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How to Become a Special Needs Coach
The 7 Steps For Success

Who doesn’t want their children with special needs to lead happy and fulfilling lives? Parents work tirelessly to ensure their children can access the support, encouragement, and resources needed to live productive lives. They need a special needs coach whose job is to impact these individuals’ lives and help them focus on their educational, career, or relationship-building needs.

How to Become a Special Needs Coach: The 7 Steps For Success special needs coach

Recent medical journals conclude that coaching has played a vital role in the overall improvement in children’s welfare due to coaches offering services to special needs individuals’ families and caregivers. Therefore, coaching is an effective treatment method as it assesses clients’ physical and mental abilities and interests as a part of their “special needs” duties.

What Does A Special Needs Coach Do?

The duties of a job coach for special needs include offering tips for problem-solving, time management, and coping with coworkers and the boss. You become a case manager for clients who seek actions to overcome the challenges and stresses of all outlooks of their job situation, including interviews, training and handling the workspace itself. Under the Special Needs Alliance or SNA, coaches for people with disabilities may provide continuous support after job positions to strengthen retention.

People devoted to improving their client’s quality of life become special needs coaches and are sometimes referred to as direct support professionals. They are more than just good listeners and advisors. Besides, life coaches are entrepreneurs who become a marketer, a salesperson, a networker, and a leader when starting a coaching business. They find ways to upgrade their skills and build relationships with employees and employment agencies.

How to Become A Special Needs Coach In 7 Steps

Learn how to become a special needs coach and whether this business is the right fit for you. Here are seven steps for the success you are looking for.

Step 1: Understanding Your Niche

Starting your coaching business requires understanding your niche depending on your skills and abilities. Don’t be afraid of losing opportunities to get clients by not choosing a niche because when you try to serve everyone, you end up serving no one. Instead, choose a specific niche to stand yourself out from the competition and formulate a clear marketing message. It will help you attract a specific group of people and determine your area of expertise.

Narrowing your niche in coaching business will attract your dream clients naturally, refine your message, make your businesses grow seamlessly, and maximize your revenue. It would help if you chose a specific area of focus to find your place as a life coach. Ask yourself what skills you used to overcome the biggest obstacles in your life or what valuable experiences you have that you can share with newbies.

To understand your niche, reflect on your experiences and strengths. Help people through their fear of speaking if you have expertise in public speaking or coach small entrepreneurs to build up their brands if you have marketing or branding experience. And, if you have HR experience, coach them on finding their ideal jobs.

You will find different profitable niches in coaching: leadership, executive, career, business, marketing, spiritual, family & relationships, sales, personal improvement, health, and life coaching. Special needs life coaching is a new niche under “family coaching” since the coaches work with families and adults within community settings. These coaches help clients with mental disabilities use employment as a way toward self-development and rehabilitation.

Step 2: Identifying Your Audience

Now that you have picked out your niche you feel comfortable about, the next step is to identify your audience. You must enhance customer relationships, gain credibility, and spend less marketing efforts on the wrong clients.

Identifying your target market helps you face less competition by focusing on a specific client and solving their specific problems. You can charge more and make coaching a profitable business when you know your clients and their struggles well, so you offer services that will help them achieve their desired results. They will be ready to pay, and you will be their go-to coach since you are an expert in a specific field. Engaging with a small audience also saves time, gains trust, and stimulates word-of-mouth marketing.

Since special needs coaching is a specialized field, your target market will be limited to individuals with special needs and their caregivers. So, you need to spread the word about your services to those who are interested as they are specific to such situations. It is a tight-knit community, ultimately simplifying your marketing efforts.

Step 3: Skills Required To Become A Special Needs Coach 

Establishing yourself as a special needs coach requires time and hard work. A life coach offers services in a manner that respects the client’s needs and maintains their dignity with their environment. They are driven to help others and also work with parents of differently-abled to help them better understand needs and parenting challenges.

Even though there are no special criteria to become a special needs coach, it will be beneficial to have an understanding of the disabilities you are working with. In addition to certifications, real-world practice with children and adults with special needs is recommended. You can work as a volunteer at a local school that specializes in educating students with autism, communication disorder, or other learning disorders.

Coaches have the skills to bring the best out of their clients and do more than listen to their problems. They are willing to spend energy, time, and money improving them. They are more than good advisors and exhibit the following skills:

  • Leadership
  • Networking
  • Active Listening
  • Marketing
  • Salesperson
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Budgeting
  • Strong sense of ethics
  • Enthusiasm balanced with patience & calmness
  • Creativity

If you think you have these skills, you are ready to start your journey as a special needs coach.

Step 4: Few Techniques to Accommodate Someone with Special Needs

In addition to education and experiences, special needs coaches must possess a combination of confidence and zeal balanced with calmness and patience when working with differently-abled individuals. Apply these tips when accommodating someone with special needs.

  • Ask them about their impairment to chalk out effective coaching sessions and adapt practices.
  • Communicate confidently and get their views about the session.
  • Check the accessibility of your coaching venue in advance of the meeting and ask for any preparations to let everyone participate freely.
  • Use the great coaching information you have and have a mutual vision with your clients in terms of coaching goals and expectations.
  • Have the best knowledge of what their bodies can do, their experiences, and what they expect from the session.
  • Learn from other special needs coaches and keep upgrading your personality traits.
  • And, remember to coach the person, not the impairment.

Step 5: Special Needs Coaching Credentials and Certifications

People like to hire a coach who holds more credentials than those who don’t. Coach certifications from a recognized organization like the International Coaching Federation (ICF) boost your credibility even if you don’t have client testimonials yet. It offers three levels of certification such as Associate, Professional, and Master Certified Coach. Their programs focus on committing to professional industry standards and building coaches’ knowledge around coaching.

To become more marketable as a special needs coach, you must acquire certification from an accredited training program. DIR training through the Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders or Board Certified Behavior Analyst certification would be great. Ensure employees that you fulfill the educational and training standards accepted by the CRCC (Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification). And, you stick by the CRCC’s code of professional ethics for Rehabilitation Counselors.

Besides certifications, a degree in mental health or counseling and real-world experience working with differently-abled people are necessary. If you don’t hold any credentials, work experience as a social worker, marketing consultant, or HR professional, and testimonials or references from friends/family you have coached professionally can help you with potential clients.

Step 6: Pricing & Marketing

After proving your credibility, it’s time to charge for your services and set prices. Usually, there are three main ways coaches charge: hourly (per session), monthly, and per package (usually $X/3 months or $X/6 months). When starting, charging per custom coaching service is a great option.

A special needs coach generates profit by charging customers for their services depending on various factors. The right price to package your charge depends on your niche, level of credentials, amount of experience, target audience, income goals and budget, and geographical location. It is better if you do some market research about what others in your niche with similar certifications charge. Also, know if your target market is willing to pay for your coaching packages. Use simple language and straightforwardly tell them what they can expect from your services.

Most coaches charge an hourly rate anywhere from $75-1000. Still, if you are not ready to sell a full coaching package, offer free or discounted introductory sessions to your coworkers or relatives in exchange for an honest review and feedback. It can stimulate word-of-mouth marketing.

Step 7: Building an Online Presence

To reach more coaching clients, you need to build a digital presence by creating a website or using social media to engage more buyers. The must-haves for your special needs coaching website include details of your services, hourly sessions, online training, testimonial or social proof, and information on your packages and prices. You also need to showcase your credentials, qualifications, and experience to build trust and credibility. Or, consider posting a short video of potential clients feedback who had benefitted from your coaching services. Keep upgrading your website!

Please make the most of social media by creating mini coaching lessons and sharing them on IGTV and other channels. Use the most in-demand hashtags in your niche and connect with other coaches & potential clients by joining relevant groups on social media. Share your expertise and blog content on your social platforms to drive more traffic to your page.

Remember, social media is the biggest marketing tool for coaching businesses these days.


You can become a successful special needs coach with the right training, tools, and experience. Find and understand your coaching niche, identify the personality traits you need to be a special needs coach, get certified and set up your coaching business, create your online presence and plan your coaching prices for the services.

Frequently asked questions

Who Is A Special Needs Coach?

A special needs coach is responsible for delivering direct support services to individuals with developmental disabilities. They are not traditional therapists who deal with clients’ emotions and treat mental health. Besides, special needs coaches ask clients important questions about their goals, future, and growth. As a result, clients can answer what their goals are, how they can reach them, and what parts need growth and development.

How Much Does A Special Needs Coach Earn?

The salary of a special needs coach depends on the niche, location, audience, level of experience, training, and credentials. The average revenue for this profit is $59,100, and average fees range from $75-$200 per hour. Moreover, the coaching business can become more profitable by providing coaching meetings, conducting seminars, or as a guest speaker at conventions.

How Do I Help Someone A Special Needs Coach?

As a special needs coach, you can help someone by actively listening to their needs and interests and helping them in rehabilitation. Use clear sentences and never interrupt them before they finish their sentences. Always ask them before helping as they might not need your assistance and can make their own decisions. To put it simply, you need to develop technical knowledge and understanding of disability to effectively coach differently-abled.

What Are The Qualifications To Become A Special Needs Coach?

Becoming a special needs coach doesn’t require a specific degree or education. Still, a background in psychology, organizational behavior, wellness, and even marketing or business can give you credibility in your coaching practice. Several organizations request coaching professionals with a bachelor’s in business, special education, rehabilitation, or a related discipline.

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