Are you facing challenges in your personal or business life? Not sure how to navigate through a problematic situation? Need help making a difficult decision? Want someone to challenge, motivate, or inspire you to set goals and meet deadlines? Love the idea of having a professional accountability partner or someone to cheer you on? If so, you might very well benefit from hiring a life coach. But have you ever given thought to becoming one?
You might want to consider becoming a life coach if:
- You like helping others.
- You derive satisfaction from making a difference in someone’s life.
- You enjoy meeting new people.
- You have experience or knowledge in a special field.
- People often come to you for fresh ideas.
- You’re able to identify a person’s strengths and weaknesses.
- You’re a good listener. You’re good at encouraging others.
- You can organize and motivate people.
If this sounds like you, read on. Maybe most of the characteristics above apply to you, but you feel like you don’t have any special expertise or qualifications. That’s okay. Coaching skills can be learned. There are several great programs and accreditation institutes that can help you become trained and certified. Keep in mind that your field of expertise doesn’t have to fall into a traditional business category.
Consider if any of the following situations apply to you.
1. Personal Challenges
Think of all the different challenges that you’ve overcome or are successfully managing: weight loss, quitting smoking, addiction, divorce, abuse, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), eating disorders, anxiety, depression, or physical disabilities.
2. Personal or Professional Caregiving
Maybe you’ve been a caregiver for a special needs child or someone with Alzheimers. Perhaps you’re a cancer survivor or you were a caregiver for a cancer victim. You tutor or work with autistic children. You counsel troubled teens. You’ve volunteered in a pregnancy counseling center.
3. Special Know-how
Are you a homeschooling parent? A stay-at-home mom raising small children? A mother or father of a large family (six or more children)? A small business owner? A retired school teacher, tutor, or college professor? Are you a career professional? Do you know how to write or publish books?
Have you successfully made the transition from city living to country life? Military to civilian life? Have you left a spiritually abusive system or a cult? Did you leave atheism for religious faith? Did you discover meaning, purpose, and rewards after becoming an empty-nester or retiring?
5. Special Insight
Maybe you just have knack for understanding people’s needs. You’re empathetic, compassionate, and patient. Do you know how to organize or lead people? Are you a motivator? Is it easy for you to get people talking, thinking, or brainstorming? Do you know how to reduce stress, achieve balance, or make positive health and lifestyle changes?
If any of the above describes you, you could very well make a great life coach.
Just as there are good reasons to considering coaching, there are definite reasons not to. You should not become a life coach if:
- You’re doing it for the money. Can coaches earn a good income? Definitely! But that’s not a good reason alone to pursue coaching as a career or avocation.
- You need a steady source of income.
- You don’t particularly like people.
- You’re a critical or impatient person.
- You’re unwilling to invest in a lengthy (and expensive) accreditation program. Three hours or three weeks of training, or reading a dozen helpful books is not enough to equip you to be an excellent or qualified coach. The top accreditation schools take months and a few thousand dollars or more to become a qualified and certified coach.
What Coaching Is
According to the International Coach Federation (ICF), a coach partners “with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” Coaching helps increase a person’s self-confidence and improve his or her communication skills, relationships, or work performance.
By getting the proper training, you can help clients make the positive changes they hope for in their lives, whether those changes are personal or professional. To be someone’s business or personal life coach is to be in their corner, encouraging and supporting them every step of the way in the areas they want to improve. You must be able to challenge your clients and hold them accountable for following through on their goals. Your purpose is to explore and identify ways for each person to move toward success.
What Coaching is Not
Coaching is not counseling. You are not helping individuals come to terms with their past. You’re not providing mental health care or treating emotional problems. You are not a paid “friend.” Life coaching is not giving medical, legal, or financial advice. It isn’t micromanaging lives of your clients or telling them what to do.
Coaching not a business in the traditional sense; it’s a skillset. Yes, successful personal and business coaches make good incomes, but it takes a lot of work and effort to build a clientele. And because clients quit once they achieve the results they hired you for, you must always hustle to attract new clients to replace them. So do your research. Make sure coaching is for you. Set realistic expectations. And don’t get into it for the money. Think of coaching as a way to fulfill your desire to help others and any money you earn as frosting on the cake.
Life, wellness, and business coaching can be extremely gratifying. When you know you are helping someone through their challenges, writer’s block, relationships, or in achieving their professional or personal goals it can be one of the most fulfilling careers of all.
For further information on becoming a certified coach, see: