HERE ARE THE TOP TEN WAYS TO BECOME AN EXCELLENT COACH - a dream position where you are your own boss, help people can't get fired, and is totally portable.
1. Get trained and certified with an individualized program.
As the director of a coach certification program, I know that the individuals who are drawn to coaching are very different and have unique backgrounds. With an individualized program, you do not have to waste your time going over the things you already know, or may even be degreed or credentialed in.
2. Get coaching yourself.
The coach you hire will be your 'model' for how coaching is done. You have a chance to experience the process in real life!
3. Know the difference between a therapist, a coach and a friend.
Friends are well-meaning, but often lack objectivity. Therapists can spend time sorting out things from the past and have constraints because of licensing regulations that do not apply to coaching. In coaching, we go forward. Whatever the person's past, we present them with the opportunity, encouragement and the TOOLS to go forward and re-create their life.
4. Make sure your coaching certification program includes marketing, by an individual who has spent time marketing.
To be an excellent coach, you have to have clients. You are an entrepreneur.
5. Learn to listen more than talk.
This is counter-intuitive, and a mistake many enthusiastic beginners make. You will learn more about the client and their situation by listening, and with guided listening- asking the right, and the hard, questions - you will be able to guide them in the direction that will win for them.
6. Don't think you have to be an expert at something.
What you are an expert in, is coaching. There are many principals and tools that apply to a vast range of situations, whether the person is male or female; a doctor or a longshoreman; a parent or non-parent; a 26 year old or a 65 year old. A good coaching program gives you the META view, the overview, that teaches you to see the commonality.
7. Never think you know it all.
In fact, the fun of coaching is that you will learn from every client.
8. Keep learning on your own.
Just because you have the certification, don't quit learning! I can say with some certainty that anything you learn will make you a better coach. It's a field for people who love to learn.
9. Remember that coaching is a service profession.
Your job is to make your client's life easier, not harder. Be flexible in your schedules, payments, length of calls, etc. For instance, I make my services available nights and weekends -- because that's when working people have time to contact their coach.
10. Join and participate in collegial organizations and activities.
I had the opportunity to serve on Thomas Leonard's R&D team and it was an invaluable experience. I am also a founding member of Coachville. Staying in touch with your leader and colleagues keeps you in front at the trough, so to speak.