by Jean-Paul Cortes
If you're looking to get a life coach certification, you probably already have questions on whether or not you really need one. Do you? We'll get to all that answer in a second.
Because one of the first questions you should ask yourself is, is there a difference between being a certified life coach or not?
Not really. But let me explain first. You see, coaching is one of those careers where you don't need to be certified to coach. Especially if you consider that most people you end up coaching, couldn't care less if you're certified or not, they're just looking for results.
In other words, if you can show what's in it for them and how you can help them solve a problem, they'll probably overlook that you don't have a piece of paper hanging on your wall that says your a "certified coach."
There's a caveat to this of course, it's hard to disqualify someone as a crackpot coach. And you can be guaranteed that there are many of them out there. Which makes it a lot harder for honest coaches that really are making a difference in people's lives.
Regardless, don't let this put you off. You have at least one area of expertise that you could coach people on that no one else can compare to. And 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 may give some reassurance to clients that they are getting what they pay for. Then again, a lot of coaching schools will charge you an arm and a leg for something that you may not need if you're great at coaching. Some famous coaches, like Tony Robbins, aren't certified and he seems to be doing alright.
If you are interested in getting a certification, my suggestion is that you take a relatively inexpensive coaching course to find out if being a coach is for you. It sure beats having to fork over thousands of dollars to chase a piece of paper that won't make a difference in the end.
I give a few suggestions for coaching courses at the bottom of this page if you're interested. Make sure to check them out.
Some people will argue that clients prefer working with a coach that has studied and undergone a process of certification to be giving coaching. You may have a harder time getting clients to trust you if you lack credentials. And it's a fair argument.
However, like I mentioned above, some of the world's most sought
after coaches aren't certified, they're just damn good at what they do and get the results that people look for. They walk their walk and talk their talk, so they generate massive trust from their clients. You cannot buy trust regardless of whether or not you have a piece of paper saying you're "certified"
Don't get me wrong, you can get a lot out of learning basic coaching techniques, the type of things that they teach at most coaching schools, but nothing beats real world experience when it comes to being a coach.
And in any case, there's certainly something that you can do better than anyone else and you're more than likely the best candidate to coach someone on those things.
Let me say this again, a lot of the people you coach aren't really interested in where you received, or whether you have, a certification. That's not been my experience and it's the same for a lot of coaches I've spoken with. Folks are only interested in how you can solve a problem to which they perceive you have a solution.
If you offer a scratch to a burning itch that someone has, they're going to choose you as a coach.
Here's the thing, with the growing popularity in coaching, SO many schools have opened in the last few years that you may find yourself pulling your hair out just even before you find out if being a coach is for you.
Some schools will slap you by charging $3,000 or more for a "professional" coaching degree, others might be relatively inexpensive, at around $100 or so. It sort of makes you ask, what's the difference?
Because, 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.
There are many routes for your to become a coach. Not all coaches go for, or are interested in, getting certified. In fact, many coaches have been coaching for years (back when coaching wasn't even called as such) without ever having to get a paper that says they're a Certified Professional Coach.
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.
However, and this is BIG, you can't leave out what you need to run your service as a business. That's right. It's the one thing that most coaching schools don't teach and that makes it an uphill battle for many new coaches.
It's one thing to learn about coaching and how to coach someone and quite another to make your coaching business work.
Unless you're coaching as a hobby, in which case you're clearly on the wrong website, you're still going to have to figure out how to get clients to coach. But this is quite another matter entirely.
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.
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 coaching is something you feel can turn into a career.
You'll learn much more by coaching someone, once you have the basics down, than by how long you spend learning about coaching.
Before you do: I might make a commission if you end up buying any of the products. And it wouldn't feel right for me not to tell you. That being said, I've personally bought some of them and only offer insights as to my experience. You should use your own best judgement always before you make a choice. :)