Many life coaches have experience and degrees in psychology, sociology or in fields related to topics that they present in seminars. Other professional coaches do not have educational credentials. A variety of these people commonly offer to train others. While there are legitimate training programs available, there are also diploma mills and scams. Anyone seeking to become a life coach must do the research in order to avoid becoming a victim.
Authentic life coaching programs typically require a minimum of one year's of training via classroom attendance and clinical coaching hours. Consumers must beware of programs that promise to award certifications or diplomas in lieu of:
• No classroom attendance required.
• No student coaching hours required.
• Only needing life or work experience
• Information provided on a resume is suitable for acceptance into the program.
• Programs not having contact information
• Contact information including only post office boxes
• Websites containing grammar or spelling errors
• Advising that offers are time limited
• Promises to pay prior to working in the field
Finding Legitimate Programs
Locating a real coach training program requires a bit of investigating. Some may claim that they have accreditation. However, to determine if a training program is legitimate, visit the U.S. Department of Education Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs and see if the program is offered through an institution of higher learning. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation Database of Institutions and Programs Accredited by Recognized United States Accrediting Organizations is another helpful site. The International Coach Federation and the International Association of Coaching both offer coaching education, certify coaches and their programs. The organizations also feature a list of recommended coaches.
Evaluating Life Coaches and Programs
If interested in receiving an education via a selected coach or program, assess the business and determined if it is legitimate. Evaluate reviews of past students or other coaches. Check the coach's affiliation with their state's Attorney General's office, the Better Business Bureau and their local Chamber of Commerce. Determine the legal name of the coach, the program and find out if both actually exist. Verify the educational claims of the coach. Make an appointment to visit and interview the coach. There are a number of topics that should be addressed. These include:
• What personal or professional qualifies you as a life coach and instructor?
• Verify that they have certification through ICF or LCA and ask to see the document.
• Names and contact information of former students who have gone on to become successful life coaches.
• Names of current students and contact information.