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Why Coaching Without Certification May Do More Harm Than Good—to You AND Your Clients

Coaching without certification

Although there are no existing laws that require a person to become certified in order to practice as a life, career, wellness, or holistic coach, running a coaching business without certification could potentially do more harm than good—for your clients AND for you as a business person.

If you’ve long been THE person to whom your friends and acquaintances turn for advice on a certain topic (or on a variety of topics), and you’re naturally gifted at guiding them toward the change they desire, then you may have wondered whether getting certified is really worth all the time and energy (and money) the process requires.

It is.

Here are five things you should know about why certification is so important, as well as a special bonus tip.

  1. Coaching requires a specific skill set; it is significantly different from counseling or therapy.

Coaching skills are highly specific. Coaching is about working in partnership with a client to help her discover her best next steps. It’s not about offering advice. And while you may be tempted to hang out your shingle as a coach because people have sought advice from you, if you’re not completely clear on the differences between coaching and therapy, then you may be acting as a counselor or therapist instead of as a coach, which can do more damage than good. Plus, it’s against the law to offer therapy without a license. That’s why it’s so important to understand the differences between coaching and therapy: not only to make sure coaching is what you actually want to do, but to make sure people are getting what they want and need from you when they seek a coach (as opposed to a counselor).

  1. It’s only a matter of time before laws require you to be certified in order to coach professionally, no matter which country you live in.

At the forefront of the coaching industry, Switzerland recently put laws in place that make certification mandatory for professional coaches. We believe it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world puts similar laws in place. So, taking a proactive approach and getting certified now will mean you’re ahead of the curve and can continue practicing when these laws do become reality. Think liability!

  1. In terms of marketing and branding, certification presents you as a credible, legitimate business owner and expert.

As the coaching industry continues to grow, people seeking a coach have so many options from which to choose. When you’re choosing a professional in any capacity—a dishwasher repair person, a painter, or an instructor for piano lessons—you probably look for someone who has certifications and trainings related to the field. Why should it be any different with coaching? As potential clients seek coaching services, they look for people with certification and training. Plus, the certification process itself gives you many resources that will help you and your coaching business stand out.

  1. A certification increases your professional opportunities, in addition to coaching.

Whether you’re just considering becoming a coach, or you’ve been working with clients for a while, you may not have developed your business model’s full potential yet. There are so many opportunities out there for coaches—speaking engagements, online coaching opportunities, and more—and you’re more likely to be offered those opportunities when you have your certification. Coaching entities like Coachilla.co hire only certified coaches with training programs accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF—see the bonus tip below for details).

  1. Getting and staying certified means you’re always honing your coaching skills.

Obviously, the initial coaching certification training educates you and provides you with coaching-specific skills. Maintaining your certification requires ongoing training, too, which means that as you run your coaching business, you’ll constantly be sharpening your skills and staying up to date as the industry grows and evolves.

EXTRA TIP: All coaching certification programs are NOT created equal. Seek an ICF-accredited training program when you do become certified.

Just like you can expect your potential clients to seek a coach who is certified, you’ll benefit from seeking a certification program that meets rigorous standards for quality. How do you know which program that is? Look for a program that has been accredited by the ICF, a global, member-based organization dedicated to advancing the coaching profession. It sets the gold standard for the industry, and to that end. Potential clients and professional groups often look to work with coaches who have earned their certification through an ICF-accredited program, like Radiant Coaches Academy’s holistic coaching certification program, which is accredited to provide 65 hours of Approved Coach Specific Training Hours.

In conclusion …

Coaching without certification can do more damage than good, for your clients and for you as a coach and businessperson. It’s critical that if you want to practice as a coach, successfully, and if you want to be the best possible coach for your clients, you earn your certification through a program the ICF has accredited. To learn more about Radiant Coaches Academy’s holistic coach certification program, visit RadiantCoaches.com.

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