What to Look for When Searching for the Best Life Coaching Programs
The best life coaching programs are typically tailored to produce the highest quality of life coaches. According to the ICF, “Life Coaching is a professional partnership between the coach and their client focused on the discovery of one’s life direction.” In other words, the goal of the life coach should be to help clients achieve their life’s purpose. In order to do this, a life coach must gain necessary skills and tools that can help him or her build the best life coaching practice possible. The surest way of obtaining the necessary skills is through life coach-specific training. But how do you know which training to take? Here are some of the most important qualities of a good life coaching program:
Coach Training Hours
It is important to have the correct number of coach training hours, if you are going to qualify for any of the International Coach Federation (ICF) certifications. If you are interested in applying for the ACC (Associate Certified Coach) level credential, you need to have at least 48 hours of live class hours and a further 12 hours of self-study.
Registering for a program that offers a crash program or any other format that does not meet this minimum requirement of training and self-study hours will result in the rejection of your application. However, it is best not to think of these hours as a requirement you are trying to meet—think of them as a necessary step towards proper qualifications and credentials. This will help you to make the most out of your training time, and when all is said and done you will be a well-prepared life coach.
ICF Core Competencies
A training program should incorporate all 11 ICF core competencies. These core competencies were developed in order to guarantee an understanding of the approaches and skills that are needed in the coaching profession. The 11 core competencies are as follows (not in order of priority as all are equally important):
Meeting the ethical guidelines and professional standards
Establishing the coaching agreement
Establishing trust with the client
Planning and goal setting
Managing progress and accountability
The best life coaching programs focus on these. The ICF uses these competencies as the foundation for their Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA) test, so it is in your best interest to make sure they are covered in the program you are undertaking.
Life coaching is a very practical career, so it is necessary to have coaching practice as part of the training. This is why a coaching practicum is a must in a training program. You will learn a lot through the theory part of the program, but without practice, there is no way of knowing how that theory relates to real-life scenarios. This is why you want to look for a school that offers some form of coaching practicum as part of the course.
The ICF actually requires all coaches who want their certification to have fulfilled a certain number of live coaching hours. To get the ACC credential, you will need to have logged at least 100 hours of coaching, and 75 of these hours need to be paid. For the PCC credential, you will need to accumulate at least 500 coaching hours, 450 of which need to be paid hours. The highest ICF credential, the MCC, requires at least 2,500 coaching hours, with 2,250 of these hours from paying clients. The ICF has structured it this way in order to allow life coaches to test their skills before getting certified.
Even though the corporate world is increasingly realizing the need for life coaching, not many companies offer full-time life coaching positions. That shouldn’t be a problem, because there are plenty of opportunities to work with individuals who realize the importance of life coaching to their career and personal development goals. Thus, most of the people who go through a life coach training program will set up their own life coaching business.
For this reason, it is a good idea to get a program that has some business development training incorporated into the course. Even though this is not an ICF requirement, it is a necessary skill to have. The business section of a life coaching program will guide you through how to launch a startup business, website development, social media promotion, state-specific laws, how to attract and retain customers, and many other business-related skills. These skills may seem unimportant, but they are the reason some business succeed and others fail.
Coaching Instructors Who Care
The type of instructors you have through your training program will have a huge impact on the type of coach you become. If your instructors show genuine concern and care through their attitudes, words, and actions, you are more likely to be a compassionate and caring life coach. Sadly, the opposite can be true. Take Jesus and his disciples, for example. Jesus continually demonstrated his love and compassion for the lost. He would do anything and pay any price to reach one more soul. Initially, his disciples didn’t get it.
They shoved people away from Jesus, thinking they were helping him out; to their surprise, he would reprimand them for it. But he was patient with them and they eventually caught the same spirit. After his ascension, we see the likes of John and Peter exercising the same compassion that their master had taught them. Our instructors impact us in ways that we may not understand at first, so it is a good idea to ensure the influence is only positive.
Consulting the Lord
Like the good old hymn says, “oh what needless pain we bear… all because we do not take it to the Lord in prayer!” As you consider all the other important factors regarding which program to take, do not neglect the importance of involving the Lord in this important decision. Sadly, most people only remember to pray when they are in hot water, but the Bible encourages us to pray for many things, including direction. The prophet Isaiah reminded us that, “Your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘this Is the way; walk in it’” (Isaiah 30:21). God actually wants to order your steps, but he will never force himself on anyone. If you let him, you will benefit from his direction and guidance.
Registering for the best life coaching program is only a start towards your life coaching career. It shouldn’t be taken as a guarantee that you will automatically become a great life coach. The right program will equip you with the tools and knowledge that will give you a head start, but you have to do your part in order to achieve your career goals. Like any other business, it will take time to build your brand and start attracting high-paying clients. If you are daydreaming of becoming an instant millionaire, then life coaching might be the wrong choice for you. But if you are prepared to build your business progressively, you will succeed in your career goals.
Find out more about the best Life Coaching programs. . .