There’s something I’m quite happy to see happening: the widespread acceptance of “coaching” as an occupation. For example, coaches in Turkey could be counted on the fingers of one hand just a couple of years ago, but now they’re quickly increasing in number.
Coaching, specifically personal life coaching, is rapidly becoming prevalent worldwide, because it works! Let’s face it, many healthy individuals or even establishments are running at an efficiency that’s far short of their true potential. For many of us, this efficiency is so low that even a marginal increase would make a tremendous difference to our lives.
Okay, so far so good, yet there are so many people wanting to learn how to become a coach or wondering if they’re capable of it, but they’re still not getting it. So, I’ll share here the six key points of becoming a coach, for those who wish to pursue a career as a life coach, or a coaching client, for those who want to learn more about this topic. (What I’ll explain is not the ranking-manager type of stuff, but with a couple of tweaks here and there, most of these tips will be adequate to use in that field too, especially numbers 2, 5 and 6.)
1. Coaching is a Profession
It’s not a technique, approach, trend, jargon, school, cult, or movement. In coaching, you can use any of your past experiences, education, or techniques that you feel you’ve mastered, but you should do this within the context of the coaching profession. You must have a serious business ethic and establish systems and departments, such as accounting, customer care, and promotion.
2. A Coach is not a Psychologist, Therapist or Other Specialist
A coach cannot treat pathological cases. They do not diagnose patients or suggest certain treatments or therapies. For this reason, if your primary intention is to work with psychological disorders and dysfunctional cases, I suggest you pursue a proper education from a licensed medical establishment. My mission as a coach is not to attempt to be an amateur psychologist but rather to serve people and establishments by helping them to lead a more skillful, efficient, and capable life. Coaches who don’t pay attention to this fine line will harm themselves and their reputations, as well as their clients and the profession itself.
3. You Need to Have Proper Training
A coach is different from a teacher, a management consultant, a personal development or NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) specialist, an author, or even a therapist, despite the apparent parallels. The mode of communication for a coach should differ from other similar counselors. Besides, coaching is much more than just determining a goal, developing strategies for it, and making people take the necessary actions. Coaches work within the existing dynamics, so I’d advise you to get your training from a highly credible establishment. My greatest fortune was to receive my training from Thomas J. Leonard, the man who established first the coaching school, Coach U, and then the Graduate School of Coaching and the International Coach Federation (ICF) one and a half years before his death.
4. Coaches Should Respect the Code of Professional Ethics
We work with the hopes of people. Most of our clients will lack experience with this kind of highly supportive, personal relationship. In this respect, displaying a high degree of sensitivity and being very observant of the code of ethics is vital for a coach. I suggest you check out these two organization’s websites:
ICF Code of Ethics (International Coach Federation)
IAC Ethical Guidelines (International Association of Coaching)
5. Making a Good Coach Depends on Working with a Good Coach
It’s vital for any kind of counselor dealing with communication and human relations to experience the process first hand. They should undertake supervision and work on themselves before going into the career. Most of the training centers encourage you to have counseling and mentorship beforehand. Before even consulting a coach, it’s in your best interest to ask if your coach has a coach for him or herself.
6. The Focal Point of the Profession Is not the Coach
This is not a place to dictate your own rules, ideas, and experiences to people, and it’s certainly not a school where you try to teach them “the golden rules of success.” You can pen your ideas and publish a book about them if that’s what you want. A successful coaching session results in clients manifesting their own values and thus developing a unique strategy of “success” with your support. Our mission is not to shape the results—it’s to emancipate our clients so they can do it themselves.