by Jean-Paul Cortes
If you're looking to get a life coach certification, you probably should
know that choosing where to get one can be a difficult process.
How can you really know what the best option is for you? And what is the difference between being a certified life coach or not?
Not really. Coaching is one of those careers where you don't need to be certified to coach. Especially in life coaching, it's hard to disqualify someone as a hoax, being that we all have at least one area of expertise that we could coach people on, that no one else can compare to.
Although you may not realize it, you've probably coached someone before (although you may not have thought of it that way). I happen to believe that we're all coaches to some degree, having a certification just means that you've studied and learned coaching techniques and use its principles in a structured way to help someone achieve their goals.
That being said, some life coach certifications given by recognized schools tend to give potential clients assurance that they are getting what they pay for.
Some studies have shown that people tend to prefer working with a coach that has studied and undergone a process of certification to be coaching. You may have a harder time getting clients to trust you if you lack credentials.
Then again, some of the world's most sought after coaches aren't necessarily certified, they've just had the benefit of having years of coaching under their belts.
You can get a lot out of learning basic life coaching techniques, things that they do teach you in most life coaching schools but nothing beats experience when it comes to being a life coach.
After all, there's certainly something that you can do better than anyone else and you're more than likely to best candidate to coach someone on that subject.
Here's the thing, with the growing popularity in coaching, so many coaching schools have opened in the last few years that you may have a hard deciding what your choice will be.
Some schools will cost upwards of $3000 or more for a professional coaching degree, others might be relatively inexpensive, at around $100 or so.
Keep in mind that price doesn't necessarily imply a better quality of education. What should matter to you is the content that you'll be receiving, how the courses are structured, how the material is taught and presented, what support you'll receive from the faculty and from your peers, access to materials and the possibility of being able to network, things like that are important if you want to get the most bang for your buck.
Coaching has gone mainstream, there's a lot of research that tells us that coaching works. It's also been around for quite some time now, so we pretty much know what works and what doesn't.
So what you're really getting when you seek certification is a solid knowledge on the general principles of coaching.
Things like effective listening, building rapport and effective questioning skills. Important best practices that you need to help the people you coach through a process of change in their lives, businesses or whatever field you happen to work in.
And you should leave out what you really need to learn to set up your coaching business. It's one thing learning about life coaching and how to coach someone to improve their lives and quite another what you need to do to make your life coaching work.
Unless you're doing life coaching as a hobby, you're still going to have to figure out how to get clients to coach.
There are literally dozens of schools out there offering a life coaching certification.
Some universities have begun to offer coaching specialties as part of their curriculum. Other private institutions also have programs specifically tailored to meet the growing demand for coaches worldwide.
These programs usually take anywhere between 6 and 12 months to complete and some are recognized by the International Coaching Federation (always a good sign if you want to make sure you're making a good investment when you enroll.)
My suggestion, in case you're not prepared to pay thousands of dollars for something you might not be committed to do in the long run, is to start small.
Get to know the field before you jump in, consider making a small investment in one of the relatively inexpensive courses you can find online and then decide if life coaching is something you feel can turn into a career.
The Fast-Track Life Coaching Certification Program If you're new to coaching, you shouldn't pay a penny until you have a clear idea of what coaching is all about and if being a life coach is really what you want. This program, created by Mike Litman, can give you a good intro of what life coaching is all about. It also goes into the nitty-gritty of setting up your practice and many coaching tips and techniques. When you complete the course, you'll get a certification issued by the American University of NLP. This could be a great starting point for your journey into being a life coach.
Gain Your Life Coaching Diploma &
Certification from the Advanced Life Coaching Institute, here's what you'll get inside the three week course: from sample contracts and scripts, to marketing and much more. Plus a certificate from the Advanced Life Coaching Institute, stating that
you received direct tuition from Bradley Thompson, and signed by the
Rapid Coaching Academy Home Study Coach Training Program Life coach Christian Mickelsen knows a thing or two about getting your coaching practice filled with clients fast. His "Free Sessions that Sell" program may cater more to life coaches that are further down the road, but if you want to get going fast it could work out very well. This is the program I got into first when I started coaching.
David Wood's Coach Start Manual OK, so this isn't really a life coach certification program. What it is, is a step by step manual for building a coaching practice. It is fairly complete and you'll be learning things like how to get your first clients, how to focus on a niche, who you should coach, etc. There's a $1 trial (it's valued at $97 so there's no risk.)
Any one of the above programs might be a good starting place for you, before deciding on much more expensive certification programs (some of which are $5000 USD or more).
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