Do You Need Certification to Be an Online Coach?
When someone wants to get into life coaching, one of the things that they often ask about is the type of training or certification that is available or required. While there is no regulatory committee that makes sure that life coaches all have a minimum amount of training and passing test scores like there is for doctors and psychiatrists.
There are certifications that you can get and training programs that will not only give you some great tools to help you in your practice, but will also impress other coaches and some clients who are familiar with the organization, mentor or training program.
If you’re thinking about becoming a coach, (which you may be because you are reading this post!) then you may also be wondering if you need to become a certified coach, and if so, what certifications do you need?
Some coaches will tell you that you do not need to be certified to become a coach because there is no national regulatory body. Others will tell you that you should get certified.
Either way, they would be right. But if you want to be a great coach, why wouldn’t you want to be certified? We all know the value of training, and you could be learning and getting your certification while you are doing it.
Here are some reasons to learn and get your certification:-
1. More likely to persist and build your coaching business
If you are committed to your cause to become a professional coach, you will more likely earn more and build your business quicker partly because you are less likely to drop out of the profession.
2. To assure clients that you are serious about coaching
Certification helps distinguish you from the crowd. All things being equal, authentic professional coaches seek reputable certifications as a way to assure potential clients that they are genuine coaches. And prospective clients will generally use this as a criteria.
3. To help clients make a decision
Rightly or wrongly, most people assume that certified professionals are better than those who are uncertified. Yes, there may be uncertified coaches who are very good and they can build a successful business through referrals. For new coaches, and in the absence of a good referral from a trusted friend, many people look for certification, which essentially is a stamp or approval from a trusted source.
4. Some clients think certification is important
Your clients probably want you to be certified. According to a survey by the International Coach Federation (ICF), 84% of actual coaching clients said coaching credentials were important or very important to them.
This appears to contradict what some coaches say, which is that clients don’t care about certification. Evidently many do, and the numbers go up according to region, with 91% of the general public (not just actual coaching clients) in Latin America stating that certification is important.
5. Most coaches want to get certification
This may be an intuitive thing, but most people entering any profession, want some level of accreditation. You probably want to be certified.
6. Certification may become a legal requirement
Someday you may legally need to be accredited. Most people who want to become business or life coaches wonder if they need credentials in order to legally practice coaching. In most places, it is currently not required, but that may change. No one knows for sure what will happen, but having a recognized certification, will give you a head start if it comes in.
7. Learning and training will make you a better coach:
You’ll become a better coach. No, letters after your name won’t magically make you better. But preparing for an oral or written certification exam will. I’ve learned something new with every certification that I’ve qualified for. Great coaches tend to be more successful.
8. Working towards certification raises the standard
Regardless of legal or not, a coach’s mindset is to encourage others to do everything possible to prepare for success. We do not want to sell our clients short, nor do that to ourselves.
A coach is interested in best practices, and is keen to put as much in as possible rather than as little as they can get away with – not just minimum standards. Coach certification helps set you up for success and it represents coaching best practices.
There are a number of good reasons why coaches would benefit from certification. So why not just do it? There is nothing to lose.
Clearly this is a big issue for some. But if you are new to coaching, don’t just take my advice but get the facts and decide for yourself.
Coach Certification & Training Available
There is a great deal of certification out there for life coaching. Check that the companies have been around for a while and have good testimonies. You can then check their credentials in the forums and so on. You will want to stick with certification where you are learning not just the basics of coaching but some good insights into running your coaching business.
Finding Legitimate Training & Certification
So how do you find legitimate training certification? There are many ways that you can dig out the good ones, but one of the most effective ways is to visit forums where other coaches discuss their practices with each other.
They will be able to tell you which training programs they have heard of and which they can recommend. In fact, many of them will have that information already included in their forum signature. There are hundreds of different coaching forums out there so find one that fits your style.
The second method is to choose a well-known training program like the Tony Robbins Training Certification which carries a lot of weight because it has Tony Robbins name on it. If you choose a training program that someone who is well-known and well-respected within the coaching and self-help community, you will find that particular certification goes a long way when looking for new clients and networking with other life coaches.
Here are some coaching organisations (I am not receiving any affiliate commission from any of these – they are for your information)
UK Coaching Organistaions
US Coaching Organisations