The growth in the coaching industry has been explosive over the last 10 years will an ever increasing number of organisations offering coach accreditation and training and a huge number of coaches, accredited or otherwise, flooding the market with their services.
But why do so many people choose to become a coach and why are some of these reasons sounder than others. Here are just some of the main reasons people choose to take this career option and some thoughts on whether these reasons are grounded in fact or fantasy.
1. To Help Others
Probably the top reason for individuals to be drawn to this profession is to help others. We all have different values which drive our career choices and for those who get satisfaction from helping, nurturing and seeing others reach their full potential then this can be an ideal career choice. The pitfalls arise if you are setting up a coaching business and ignore the other side of the work that has to be done…getting customers for one. Many coaches focus only on their need to help others and just cannot hack the commercial element of running a business.
2. To Draw Upon Their Own Personal Experience
I see many people becoming coaches who have been coached themselves. They have experienced the benefits of coaching and having ‘been there, done it and got the T-shirt’ feel that they want to help people in return. The great thing about this reason is that having been through the experience you are a natural ambassador for coaching and will also be likely to have a natural empathy for people who need similar help. The downsides are that you could see too much of your own situation in others’ and feel the need to be prescriptive with your help rather than allow an individual find their own solution. The other word of caution is that if you have not fully resolved your own issues then perhaps you are not ready to help others.
3. Because You Have the Right Skills
Perhaps you have already done some coaching yourself in your role at work or recognise that you have the essential coaching skills and attributes that would make you a good coach. This is a good starting point as long as you also have the passion to coach too. There is one thing using these skills on an occasional basis however just ask yourself whether you want to use these skills as a significant part of your professional life.
4. To Give You a Flexible Life
Many coaches are attracted to the profession by the flexible way of working it potentially offers. Unlike so many paid jobs you can schedule coaching sessions to suit you, especially if you coach over the telephone. Whilst it is true that you can make your work flexible around you, if you do want your own successful coaching practice then you will have to put in considerable hours in marketing yourself and even scheduling sessions to meet the needs of your customers and not you.
5. Because Others Have Said that You Would be Good at it
You may be a natural listener or that person who your friends turn to and it may even be those people who have suggested you become a coach. Its great that you have the attributes but do make sure you research the realities of becoming a coach – one thing is helping out a friend in need, another is making a full time living out of it.
6. To Make Lots of Money.
If you are primarily driven by money then coaching is probably not for you. Coaching requires a desire to really help others and whilst not mutually exclusive to making money, if your primary focus is on what financial gain you will get then you will probably not develop yourself to become the best coach you can be. Many coach training organisations lure people onto their programmes with promises of great financial rewards leaving many disappointed when the money doesn’t appear.
I see so many coaches giving up in the first year of formation for one reason or another, but usually down to the fact that they just aren’t getting the business. All businesses require hard work and the most successful are those where there the leaders of the business have passion for what they do rather than for the rewards they get. Whilst good money can certainly be made from coaching if you are a leader in the field, those successful coaches I know are those driven a deeper passion much deeper than financial gain.
7. To Improve Your Status.
Some people choose to become a coach because perhaps unlike their paid employment they see it offers an opportunity for increased status, particularly by allowing you to run your own business or to be like some of the well-known and successful coaches out there. For the same reasons as the financial reasons, don’t allow this to be your main motivator in becoming a coach…if status is so important to you find an alternative way of satisfying this need of yours.
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Article Added on Wednesday, July 13, 2011
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