program commit to coaching one to two pro-bono and/or severe sliding scale clients yearly on a need basis. If you’re okay with that, read on!

Our Coaching Focus

Resource Optimization
Personal Development
Social Development
Professional Development

Our work with each client begins with an assessment to understand the client’s needs and goals. From there, the coach tailors the program to the client incorporating relevant focus areas from the four domains above. Focus areas are adjusted for ongoing development as the client progresses.

Coaching clients through resource optimization involves helping the client identify and leverage the internal and external tools presently available to them to begin moving toward their goals. We facilitate self-determination and self-advocacy through this process.

Coaching clients through social development involves enhancing other-awareness so clients understand the function of social connectedness to success and wellness. Focus areas may be empathy, perspective taking, diversity, tolerance, and acceptance to enhance clients’ effectiveness in social interactions.

Coaching clients through personal development involves helping clients identify the internal resources they bring to their experiences and how those internal processes contribute to their outcomes. We facilitate self-awareness around concepts like identity, strengths, interests, values, and desires to enhance self-regulation and self-mastery.

Coaching clients through professional development involves facilitating goal-orientation through person-job fit. We coach clients through the research and considerations necessary to begin to establish self-determined life direction, related planning, and action steps around long-term goals.

Youth Coach Trainee Requirements

Candidates must be

  • 21 years old or older and 
  • hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in any field with 1 year of experience working directly with youth or
  • have four years of experience working directly with youth or young adults.

Is training available in my area?

Training is virtual and available internationally via webinar and telephone conference calling.

Four Stage Training Module Content Overview

Stage 1: Basic Coaching Skills

  • Orientation, Foundations, and Ethics of Coaching
  • Coaching from the Humanistic Perspective, Models, and Skills Introduction
  • Creating the Coaching Relationship
  • Coaching Skills I: Communicating Effectively
  • Coaching Skills II: Facilitating Insight

Stage 2: Certified Youth Transition Coach

  • Coaching for Self-Awareness I
  • Coaching for Self-Awareness II
  • Coaching to Engage and Enhance Motivation
  • Coaching for Academic and Career Fit
  • Coaching for Effective Planning and Goal Setting
  • Coaching to Manage Progress and Accountability
  • Putting it All Together and Addressing Self-Sabotage
  • Applying Evidence-based Models in Coaching Contexts
  • Risks, Needs, and Responsive Coaching
  • Cultural Responsivity and Mitigating Bias in Coaching
  • Coaching Other Awareness and Conflict Resolution
  • Coaching for Academic Success
  • Coaching Productive Work Behaviors
  • Group Coaching
  • Ethics and Risk Management in Coaching

Stage 3: Certified Youth Mentor Coach / Certified Youth Leadership Coach

  • Motivational Interviewing as a Coaching Tool
  • Positive Psychology Tools for Coaching
  • Mindfulness Tools for Coaching
  • Desistance Coaching for High-Risk Young People
  • Research-based Coaching Program Development
  • Developing Your Coaching Niche
  • Business Building & Visibility
  • Marketing & Relationship Building
  • Ongoing Professional Development
  • Celebration & Next Steps

Stage 4: CYMC/CYLC + 10 mentor coaching hours for ICF ACC applicants

  • Group Mentor Coaching
  • 1:1 mentor coaching

Session Schedule

The length of training varies by selected training stages. The weekly time commitment includes a 2-hour webinar/conference call once weekly, required reading, and assigned practice coaching.

Winter 2016 – Saturdays, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM CST – Beginning February 27: FULL (Facilitator: Leah B. Mazzola, PhD, BCC, ACC)

Summer 2016 – Thursdays, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM CST – Beginning June 30: FULL (Facilitator: Maggie Steele, MSW, ACC)

Winter 2017 – Saturdays, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM CST – Beginning January 21: FULL (Facilitator: Leah B. Mazzola, PhD, BCC, ACC)

Spring 2017 – Tuesdays, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM CST – Beginning April 4: FULL (Facilitator: Maggie Steele, MSW, ACC) 

Standard Enrollment is CLOSED for 2017.

We are piloting an accelerated intensive option for Fall 2017. The class will run twice weekly over 15 weeks rather than once weekly over 30 weeks.

Fall 2017 – Mondays and Wednesdays, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM CST – Beginning September 11: FULL (Facilitator: Leah B. Mazzola, PhD, BCC, ACC)

Winter 2018 – Tuesdays, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM CST – Beginning February 27: FULL (Facilitator: Maggie Steele, MSW, BCC, ACC)

The February 27, 2018 cohort is the ONLY cohort scheduled for 2018. Please subscribe for training announcements if you missed it. We’ll update the training page when our first cohort of 2019 is scheduled. 

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Stage 1: Basic Coaching Skills

One time fee

  • 10 training hours over 5 weeks
  • Introduction to basic coaching competencies
  • 3 practice opportunities for feedback only
  • Completion certificate
  • Ideal for youth-serving professionals who will be adding coaching skills to work with youth under the supervision of a higher credentialed coach
  • This one time training fee is non-refundable

Stage 2: Certified Youth Transition Coach


  • 40 training hours over 20 weeks
  • Stage 1 content +
  • Training and development in YCI model coaching competencies relevant for at-risk and/or high-risk youth
  • One five-week buddy coaching engagement with a peer trainee as the coach
  • One five-week buddy coaching engagement with a peer trainee as the client
  • Intensive practice and supervision
  • 2-3 opportunities for formal supervision and pass/fail feedback
  • Ideal for youth-serving professionals who will be adding coaching to their work with underserved youth, but have no interest in independent practice or business building
  • Total training tuition is $1,000. The payment plan includes a $250 non-refundable registration fee + 5 monthly installments of $150 each

Young Adult Client Feedback

Before I started coaching all I saw was why I couldn’t do more with myself. I didn’t even realize that my confidence was so low. I felt like my past was who I was and I always felt like people were judging me without knowing anything about me. My coach helped me to realize that I was really the one judging me and holding me back. The confidence and skills I gained from coaching have completely changed my outlook. I finally feel like I have so much to look forward to and so many options. My coach helped me to stop looking back and make my life happen from here. I can’t even put in words the difference it made for me. – 23-year-old client, Richardson, TX

Stage 3: Certified Youth Mentor Coach / Certified Youth Leadership Coach


  • 60-63 training hours over 30 weeks
  •  Stage 1 & 2 content +
  • Introduction to additional evidence-based models for coaching contexts
  • Skills for independent practice and business building considerations
  • Hear from guest speaker coaches and participate in Q&A
  • Final exam (Recorded coaching session submission for evaluation and pass/fail feedback)
  • Ideal for professionals interested in independent coaching practice and business building
  • Total training tuition is $1,500. The payment plan includes a $250 non-refundable registration fee + 8 monthly installments of $156.25 each
  • ICF and CCE approved certification as follows:

acsth 200

International Coach Federation Approved Coach Specific Training Hours (63 hours)  

Center for Credentialing Education Approved BCC Training Provider (30 hours)

Stage 4: CYMC/CYLC + Group Mentor Coaching


  • 70-73 training hours over 38 weeks
  •  Stage 1, 2, & 3 content +
  • 10 hours of mentor coaching with an ICF-credentialed coach as required for the ICF ACC application
  • 10 hours include 7 hours in-group and 3 prescheduled 1:1 hours over 3 months
  • Live practice coaching a young adult client under the supervision of the assigned mentor coach for immediate feedback
  • Ideal for professionals interested in pursuing the ACC credential through the ICF and mentoring lower level coaches
  • Total training tuition is $2,000. The payment plan includes a $250 non-refundable registration fee + 10 monthly installments of $175 each


30-Day Withdraw/Refund Policy: Pro-rated refunds for tuition paid beyond the registration fee are available for trainees who withdraw within 30 days of training start date.

Scholarship opportunities: We offer a small number of partial scholarships on a need basis. Interested parties must apply for consideration.

Are group rates available? Yes. A 15% discount is available for groups of six or more.

We take mental health seriously. We recommend trainees without graduate level training in behavioral sciences take a Mental Health First Aid course prior to training completion. The Mental Health First Aid course is free in some areas or may be completed with a low fee (e.g. $75.00) for the 8-hour course.