Just start coaching
Imposter Syndrome can be huge for some new coaches. I think because it’s such an ‘unknown’ profession, it’s sometimes hard to know when you have enough information to feel competent.
I mean, it’s not as though there’s a regulated and universal set of standards and requirements you need to reach before you can call yourself a Life Coach.
Every coach does things slightly differently. And that means there’s no target to reach before you can feel qualified.
And this causes one of the biggest problems I see with new coaches… Their reluctance to actually start coaching clients.
Often when I speak to them about it, they say things like…
“I’m almost ready to start, but I just need to get to grips with ‘insert excuse here’ a bit more, before I take the plunge fully”
With this mindset comes another problem. Many new coaches start by coaching friends and relatives. Unfortunately, this comes with two issues…
- Your friend or relative is going to try desperately to help you, sometimes even to the detriment of their own satisfaction. You won’t have that luxury with a paying client.
- Because you know them personally, you’ll go into the sessions with your own ideas on how you can help them. Even if you try not to!
The friends/Family approach is okay for practicing how you’ll open or close sessions, how you’ll approach giving homework, etc. but as a technique for building skill as a professional coach, it’s not particularly helpful.
There are much better approaches.
Getting stuck needing ‘Just One More Thing’
Life Coaching isn’t a one-step deal. You don’t just get a qualification and that’s the end of your training. To be a thoughtful, helpful, and competent coach, you should be learning all the time anyway. So, that being the case, why are you waiting?
You’ll never be at a point where there’s nothing else to learn, so start with what you have and learn more as you go.
There’s new and alternative information coming out almost every day. What’s ‘right’ today might be frowned upon tomorrow.
The knowledge you’ll have after completing any one of the most recommended life coaching courses, is enough to get you started. As with most things in this life, there’s very little that can top practical experience.
No matter how long you’ve been coaching, there’ll be times when something new comes up. When it happens, your job is to help your client find the answer. And you do that using questions.
So, provided you have a bank of powerful questions to fall back on, there shouldn’t be any real issues.
When it comes to remembering the questions, only time and practice can give you that. As time goes on, you’ll find a selection of questions that you use again and again. This’ll become your ‘go-to’ list. The base toolkit you use regularly.
And, there are lots of exercises available that you can print out and use to help your client find their own solutions.
- Being a life coach means a lot of ongoing learning, you will literally never stop. You’ll never know everything.
- If you keep telling yourself you need one more training, or one more piece of information, etc. before you start, you’ll never start.
- Don’t get disheartened because you’re not completely confident in your abilities. No one ever is! Confidence in what you can do comes because you’ve done it successfully before, not because you know a lot about it.
- If you don’t feel you can ask clients to pay you yet, do sessions pro-bono. Or, ask them to donate a nominal amount to a charity of their choice instead.
- Tell your first clients you’re a newly qualified life coach and they can ‘pay’ for your services by way of a referral.
- At the end of the coaching session, ask for feedback.
At the end of the day, you’ll never be a coach until you start to coach. So, be honest and upfront about your experience in the beginning. Treat your clients with respect, dignity, and true curiosity for their needs. And in most cases, you’ll find they’ll be happy to help you get the experience you need.
If they want to be coached by someone with more experience, so be it. But by being honest in the beginning, you won’t have put additional pressure on yourself to be the best. And your client won’t be under the illusion that you’re more experienced than you are.
So, even though you might have lost a client, it’s still a win-win for both of you.
Good luck, and to use the tagline from Nike to finish off this article… Just Do It!
I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments. Let me know what you think, or if there’s anything you’d like to add.