A key problem all professional coaches face is that, unlike therapists or counsellors, use of the word coach isn’t regulated which means anyone can hang out a shingle calling themselves one without any formal training whatsoever. Even more worrying is the fact that even many life coach training programs have been set up by folk with little to no formal training and no affiliations with or accreditation by recognized professional coaching bodies. Yes those bodies do exist and they ensure professional training organizations meet industry standards and they also set and enforce the ethical and professional standards of their member coaches.
So the first problem is that this wild west approach has significantly muddied the water leaving the general public unaware of the fact that while some coaches have hundreds of hours of professional training and belong to internationally recognized accrediting bodies, others possibly just read a book. Or their teachers did.
The solution to this is actually pretty simple and here’s some tips.
- Choose a program that is accredited with a recognized coaching body such as the International Coaching Federation. This isn’t to say non-accredited programs are no good, but you have no idea if what they’re teaching is actually coaching or effective.
- Besides accreditation, look beyond all the glossy marketing and cool social media to what’s actually on offer. Maybe asking,
- Is it a full end-to-end training program? Find out if you need extra pieces to gain a professional credential such Mentor Coaching.
- What is their methodology? Is based on a scientific approach?
- How many contact hours of teaching are there? A low level Life Coach training program should have at least 60 contact hours and full program 125 or more.
- What level of credentialing will you qualify for? For the ICF the 60 hours will get you Associate Certified Coach (ACC) and minimum 125 gets Professional Certified Coach (PCC)
- How much does it cost? A decent ACC level program generally costs USD$4,000-$7,000; PCC-level programs USD$8,000-$14,000
- How long does it take? While there are Life Coach certification trainings which claim to train you in just a few days, avoid these! Basic coaching skills might be taught intensively but they take time to master and your program should account for that.
- Do your research. Find graduates and ask them how it was. Google them and see if there are any problems.
Finally, don’t be sold on all the hype about big easy earnings. While Life Coaching is certainly becoming more popular, it’s a business like any other. How successful you are in the long run has little to nothing to do with how cool your Instagram looks and much more to do with your level of skill and professionalism coupled with how good you are at managing yourself as a small business.
It takes hard work, great training and consistency to build an ethically successful life coaching practice not flashy marketing, sales funnels and click bait!