Will The Real Life Coach Please Stand Up?

Gone are the days of winging it. To coach people well involves more than just investing in a weekend workshop. It involves training.

Photo: Sarah Liddle, founder and Director of Coach School; Source: Courtesy Photo
Photo: Sarah Liddle, founder and Director of Coach School; Source: Courtesy Photo

I am a certified life coach. I absolutely adore coaching and have been coaching for over 10 years. So, let me cast some original thought on a topic that is not widely talked about.

Therapists are required to have training, yet so many life coaches aren’t. When asked, those coaches will often say they were born with the talents to coach, have read numerous book and have worked with a more senior coach.

It’s not uncommon for life coaches to have no training at all, because after all doesn’t the client only care about the results a coach will help them attain? Sure, these coaches can help them achieve results, but can they actually coach properly and do it to a professional standard?

There is still so much confusion around life coaching, mostly because many enterprising life coaches aren’t trained and educate others with inaccurate information. This leads to confusion both for clients and the public at large.


Life Coaches Don’t Have Your Answers

Coaches exist to simply help you bring up the answers within yourself, they dance in the moment and assist the client in reaching their own authentic answers. Coaching is not solely about results, but the journey a client undertakes to achieve those results.

The life coach assists the client in not only coaching, but also sharing the tools, techniques, models and modalities they use with them, so that when the coaching ceases the client can effectively draw upon their newly acquired skills to move forward and succeed even without the coach.


Whose Standards Are You Being Coached To?

Untrained life coaches often don’t understand the ramifications of their coaching. I’ve found that untrained coaches will generally seek answers from other equally ill-qualified coaches to assist with their coaching.

While there are regulating bodies that assist within the coaching industry, the role they play has yet to be clearly defined and the foundations are not yet laid down in the coaching world. Is it any wonder then that anyone can call themselves a coach and throw a lot of puff and promises?


Going, Going, Gone

Gone are the days of winging it. To coach people well involves more than just investing in a weekend workshop. It involves training. I can relate to being an untrained coach, before getting my training. I thought I understood the coaching relationship and how to coach well. After all, I had read a couple hundred books and had a mentor assisting me.

But actually, I was terrible. Looking back it was the thought of “knowing it all” that prevented me from knowing anything.


Photo: © pio3
Photo: © pio3

The best life coaches today are the coaches that invest a great deal in their own training in both life coaching and business training.

Of course like any profession, having a regulating body that fundamentally looks after the industry either internationally or nationally will close so many existing gaps. However, I feel we are still a long way from that.

So for now, the true life coaches are the ones learning and training. Not just once, but continually. Don’t buy into the hype that can easily wash over you from the glamorous pictures and emotionally captivating copy.

Take a step back, do your research and find out just how committed your potential coach is to their craft. Their commitment to their craft is a direct reflection of how committed they are to you.

I’ve been coached by my fair share of rookie coaches (i.e., coaches without training), as well as professionally trained coaches. The difference? A real life coach is transparent, open and their coaching skills rest upon integrity and education. They aren’t scared to put themselves out into the world in a real, raw, manner. The rookie life coach on the other hand, needs to protect themselves, guard their “skills” and they aren’t transparent and open in the coaching relationship.


Calling All Life Coaches

The existing governing coaching bodies don’t have the fluidity and strength that we have as individual life coaches. It is up to every one of us, as coaches to stand up, stand tall and stand trained, so that we can best serve our clients, ourselves and the coaching industry.

So let me ask, will the real life coach please stand up?


This article has been edited and condensed.

Sarah Liddle is a life coach trainer. She is a certified professional coach, wellness teacher, healer, writer, and the founder and director of Coach School. She has been published in Succeed Magazine, Inner Self, Huffington Post, The Art of Healing, Insight and Vision Magazine. She holds a diploma in Life & Career Coaching, as well as human resources management, and earned an International Certificate in Life Coaching through the International Coaching Academy, a Certificate in Adult Teaching, a Certificate 2 in Body Ecology, and I hold a Level 3 Masters Certificate in Reiki. She is also studying to receive a Bachelors of Law degree. Connect with @thesarahliddle on Twitter.


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