Five Tips for Becoming a Career or Life Coach
So you want to be a life coach? Or a career coach? You believe that you have something to share with others – something special. Maybe you even feel driven, motivated, and ready to share, but you just don’t know where to start. The good news is that we all have to start somewhere, to take that leap of faith, and put all our eggs in one basket. Don’t worry, you’re not at this alone, which is why we put together this list of tips to get you started.
1. Choose Your Heroes
Setting goals and targets is necessary in any career, they’re direct measures of success. So, what’s a great target or goal toward becoming a coach? It’s actually fairly simple… find people to look up to, to mentor you, and to guide you on your path. Being exactly like them isn’t important, but emulating them in their healthy habits and applying their lessons is.
Not sure who your idol is yet? Check out this list. The truth is, though, that there’s no perfect person to idolize above all others, and whose path is guaranteed to lead you to success. Why? Because it’s your path, and yours only. You may admire one coach because they’re an extrovert, or because they’re way more organized than you are. Or, perhaps there’s a coach that has boss presentation skills – an area that you need to improve on. There will not be ONE coach that’s perfect for you, there will be many. Hence, our advice to choose your heroes. Find the coaches that get you pumped up, inspire you, who you admire, and who’s business style you want to mimic. Follow their journey but make it your own story.
2. Document Your Journey
We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to get things on down on paper. From your preliminary business plan to your crazy ideas that might not pan out, keep track of it all…. even your successes and failures throughout the year. Writing is a process that forces you to look inward and reflect. Don’t think you’re a writer? That’s okay. No one needs to read your journal but you. And we’ll let you in on a little secret… writers write. All you need to do is start. Check out this article of journaling tips to get the process going.
Bonus tip: Journaling helps you take the energy of others who are sharing their problems, struggles, etc. with you, and leave it on paper. There are both personal and professional reasons to spill your mind out on a page, but when you’re coaching others it’s critical for you to stay centered. Coaching involves listening, sharing advice, and then letting your client do the heavy lifting for their own benefit. It can be tough work, so be sure to get it down on paper and make space for your own growth.
3. Get Qualified
Trust is going to be one of your biggest assets when you’re growing your career and reputation as a coach. We’re all very inclined to trust the word of those that we rely on in our everyday lives, especially our friends and family. But, as a consumer, who should we believe when we need something? The answer is simple, we trust those that are qualified. No one is going to trust a climbing guide that’s taking his first trip up the mountain. You’re going to want to climb to a few summits before anyone will follow you all the way to the top.
So, start climbing. One of the most credited institutions for proper coaching credentials is the International Coaching Federation, and organizations like these are well worth the effort. Just like any other education program, there’s a few different ways to go about getting the qualifications you’ll need. Put the time in and you’ll have adventurers lining up behind you to follow you to the top.
4) Put Yourself Out There
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Network. This isn’t Hollywood or anything, but there’s still some truth in the saying, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Luckily, there are plenty of places like Meetup.com and Business Network International to find business professionals in your area or abroad. We will always recommend that you focus on networking in your niche, and in coaching this is a must. Most people you’ll run into are just like you, they’re people! Attend their events, speak up, ask questions, and enjoy the company. Check out this networking list of Do’s and Don’ts by LinkedIn for more tips.
Bonus article: One of our amazing coaches recently shared how she overcame a fear of networking. Read it here.
5. Work With Clients
As with any job, parts of your daily grind as a coach will become mundane. Muscle memory kicks in and you form habits. Part of why you got involved in coaching is probably because you love people. Seeing them develop and grow, and literally change their lives for the better is exciting. But the risk of treating your clients as part of the grind is real.
Imagine you’re working at McDonald’s, the job is repetition. Every customer needs that same BigMac. You smile as you take their money and get on to the next customer. In the career of coaching, you’re no drive-through. There’s got to be an exchange that’s fundamentally deeper with your clients, and profoundly different with each client you encounter. No one will be ordering the exact same value meal as the last.
This is why we recommend you practice leaving your comfort zone. The way you organize your time might stay the same on your calendar, but you’ll need to adjust your comfort levels for the comfort of others. For example, some clients may work better with you while engaged in a social setting while others might practically need the darkness of a hidden cave. Not all seminars and presentations are created equal either. Books like “Talk Like Ted,” by Carmine Gallo will help to keep you on your toes when presenting to clients and groups.
Coaching will change your life. It inherently opens your eyes, makes you expand and elevate yourself, and changes your routines. It’s 100 percent worth the effort and taking that leap of faith. Start with these tips and keep them at the forefront of your mind as you move through your journey of coaching. Whether a life coach or career coach, you and your clients will appreciate it.
Are you working toward a goal like starting a new business, growing your existing business, or changing careers entirely? Check out our Course Marketplace that’s stocked full of content by life and career coaches.
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