For many people, the work they do stems from a decision they made years ago to complete their chosen degree at university, which led to employment within a related industry and a gradual climb up the corporate ladder. Then there are those who change careers multiple times and prioritise the culture and mission of whatever organisation they choose to work for over what they will be doing on a daily basis.
In my role as General Manager of the Being Profile®, I have the opportunity to connect with coaches from all over the world. In leading this global community, I’ve come to realise that there is something very special about how each and every person discovered their calling as a professional coach. Furthermore, most people CHOOSE to be a coach. And I am personally inspired by the stories behind their decision, with many transitioning from successful careers in order to fulfil their calling.
Some came to the realisation that supporting and coaching others in their last job was what they loved most about their role, which inspired them to make the switch to professional coaching as their sole and full-time job. They realised their purpose in life is to serve and empower others; that’s what lights them up every day. Others came to coaching because, after years in a job, they became a mentor and coach of the younger generation, and it was their most recognised strength.
What drove you to do the work you do today?
Have you ever considered what drove you to do the job you do today and how you got to where you are? Was it the result of inspiration and your calling or a trajectory you found yourself on years ago? Do you love what you do? Many of us have a story around this, but few have chosen to take the risk and do what they love.
I find it incredibly inspiring when a coach on my team tells me they chose coaching as a career because they experienced coaching in such a way that it transformed them and changed the trajectory of their lives. They said being coached made them feel seen in a way that no one had ever truly seen them before, not even themselves. And that transformational experience led them to want to support others in the same way. To realise that you don’t need to live life behind a mask, trapped in your own beliefs or limited to your current way of being is true freedom.
My journey to coaching
I relate on a personal level to the stories many have shared about what led them to become professional coaches, particularly the stories about being drawn to coaching through a transformational experience as a coachee.
I had worked as a management consultant for five years and knew the part I loved most about my role was the opportunity to have a conversation with people when they were challenged to embrace or lead change. So I committed to a one-year coaching program where I got to experience the enormous power I had to choose how I lived my life instead of being trapped in the “should” and “must” I’d been living from. These self-limiting perspectives were driven by beliefs I had picked up along the way, and I had not noticed or challenged them before this coaching experience. I knew many others were trapped by these and other self-limiting beliefs and I wanted to be able to offer others that freedom and power to choose too.
So you want to be a coach?
Before making the leap into coaching, it is important to understand that there are many types of coaching. For example, some focus on strategies, goals, habits or behaviours. I experienced a form of coaching that has its emphasis on Being and focuses on transformation at a deep level. This is the type of coaching I chose to pursue and continue to practise today, as it gets to the root of matters in people's lives. So, if you are thinking of becoming a coach, the type of coaching is something to look into and consider first. Read this article if you would like to learn how and why I chose the type of coaching I do.
If you're thinking about coaching as a career, particularly in the transformation space, know that you will need to work on yourself and transform how you are being if you genuinely want to make a difference to others. We can only take others as far as we are willing to go ourselves.
Becoming a coach often also means becoming an entrepreneur and business owner. This is not the only way, as today, there are many organisations where you can become an associate and coach as part of their company. But even in this scenario, coaches are typically selected based on the number of coaching hours they have done, with most asking for at least 100 hours of coaching experience. This means that if you choose to be a coach, you also choose to run your own business. Consequently, you must honour the autonomy that comes with business ownership and the responsibility to produce results as both a coach and a business owner.
So if you are thinking of beginning your career as a coach, start by asking yourself: do I have an authentic understanding of what it will take to be a professional coach?
Here are some elements to consider:
You need to invest in your own training, with an understanding that the training will not be limited to coaching programs. As a business owner as well as a coach, you might also need to be trained in marketing, sales, administration (taxes and invoicing) and many other business-related areas.
You will have to sell! This can be uncomfortable for many new coaches if they don’t have a background in sales. I know I found this to be my greatest challenge. Authentically consider your willingness to sell and desire to learn the best ways to go about this as a key element of your decision to become a coach.
It will take time to grow your client base. So be prepared to go without an income for some time. Plan ahead and have a financial buffer in place before you take the leap.
These are just some elements to consider. If you would like to learn more about how to set up your coaching business, I recommend you read the following article: The definitive guide to starting a coaching business – a 21-point checklist.
Coaching as a career is full of rewards and soul-filling moments. I can personally vouch for that. However, before you dive in, I encourage you to have an authentic perspective of what it will take, so you have what you need to be successful and fulfilled in this work we choose to do. If you are already a coach, I’d love to hear your story and what you would recommend someone consider before becoming a coach themselves. You can connect with me here.