LIFE COACH - Step by Step Guide

Life Coaching - step-by-step guide, avoid these traps & take these steps

Avoid the 10 Traps and take the 10 Steps to becoming a successful life coach.

We want you to succeed as a life coach. But there are 10 traps to avoid, and 10 steps to take. Use this 1 page guide to plot your path to becoming a truly successful professional life coach.

TRAP #1: "Not knowing what life coaching actually is" ~ Ignorance is not bliss!

You won't believe how much confusion and ignorance there is about what real coaching is. That's because the word "coach" is generic. But life coaching is a profession, with benchmarked measured competencies and international standards. It's not a regulated industry, and coaching makes lots of room for your creativity and uniqueness, but there is a structure to rest on.
If you are not 100% clear on the differences between coaching, mentoring, training, counselling, and just "helping" then this can be a real trap. Check out the STEP to avoid this TRAP.

STEP #1: "Understand what life coaching really is" ~ Knowledge is power!

To avoid the ignorance trap, and to be able to confidently stand anywhere in the world talking about coaching accurately, then we recommend our free ON-RAMP as an excellent place to learn about coaching in general and ILS Coaching (our style and methodology). If someone tells you that coaching and mentoring/training/helping are the same, then keep looking for a more reliable source of info to learn from.

TRAP #2: "Getting poor training" ~ Wasting time and money.

There is great life coach training, poor life coach training and highly theoretical academic coach training. Make sure you don't waste time and money on a course that doesn't really help you to become a life coach. We recommend that you avoid courses that are heavily theoretical and academic - why? Because coaching is a skill, and so the best way to study coaching is to be given enough theory to "understand" what you are doing, but the emphasis must be on DOING.
To help you to choose a coach training programme wisely see this STEP to avoid this TRAP.

STEP #2: "Do your research" ~ Choose wisely.

To help you to choose wisely, we created a 10 point checklist. Here are the 2 videos of the checklist and a link to download a handy PDF of the checklist. When researching a coaching course, (even our own courses), make sure the course you choose gets 10/10 checks.
CLICK HERE FOR PDF DOWNLOAD of 10 point checklist to help choose a life coach course wisely.

10 point checklist to choose a life coach course

  • ICF accredited ACTP program
  • The program duration is adequate
  • The program is very practical
  • Trainers are experienced & successful coaches
  • The course doesn't box me into a brand/style
  • Learning materials are professional
  • I'll be able to coach anyone, anywhere
  • Course fees are competitive
  • Internationally respected and recognised
  • Great added value extra training modules

TRAP #3: "No ICF core competencies" ~ Not being internationally benchmarked!

The ICF have worked for decades to establish sound measures for determining the competency of coaches. They have core competencies, that they hold as the critical skill sets that a professional life coach should be able to demonstrate in order to call themselves a coach. It would be a trap to not master these core ICF competencies. They are the essential foundation needed by any professional life coach.
Check out the STEP to avoid this TRAP.

STEP #3: "Get ICF core competencies as a base" ~
Be world-class

To be able to confidently coach anywhere in the world and to possibly become credentialed by the ICF, we recommend ensuring that the training helps you to master the core competencies. Any ICF accredited programme, like our own Level I ILS Coach 101, Level II ILS Coach and Level III ILS Master Coach have ICF ACTP (the highest accreditation). You get the core competencies and much more from us.
See our 3 levels of courses listed here.

TRAP #4: "Hitting the wall with inner obstacles" ~ Can only coach surface!

In our experience we have seen this as a big trap. Many well trained coaches cannot confidently and skilfully coach a client's inner obstacles! What we mean by inner obstacles includes fear, procrastination, not knowing what to do, lack of confidence, etc. A traditional coach only knows how to ask the coachee to solve their own inner obstacles, and often they fail to create the space and help the client to do this.
Make sure that you learn to coach people to overcome their inner obstacles!
Check out the STEP to avoid this TRAP.

STEP #4: "Get skills and methods to coach inner obstacles" ~ Coach real inner transformation.

When we built the InnerLifeSkills (ILS) Coach courses, we intentionally focused on equipping our coaches with the ability to coach inner obstacles. Other than world class competencies, this is what ILS Coaching specialises in. Whatever you do, make sure that your path to becoming a coach includes knowing how to coach people to overcome their inner obstacles - to transform fear, lack of confidence, self doubt, procrastination, anger and their "I don't know what to do!" mind.

TRAP #5: "Stuck on coaching 1 method and limited topics" ~ Trapped in coaching model!

This is a BIG trap. Please avoid it. Having only 1 rigid way to coach is a prison of boredom for you and your clients. No one wants to be coached the same way again and again. Also it severely limits your income earning potential, because you can only coach 1 way and likely a limited amount of topics, for example only being able to coach action plans.
Check out the STEP to avoid this TRAP.

STEP #5: "Learn many coaching methods and be able to coach unlimited topics" ~ Be versatile and have a comprehensive coaching toolbox.

Make sure that you build a MASSIVE coaching toolbox. This keeps coaching interesting for you, you will be able to coach your clients again and again without becoming boring, and you will be able to coach a wide range of topics. Our ON-RAMP free email course will help you to start putting coaching processes in your coaching toolbox immediately..

TRAP #6: "Selling hours, limited income" ~ Selling time prison.

If you need or want to earn money as a life coach then read this trap and its step. If you have the luxury of not needing to earn an income from coaching then skip this.
So most of us need or hope to make a good income from coaching. But very few out there are able to do this easily. One of the main reasons is because they fall into this trap, and Trap 8 (see below). When you sell time, you can only earn to the limit of the hours you have.
Check out the STEP to avoid this TRAP.

STEP #6: "Be able to coach groups and different markets" ~ Multiply your income.

To avoid the cost of this trap, and to be able to earn good income, see STEP 8 and give serious thought to this step. There are several strategies that we recommend to break the trap of being limited by selling time. 1) Offer group coaching (this is an instant hour income multiplier) 2) Coach for more than 1 market and make sure that at least 1 market can afford to pay a higher hourly rate 3) Plan to grow passive income streams linked to your coaching business e.g. write and sell a book to your clients etc.

TRAP #7: "Can only coach at basic levels" ~ Limited skill = limited impact.

the basic level is for a coach that can only coach goals, action plans and do very surface coaching. This is still valuable but we recommend that you don't get caught in this trap, and be limited to only basic level coaching. Make sure that you plan to grow as a coach to professional and master levels of skill.
Check out the STEP to avoid this TRAP.

STEP #7: "Have a clear path to grow from basic to professional to master levels" ~ Become a ILS Master Coach.

Plan to grow as a coach. To start with basic levels and then get to professional and then master levels of skill and knowledge. Our Level I training is basic level - e.g. ILS Coach 101Basic Level training and is an excellent place to start. ILS Coach is our professional level training. An ILS Master Coach our top qualification course at master level.

TRAP #8: "Allergic to marketing and sales" ~ Being a book without a cover!

It's no good having life changing, game winning skills without clients! Many talented, highly skilled coaches fail simply because they let their resistance and ignorance of how to market and sell block their progress.
Check out the STEP to avoid this TRAP.

STEP #8: "Heal your allergy and learn to sell authentically and ethically" ~ Be a book with a great cover.

To avoid this trap, and to be able to build a lucrative successful life coaching business, we recommend learning to market and sell in an ethical, comfortable, natural and authentic way. We don't recommend becoming an infomercial, or forcing sales. At its best, this should be effective "sharing" not "selling". All our coaches learn natural sales and ethical (no spam) marketing methods.

TRAP #9: "Business Card Brain" ~ No a business card is not enough to build a business!

A lot of new coaches have never bult businesses before, so they are simply ignorant. They wrongly believe that having a business card and a basic website is enough, and that clients will find them. This is not true. It is a trap.

Check out the STEP to avoid this TRAP.

STEP #9: "Follow a proven path to build a business" ~ Use our 7 Step Dream Builder.

Building a business (no matter what type of business) takes knowledge and effort. For those of us who have succeeded, it has been worth the time and money, because now we get to do what we love, make our own rules, be independent and free. Our ON-RAMP course includes some marketing advice, so sign up here ON-RAMP. Make sure that you break the idea that it only takes a business card and site, learn what it really takes.

TRAP #10: "Calling yourself a Life Coach and hoping they will come" ~ Many folks don't know what a life coach is!

It's true that there is a growing demand for "LIFE COACHES" and it's true that more and more people are learning about what life coaching is... BUT, it's also true that many people have no idea what a life coach does and therefore they are not seeking them out, ready and happy to pay. It's also true that there are fake and poor life coaches out there ruining the name of coaching, so that by the time you announce "I'm a Life Coach", they think "I'm not interested in that". So I know this sounds crazy, but give serious thought to NOT calling yourself a Life Coach. Read the STEP for what to call yourself instead.

STEP #10: "Learn to be sticky (relevant and flexible)" ~ Build your own specialised niche coaching brand.

We recommend that you build a brand around your area of expertise OR around the specific niche market you choose to serve.
Our highly successful graduate qualified coaches have gone on to create their own brands. The stronger their brands and marketing, the bigger their success.
Here are 2 out of many examples: Phil Keye who created a brand called "Keye Coaching" specialising in coaching children and teens, and Khanya Matlala who built her "Coach K" brand for 2 markets, young adults preparing for employment and corporate talent development teams in internship programs.

They created a brand using our 7 Step Dream Builder methods (included in the ILS Master Coach course) and they didn't call themselves life coaches. Saying that we have also had some success stories of "Life Coaches." Melanie Raizon is one, she reached out to her community, to her hair stylist and the people she knew, and communicated her passion for helping people to overcome their inner obstacles so clearly, that in her case, calling herself a Life Coach worked. In fact she calls herself an InnerLifeSkills Coach. Consider both. We have successful graduates who establish 2 - 3 different markets and so they have different titles for each e.g. "Life Coach" for their local communities, "Team Builder Coach" for their corporate markets and "Confident Teens Coach" for schools.