Is online life coach certification all that it’s cracked up to be?
Since the quality of the online courses varies, I think it’s best to shop around before enrolling in a course and spending your money on a low-quality program. Below are a few pointers on how to screen the quality programs, from the less qualified.
Coaching courses offer a lot. You get to study interesting material which can improve your life, you get to learn about yourself a lot more, and you can help people improve their life with this new found knowledge.
On top of that, since the coaching profession is getting more and more known, and the need for coaches is on the rise, the coaching profession can also produce a respectable income.
These courses take up a whole lot of time and money and are sometimes very expensive, to begin with. In addition, in order to get a certificate one must undergo rigorous and sometimes tiresome training.
Enter online coaching courses.
These courses usually consist of several videos that are divided into modules. Each module has a different topic that it covers, and is constructed from videos that you can watch.
Depending on the course, you may also have questions to answer or quizzes to take at the end of each module, to test your understanding.
The length of the course can vary, as does the depth of the subjects covered and the payment for the course.
As a matter of fact, all though all of the online courses I checked have very similar content, I did not see two identical.
The answer to all our worries?
These courses sound like the answer to all your worries. No need to hustle yourself through the course and spend a lot of time until you get certified. No need to pay a lot of money to some mentor who would teach you basic principles, and no need to conform to any of the requests that the course makes in order to get the certification. Just pay a few bucks, and seat back and relax, while zooming through a stream of online lectures that in the end of which, you would become a certified life coach.
Sounds great, but this is exactly the part where you need to take extra caution.
All though the coaching profession is getting more and more organized, the quality of the institutes that offers coaching courses vary wildly. As a matter of fact, almost everyone who wants to set up an institute for coaching can do so. This leads to a situation where one can enroll for an online course, and receive a very low return in terms of actual skills or qualifications.
So what to do?
So in order to separate the good courses from the poor ones, below are some pointers to take in before choosing an online course.
The ICF is one of the most renowned organizations for coaching in the world. It holds to coaching and ethics and standards and has a certification process for institutes which offer coaching programs. Look out for the approval sign like the one on the right. It would let you know if the program has been approved by the ICF.
Check how long is the course
Coaching courses vary in length, but I haven’t yet seen a “live” course which is less than 120 hours. Many online courses would probably claim that coaching can be taught in a lot less time, and they might even be correct from their point of view, but I believe that since coaching has so many layers, trying to zoom through the content would miss the point entirely. Check how long is the course you’re thinking about enrolling to, and decided if it’s worthy of your time.
everyone can be a coach
I’ve seen some places which claim that not everybody can be a coach, and offer a quiz to check if you fit. This sounds like a cheap trick to me. Everyone can be a coach, the same way everyone can drive a car. People have natural traits that would help while coaching (like empathy and tolerance) just as people have natural traits that would make them better drivers (like the ability to concentrate and sharp reflexes). Don’t think that because the program uses this “filter” makes it better. Exactly the opposite. If you see something like this on the site, you can be fairly sure the level of the coaching content won’t be that impressive.
Looks can deceive
Never judge a book by its cover is a cliché you probably know. So use it. A fancy landing page does not necessarily mean that the program is good, and fits your requirements. This is also true the other way around. A site might not be so attractive, and might look messy, but the content and support of the program might be excellent.
Don’t bother with testimonials
Everybody has them. The only purpose the testimonials serve is to add a personal perspective to the program offering. I’m not saying they are not legit, I’m saying that you can ignore them when you decide if the course is right for you.
Support is important
Don’t underestimate the support the course is offering. If you are thinking about becoming a coach, it’s important to be thorough and understand the bits and pieces of the courses in the program. Make sure the program offers a support that answers any questions you might have in a reasonable time. I would even suggest rejecting any programs that do not have support altogether.
The bottom line
Online coaching courses vary in quality. I personally think that a “live” course is preferable to an online one, since coaching is a profession that requires people skills, and you want to be taught by real people. But I understand that sometimes a “live” course may not be available for someone who wants to learn to coach. So my thoughts on the matter are that if you decided that you want to take an online course, check it carefully before enrolling. Make sure it’s a quality course using the basic pointers above. Just remember that eventually, you would need to apply the skills you’ve been taught to real people, and the better the teaching would be, the better the results you would have.