By Devlyn Steele
As life coaching is gaining popularity, so is interest in becoming a life coach. Many people love the idea of working for themselves and being in a profession that helps others. If you are thinking about becoming a life coach, there are several factors you need to consider.
First, decide what type of life coach you want to become. The word "life" covers a lot of territory so life coaches tend to specialize in specific areas. These areas include career and finance, goal setting, relationships, weight loss/fitness and drugs and alcohol, just to name a few.
What is your passion and how do you want to inspire others to create success in their lives?
When thinking about what type of life coach you want to be, examine your career, education and life experience to find your current strengths.
Once you have an idea of what area you want to focus on, consider what a life coach does. This is tricky because there is no one definition or universal standard so several interpretations exist. You need to develop a format in which you will teach successful actions to your clients.
A qualified life coach can break down goals into manageable, easier to confront steps while showing the client effective techniques for completing them. Just knowing what and how is not enough because clients often get in their own way. The life coach will evaluate their progress and motivate them to implement a plan with consistent action to actually achieve desired results. Before you begin on this path, know that there is a difference between understanding what to do and being able to get someone to do it.
There are three essential elements involved in becoming a life coach and they are training, skills and education. When it comes to training, there are many life coaching academies that offer courses and some even offer accreditation. Many of these courses have actual and practical value. Please note that there is no federal or state agency that has an accreditation for life coaching and schools offering degrees are self-accredited.
If you are considering taking any of these courses first look into the costs involved. Often an inexpensive introductory course is offered only to get you started. Since costs can add up quickly, check into the length of time, the number of additional courses required and make sure to get referrals from other students. Another important point to check for first is whether or not the school provides adequate tools for practical application when working with clients. This will be very helpful for beginners in developing step-by-step methods for life coaching.
There are a few key skills that are absolutely essential. For starters, you need to be a good listener, a creative problem solver and have considerable knowledge of human behavior. You need to be able to set goals and develop plans of action to actualize them. Life coaching requires that you are organized and can keep meticulous attention to detail to monitor weekly results.
Patience and the ability to deal with frustration are critical. Clients don't always do what they agree to do and getting people to suddenly give up destructive behavior patterns can be a real challenge. You need to know how to motivate and be creative in overcoming obstacles and objections. You have to really like and care about people. You must also be able to accept failure as not all clients will change. There are a few more skills involved but these are fundamental.
A life coach should love education in order to stay informed of current advances and trends. The areas that require consistent study are psychology, goal setting, motivation, cognitive psychology, cognitive science, human behavior, habits of successful people, sleep patterns, relationships, business principles, principles of success, career development, drugs, alcohol, leadership, sales and more. A life coach is a relentless student of these subjects.
Life coaching is a proactive approach to resolving obstacles in an individual's life and it requires a clear picture of not only why and how, but also of step-by-step implementation and the ability to resolve blocks and setbacks as they come up. You'll need to combine these factors into a working platform to assist your clients in reaching their goals.
Finally, when you are ready to start life coaching, how are you going to get clients? The idea of working for yourself and helping people may sound great, and it is but it comes with its difficulties. You are not going to simply get business cards made then start filling your appointment book. Schools offering great careers as life-coaches will only be able to give you limited assistance in getting clients. After you spend your time and money either with a life coaching school or developing your own style of life coaching it will be up to you to get clients. You are one hundred percent responsible for your income and success.
You should enjoy networking and self-promoting. You can build a clientele through friends, networking groups, placing ads, professional relationships, and whatever other creative ways you can think of. As you get clients and earn a reputation, your business will grow through referrals. All this takes time, so be prepared.
As you are developing your business, you will have to overcome the obstacle of people questioning what a life coach does. Be prepared by asking yourself why someone would pay you to advise him or her and have a good answer. The answer you develop to that question will be the foundation for your success.
After considering all of these factors, if you decide to become a life coach you will be entering a dynamic field. Being able to actually help people create the life changes they want is a highly rewarding and exciting career. You'll be helping others gain success while creating your own!
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