What to look for in a Life Coach
The Life Coaching business has grown tremendously over the years and not every coach is created equal. There are general life coaches, career coaches, health and nutrition, divorce coaching and the list goes on. Coaching is an incredible structure designed to support individuals to make shifts in their life to create the life they want for themselves by design, not by default. A Life Coach can support you to move from your perceived limitations, fears and any other obstacles, so that you may achieve the life they always wanted.
Life Coaching creates a bridge connecting and individual not only to their desired life, but also to the outside world. It enables them to tap into their gifts, talents and passions and take them out into the world. In turn, it will also connect the world to them. When they take care of themselves, they have more to give to others.
When choosing a Life Coach there are certain qualities you want to look for. Keep in mind that there is no actual licensing for Life Coaching. Anyone can say they are a coach. There are hundreds of coaching certification programs and courses, each with different methods, techniques and philosophies. A Life Coach with many certifications may not have the ability to listen well or have natural people skills, while another with no formal certification may have extraordinary listening skills, insight and wisdom, however not the necessary training and it can be detrimental when practicing out of their scope of expertise. When choosing a Life Coach, I invite you to you to ask the following questions.
1) What is their training background, certifications and experience?
Not every training course is created equal either. There are courses to get certified in a weekend for $25, or one year rigorous certification training such as the one I chose. The International Coach Federation is a governing body for accreditation of training programs. Ask the coach about their training, if it was an ICF accredited course and how many hours their training was. Note: ICF lists all credited schools on their website. Ask them about their certifications-there are 3 levels of certifications- ACC, PCC, and MCC. Ask them how long they have been practicing and what their experience is as well what area they specialize in. Coaching is an investment and we are working with humans, it can be quite unsafe to work with someone who is not properly trained.
Someone’s training also demonstrates their level of commitment to the field and their profession. For my therapy license, I earned a Master’s degree and I was required to have 2000 supervised hours and 2 years experience. I’ve been in the field working with clients for 20 years. I still received proper training in coaching and became certified through my program and the ICF. I also was required to submit several recorded sessions(with permission) to be reviewed for competency. The feedback was essential to the work I do.
2) Did you feel heard and listened to?
A Life Coach has a natural ability to listen. It is powerful for clients, the ones who are truly heard and allowed to express themselves fully, to have someone who listens to them. Assisting others in having a beautiful life involves more listening than advising. When someone is listened to with full focus on what they have to say, they create their own solutions, arrive at their own decisions, and discover options they did not see before. When they talk things out in a safe space, with another human being who has no agenda or preconceived notion of who they are or should be, it brings light and fresh air into their soul, opening the door to a life filled with new possibility.
As a Coach, I have a personal ritual that I do prior to my coaching session to clear my head, so that I am fully present for my client. Listening is not passive, it is focused. A Life Coach has to listen for the subtle statements and words that give them hints leading to a client’s fears, dreams and passions. They must also tap into their own intuition. To do this a Life Coach must be fully present.
3) Do you feel comfortable with them to be honest and open?
Good rapport is extremely important as you are sharing personal details of your life and building trust. It is so important to feel comfortable with the coach as every coach has their own personal style and flair. Most coaches offer a complimentary session or discovery session so you can get a feel for their personality and style.
4) Do they seem passionate and interested in their work?
Life Coaching is not just a regular job, its an extraordinary opportunity to support individuals reinvent areas of their life. It’s a gift and an honor be trusted so deeply. For me it’s more of a calling, way more than something I just do for work. If a coach is passionate about their work, they are better equipped to support you in following your own passions.
5) Is your coach willing to call you out on your own bullshit?
Coaching isn’t supposed to be necessarily comfortable. You may feel confronted with your stuff. When we are moving beyond our comfort zones, we can have automatic ways we go to in order to resist the change and stay safe. A good coach will reflect to you when they see your patterns surfacing and support you in moving forward.
6) Do you feel they have your best interests at heart without any hidden agenda?
A Life Coach should be listening to you and guiding you, not telling you what to do. At times they may share with you, ask you questions, create scenarios or even make suggestions(if you are open to suggestions), but they never tell you what to do. They are not consultants, nor are they therapists. Remember, you get to choose what is best for you and your own path.
Life and Leadership Coach, Licensed Counselor, outdoor enthusiast, yoga lover and passionate about wellness.