Becoming a life coach seems pretty exciting. Not only do you have the opportunity to support clients as they strive to achieve goals, but you also get to enjoy the freedom of being an entrepreneur.
Supporting other people in finding their purposes and achieving their desired benchmarks is wonderful, but it's not all there is to being a professional life coach.
That being said, here are six things you should know about becoming a life coach:
- Certification isn't required, but it's critical to your success.
Coaching is an unregulated industry, which means you don't have to have a certification in order to offer services.
But, if you want to be the best possible coach—which means helping your clients get the best possible results—then it's a good idea to seek training and certification.
No matter how gifted or talented or smart you are, you can always learn more about effective coaching from people who have made careers of it (or from organizations comprised of such people).
- Coaching is a fast-growing industry, which means two things: it works, and you must specialize.
Coaching is now a multi-billion-dollar industry! Which means clients are getting results, and coaches are seeing success. It also means that in a market full of coaches clamoring for clients, you must find a way to stand out. You must find a niche: a specific group of people with a specific problem you can solve in a specific way.
If you haven't yet dialed in on your niche, don't worry! Get started anyway; the more you work with people, the better you'll be able to do so.
- Making a great living takes time—but it IS possible.
As with any transition from one career or profession to another, it may take some time for you to become established and begin making enough of a profit to support yourself. Consider working part-time at a regular job as you transition to becoming a coach, or saving up before you stop working at your current job so you have financial security as you start your practice.
- Many different business models exist by which you can share your services and make a living.
Although the “original” method of coaching is to offer your services one-on-one, that's not the only way to change lives and make a living. Consider offering group classes (in-person or online), where you can reach more than one person at a time. Consider writing books or creating products people can buy.
- Running a coaching business is NOT all about coaching.
If you decide to launch your own coaching business, then you'll have to spend some time marketing, taking care of administrative tasks, and actually running the business.
If you don't like the idea of conquering these tasks, then perhaps business ownership isn't for you. Consider an employment opportunity that would allow you to use your coaching skills but wouldn't require you to handle day-to-day business operations.
- Coaching helps change people's lives, but it is NOT counseling.
If you're looking to change people's lives, you may have considered counseling as well as coaching. The two are very different, and it's important to understand the differences as you consider a new career. Coaching is about moving forward from where a client is, supporting her as she creates positive results in her life. Counseling is about helping a client heal from past trauma. For a more in-depth explanation of the differences, read my blog post, 6 Differences Between Coaching and Counseling, here.
In conclusion …
Life coaching can seem like an exciting path to follow, and many life coaches will tell you it is! Especially when you are aware of what it's really like and what it really takes.
We'd love to hear from you: why does coaching appeal to you?