Feeling called to become a professional coach?
That was me in 2005. I mustered up the courage to follow my calling and apply for my first coach training program. Fast forward to now, after being a professional coach for over 18 years, I've learned a few things you should consider before submitting that application.
First, I want to say I'm not talking about the "Get Certified as Coach for $27!" certificate mills. I'm talking about applying to a robust, deeper-dive, ICF Accredited master's degree-level of coach training program. Understand that the two aren't even in the same ballpark.
Second, I am sharing with you what I wished someone had told me before applying. I had yet to learn what I was getting myself into back then. I also hadn't seen schools talk about these elements until after someone had enrolled.
Would I have reconsidered my decision if I knew then what I know now? Not at all. However, had I known about these elements, I would have understood what I was learning much sooner.
Let's dive in!
The number one consideration you need to know before applying for coach training is this: Learning coaching, authentic coaching, is one of the hardest things you will challenge yourself to do. Really? Yes. But isn't coaching just so positive, future-focused, goal-oriented, and fun? Yes, it is all those things, AND it is one of the most challenging approaches to master.
Reason #1 – The brain is wired to give advice, locate answers, and help. In authentic coaching, the client locates their answers and generates their solutions. A masterful coach coaches the client deeper into their personal power and wisdom. In coaching, the client is the expert.
Why? Simply put, we can have expertise in external processes or things, but we will never be an expert of someone else's truth. Period. A masterful coach honors this truth.
If you want to advise, be an expert, or provide life guidance, you are looking at the wrong profession. That would be counseling or therapy, where the professional is hired to give advice and direction or provide a diagnosis.
In coaching, you are still an expert though. Through rigorous training and mentoring, you become an expert in the coaching process and the avenues for self-mastery.
Reason #2 – You have an ego. We all do. The ego loves to be the star of the show. The ego believes the more I help someone, the more value I have! To be a masterful coach, we must learn the art of quieting the ego in service of placing the client in the spotlight. Don't get me wrong, your coaching clients will still consider you a hero at the end of a session, but it won't be because of what you showcased. It will be because you helped them see their truth, empowerment, and wisdom.
No other profession comes close to doing this. If this inspires you, you are looking at the correct career path!
Reason #3 – Learning to become self-aware, bias-aware, and show up neutral is a steep learning curve and a rewiring of the brain.
While showing up unbiased and neutral does sound easy, putting this into practice and sitting in the unknown to serve another person's growth takes more than practice. It is an inner spiritual shift into our own personal mastery.
Coaching requires us to develop compassion, show up unbiased, and become big-picture problem solvers. It is a deep-dive journey. You will learn more in your ICF coach training and one-to-one mentoring than you would ever learn in a degree, where the emphasis is theory and lecture.
There you have it! These are the three key considerations:
1. Is this truly the right profession for me?
2. How willing am I to set my ego aside to serve a client?
3. Am I willing to embrace my personal self-mastery journey?
If you said yes, to all three, I want to welcome you to the coaching world! Coaching education requires deeper study, self-reflection, and willingness to do something that will feel foreign at first. Coaching mastery requires practice, mentorship, and dedication.
If you are up for the challenge and want to journey with people as they locate their truth, I invite you to go for it and submit that application! If another approach is calling you, like advising or counseling, then I applaud you for honoring that truth.
Ultimately, if you decide coaching is your calling, understanding that mastery will take patience and a deep self-trust will shorten your learning curve. The benefit? Coach training, education, and mentoring amplify positive growth in every area of your life.