Whether they work with individuals or in a business setting, life coaches help people to become more capable and resourceful and enjoy more satisfaction in all areas of their lives. Indeed, life coaching has become a booming career field, and can provide both personal satisfaction and monetary reward, not to mention plenty of opportunities to grow professionally. And, because you can coach in person, on the phone, online, or wherever and whenever it’s convenient for you, it offers a flexible schedule. What’s not to love?
Of course, before you get there, you’ll need to know how to correctly go about becoming a life coach – and the path to success differs from one individual to another.
How to Become a Life Coach: 5 Crucial Steps
1. Understand The Job
Life coaching involves helping people to utilise their full potential in setting goals and achieving them for a successful and happy life. However, being a coach doesn’t mean being a therapist or counsellor. So, you don’t deal with the person’s past, but instead you focus on his or her present and future. Two of the most important questions answered during the life-coaching journey are: “Where is the person now?” and “What and where does he or she want to be in the future?”. As a life coach, your responsibility is to help your clients find direction in their lives. Your role is to guide and motivate them towards the correct path, based on their own goals and preferences. You’re not there to dictate what goals and steps they should follow. This is because people have unique personalities – what success means to Jane may not be interpreted as success by John. Your job is to help people realise their own desires and reach their full potential through their own efforts.
2. Do a Self-assessment
To determine whether you have the essential qualities necessary to become a life coach, you’ll need to ask yourself some crucial questions. Is helping others become better versions of themselves something you’re passionate about? Are you good at talking to people and guiding them in making decisions about their lives? Do you enjoy spending time chatting with and listening to people? Do you have that sincere desire to lend a hand to people in need? Does your own life have direction? Your answers to all of these questions ought to be in the affirmative for you to ultimately succeed in a life-coaching career.
3. Find Your Focus
Before you sign on the dotted line with a coach-training institution, think about the specialty you’d like to focus on. Rather than simply calling yourself a “life coach”, consider refining your area of coaching – be it personal or business, marriage or parenting, time management or weight loss, transformational or spiritual – to attract a specific group of clients. Working within a niche lets you provide more value to your clients because you’ve honed your expertise in an area especially relevant to them. Also, you limit the competition you face when you are a specialist rather than a generalist.
4. Get Properly Qualified
If you are serious about joining the life-coaching profession you should follow the most legitimate, credible path into the career. That means being trained and certified by a well-respected coach-training programme, preferably one whose competencies are aligned with the International Coach Federation (ICF). You should also look for an institution that places a high premium on learner-centred education. As a life-coaching student you will benefit enormously from undergoing your own empowering process, which will give you greater control of your own life and so increase your ability to effect positive change in the lives of others.
5. Prepare For The Journey
Brace yourself! You will need to be 100% emotionally ready to begin the life-coaching journey. It may seem counterintuitive but, as a coach, you’ll end up learning as much (if not more) than your clients. Think about it: the questions you ask others (and good coaches ask a lot) are questions you will need to be able to answer about yourself. Also, when you share your ideas in words, you clarify those ideas, making them more real and powerful for you too. In short, as you help others navigate through their situations, you learn to navigate through your own. Indeed, the personal growth component is an important, yet often unrecognised, part of your coaching education. Getting your own life in order will be an essential and an ongoing process for you as a life coach. In order to be an effective model for your clients you must be able to walk the talk, as it were.
So, are you ready to embrace a higher level of self-awareness and a deeper understanding of your unique purpose? Yes? Well then buckle up – you’re in for the ride of your life!
The South African College of Applied Psychology has been training students in coaching, as an applied psychology, since 1997 and is renowned for its unique blend of rigorous theory, applied skills and experiential workplace internships. SACAP offers a range of coaching courses all of which teach coaching competencies that are embedded in solid ethical, theoretical and practical foundations. To find out more, click here.