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Life coaches are professionals who help individuals improve their lives and reach their life goals. They employ several strategies that can help their clients become better individuals and achieve this based on a wide range of knowledge.
However, life coaching is a relatively new field of practice. As a new field, there are limited academic syllabuses or school-taught courses for it. Therefore, it’s the skills and understanding these professionals gather from different courses that shape their professional and intuitive life coaching careers. These are academic and professional courses that are offered by schools and institutions.
Yet, many aspiring life coaches have very little guidance on which courses to take to become certified life coaches. Well, here are some of the courses you can and should take to become a certified life coach include:
1. Neurolinguistics Programming
To be a certified life coach, Neurolinguistics Programming (NLP) is an important path of learning to take. So, what exactly is NLP?
NLP is a systematic approach to changing people’s perceptions, developing responsible communication and responses in various situations. It’s a training method attributed to helping individuals understand themselves better. It’s also regarded as an advancement in mind technology and consciousness development. It can be broken down into three parts:
- Neuro: This involves the entire neurological system of the human body. Essentially, this is where the mind resides. This system processes experiences via all five sensory organs. It consists of the physical, mental, and emotional parts.
- Linguistic: This involves all forms of communication, verbal and non-verbal. It is through various communication means that we gain access to the mind’s workings. It involves your use of language and dictates how you communicate with yourself and others.
- Programming: This aspect of NLP projects the mind as an operating system with a degree of coding. Therefore, we can work towards getting specific and desired results every time.
Life coaches who are equipped with NLP skills can help clients to make better decisions regularly and take responsibility for their decisions. This encourages clients to make simple logical decisions in peculiar situations while they look to improve on the illogical ones. It’s a discipline that boosts a client’s sense of self-awareness, personal growth, and consciousness.
Counseling is closely related to life coaching – so much so they are sometimes used interchangeably. An aspiring life coach can help their careers grow by gaining a counseling qualification.
All life coaching efforts are aimed at getting better results as quickly as possible. However, while working on getting a client to achieve better results, life coaches often find the need to help clients cope with their struggles. Instilling such coping abilities requires some counseling skills. Some of the everyday struggles clients might need help with coping are self-doubt, habits, anxiety, and depression.
3. Psychology and Practical Learning
The successful guidance of a life coach hinges on human activities. Human psychology plays a vital role in these activities. The psychological skills of life coaches can help them better understand the workings and dynamics of their clients
Life coaches meet and relate with different clients and personalities throughout their careers. This requires building working relationships with these people. One way to do that is to create models that work in real life — one that clients can experientially connect with right from the point of discussion.
Life coaches with a background in psychology can easily develop the thinking and understanding of their clients with these models. With psychology and practical learning skills, you can be assured of an easier path to becoming a certified life coach. Some life learning models include:
- Active Brainstorming Worksheets: Active brainstorming helps clients get out of difficult situations. It encourages clients to think of actions and behaviors they often exhibit and group them into columns.
- Journaling: This learning model cultivates a writing habit in clients. It’s believed that by writing, you would be able to reflect and engage in some quality brainstorming. Life coaches stand as a guide to help clients with effective journaling techniques.
- Wheel of Life: The wheel of life is a valuable learning tool or model for life coaches. It helps clients identify the most satisfying areas of their lives and helps them focus on improving their quality of life.
- Spheres of Influence: This learning model is based on the fact that there are three primary areas that life activities can be grouped into. These three areas are things we can control, things we can influence, and things we cannot influence.
4. Communication Courses
Life coaching is a job profile that is very reliant on speaking and the ability to communicate effectively. Communicative skills determine how life coaches can effectively develop relationships with their clients. It’s very important to hone your communication skills in order to become a certified life coach.
Communication skills include verbal, writing, and listening skills. With verbal and writing skills, life coaches can effectively communicate their views and models to clients. It also involves good listening skills, which enable life coaches to develop an ability to see from their clients’ perspectives.
These two parts of communication skills show that communication is a two-way thing. Undertaking courses in these categories can fast track the process of becoming a certified life coach.
5. Post-graduate Coaching Course
Post-graduate coaching courses can expand the theoretical knowledge of aspiring life coaches. These courses also help to develop new skills and approaches to become better life coaches. These courses equip life coaches to apply the new knowledge they’ve gathered to their clients and themselves as professionals.
Available post-graduate coaching courses include Master of Arts (MA) degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas (PGDip), and Postgraduate Certificates (PGCert). These courses are available in various universities, industry bodies, and certificate awarding institutions.
6. Computer Literacy
There is practically no field that doesn’t require a satisfactory level of proficiency in the use of computers. Life coaches, as well, need to have a considerable level of ability in the use of computers. There are also computer programs life coaches can learn to enhance their professional practice. Such programs include modeling tools, word processors, and programming language.
Beyond using computer literacy skills to help your client directly, it’s a way by which you can be better equipped to help a client. There is a widespread belief that computer literate professionals are modern and have in-depth knowledge in their field. Therefore, professionals with computer skills will deliver a better impression than those who don’t have them.
Many certification exams are taken online these days, which requires a level of computer skills. Computer literacy can also help life coaches keep up to date with online research in their field. There are millions of resources online to help in your career as a life coach.
Life coaching is a developing career that is just taking shape and gaining recognition in most places. The general lack of knowledge about life coaching as a career makes life coaches’ level of skill in marketing essential. The desire for life coaches to help people become better in their lives can only be conveyed when there is proper marketing.
Thus, life coaches need to have the ability to develop ways to pitch their services to potential clients. Various marketing skills are taught in courses on campuses and online. Highlights of such courses include how to develop business plans, market analysis, proven marketing strategies, staffing, and future projections.
8. Association For Coaching
The Association for Coaching (AC) is an umbrella body for coaches and other coaching professionals. AC has a lasting commitment to excellence in the field of life coaching. It has several accreditation options for different coaching profiles including individuals and organizations. There is the associate and the member option in the individual membership of the AC.
The AC’s coaching accreditation is proof that professionals are committed to the best life coaching practices. During accreditation, professionals must have demonstrated an ability to use a range of tools and techniques to achieve positive outcomes with their clients.
9. International Coaching Federation Course
The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is the largest association for professionally trained life coaches. It offers three credentialing options – the Associate Certified Coach (ACC), Professional Certified Coach (PCC), and the Master Certified Coach (MCC). The ACC and PCC credentials both have the following three paths:
- Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP): It requires the completion of an ICF accredited ACTP. You must have at least 100 hours, 70 of which you must be paid for in the ACC option. You must have at least 500 hours, 440 of which you must be paid for in the PCC option. In those hours you must have had at least eight clients for ACC and at least 25 clients for PCC. You must pass the Coach Knowledge Assessment.
- Approved Coaching Specific Training Hours (ACSTH) Path: You must have had at least 125 hours of coach-specific training through an approved ACSTH program. You must have had 10 hours of mentor coaching with a qualified PCC or MCC. For ACC, you must have at least 100 coaching hours, 70 of which must have been paid. For PCC, You must have at least 500 coaching hours, 440 of which must have been paid. In those hours, you must have had at least eight clients for ACC and at least 25 clients for PCC. You must pass the Coach Knowledge Assessment.
- Portfolio Path: In addition to the requirements of the ACSTH path, you must have robust documentation of the training you’ve completed. Training must conform to the ICF syllabus. Two audio recordings and written transcripts of coaching sessions are uploaded to be used for performance evaluation.
There is only one application path to obtaining a Master Certified Coach (MCC) designation. It requires 200 hours of coach-specific training and 10 hours of mentor coaching with an MCC designated coach. Applicants must have previously held a PCC credential. They must have completed at least 2500 hours, out of which 2200 were paid.
10. European Mentoring and Coaching Council
The EMCC (European Mentoring and Coaching Council) is an organization tasked with the formulation, promotion, and regulation of the best practices in mentoring, coaching, and supervision. It offers membership and accreditation to various categories of life coaching aspirants.
The European Individual Accreditation (EIA) award is proof that an individual practicing life coaching is qualified to do so. This accreditation path sets the highest standards for individuals and is rightly deemed as a quality mentor and coach accreditation. Apart from its standard requirements, it has rigorous assessment processes. All of these are used to establish that an individual possesses a satisfactory level of knowledge and skills to practice life coaching professionally.
11. The Board Certified Coach
This is an award to individuals who have met the competency standards of the Center for Credentialing and Education (CCE). It is a mark of distinction for individuals who meet specific requirements laid out by the CCE.
The attainment of a BCC award is an identifier of the professional identity of the coach. It is a desirable credential for professionals who want to prove their coaching competencies to the world and says the recipient meets specific qualifications, including:
- Professional peer references
- Commitment to continuing education
- Accountability to an enforceable ethics code
- Passed a psychometrically sound coach-specific examination
- Met educational and training requirements
- Obtained experience in the field of coaching
12. The International Authority for Professional Mentoring and Coaching
This is another life coaching industry that is the gold standard. It’s a body which, through accreditation, seeks to develop widespread confidence in the mentoring and coaching profession. It offers both individual and corporate accreditation.
Like in the case of the ICF awards, there are three routes to achieve this accreditation. They are:
- Accredited Training Provider Course Route: This option is tailored for mentors and coaches who have participated and finished a course on ATP. There are multiple accredited ATPs by the IAPC&M.
- Portfolio Route: This option is for people who have completed coaching and mentorship courses outside of the accredited list of the IACP&M. These courses must be from other recognized organizations, including the EMCC, ICF, and AC.
- Acknowledgment of Prior Learning (APL): Outside of the other two routes, there might be coaches and mentors who have not undergone dedicated pieces of training. Yet, they possess some very applicable qualifications and experience. IACP&M may still accredit such persons on a special basis.
Life coaching remains largely unregulated. However, the bodies and related courses have brought about a means through which life coaching practices can be standardized and help a coach get certified very quickly.
NLP, counselling, psychology and computer literacy are some of the courses that an aspiring life coach can take in order to get certified. Professional bodies and institutional paths to getting certified are AC, ICF, EMCC, and IAPC&M.