From spirituality to weight management, relationships to business success, personal and life coaches are trained to help clients maximize their potential and achieve their personal and professional goals. The International Coach Federation (ICF) estimates that there are more than 17,500 coaches in the U.S. By 2022, the market value is expected to reach $1.34 billion for personal and life coaching with an average yearly growth of 6.7%.
Coaching, according to the ICF, is a creative and thought-provoking process where the life coach inspires the clients to maximize their professional and personal potential. As a distinct service, coaching differs from mentoring, therapy, consulting, or training.
The typical clients of life coaching include retired persons, Baby Boomers, college students, Millenials, and those in transition phases such as those looking to change their career or retire.
A growing number of consumers are seeking motivation and advice from life coaches in many aspects. These include reclaiming work-life balance, career changes, coping with the fast-paced technology, changes in relationships, health, finance, and much more.
As a professional, certified life coach, you are focused on helping your clients
• Attain peace of mind
• Optimize stress management
• Improve their self-esteem and confidence
• Renew energy and focus
• Achieve their personal, leadership, and business goals
• Realize their true potential for personal and professional growth and success
While no formal requirements exist for life coaches, certification and training enhances credibility and helps these professionals gain a clear competitive advantage. Some universities and colleges offer courses in life coaching and allied subjects. In the U.S, there are many life coach certification programs.
The International Coach Federation is the legitimate credentialing organization and evaluates certification programs based on the defined, specific standards of competency and ethics. The ICF offers individual credentialing of three levels, namely Associate Certified Coach (ACC), Professional Certified Coach or PCC, and Master Certified Coach or MCC. A background and knowledge in psychology, social sciences, social welfare, or behavioral therapy can help life coaches fine-tune their skills and develop more effective coaching techniques.
Obtaining certification from a recognized agency such as the ICF is important as these statistics show:
- 77% of life coaches state that clients prefer credentialed and certified coaches
- A life coach who is credentialed or certified is more likely to be recommended as compared to a coach who is not certified.
Many Professional Certified Life coaches are self-employed while they can be part of service-oriented institutions. As a professional life coach, you are also expected to have certain traits such as patience, empathy, problem-solving skills, and strong organizational, communication, and leadership skills.
Skills that life coaches need
Personal and life coaches work with clients who can be businesses or individuals to assist them in overcoming personal and professional obstacles, changing habits, defining, and reaching goals.
The life coach creates a plan along with the client with customized goals and activities that are designed to help the client achieve their goals. For instance, a life coach may advise a client looking to boost profits by 20% to adopt certain business practices, such as empowering their team or streamlining cash flow.
Life coaches are expected to have a wide range of core and additional skills, including
• Adherence to professional standards and ethical guidelines
• Building trust and professional intimacy with clients
• Active listening
• Powerful, goal-oriented questioning
• Creating awareness
• Direct communication
• Goal setting and designing actions
• Managing accountability and progress
Risks life coaches face
As a professional life coach, while you build trust and rapport with your clients, you are also privy to confidential information. Risks that arise out of your profession relate to breach in trust, professional negligence, or injury. If your professional advice as a life coach results in mental or physical harm to your client, or if you fail to maintain the confidentiality of personal information, your client can file a malpractice or negligence lawsuit against you. Your client may also not agree with a specific approach or methodology that you use in your capacity as a life coach.
Another type of risk you face is when your client sustains an injury at your office. At times, if your associate or staff member fails to provide the expected level of service to a client, you can be held responsible as the business owner. Many times, the client’s expectations may be unreasonable while they may not have understood the scope of your services. In all these cases, the client can file a lawsuit against you for damages sustained as a result of your professional services. The cost of defending against malpractice lawsuits can run into hundreds or thousands of dollars, which can cause a significant dent in your bank balance, particularly if you are starting out in your career. This, in turn, can lead to disruption in life coaching services, which further cripples your business.
If you are the sole proprietor of your life coach firm, you are personally responsible for the liabilities of your business.
The right insurance for life coach professionals
Professional life coaches require both general liability insurance and professional liability insurance. Obtaining insurance is a smart way to protect yourself against claims while continuing to offer life coaching services that make a positive difference to your clients. When you own a small business as a life coach, professional liability insurance helps you defend yourself against unreasonable or unjust claims and protect your reputation. Visit bizinsure to find out more about professional liability insurance for life coaches.