If you are considering whether to take life coach training and then become a life coach, this section will help you to understand the skills and training you will need to become a good coach, and to understand the working life and lifestyle of a life coach.
If you are already a Life Coach, you can get information here about developing your skills, finding life coaching clients, and running a Life Coaching business.

What does it take to become a Life Coach?
Clearly, it is not the same journey for everyone, and I don’t believe that everyone is suitable ‘material’ for becoming a life coach. I believe that a Life Coach should achieve a level of their own personal development in order to have the right attitudes and approach to become a really good life coach. However, I will not deny that sometimes a person has specific life experiences that, if integrated successfully, can render a person of immense value to others.

Life Coaching is a service to others. That is the baseline. If you are thinking about becoming a Life Coach for any other primary reason, I urge you to re-think your choices and make sure you have the commitment to follow through. Life Coach training is quite arduous, and can be personally demanding. Life Coaching itself as a job is very demanding. If you are going into it for easy money or as an easy career choice, forget it! - it won’t be!

Before we get to a deeper explanation of the training and development you will need to become a life coach, it’s worth considering some of the aspects of your new vocation? Remember that unless you plan to work as an employee of a corporate entity that offers life coaching (and there aren’t many of them as yet), you are going to be self employed. Which means that you are going to have to find your clients and manage your professional activities. In short, you are going to be running a business, which means that you will need to have, or develop, the skills necessary to carry out certain business functions.

Now, it’s unlikely that you will want to do all of this yourself, and there are certain responsibilities that you may not be able to do yourself, but in general terms, somehow this all has to be done:

• Marketing - finding prospective customers
• Sales - turning prospective customers into paying customers
• Accounting - recording your business transactions, expenses, and receipts
• Finance - budgeting, managing cash, meeting statutory requirements for legal trading entities

Unless you know how to do these tasks you should budget to pay someone to do this. Can you afford this while you get your business of the ground? Please don’t go into coaching ‘hoping for the best’. I’ve seen too many people get themselves into a jam by not planning and allowing for the time it takes to work on the business side of being a coach. Sure, it would be nice to go into coaching to spend all of our time on client work. The reality for many is that they spend as much time working ‘on’ their business as they spend working ‘in’ their business.

The Life Coaching 'Personality Type' The first thing to note as there is no such thing as a life coach 'personality type'! We are all different and our differences offer our clients a wide choice so that they can find a life coach to suit them. There are certain attributes that help though:

Life Coaching Core Competencies
Listening Can you give your complete attention to another person, and really listen to what they are saying. Can you focus on them so closely that you can pick out the signals they are giving you about what is really going on. Can you assist them through a process of discovery without leading? Can you help them to explore possible outcomes without steering them towards your own preferences? Can you help them to gain a greater and deeper understanding of themselves without 'installing' your own understanding?

Staying in the Moment Can you give your complete attention on your client and what is going on for them? Can you stay with it regardless of how long they take in their process?

Keeping Yourself Out of It Can you really 'get yourself out of the way'? By this I mean can you listen to someone and keep from judging them, or making assumptions (based on your own lifetime of experiences) about what is going on for them? Can you assist them through a process of discovery without leading? Can you help them to explore possible outcomes without steering them towards your own preferences? Can you help them to gain a greater and deeper understanding of themselves without 'installing' your own understanding?

Asking Questions Can you ask questions that develop their own understanding? Can your questions be neutral and not 'loaded' with your idea of a right answer, or leading the client towards what you think is right? Can you ask open questions that help thje client to create options, rather than close them down?

Feeding Back If your client does ask you for feedback, can you give them feedback that is designed to help them to acieve their own outcomes? Can you offer feedback without telling them what to do? Can you offer feedback without being concerned whether they take it on board and act on it all all and be detached from the outcome? It's not helpful to your client of you try to impose your will on them. It may feel like you are acting because you 'really care' about them, but a good coach is outcome oriented on their clients behalf without becoming personally attached to the outcome or assuming they know what the right outcome for the client is.

Life Coaching Principles If you are a Life Coach you may wish to adopt these principles in your interactions with your clients:
  • People have all the resources they need even if they do not currently have access to these resources.
  • Positive self worth is always held constant. People are not their behaviours - every behaviour is/was a means of fulfilling a positive intention.
  • In any situation a person makes the best choice with the resources currently available to them.
  • We can redefine mistakes as feedback. Change what you are doing if what you are doing is not working.
  • Always add choices - never take them away.
  • Mind and body are part of the one system - and external behaviour is the result of internal behaviour.

Ethical Guidelines Follow the ethical guidelines generally accepted by the international coaching community. You can read more about coaching ethical standards as defined by the International Coach Federation (ICF) here.