When I decided to add coaching to my business, I wasn’t sure what to do next. I knew I could take a few courses and become certified but I didn’t know where to start. If you’re where I was and you want to start coaching and you’re not sure about certification, here’s what you should know.
Look to Your Local Laws
Before you do anything, do some research on your area. Many cities and towns don’t require that life or business coaches become certified. If yours doesn’t, then you’re in the clear and can proceed to the next step.
If you live in an area where you need to be certified, then you want to gather a list of requirements. Do you have to be certified through a specific institution such as a university or college? Do you have to practice a certain number of hours before you can begin taking on clients?
Keep in mind that even if you aren’t legally required to do anything, certification adds an extra element of authority to your coaching. It can also be useful and lead to amazing networking
opportunities. For example, John Maxwell offers certification. If you complete his training, you can promote that certification. This can make it easy to develop a steady stream of clients.
Do Some Digging
Before you get certified from by an organization or school, do some digging. Make sure the place is trustworthy. You can start by using a search engine. Just type a search phrase like this: “(School Name)” + complaints or like this: “(Certification Program)” + scam. Remember, some organizations may hire reputation management experts so go past the first page of results in your search.
Talk to Previous Students
If you didn’t find any red flags from your online sleuthing, then it’s time to discuss the course or school with previous students. Most programs will share a list of their successful alumni with you. Keep in mind that a certification program that refuses to let you talk to previous students should be avoided.
When you do reach out to students, let them know that you care about both the bad and the good. Ask what they liked best, what they didn’t enjoy, and what they wish they’d known before they signed up.
Find the Right Instructors
If you don’t like the instructor or teacher, you probably won’t enjoy your lessons. It might be that your personality isn’t a good match for that instructor or you simply don’t enjoy their teaching style. Whatever the reason, don’t force yourself to sign up for classes that you know you’re going to hate.
As you’re considering different programs, remember to pay attention to how the information will be delivered to you. If it’s an audio course and you hate listening to MP3s, it will be difficult to make yourself do the work. Try to find trainings in a format you like and will use.
Becoming certified as a life or business coach can be a good idea. Just make sure to do your research before you register to become a student.