The most effective professional life Coaches relate to clients by asking open-ended questions, demonstrating empathy, and maintaining professional boundaries. Obtaining life coaching training courses means that Coaches receive the type of experiential and educational foundation needed to be effective. To set a standard for the profession, the International Coach Federation (ICF) has established progressive levels of certification, along with core professional competencies.
Setting the foundation starts the list of core competencies. Coaches set a foundation for themselves, by meeting ethical guidelines, and maintaining professional standards. Also, Coaches set a foundation for their clients, by establishing the parameters of their Coaching agreement from the outset. By making boundaries clear, and by gaining self-knowledge, Coaches will be able to discern the best client matches, for their particular skill set.
Co-creating relationships is another core competency. For a Coaching relationship to be effective, Coaches must build trust and intimacy with clients, within professional boundaries. In addition, Coaches must exude an authoritative presence, by dealing with strong emotions exhibited by the client, by working effectively with clients in the moment, and by being fully engaged during client interactions.
Coaches must also communicate effectively. Effective communication begins with effective language, which clearly expresses the reasoning behind exercises and meetings. Clear language also includes the appropriate use of analogy and metaphor, as well as any other type of language which most positively affects the client. Other components of effective communication include powerful questioning, and active listening.
For their clients, Coaches facilitate Learning and results. Learning begins with awareness, regarding a client’s life habits, situations, and approaching decisions. Results begin with effective action plans geared toward those decisions, for which the Coach holds the client accountable, and offers objective analysis of progress.
Many Coaches choose to become certified. The ICF has created three progressive levels of certification: the Associate Certified Coach, the Professional Certified Coach, and the Master Certified Coach. Each level has requirements related to hours of experience, letters of reference, interactions with mentors, and examinations. Obtaining certification helps to enhance a Coach’s credibility, and demonstrates that a Coach takes ongoing professional development seriously.
Life Coaches help their clients to establish priorities, to set goals, and to put together plans. Coaches also hold clients accountable for their goals, and help them to monitor their progress with transparency. Coaches may be self-employed, may work in groups, or may be employed by agencies or services. Obtaining life Coaching training, and possibly certification, will provide prospective Coaches with an understanding of the profession, as well as a foundation built on established competencies.