What Does It Take to Become a Life Coach?

Nearly every celebrity and corporate bigwig has a life coach. You watch a celebrity talk show, and the guest waxes poetic about his or her life coach, and how that coach has helped them to be a better performer or a better person. Ever thought of becoming a life coach? What does it take to become one? There are a numbers of personality traits and qualities that a person must have if they are going to be any good at coaching people on how to live a better life.

Why would you want to become a life coach?

It's an unusual profession, to be sure, and one that has only a limited number of possible clients. The so-called working class, those of us who slave away at a factory, a warehouse, or an office, are not likely to be able to afford the luxury of a life coach. However, if, as a life coach, you're able to snag a sufficiently wealthy client who is willing to accept guidance and direction and instruction, it can be somewhat lucrative, and oftentimes fulfilling. While a life coach doesn't normally restrict himself or herself to just one client, for the wealthier of clients, you might be expected to drop everything and come running. This 'being on call' can mean that you can earn a quite handsome income without having to juggle dozens of clients.

Perhaps even more rewarding is the feeling of satisfaction, perhaps even of pride, when you help make important changes in the lives of your clients. Seeing them grow and develop as a person, or in their specific field of endeavor can provide you with a feeling of pride in your accomplishments, or fulfillment in having helped a person transition into someone better than what they were when you started working with them.

Qualities of a Life Coach

As we said earlier, you have to have certain personality traits and characteristics to become a good life coach. Not everyone has these traits, and it's foolish to ever consider becoming a life coach without them. They are essential for the position.

Firstly, the potential life coach has to have a strong desire to help people. The position of life coach isn't just another job -- it must be looked upon as a vocation, or a calling. If you're a successful life coach, you're not working a normal 9 to 5 job. You're working evenings or weekends. Taking phone calls at odd hours. If you look upon the job as just that -- a job -- then before long, you won't accept working the odd hours. You must want to help people grow and develop. It's the desire to help that will overcome the frustrations of the lack of a regular schedule.

Secondly, a life coach must know how to listen. I mean really listen. Oftentimes, a client cannot express in plain terms the problem he or she needs to overcome. That information will be subconsciously buried within the words and phrases themselves. If you only 'surface listen', you'll miss all that necessary information that the client needs for you to know but is either unable or unwilling to express. One saying that seems to be a piece of good advice to a potential life coach is that God gave us all one mouth, but two ears. Make a point of listening far more than speaking. Be economical with your words, thus allowing your client to talk more. If you don't have the patience to listen, and the necessary skill to listen properly and completely, then you'll never become an effective and successful life coach.

Thirdly, you have to realize that you don't yet have all the skills and knowledge that you need to be a true help to your client. In fact, you need to be willing (and eager) to always be learning. Learning new techniques and taking in all the background information you can on the specific areas where client is having trouble. For example, if your client has to travel alot, but is afraid to fly, you will need to learn about the fear of flying, and various successful techniques to neutralize that fear. As a life coach, you'll never stop having to learn. You need to be able to self-teach, or take classes, or watch training videos if you want to be a successful life coach. Able to learn, and more than willing to put in the effort.

Don't expect to make a fortune quickly, or even to make a living wage right from the start. The success your business will be having is directly related to the number of clients who have been pleased with your work. The business of being a life coach is very much dependent on word of mouth. If you have several clients who are pleased with your work, they will tell friends and business acquaintances, who may in turn wish to become clients of yours. Getting those first few clients though can be tough, and you need to expect to live through a number of lean months before you'll be earning a living wage, and even longer before you can consider yourself truly successful. This too is where the desire to help people is more important than the monetary rewards. The desire may not help pay the bills, but it should help you deal with financial hardships you'll go through before you achieve success.

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