Becoming a professional coach doesn’t happen by accident. It takes a very special type of person and personality to be a professional coach. It takes a lifetime of training to get the tools, skills, and wisdom to be a professional coach. You can’t just attend a coaching school for a few days or weeks and be a professional coach, it takes much more.
To be a coach you have to like to work with people, you need to be an excellent listener, and like to help solve problems. I believe that those who are spiritual beings make stronger coaches. There are many niches within the coaching profession. Professional coaches don’t have to be able to coach in every niche, but they do need to master the niche that they choose to work within. “You can comfort where you have been comforted.” In other words it’s best to coach in an arena that you know and have a plethora of experience in. An executive coach probably wouldn’t be a very good fitness coach unless the person had experience in that arena also. A relationship coach probably wouldn’t make a very good recovery coach unless they had experience in recovery. The best professional coaches have had success within the arena that they are coaching in.
If you had to spend a night on a remote Island that had many dangers lurking, you would not want a guide that had read a book about the Island. You would want a guide that had stayed on the Island, experienced the Island, and made it home alive. In other words, you don’t want a coach who has theories. You want a coach who is tried, tested, and proven. Like any other profession, coaches will improve their skill sets and gain wisdom with time and experience. Coaching is a craft that needs to be practiced.
The basic coaching education will introduce coaching students to the tools, skills, and core competencies that all professional coaches need to execute their craft. Then it’s up to the new coach to continue to practice, learn, and grow as a professional. Role play and interactive learning are excellent ways to improve one’s coaching skills. In the future, I believe that the curriculum of training professional coaches will mostly be offered at colleges, as the industry continues to grow.
In the future, I believe that we will see State, National, and perhaps international credentialing for professional coaching. At present, there is only a form of volunteer peer credentialing for certain niches in some states. It’s an exciting time in the field of coaching! There most certainly will be more and more change as the field grows.
When deciding on a place to pursue your coaching training, ask questions. Spend some time and research your options. There are many very expensive, self-appointed experts charging large tuitions. You shouldn’t have to go to the poor house to get trained as a professional coach. Use your common sense when asking questions and researching. There are good people out there, and some real rip offs. Look for testimonials, especially video ones. Look for endorsements, and is their price point reasonable? Talk to some professional coaches and ask them where they trained.
Professional coaches are not therapists or counselors. Coaches don’t do any process work, looking into the client’s past to help find a solution. Coaching is client and results driven. You could say that coaching is a very advanced form of encouragement. Everything is generated from the client. The coach must be very careful not to cross the fine line that separates coaching from other practices that require licensing. This becomes a matter of ethics and training. If a new coach follows the basic eleven core competencies they should stay out of harm’s way along these lines.
Another sensitive issue that will surely arise is confidentiality on the internet, Skype, Go to Meeting, etc. Are these service protected under HIPAA? At present, coaches are not required to provide HIPAA protection to clients. In the future, you can bet that the day will come when they will be. The above listed services do not afford protection.
Each state has their own laws that will apply to services over state lines. Coaches will need to find out what the law is in the state where their client lives when coaching over the internet or telephone.
I believe that one of the most challenging niches is recovery coaching. Especially when it comes to letting the client drive the plan. This can be a real catch twenty two! How can a person with a thinking problem make good choices? Recovery coaches have to be very creative to operate within the boundaries of the law.
Coaching is a growing industry! Coaching schools are offering training all over the World. Face to face, webinars, live events, on-line courses, mail-order courses, every niche you can think of. Most good coaches have coaches. This industry will do nothing but grow for some time to come.
Coaching is a great field for people who like to learn. Most good coaches are coaching, teaching, or attending classes to continue to expand their own knowledge base. This makes me think of the Zen Proverb “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear!”
Professional coaching is a special career for special people. Like anything else that is popular there will be positive and negative. Some will try to take advantage of people to make money without care or compassion. Some will look to build a brand and self importance. I believe for the most part the field will attract good people who really care about others. You can always tell by the coaches who give back!
In this old broken down world that we live in, with all of the problems that we suffer from because of the “human condition,” I believe people need all the coaching that they can get! It sure can’t hurt! If coaching really is a very advanced form of encouragement, God knows this World and everyone in it, can use a little more encouragement! Go coaches!
Rev. Kevin T. Coughlin