A life coach is someone who makes a living by helping clients overcome an obstacle and unlock their potential, thereby attaining their goals and aspirations. Life coaching usually attracts clients who are looking for personal development and interested in fulfilling their destiny. This is one of the main reasons a life coach must invest in personal preparation, especially through coach-specific training as offered by accredited life coaching programs. According to the ICF, life coaching is the process of “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” Let’s break this definition down by looking at the main keywords:
- Partnering – This implies that the life coach will work in tandem with each client, focusing on an agreed-upon objective.
- Thought-provoking – The goal of a good life coach should be to elicit new perspectives and ideas. The coaching should be aimed at clients reaching their “eureka” moments when an invisible light switch is turned on and they see their lives in a new light.
- Creative process – Even though coaching is often structured, a good life coaching session should be flexible to allow for the “What ifs?” and the innate creativity that often arises during the process.
- Personal and professional potential – A good life coach should be able to support his or her client in any area of life in which the client is seeking clarity. Unlike mentoring or counseling, life coaching doesn’t require you to be a subject matter expert. However, it is possible—and even desirable—to have a niche that you concentrate on as a life coach, whether you are looking to work for an organization as an in-house life coach or are building your own practice.
You should never get into the business of helping others without proper training and preparation. This is why anyone looking to become a life coach must first get relevant training. The ICF accredits programs in order to ensure life coaches receive training from programs that will prepare them well for the task of coaching. Here are three of the advantages of taking accredited life coaching programs:
1. Financial benefits
Life coaching can be a great way to make a good living. A recent report found that 53,300 life coaches spread across the globe generate well over $2.3 billion in annual revenue. An earlier study indicated that the average charge per hour for a life coaching session is $229. Even though a life coach spends only a couple of hours a week with each client, a life coach who averages 10 clients can generate a solid income.
This does not mean that life coaching is a get-rich-quick scheme. It will take hard work and patience on your part to start making a good income. More importantly, you will need to find a certified training program. An ICF accredited training program will expose you to the core competencies of coaching and prepare you well to be the kind of life coach that clients are looking for.
You can even transition into life coaching from another career by obtaining the necessary training, then coaching clients on a part-time basis. This approach of combining life coaching with another source of income is one of the most popular for coaches who are starting out. Building a life coaching practice with a continual flow of clients takes time, commitment, and a financial investment. However, the potential to grow and eventually make life coaching your full-time career is huge.
2. Professional benefits
There are many professional benefits associated with taking an accredited life coaching program. The training is usually quite rigorous and therefore intellectually stimulating. This is an important step in the journey towards becoming a great life coach. Once you start your career, you will meet clients who will engage you in intellectually stimulating conversations. You will learn skills, tools, methodologies, and models during training that will come in handy as you build your practice. In fact, even after you finish the coach-specific training, you may still want to take advanced training in other related areas of interest that support your life coaching niche.
Accredited programs are designed to give you the foundational knowledge that is a prerequisite to your life coaching career. You can then use this as a springboard to further your training over the years at your own pace and to your own liking. When you begin coaching, you will realize that every client is an individual, and with every individual comes a brand-new experience that will help you to improve as a coach. Life coaching is, therefore, comparable to the proverbial bottle of wine—it gets better with time.
As a life coach, you have the unique privilege of going behind the scenes of what is really happening in another person’s life as you develop the coaching relationship. Proper training will teach you do this while gaining the trust and confidence of your client. When you complete your training through an accredited program, it helps to give you a professional image. In addition to the coach-specific training, certain programs might offer more training opportunities for further professional development.
Even if you will be working with organizations rather than individuals, you will quickly realize that every organization is different. You will have to delve into the inner workings of the organization in order to diagnose what is ailing the employees in order to help them to navigate through their quandaries. As you work with the individuals within the organization, you will receive feedback that will help you to improve your skills. This way, you will be better prepared for your next job. Satisfied clients will be glad to provide their testimonials and recommendations, and they might even send unsolicited clients your way.
Another professional benefit of life coaching is the flexibility it gives you in terms of how you work as well as who you work for. You decide whether you want to be a freelancer or work within an organization. For those who are not keen on running a business, you can apply for steady employment. If you are looking for a more flexible schedule, you can work as a freelancer. This flexibility means that you can choose to set up an online coaching business or meet face-to-face with clients at a local coffee shop.
3. Personal benefits
You will reap numerous personal benefits from the training acquired through an accredited coaching program. You will learn the skills and tools that you need to succeed as a life coach, but, equally importantly, you will “coach and be coached”— you will have the opportunity to practice coaching and to allow others to practice on you. This will give you a solid feel for coaching as well as what your clients will be feeling as they go through the process.
Accredited training will allow you to join a community of like-minded people who are also interested in personal development, giving you a pool of alumni that you can collaborate with as you learn from one another. Working alongside like-minded individuals will motivate you and challenge you to keep getting better, and become more focused, more intentional, and ultimately more effective. Improving your productivity during training will help you when you start your coaching practice and give you the added benefit of developing your own personal life.
Life coaching as a career can help to free up your time, enabling you to create a healthy work-life balance, leading to a more fulfilled life. As an independent coach, you can take clients from anywhere on the globe. As a life coach working within an organization, you will have the pleasure of meeting with people face to face.
You cannot be a great coach if you are not competently trained. As Jesus said in Luke 6:39, “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?” For you to be a proficient life coach, you will need to “talk your walk and walk your talk.” If you want to inspire your clients to become better, you must invest in becoming better yourself. And the first step is taking an accredited coaching program.
Coaches who have put forth a deliberate effort to study and prepare themselves will automatically gain credibility in the eyes of their clients. Most clients are reluctant to work with coaches who do not have credentialing. To the general public, your credentials are the first sign that you are exceptional at what you do and committed to excellence. If you haven’t already done so, do your research and find a program that is ICF accredited, one that fits your training needs (online, in class, etc.), and provides you with the coaching know-how to become the confident coach you desire to be!
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