There are surfers. And there are skimboarders. Skimboarding is like surfing but on the shore. You skim across the sand and catch the shore break. Surfers see skimboarding as a joke. Not a real sport. They just see it as an activity, or more accurately people getting in the way of them and the ocean.
Seven years ago, life coaching was like skimboarding. Therapists, including myself, thought life coaching was a joke. It’s not real. They just got in the way. They’re not qualified. I mean how can you help people without any clinical training? Right?
Through my six year journey of becoming a licensed marriage family therapist, I realized that -
You don’t have to be a therapist to help people.
I literally saw thousands of people on and offline. 97% of them hired me to help them with their relationships, life transitions, career, basically get them from baseline to flourishing. They did not come to me for personality disorders or clinical treatment. Although I advertised myself as a therapist, I life coached them. I did the work of a life coach.
Yet, I did not take one life coaching course. Yes but one can argue that I went to therapy school. Well, to be honest I don’t remember much of therapy school. Really. In my sessions, I didn’t focus on making the subconscious conscious. I didn’t think about attachment theories and other theories I vaguely remember. I helped people as you would help people. I listened. I practiced compassion. I was empathetic. I used the power of my story. I didn’t make it about me. I tried to stay away from giving too much advice. And I created a safe space for them to have their own revelations. And just through that, I sparked change. I helped people. Now I’m saying you should hang your life coaching shingle on your door without taking any life coaching courses because you’re already doing it with your friends. You do need training and I’ll get into that in a bit. But I am saying that life coaching isn’t as difficult as you may think it is. If you gravitate toward this career path, you probably already have the primer to do it. You do need some tools (courses) to have in your toolbox to get started. But it will take you a fraction of the time and costs it takes to become a therapist.
That’s why life coaching.
First, two words. The internet. We live in a world where we can reach thousands, possibly millions, without going anywhere. This means all you need is a following or to be a part of a community with a following to offer your services. You don’t need to be on an insurance panel. You don’t need to work for an agency. And you definitely don’t need to rent office space. You need a passion to help people, a story, some life coaching tools with practice so that you feel comfortable and confident, and your phone.
Second, life coaches are now surfers. We are real. We are taken seriously. People actually hire us. This means there is a market. You can get clients. Yes, it takes work. You have to create content. You have to put yourself out there. You have to engage with a community. You have to have a voice, an angle, a specific way you help people. But “ordinary” people become life coaches every day. It’s a growing market and the time is now.
The flip side of this is since there is a demand for coaches now, there are many coaches who advertise false promises. There are many coaching without training. There are many practicing who are unqualified. This brings us to the how. How do you actually become a qualified life coach? What training do you need?
Unlike becoming a therapist, there is no singular path to becoming a life coach. There is no official life coaching board so you have to determine what “qualified” means to you. You have to build confidence and that requires two things, education and practice. This is why being a part of a community is crucial. But everything begins with a course. So how do I know which one to take?
There are many courses that will teach you tools on how to be a life coach. Warning: Stay away from any course that guarantees you clients or a “six figure” income career. But do look for these two factors.
- Take a course that speaks to you. By this I mean you believe in their message, the flag they are holding. In therapy school, the message is pretty much the same. Everyone’s holding the same flag. And if it doesn’t feel honest to you, there aren’t other options. Same theories. Same process. Just different teachers and campuses. With a life coaching course, you can choose from a variety of different messages. The spirit of each course or organization is different. Go with the one that fits with you.
2. They should allow you to help them carry that flag. This means when the class is over, they don’t just give you a certification and say good luck. The ending of the class should just be the beginning. In therapy school, you get your degree and that’s it. You are now left to pursue hours and begin your long journey to becoming licensed. And it’s a lonely process. Many find this process discouraging and don’t last long. So make sure you join a course with a built in community that will go on the journey with you.
For more info about our Catalyst Life Coaching Course,