What It Really Takes to Become a Coach

More and more people want to become a life coach or business coach these days.

You too may be caught up in the excitement of how rewarding a career as a coach could be both professionally and financially.  The only problem is you be may be overlooking the realities of what is involved in starting a coaching business.

There are 5 keys areas in understanding the truth about what it takes to become a coach:

  1. Understand what coaching is and how it works.
  2. Be sure coaching is the right career for you.
  3. Make an informed decision about coach training and certification.
  4. Learn how to build and maintain a successful coaching business.
  5. Take action.

1.  Understand what coaching is and how it works

When you first heard about professional coaching you probably associated it with sports coaching or therapy. While professional coaching is similar to these professions there are some key differences.

According to the International Coach Federation (ICF), which is the largest non-profit association of professional and business coaches in the world:

“Coaching is an ongoing relationship which focuses on clients taking
action toward the realization of their visions, goals or desires.”

Clients hire coaches to resolve a challenge or to get support to attain a desired result.  Your job as a coach is to support the client to be successful.  Coaches do this by asking questions and listening.

Coaching usually occurs over the phone, although it can also occur in person for a higher fee.   Many coaches offer additional free email access and/or laser telephone coaching of 5-10 minutes in length between sessions on an as-needed basis.

2.  Is coaching the right career for you?

You may be thinking, sounds like an easy way to make $200+ an hour.

Making a career change, training, and starting a new business can be scary.  It takes time, money and effort.

Research the profession thoroughly.  Compare your skills with the competencies needed to be an effective coach.  The more information you have, the more confident you will be about your decision.

3. Make an informed decision about coach training and certification.

To enhance your effectiveness, confidence and credibility with potential clients you’ll need to add specific coaching skills to your toolbox.  Clients invest in your coaching services because they want to get results.  Imagine hiring a personal trainer with no specialized training in weight training!  Injuries can result.

As of June 2007, I found over 150 coaching training organizations.  About a quarter of these organizations offer an accredited coach training programs.  The majority do not.  Plus tuition fees range from range from $3,900 to $10,000+ US.

Before committing the time and money to a training program you want to make sure you pick the best training program for you.

4.  Learn how to build and maintain a successful coaching business.

It’s important to realize that coaching is a business.  Most coaches are self-employed.  It could take 3-18+ months to create a full coaching practice.

Marketing is the key to getting the word out about your coaching business.  If you’re serious about building a coaching business, learn about marketing.

5.  Take Action

Ask yourself:

What do I need to know in order to decide if becoming a coach is the  right career move for me?

Action creates momentum.  Do your research before becoming a coach.  It may seem overwhelming at first, so schedule small blocks of time.  Talk to coaches.  Find out what it’s really like to be a coach.

A career in coaching can be very rewarding personally, professionally and financially.  Do yourself a favour and do the research before jumping.