It’s a career with a bright future, but how does one become a life coach? Here are 5 steps to succeeding in one of the world’s fastest-growing industries.
There’s no denying that the life coaching phenomenon has taken the world by storm. People from all walks of life are now hiring coaches to help them meet both personal and professional goals.
As reported by NCC Home Learning, the International Coach Federation had only around 1500 life coach members in 1999, but by 2013, that had risen to 17000 coaches across a total of 34 countries. So it’s clearly a career with a bright future, but how does one go about becoming a life coach?
Here are five steps to establishing yourself in one of the world’s fastest growing industries:
1. Understand what the job entails
The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” Whereas with counselling the focus is generally on past experiences; coaching is future-oriented, with the focus being on helping the client achieve life goals, whether that pertain to relationships, career, self-esteem or even health and nutrition.
In a world of constant distractions and rising stress levels, more people are seeing the benefit of having a life coach who can help set them on the path.
2. Determine whether it’s the job for you
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?
Are you good at listening?
Are you willing to let the client take the lead, generating solutions to their own problems with you merely acting as a guide rather than the problem-solver?
3. Get 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).
As John Kim LMFT, author, speaker, life coach and co-founder of JRNI Life Coaching Certification and the Catalyst Life Coaching Intensive, writes: “Life coaching is a craft and takes practice and education, like any other profession. You need a foundational know-how before you can coach.”
SACAP’s range of coaching courses provide invaluable life coach training, that includes a combination of rigorous academic theory with practical skills, workplace experience and self-development, so as to ensure you graduate with the knowledge and skills necessary to make an immediate impact.
Since SACAP is also a psychology college, they’re able to incorporate the principles of applied psychology into their coaching courses, providing students with additional skill sets that will serve them well in their coaching career. Courses on offer that will help pave the way for a career as a life coach include:
- Postgraduate Diploma in Coaching, a part-time, two-year, qualification.
- Coach Practitioner Programme, a shorter learning programme that serves as a pathway to continue into SACAP’s Advanced Coach Practitioner Programme.
- Advanced Coach Practitioner Programme, a six month, short learning programme that qualifies you to pursue a career as a professional coach practitioner.
4. Learn to ask the right questions
As a coach, your job is not to provide clients with the answers to all their questions, but rather to help them find those answers for themselves. YOU should be the one asking the questions, but the trick is to ask the right questions.
Powerful coaching questions should help the client set goals and determine obstacles. Even more important is to be able to ask good follow-up questions, as this will show the client you are listening, and help you get to the heart of the issue. Examples of effective follow-up questions are:
Initial question: What is the biggest obstacle you are currently facing?
Follow-up question: If that weren’t a problem anymore, what would your biggest obstacle be?
Initial question: What do you want to achieve within the next year?
Follow-up question: Why do you want that?
Of course, “why not?” is one of the most powerful follow-up questions in the coach’s arsenal, the question you ask when a client believes they cannot accomplish a certain task or achieve a certain goal.
5. Learn to keep learning
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 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.
If you’re interested in pursuing a coaching course, or seek additional information on the life coaching profession and what it entails, you can enquire now with SACAP.