by Jean-Paul Cortes
When you're coaching someone for the first time, it's going to feel a
little bit weird. How do you start off a conversation? Is what you're
doing, really coaching? When do you start coaching? When will you know
that you can really call yourself a coach? These and more questions will
likely be on your mind when starting out.
It can be a scary time. So, how can you get through those "starting out" jitters?
It takes practice to be a good coach; it takes a lifetime to master coaching.
This being said, you should also realize that you don't need to wait too long before you can start coaching someone.
Assuming that you've studied some of its basic principles, that you've researched and perhaps taken one or a few coaching courses, you can start coaching as soon as you feel ready.
Consider your first steps as practice. You are a researcher, one that knows that the best way to learn is by doing. Let the people you want to coach know that you're starting out, that you would like to know if they want to be coached bearing your limitations.
Most people are thrilled with the idea of being coached. As long as you're upfront, by disclosing your lack of expertise, they're likely to accept your proposal.
Another idea is to find other coaches and proposing some peer-to-peer coaching. Join coaching groups or perhaps consider joining organizations such as the International Coaching Federation, these can be great places to find other coaches who are willing to help you on your learning.
Networking can also be a great way to learn and perfect your coaching skills. Getting exposure to coaches in other fields not only increases your knowledge, but also enriches your experience as you can apply what you've learned to your coaching practice.
If there is one thing about coaching, is that it's immensely diverse. You'll find coaches from all walks of life, practicing in areas which are too many to imagine. This gives you the unique opportunity to learn from a broad field of knowledge and experience, which is always advantage.
Of course, there may come a time when you want to grow as a coach and expand your skills and knowledge of coaching.
Learning coaching is a life long process, how will you learn? You might consider enrolling in a coaching school; some colleges are beginning to offer coaching courses as part of the curriculum of many of their study programs.
Receiving a coaching certification, can improve how your potential clients “see” you as a coach. More and more people are now requesting a coaching certificate from their coaches, as coaching becomes known and sought after by the general public.
A good resource to learn coaching, as it's practiced, is to listen to interviews of other more established coaches. You can gain insight to the inner workings of coaching, if you pay attention to what other coaches have done to be successful themselves. You shouldn't have to reinvent the wheel, when you can adapt things that already work, to your circumstances.
Of course, since in theory you would continue to practice there will come a time when...
There is no substitute for learning, than the experience of coaching someone. This is where the rubber meets the road.
When you've acquired enough practice, coaching becomes second nature. You begin to understand and recognize all the different roadways through which you can help your clients succeed. You see the advantages and limitations that coaching offers and, by this time, you most likely will have become a master coach.
Building your confidence as a coach is a process. One that has two sides to it. You can build it by understanding the theory first, but more directly it's important that you start practicing what you learn to really advance your life coaching skills further.
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