As a child growing up, I had always dreamt of being a lawyer. I had grandiose ideas of advocating class action lawsuits against morally bankrupt corporations. I attended the top law school in London and then joined the top litigation firm in the UK. Whilst I could immediately feel that something didn’t sit right with me, I believed the people that said I was getting the best training available anywhere and that I would be crazy not to stick it out.
Four years later, after having switched firms twice and even worked in the US for two years, life at work remained abject misery. My soul was crying out, but I’d only ever known the law and the prospect of transitioning into the great unknown completely petrified me.
Dreams vs Reality
For a long as I could remember I had dreamt of doing something that I loved and setting my own hours, but I had no idea what that was. Whilst my daily reality was being trapped in an office generating piles of meaningless paperwork and being at the mercy of my seniors, I didn’t feel confident enough to take a leap without a clear idea of what I was leaping to and what that would mean for me financially.
Like many professionals who are outwardly extremely competent and relatively financially successful, inwardly I felt uncertain about my own creativity and decision-making capabilities. I yearned to take the bold step out of the profession and into a new world filled with passion, purpose and possibilities, but I didn’t know where to begin looking for options, reassurance, practical advice or support.
The Secret Revealed
The truth is that in the absence of a cultural revolution, it’s up to each of us, as individuals, to choose a better life for ourselves. Deborah Arron (author of “Running From The Law”) offered some advice,
“First, [people] must listen to their inner voice……..the pivotal point occurs you can clearly visualize a future away from the [profession]…….No matter how they handle the financial arrangements, it’s their vision of a more satisfying life afterwards that keeps them motivated.”
So how does one begin to tune in to this ‘inner voice’ and go about forming a clear vision?
The answer, thankfully, was both beautifully simple and heartwarmingly effective– find a trained, qualified and experienced career coach – OR – do what I did and become one.
Coaching – Eh? So why coaching and what does coaching involve?
Many people have heard of life coaches, but the profession as a whole still appears to be widely misunderstood. But recent industry reports have been keen to set the record straight. Professional coaching is now a $2 billion a year industry , making it the second fastest growing business skill in the world after IT. It’s being utilised in close to 80% of UK businesses and is now even being used in schools to drive up standards (which means employment and self-employment opportunities abound).
Nowadays there are all manner of coaches including: executive, small business, health/wellness, dating & relationship, teen and parenting coaches, to name a few. Once you’ve trained and developed the skill set and core competencies you can effectively apply them to any industry or market that you want.
What Does Coaching Entail?
Coaching is a process by which a coach assists a client to tap into their highest potential and successfully achieve their goals. Through asking powerful, often bold questions, a good coach will help the client:
- identify their goals (what they really want based on their individual values)
- co-create a detailed action plan to achieve them
- teach them how to access and engage their energy and resources in pursuit of their goals
- help them understand and overcome their limitations; and
- hold them accountable to achieving their action plan.
How Much Are Coaches Really Earning?
As a trained and certified coach you can expect to earn anywhere from £50p/h to £1,500 p/h, with the average fee being in the region of £150-200p/h. Depending on how many hours you work, executive or business coaches can expect to earn anywhere from £85,000+ per year and lifestyle coaches can expect to earn anywhere from £60,000+ per year.
How Do You Train?
If you’re interested to learn more, the next step is to find a reputable coach training programme that works for you. Here are some things to look out for:
(1) Ensure you opt for an International Coach Federation (ICF) accredited provider – they undoubtedly offer the diamond standard of training (the report in the link below helpfully assesses and evaluates some of the top providers in the industry) Coaching School Comparison Research – http://portal.esc20.net/portal/page/portal/esc20public/Coaching?_piref130_1138803_130_1138768_1138768.tabstring=Tab4
(2) Make sure that everything you need is included. Some providers fail to mention that they charge extra for essentials like mentor coaches, business development training or even the exam!
(3) Make sure the programme fits with your training schedule and learning preferences. It can take anywhere from 6 – 18 months to become a Certified Coach.
Ask yourself whether you want to meet like-minded people going through a similar experience? If you do, pick a training programme that offers a live training component. There are some really great resources out there that have done much of the hard work for you.
How Do You Succeed?
How successful you become has a lot to do with where you train and what support they provide. Since I had no experience in starting a business I needed help to take myself to market so I chose a programme where business development training was included. The programme helped me to identify:
- WHO I wanted to coach (my target market);
- WHAT I wanted to coach them on (my niche);
- WHERE to find my audience;
- HOW to appeal to them.
In spite of every new coach’s urge to keep their practice as broad as possible (because we’re afraid to alienate people and invariably want to serve as many people as possible) being focussed and directed helps you speak directly to your market and helps your clients to identify that you’re the right person to work with them. Over 85% of the people in my class had paying clients before they even finished the training (in less than 7 months!) – a testament to great training.
I appreciate more than most that the prospect of leaving a profession can feel much like stepping off the proverbial cliff into an abyss of uncertainty. It is so daunting that many choose inevitable suffering over facing their fears and taking the leap. But for those who are willing to tune in and listen to their inner voice, coaching or a career in coaching may well be a step on the personal path to freedom and bringing your dreams and visions into reality.
Anna Margolis – Programme Director for iPEC London http://www.ipeclondon.com