Great! You want to be a life coach! Now what do you do? These were questions I asked myself a while ago when I was considering becoming a life coach. This post will cover the specifics about what to look for in a life coaching course.
Two important things to know about life coaching courses
I’m unsure how much research you’ve already done, so before we delve into actually finding a course, I’ll give you some quick facts to bring you up to speed.
1) There are lots of people out there who offer courses and are great at marketing, and essentially they just want your money after teaching you a few tricks.
2) There are very good and reputable courses with in-depth training. This is the type you want!
Life coaching is currently unregulated in Australia, meaning anyone can do it without any scrutiny (a scary thought). Courses are either run live online or in person, and will often offer a Certificate IV in Life Coaching or a Diploma of Life Coaching. These titles are essentially meaningless as that’s just the name given to the course by the training organization. It does sound fancy which often draws people in, but it’s not the same as a diploma you’d get from a university (remember that point about marketing I mentioned earlier?).
The International Coach Federation (ICF) is the global governing body of life coaches and it sets the standards. If a training center wants to offer an ICF accredited course they need to meet the prerequisites. If you want to be an ICF accredited coach you also need to meet them. An ICF accreditation means you can charge more and your client knows you’ve met certain standards to get it. Also did you know that life coaching is the second largest growing career industry in Australia (behind IT)? Pretty cool, huh.
Know what you want from the course
Before looking for a course you should get an idea of what you want from it. Some things you should think about are:
– Do I want it all online, or a mix of in-person and online training?
– Do I want a course that runs over several months or several weeks?
– What is my budget?
– Do I want to do an ICF accredited course?
– Does the course specialize in my niche? (For example health and fitness, or executive coaching).
My answers to those questions were that I wanted a mix of online and in-person. I was unsure how long I wanted it to be, my budget was about $10,000AUD, yes it needs to be ICF accredited and I’m unsure exactly what my niche is at the moment, but I’m not interested in executive coaching.
Once you have your parameters you can start looking!
How to narrow down your search quickly
The ICF lists every ICF approved training organization in the world on its website, you can search the courses here. I suggest you watch the little tutorial video first as the search engine is a little confusing. You can search by country and even state if you wish.
My search was for a combination of in-person and online training in Australia. I got about 45 results and because I knew I didn’t want to do executive coaching it got narrowed down to about 35. That’s 35 courses I needed to research that were in Australia and ICF accredited.
The language they use will quickly let you know if the course is for you
Every website will have information about the course, and most will let you download a brochure with even more detailed info. What they write will quickly give you an idea if the course is for you.
I’m not particularly swayed by buzz words. Phrases like we offer a unique course that will equip you with everything you need to know about life coaching. Or life coaches can earn up to 5 figures within their first month of starting! Don’t really hype me up, they usually make me skeptical. Plus it isn’t telling me anything. Sites with over the top phrasing like this I tended to read quicker, or skim over stuff.
Things that don’t fit with your world view
I saw a couple of courses that talked about things like heightening your spirituality, or delving into trapped energies. This is certainly not my cup of tea whatsoever, so they were quickly eliminated. You’ll probably find similar ideologies that might not meet your own, so you can narrow it down further.
The purpose of researching is to narrow down your list to 3 or 4 potential courses, which you can then put under the microscope
Call them and ask them questions about the course
Once you’ve narrowed down your list to around five or six you should call them. This will give you another great indication if the course is for you.
Often I would be greeted by the owner of the company, or their partner. One person I rang asked me what my current situation was, what I wanted to get out of a course, why I’m interested etc. Essentially he was quasi-coaching me straight away. I was aware of the salesman techniques sometimes being used on me, but I got a lot of info from him. This happened for most of the places I called.
Once I’d finished the conversation I typed up all my notes into the spreadsheet I’d made and then called another place.
Not so great marketing
In comparison to the call above, when I rang a different company I got greeted with a “Welcome to blah blah coaching, how can I help you?” and I asked for info. She responded with “Umm, yep I can help with that, what questions do you have?” I ran through my questions but there was nothing about the exchange that felt personal, I felt like I was another customer for their company. Needless to say this company quickly got scrubbed from my list.
Check them out in the news and look at reviews
By now your list should be quite small, maybe three potential courses maximum. The last thing you should do is search for what media they’ve been in, if they haven’t been in any this is a red flag. Seeing them in the media lets you know how active they are, what they’re doing and how current they are. You can do this by typing “news <company>” for example “news the coaching college”
You should also look for external reviews, that is reviews that aren’t on their website. Obviously every review will be good on their site, but you can learn a lot about their course from negative reviews (if any). So look for reviews online, again you can do this by doing a search such as “the coaching college reviews”.
Good luck finding your course! It’s a big investment of time and money so make sure you do a lot of research. Even calling the company back to get clarification with things, or to get more specific information will help you make your final decision.
If you’re interested in self development (which I think you are if you want to be a life coach!) then take a look at tons of fascinating posts I’ve written in my self development page. Articles like How to make the right decision? and How to stop procrastinating you might find useful.