Some of the most successful people say they wished they had a life coach sooner in life. Because as new entrepreneurs, they felt alone and didn’t have anyone who understood what it was like to have a rush of tremendous excitement and a good dose of fear at the same time. So getting a coach? It was the best decision for their journey to success, they say.
But it seems as if there are life coaches at every corner. The world seems to be inundated with them. Don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to coaches. Quite the opposite. I wholeheartedly believe that the right coach can guide you from good to great.
So what’s there to do if you want to be a life coach? Having good chemistry and a willingness to have an open, honest communication channel is imperative. And it’s important to think about what you would want if you were seeking advice. Can you provide the kind of support and direction people are looking for?
After digging deeper and exploring all the options, I have come to realize that if you haven’t done at least three of the below, you might not be ready to be an effective life coach yet.
1. You have never started a business of your own.
It doesn’t matter what kind of business. To be a successful coach, you should have started at least one business from scratch. It is important to have toiled through the process of building a business from the ground up to really experience the emotions that come with being an entrepreneur or a business owner. If you haven’t struggled with it yourself, how can you guide someone else through it?
2. You’ve never really failed in your life.
If you have any interest in being a life coach, you need to have failed at something. Failure is a necessary part of growth. Unless you experience failure, you will not understand what real success means. Find a coach that has failed because they will tell you how to get up from it with minimal bruising and how to jump up to catch the next shooting star. You need to be able to inspire and motivate your clients to take action.
3. You have never had training.
When I was intent on finding a coach for myself, I had the wrong idea. I thought I was looking for someone who would tell me what to do and result in beyond-comprehension success. And many life coaches claim to do exactly that. It was only later I realized that it is a process—a journey where a good life coach will help me explore my goals, walk with me as I discover my path (not theirs), dare me to take risks and go after my dreams.
As a trained life coach, you understand the nuances of changing behavior. You are able to deftly guide your clients, not simply give instructions. Plus, training and certification garners trust.
4. You haven’t stepped outside of your comfort zone.
An entrepreneur has to be everything in the beginning. I remember as a business owner, I was the accountant, receptionist, janitor, product manager, marketer, buyer, merchandiser, trainer… everything. I learned how to do new things that I wasn’t necessarily good at, but that needed to be done. A life coach needs to have done things that are not in their realm of expertise because it shows a willingness to learn. To gain clients in different industries and effectively serve and be of value to them, you would have to be willing to learn about different aspects of their business, life or career so that you can properly guide them.
5. You have never said no.
Are you too nice? Is it hard for you to say no to people and opportunities? As a life coach, you are the advocate for your client. You hold your clients accountable and help them grow. To do that, you need to teach them to stay on the critical path and not veer off too often. That sometimes involves saying no to the unfit opportunities instead of taking on everything. If you are too nice and not strong enough to put your foot down when needed, your clients might get burnt out.
The most important thing in a life coach is honesty and objectivity. Even if you have not built your own business, perhaps you have worked closely with someone who has and feel like you can guide others. Do it, but with honesty and integrity. But maybe your experience is better suited as a mentor than a life coach. Take some time to think about the path you would like to take as a life coach, one that fosters trust and transparency.
Smita Singh works with executives and companies to optimize their personal and company’s brand with digital, content and social media marketing. She mentors a group of more than 1,300 women entrepreneurs in Houston and hosts the Womenpreneur: Strategies For Success podcast.