Life Coaching is a career with a bright future. Increasingly, people are realising the value of having a life coach. People from all walks of life are now hiring coaches to help them meet both personal and professional goals.
The International Coaching Federation had around 1500 life coaches in 1999 across 34 countries. By 2009 there were 15 949 members and by 2019 35,594 member coaches.
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.
1. Understand What Coaching is
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.”
Coaching has some parallels with counselling and mentoring but it is not the same thing. Counselling is inclined to focus on past experiences and making sense of them. A mentor tends towards providing a less experienced person with motivation, guidance, insight and support within a specific field. Both counselling and mentoring are usually longer-term approaches. In contrast coaching is shorter term and future focused. It is orientated towards helping a client achieve specifically defined goals and maximise their own potential. In coaching sessions clients take the lead and life coaches support them to maximise their potential. This means that clients, not coaches, generate solutions to challenges and determine which path to take to reach a goal.
2. Is Coaching a good fit for you?
To determine whether you have the essential qualities necessary to become a life coach, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you enjoy helping people maximise their own potential?
- Are you good at talking to people and guiding them in making decisions about their lives?
- Do you listen well?
- Are you willing to be a guide and not a problem solver?
3. Get Credibly Qualified
If you want to be a successful life coach it is essential that you study through a legitimate and credible institution. Ideally you want this institution to be well established with a good track record of successful graduate coaches. Additionally, a well-respected coach-training programme should have competencies aligned with the International Coach Federation (ICF). Some institutions have added advantages to studying coaching through them. For example, a value-add to the coaching curriculum which could put you at an immediate advantage when you start working.
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. Because SACAP is also a Psychology College, coaching courses are able to have the principles of applied psychology incorporated into them. Thereby providing students with additional skill sets that will give them an advantage when they start working. Additionally, SACAP coaching courses include a combination of rigorous academic theory with practical skills, workplace experience and self-development. This ensures that graduates graduate with the knowledge and skills necessary to make an immediate impact when they start working.
4. 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, determine obstacles and help motivate them on their path to achieving their goals. It is very important to ask follow up questions. This will reassure your client that you have been listening and help you get to the heart of an 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? “Why not?” is one of the most powerful follow-up questions in the coach’s arsenal. This is the question you ask when a client believes they cannot accomplish a certain task or reach a goal.
5. Keep Learning
A life coach is always learning. As the industry gains even more momentum, new research and resources will emerge. All of which are tools to add to your work arsenal. Thus, even if you’ve got a great qualification, to continue to be successful you will need to be constantly upskilling yourself. The best way to do this is through reading and part time courses that you’ve identified as helpful for your work.
Additionally, as a coach, you will always be learning on the job. In fact, as you work with a client, you could end up learning as much, if not more, than your client. This is because you are asking questions that often you will need to be able to answer about yourself. Thereby, spurring your own personal growth and insight. Furthermore, as you unpack concepts and navigate a client’s situations, you will be learning and refining your coaching technique.
Exploring Your Coaching Options
Does becoming a life coach interest you? Enquire today about enrolling in one of SACAP’s internationally accredited coaching courses. With online and part-time options, SACAP allows working professionals to augment their skills or smoothly transition into a new career without a break in employment.