Becoming a Life Coach: Rewards, Challenges, and Finding the Right Coaching School
What is Life Coaching?
At the heart of life coaching is helping people improve at something they do - job, relationships, sports or simply life in general.
Since most people are plagued with self-limiting beliefs, they rarely reach their true potential. It requires faith, courage and patience - that flaky believing-in-yourself business. That's where having a life coach can be invaluable.
Life coaching is similar to traditional psychotherapy, but faster and more effective. You can spend years in therapy mulling over past grudges and broken hearts, and the results may not be noticeable or even definable. With a life coach, the immediate focus is on the present: what you want and what you need to do to achieve it. This approach is guaranteed to empower people who are otherwise too afraid to live with integrity and to become their true Self, without all the "shouldn'ts" and "can'ts" stifling their growth.
Although the concept of a client still applies, coaching someone is much closer to a partnership than to a mentor-student or a doctor-patient relationship. This is another important difference between coaching and psychotherapy: coaching is personal.
Top 5 Reasons to Become a Coach
- Accelerated personal growth
- Sense of satisfaction in life from helping people
- Getting paid for what you do anyway
- A path of lifelong learning and self-improvement
- Focus on one person at a time
Keys to Becoming a Great Life Coach in Under 15 Minutes
Top 3 Coaching Challenges
1. Failure. Fear of failure may be the most immobilizing force there is. No matter how good a coach you can be, failures are inevitable. The main challenge is to treat them as valuable learning experiences rather than a reflection of your abilities. On the other hand, fear of failure may be the biggest obstacle to the client you're working with. A coach must be resourceful enough to show him/her that failure in the past is irrelevant to the present.
2. The urge to give advice. Even though your input may be valuable and welcomed, only the ability to listen fosters a true rapport with the client. Nothing heals better than empathetic listening, and nothing is more underestimated.
3. Truly understanding your client's needs. Ultimately, it's not about you: it's about the client. Assimilating your own experience into your work is OK, but the idea is to empower people to make their own decisions, not to make them dependent on your authoritative judgment.
Why Life Coaching is So Powerful
Areas of Application
As a life couch, you could be working with a wide range of issues or specialize in one particular area, such as:
- defining one's purpose, values, and goals;
- improving one's motivation and decision-making;
- achieving balance and more authentic self-expression;
- having more energy and stamina;
- effectively managing stress;
- improving sports performance;
- developing a new career or increasing productivity;
- improving personal relationships;
- enhancing positive self-beliefs and inner confidence to take action in order to achieve one's goals;
- encouraging openness and ability to look at situations and circumstances in one's life in new ways:
- maximizing well-being etc.
Finding the Right Coach or Coaching School
- Foundation for Holistic Life Coaching
Here you will find a wealth of information if you are seeking to receive life coaching or become a professional holistic life coach.
Which Coaching School to Choose?
Acquiring life coaching skills typically means attending a coaching school, but not all schools offer the same type of education.
Coaching schools, like other academic institutions, have to have an accreditation to be considered meeting the standard of quality, but some non-accredited coaching schools offer unique integrative programs that may actually be more personal and holistic than the traditional certified life coach programs.
The ICF (International Coach Federation) is the largest association for professional coaches worldwide that provides accreditation to coaching schools, similarly to the APA (American Psychological Association) providing accreditation to psychology schools.
If a coaching school has a training program approved by the ICF, it will have the Accredited Coach Training Programs (ACTP) accreditation. Some coaching schools also have Coach Specific Training Hours (ACSTH), yet others offer Continuing Coach Education (CCE).
These three, and only these three - have the ICF's official stamp of approval, but to reiterate, there are many other good (alternative/holistic) coaching programs out there which are not affiliated with the IFC, that can offer unique training for the right kind of student.
What would a Typical Coaching School Program Include?
- A minimum of 125 hours of training
Training on all ICF competences and the Code of Ethics
- A minimum of 6 observed-coaching sessions with an experienced coach
- A comprehensive final exam that evaluates a student's life coaching skills
How to Ask the Right Coaching Questions
- Life Coaching Magic - Do You Have IT?
Coach Training Alliance provides coaching certification to become a life coach, business coach and mentor.
Best Books and Videos on Coaching
- Peer Resources: Top Coaching Books, Tapes and Videos
Peer Resources updated list of the best coaching books, tapes and videos
An Interview with the founder and CEO of the Institute for Life Coach Training
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