Becoming A Coach for Selfish and Selfless Reasons

“How can I become a coach to help other people with their problems when I’ve got my own problems?”

That question, or some variation thereof, is probably the most common reason most prospective coaches express when they hesitate to enroll in a coach training course. It’s also a pretty awful reason to put off coaching as a career – because it gets the situation completely backwards!

First, to point out the obvious: everyone has problems. Virtually no one is completely satisfied with their life. That includes coaches. It is part of the human condition – and it’s not a bad thing. Recognizing we’ve got problems is the first step in moving towards solutions. If you see that parts of your life are a mess, but you’ve got a desire (though not necessarily the plan or resources, yet) to fix them, that doesn’t disqualify you from being a coach. It just means you might need help with tools and processes to get there.

That leads us to the intermingled selfish and selfless reason many people become coaches (which is an open secret to most who choose this career): we want to know how to fix our problems – and ideally, get paid at some point to help others using those same tools. Life coach Katie DiBenedetto explains how this works beautifully in a recent Huffington Post column:

While I am still confused — coming up with new ideas every day and constantly changing my mind, life coaching opened me up to a world of other opportunities. Suddenly, I was around a group of people that were all just like me — people looking to start something new and take control of their lives. They were of every age, descent and religion. We couldn’t have been a more diverse group, but we bonded and learned from one another.

Through all of this, I learned about psychology, self-improvement, positive-action theories and the role that philosophy and spirituality play in each of our lives. I was introduced to people that live with true meaning and love for the world and everyone around them. I may not know exactly what I want yet, but I know that I am in the right direction.

As you undergo training to become a professional coach, you’re inevitably going to apply what you’ve learned to your own problems. That’s a good thing. You’ll practice visualization, goalsetting, active listening and the countless other skills that are best practice for solving life’s problems. You’ll test out the theory by practicing your coaching skills on yourself and on your fellow coach-trainees.

Coaches are not all-knowing gurus who have the answer to any question; they’re not walking encyclopedias or training manuals. They just have the training and experience to help individuals and groups problem-solve through a process of asking questions to get to where you need to go.

Instead of thinking about reasons to not learn how to do this, think about the positive change you could create in your own life as you train to help others: healthier and stronger relationships; improved career prospects; better money management, and having the tools to achieve a variety of life goals. The odds are that you’ve got room for improvement in one of these areas. When you train to be a life coach, you’ll be helping yourself along the way, long before you get to graduation day. It’s OK to think of yourself and be a little selfish – you can be selfless when you’ve got the full slate of skills to help your clients.

SOURCE: Erickson International

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