It’s helpful to understand the different types of coach and the context in which they work if you are considering becoming a coach, and then to consider what would interest you and the potential market for these services.
Many companies now recognise the importance of integrating coaching in the culture of the organisation for a positive working environment and to help employees improve their performance. In developing a coaching culture an organisation is conscious about integrating a coaching style into the way managers lead and manage, and how employees interact with one another. As part of this process, coaching may take different forms: external coaching from independent, professional trained and accredited coaches and internal coaching by managers or coaching from nominated personnel who have been trained in coaching skills.
As coaching from professional external coaches can potentially be seen as a considerable investment it is often reserved for senior managers, directors and business owners. This is commonly referred to as executive coaching or sometimes leadership coaching, particularly where the focus is on developing leadership skills. Engaging an independent professional coach helps to ensure that the coach is suitably skilled and qualified, is coming in to serve the client with no agenda of their own and through the coaching process can retain an element of objectivity and impartiality, may be able to offer more challenge and be less likely to be drawn into the politics of an organisation. Nowadays many organisations engaging professionally trained and accredited coaches require that the coach undertakes regular coach supervision to that they are working to the highest professional and ethical standards.
However, if an organisation is going to truly embed coaching as a way of being and doing in an organisation then they will seek to train managers in coaching skills and sometimes employ internal coaches who are professionally trained who can hold this specialised role without a managerial agenda.
If you are interested in becoming a work-based coach you might want to consider targeting those organisations in which you have prior experience. Whilst as a coach you are not imparting your expertise or knowledge, demonstrating your knowledge of the context you are working in can be helpful and attractive to potential clients of employers.
Some coach training focuses particularly on working as a coach in the organisational setting or executive coaching.
Many people recognise that they want to make changes in their lives – perhaps change career, improve an unsatisfactory relationship, lose weight or become fitter or perhaps discover what truly motivates them, and they will employ a personal or 'life coach' to help them.
If working as a personal or life coach appeals to you then you might want to read further to help you to decide whether this is for you.
Firstly a person's life is made up of many interrelated factors: health, relationships, work, confidence etc and when working with a client a good coach will often find themselves needing to take an holistic approach, working across all of these areas in order to help their client. For example someone battling with their weight may need to explore their self-esteem or relationship in order to address underlying issues impacting upon their relationship with food.
Secondly, you may be drawn to personal or life coaching having experienced and overcome similar life challenges yourself. The advantage of this is that you can empathise with your clients having 'been there' yourself, often what clients appreciate. The downside is that you could bring your way of solving the problem to your client, which might not work for them. You may also bring your own unresolved baggage to the session which can influence and get in the way of supporting your client in the most effective and ethical way. Being really aware of your own issues, working through them, and understanding potential triggers that may show up when working with a client, and learning to self-manage is a crucial part of your development as a coach. This personal development should be addressed in both your initial coach training and on-going supervision.
Thirdly, it should also be borne in mind that people's lives can be complex and working at surface challenges may not always help clients to address the underlying issues that are holding them back from making the changes they are seeking. If you are interested in working with clients as a personal or life coach, as with any coaching, you need to be mindful of your capabilities as a coach. You need to know at what point you might need further coach training and supervision to support you to serve your client or whether you need to refer your client to more specialist help such as therapy or counselling. For example if a client presents with signals of an eating disorder, or substance abuse then it would be a red flag for this client seeking alternative help.
You may be passionate about a particular subject or cause, or experienced in a particular area and therefore want to become a specialist coach. Just some areas you may choose to specialise in are:
The advantage of coaching in an area you are experienced in is that you may be able to show particular empathy with your client and also know what questions to ask that will help your client. One danger however of coaching in an area that you are experienced in is that you could find yourself wanting to give advice rather than coach, or even ask leading questions…so think carefully, is it advice you want to give or would you rather help someone find their own solutions. There is also the inherent danger that if you are coming from a place of experience, especially if you have not yet fully addressed your issues, that unconsciously your own 'baggage' will show up in the coaching 'space'. For example if you are in a difficult relationship and a client brings the topic of a similar relationship to their coaching, you could become unconsciously triggered and less able to work effectively with your client. Self-awareness and self-management are therefore critical competences to master when coaching, particularly if working in an area you have experience of.
Types Of Coaching
Advantages and Disadvantages Of Specializing As A Coach
Marketing Yourself As a Coach
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