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8 Common Myths About Coaches and the Coaching Industry—and the Truth Behind Each One

8 Common Myths About Coaches

As the coaching industry has become one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, it has attracted lots of attention. And if you’ve spent any time performing Internet research, then you’ve likely seen tons of information about it—and some misinformation, too.

Let’s jump right into some of the most commonly heard myths out there, and of course, the truth behind them.

Here we go!

Myth 1: Coaches tell people what to do, or give advice.

Fact: Because coaching is actually about guiding clients in the process of self-discovery, coaches ask their clients powerful open-ended questions to lead them in discovering their best next steps in the pursuit of making a certain change or transformation. Rather than giving advice, then, coaches create a path by which their clients can find the answers that are already within them.

Myth 2: Coaches primarily work on helping their clients achieve goals.

Fact: It’s true that most people hire coaches because they want to achieve a certain goal or make a specific transformation, and coaches do help clients create timelines for taking concrete action toward those goals or transformations. It’s important to note that coaches also help their clients figure out who they are, and identify and get past limiting beliefs, thoughts, and patterns that stop them from making the changes they want to make … thereby assisting them in achieving their desired end result.

Myth 3: Coaches aren’t well trained, because the industry is not regulated.

Fact: The International Coach Federation (ICF) is the leading global organization dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high standards, providing independent certification, and building a worldwide network of trained coaching professionals. It sets the gold standard for the industry, and serious, professional coaches seek training programs that earn ICF accreditation because they meet strict standards. Whether you’re looking to hire a coach or become a coach, look for a coach or program with ICF accreditation.

Myth 4: Coaches are wannabe counselors.

Fact: Coaching and counseling are two very different professions (and actually, this topic is so important to understand that we wrote an entire blog post on it, which you can read here).  While coaching is future-focused and solution-oriented, seeking answers from within the client and supporting the client in creating change, counseling often focuses on the past as clients seek to overcome and heal from trauma.

Myth 5: Coaches are armchair psychologists.

Fact: Coaches don’t need to be therapists or psychologists, and great coaches don’t try to mimic what a mental healthcare professional does. Mental healthcare professionals are highly trained in their specific field, as coaches are trained in theirs. We like to use the “fruit bowl analogy”: coaches are like oranges, counselors are like apples, psychologists are like pears, and psychiatrists are like bananas. They all go together nicely in a bowl, but they don’t all do the same thing. These professionals complement one another but are separate professions.

Myth 6: The coaching industry is over-saturated.

Fact: Although the coaching industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, it’s also still in its infancy—it really took shape only 35 years ago. Several recent studies have shown that while a minority of people has sought coaching, a majority plans to. This means that in the near future, a growing number of potential clients will seek coaches—and the need for coaches will be greater than ever.

Myth 7: Anyone can be a coach.

Fact: Anyone (with the desire and determination) CAN be a coach, but being a successful coach requires hard work, great training, and a business mindset. Although certification isn’t currently required in the U.S., Switzerland recently became the first country to regulate the industry … and at Radiant Coaches Academy, we anticipate that the rest of the world will follow suit soon. At that time, people who are already certified with accredited hours from a major coaching association like the International Coach Federation will likely be grandfathered in, and a certification will likely be required (by state and/or local regulations) before coaches can hang their shingles.  That’s why, at Radiant Coaches Academy, we recommend becoming certified with ICF-accredited hours before you begin serving clients.

Myth 8: Coaches are amateurs.

Fact: Coaches who seek proper training, become certified, and run their businesses like professionals ARE professionals. Coaches solve a real need in society as they guide their clients to live happier, healthier lives, emotionally and physically.  Coaches are highly trained to support clients in effective ways. Those who seek ICF-accredited hours are especially savvy and have foresight because regulation is likely to happen at the local level (through government) before it happens internationally (for example, through the ICF).

In conclusion …

As you continue to explore the coaching industry and profession, we encourage you to inform yourself with reliable sources. For more information about what coaching is all about, visit the Radiant Coaches Academy website at www.radiantcoaches.com.

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