If you're here, you probably already know what are the skills coaches need to build their practice, but the next big question is: where on earth to get that coaching skills training?
Do you read a coaching book? Do you take an online course? Do you just publish a website and wing it?
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of the latter going on in the coaching industry. It’s become a very popular profession and since there technically isn’t any governance over it (except the International Coaching Federation), then many people who aren’t properly trained in coaching have opened up practices.
While it’s true that much of coaching can come from your own life experience, and while experience usually trumps schooling, the truth is when you have a booming industry with little regulation you’re better off doing whatever you can to get properly trained.
In fact, don’t be surprised if regulations do start coming into play as entities like the ICF learn how to deal with people who are not properly trained to coach.
Additionally, coaching skills training isn’t just something you do once. It’s something you continue to do as your practice grows and expands.
The longer you’re running a coaching practice, the more you’ll need to learn as time goes on.
The good news is there are several options now available to you for coaching skills training. Some of them can be expensive while others cost nothing at all. For most people, they’ll probably end up doing a combination of all of the options listed below.
The most obvious choice for coaching skills training is to undergo a full-blown certification program. These programs can range from a few months to a few years and cover a variety of psychological, spiritual and cultural modalities.
Their purpose is to give you a well-rounded education and the proper skills training so that you can represent the industry properly (and change people’s lives, of course!)
Some of these programs can now be found at local colleges as a part of their continued education credits curriculum.
You can also find several programs online, which allow you to call into classes and complete the course on your own time.
Many of these programs also require you to accumulate a certain amount of coaching hours before completion. This allows you to show the ICF that you’ve completed the proper training and also allows you to apply for credentialing with the organization.
These programs can be pricey depending on their scope, length and which school they are associated with so make sure to shop around to find a good coaching skills training program that fits your specific needs.
If you choose this course of action you’ll want to make sure you’re enrolling with a reputable institution. For example, if you’re planning on doing health coaching then the Institute for Integrative Nutrition is usually seen as a good bet.
For general coaching, you may want to look into a program that is credentialed by the ICF.
While the industry isn’t heavily regulated (it’s not like a doctor who needs to be board certified to practice medicine), the ICF is the current governing body for coaches and is the entity who creates the code of ethics. With their stamp of approval you’ll know you’re getting a very thorough training.
Online Classes and Workshops
The internet is an amazing thing. It’s given people access to a wealth of education that may not have been available otherwise – including coaching skills training.
From well-known coaches giving classes like we do at Evercoach to YouTube videos, you can learn a lot about coaching thanks to the internet.
In fact, you can learn a lot about anything thanks to the internet.
However, as with all things involving the internet, you have to be a bit cautious. Anyone can write up some website copy that claims they’re an expert in their field, so it’s up to you to use your discernment before dropping any kind of cash.
Here are some ways to tell whether or not someone is being legitimate online. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it is a good starting point.
- Do they have a photo? No photo online in this day and age usually means something is sketchy.
- Is there any social proof like testimonials or social media mentions? Do these testimonials have links?
- Have they been quoted in the press? Can they provide links? (While this isn’t entirely necessary, it is usually a pretty a good sign of credibility.)
- What is their background? Credentials? Experience?
- Are you already familiar with their work? (Ex. Gabby Bernstein or Lisa Nichols hardly need a background check.)
- Who were their teachers and mentors? (Remember, every coach has a coach!)
- Do they admit to their faults? This is a massive form of transparency and a good sign that someone isn’t taking you for a fool. In the online space, where anyone can sugar coat anything, the ability to be transparent gives a person some credibility.
If the person you’re inquiring about checks out on these questions then there’s a good chance that you can actually learn something from them.
The other piece of good news is you can try a lot of things out on the internet for free before committing to purchasing anything. This allows you get acquainted with teachers and take their classes for a spin to see if it’s a good fit.
For example, Evercoach often times has free trainings with well-known coaches in their field. The individual coaches even do their own free mini- trainings in anticipation of a launch for their full trainings.
A great example of this is Gabby Bernstein. The amount of stuff she gives away for free would be mind-boggling to people who didn’t understand the concept of try before you buy.
However, what makes Bernstein attractive to so many is that she’s not giving away fee trainings to sucker people into her workshops. In fact, her free trainings are just as jam packed with valuable information as her paid ones.
Online trainings also make it easy for you to brush up on your skills as your practice grows.
As we already mentioned, you’re never actually done with your coaching skills training, so having access to resources online is a real gift that should not be taken for granted.
In-Person Personal Development Workshops
There are two kinds of conferences and in-person events in the business world.
The first is going to a conference where your potential clients hang out in an effort to get some new leads. The second is a conference where the business owner further expands upon their training.
For the purposes of this blog, we’re going to focus on the latter.
For example, a financial coach may find his or herself attending something like The Financial Blogger Conference to learn new skills that affect his or her trade – particularly as it stands online.
There’s a certain air of gratitude that comes with attending in-person trainings for your field. Not only do you feel the buzz in the room, but you also get to hang out with other people who are just like you.
The latter in particular is extremely important as you build your business. The people you surround yourself with have a direct impact on how far you will go.
Additionally, it’s amazing to get trainings from people you can actually talk to. Sometimes when you’re doing online trainings it can be incredibly difficult to have access to people if you have questions or need further explanation.
Your Day Job
Perhaps a surprising place to get coaching skills training, and as such a place that is often times overlooked, is your day job.
If you’re moonlighting as a coach, see what skills you’ve learned at your job that may be easily transferrable to your coaching practice.
Even if you’ve been working for yourself for years, you can still look back on your days of having a regular job and see what skills you learned.
For example, if you had to deal with co-workers (which you most likely did) this undoubtedly helped you hone in on your people skills. This is something that would come in handy as a coach.
Some jobs even transfer well into the coaching industry. For example, if you worked in marketing for a big corporation this would likely make you an excellent business coach who can walk clients through the process of understanding how marketing works.
If you were a personal trainer then this would absolutely help you be a better health coach!
The reality is we can learn a lot from our experiences, and sometimes we learn more from experience than we do from taking classes.
This isn’t to say that classes aren’t important, as we’ve already discussed they definitely are. Instead, we’re saying that sometimes experience is the best kind of teacher.
Another great way to get coaching skills training is to seek out mentors. More specifically, seek out mentors who have experience in your chosen coaching niche.
By finding a mentor in your niche you’ll learn skills that pertain to your specific area of expertise. This is imperative because although the different branches of coaching can be linked together, they are not all the same thing.
An executive trying to run a corporation has separate issues from a person looking to live a healthy lifestyle.
If you’re a health coach, find another health coach to mentor you.
If you’re a business coach, find another business coach to mentor you.
If you’re a relationship coach, find another relationship coach to mentor you.
By finding a mentor, you’ll know only learn some important skills for your coaching practice, you can also learn how to run an actual business.
The latter in particular is extremely important because traditional training programs don’t really delve into the business, sales and marketing side of things. It’s not really their job and that’s okay.
While these aren’t coaching skills, per say, they are necessary skills for making sure your practice is full and that you’re getting paid for your work. Otherwise, what was the point in starting your own coaching business?
Remember that your coaching skills are something you’ll probably never stop training for. As you and your practice expand, your skills will have to expand as well.
Fortunately, with all of the options mentioned above, there is a wealth of education available both online and off to help you perfect your craft.