How to Become a Life Coach
How to Become a Coach
More and more people are looking for a career that provides a sense of personal and professional fulfillment. Just going to work to make money isn't enough any more. They want a career where they can use their gifts, live their passion, and make a difference in the lives of others. Life coaching may meet that criteria for some people.
Being successful as a life coach is more than being a good coach or technician as Michael Gerber would say (read 'The E-Myth' for more). Before you quit your job or invest time and money into becoming a coach, research the profession thoroughly. Make sure you’re not overlooking the realities of what is involved in starting a coaching business.
Here are 5 keys areas in understanding the truth of what it takes to become a coach:
1. Understand What Life Coaching Is
The International Coach Federation (ICF) definition of coaching is: “Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”
Clients hire coaches to resolve a challenge or to get support to attain a desired result. Your job as a coach is to support the client to be successful, usually by asking questions and listening.
Coaching usually occurs over the phone, although it can also occur in person for a higher fee. Many coaches offer additional free email access and/or laser telephone coaching of 5-10 minutes in length between sessions on an as-needed basis.
Obviously this is just a brief summary of what coaching is. The best way to understand the power of coaching is to experience it. You may even want to take an introductory course that allows you to coach and be coached in the class.
2. Is Life Coaching the Right Career For You?
You may be thinking that becoming a coach is an easy way to make $200+ an hour. Making a career change, training, and starting a new business can be scary. It takes time, money and effort.
Compare your skills and unique talents with the competencies needed to be an effective coach. In addition, what are your core values? Is a career in coaching in alignment with your values? The more information you have, the more confident you will be about your decision.
3. Choosing a Coach Training and Certification Program
To enhance your effectiveness, confidence and credibility with potential clients you’ll likely need to add specific coaching skills to your toolbox. Clients invest in your coaching services because they want to get results. Would you go to a doctor who had not graduated from medical school?
I found over 150 coaching training organizations (as of June 2007). About a quarter of these organizations offer an accredited coach training programs. Tuition fees for an accredited program can range from range from $3,900 to $10,000+ US.
Take into consideration the type of coach you want to become. In addition to the coach training programs that teach coaching skills, there are programs tailored for those who wish to coach in corporations or businesses. There are also niche specific training programs. Parent coach training and Chrisitain coach training are just two examples. There are even programs designed for those working as therapists, social workers and other helping professions.
Before committing the time and money to a training program you want to make sure you pick the best training program for you.
4. Learn How to Create a Thriving Coaching Business
While some coaches may be hired by corporations as in-house coaches, most will likely go out on their own. Coaching is a business. It could take 3-18+ months to create a full coaching practice.
Coaches usually focus on one-to-one coaching for the majority of their coaching income when starting. You can leverage your time by offering group coaching and by selling products.
Marketing is the key to getting the word out about your coaching business. If you’re serious about being financially successful, learn about marketing and about building a business. Some coach training organizations include practice building as part of their curriculum and some do not. You may be the best coach in the world, but if no one knows about you....
5. Take Action
Ask yourself: “What do I need to know in order to decide if becoming a coach is the right career move for me?” Do your research before becoming a coach. It may seem overwhelming at first, so schedule small blocks of time. Talk to coaches. Find out what it’s really like to be a coach.
A career in coaching can be very rewarding personally, professionally and financially. Do yourself a favour and do the research before jumping.
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If you want to know more about coaching, subscribe to get your "Becoming a Coach Starter Kit." It includes the:
- "Becoming a Coach" checklist
- "Is Coaching the Right Career For You?" quiz
- Preview Chapter from the "How to Become a Coach" eBook
Chapter 9: How Coaches make Money
- the Coaching Updates ezine.
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Two Coaching Associations
- International Coach Federation
The International Coach Federation (ICF) is a non-profit worldwide association for personal and business coaches. They both accredit coach training organizations and certify coaches.
- Worldwide Association of Business Coaches
The WABC is the first worldwide association dedicated to business coaching. They certify business coaches and will soon accredit business coaching programs.