Use this guide to help you to choose a Life Coaching Course that is right for you…
To make sure that you don’t waste time and money on a life coaching course that is not suitable for you or one that is below standard, please use this 10 point checklist.
I recommend doing your research, shopping around, until you find 3 professional coaching courses to choose from. You can use our 10 point checklist, to find your top 3 and then finally to choose the right course for you.
Here is the short 10 point checklist followed by a more detailed explanation of each point.
Here is the short 10 point checklist followed by a more detailed explanation of each point.
- Is the training course ICF accredited as an ACTP course?
- Are you happy with the duration of the course?
- Is the training offered as live online classes where you can see and talk to your trainer and group – not teleclasses or self-study?
- Are the trainers of a high calibre and working as coaches?
- Are you trained in a variety of specializations?
- Do you get practical coaching materials — scripts and worksheets?
- Are you taught to confidently coach in 20-90 minutes?
- Will you be able to create your own coaching brand?
- Would you be taught to coach a variety of topics?
- Will you get added value beyond ICF core competencies?
Now I’ll go into more detail, about each point in the 10 point checklist.
Is the training course ICF accredited as an ACTP course?
I put this point as the first point because it’s the most important one.
The only way you have any guarantee that the course you choose is high quality, is if it is an ICF accredited course.
The International Coach Federation (ICF) does two things really well. Firstly they accredit coach training courses and secondly they credential or certify professional coaches.
A coach training course that has been accredited by the ICF has gone through a rigorous audit to make sure that the course is offering training at the highest international level.
When I submitted the InnerLifeSkills ILS Master Coach course to the ICF nearly 10 years ago, I soon realized why companies demanded only ICF training. This wasn’t just some paper mill accreditation organization.
- They read through and checked every page of our extensive training materials.
- They listened to audio recordings of our final coaching assessments.
- They checked the credentials of our trainers and vetted our assessment process.
It took many months, but when we finally received our ACTP accreditation which is the highest accreditation possible for our InnerLifeSkills Master Coach qualification, we were delighted that all the years of hard work had paid off.
And an accredited course is not accredited forever! Every year we are required to submit evidence of our ongoing adherence to the ICF code of ethics, and ever rising standards of coach training. We renew our accreditation every 4 years.
The ICF are also always improving on standards and changing the requirements necessary to be accredited and credentialed.
This way we are kept informed of the latest developments in coaching internationally. For example, over the last 8 years, the ICF have clearly distinguished the difference between PCC professional coaching and MCC master coaching, making the difference very tangible.
Even if you are not planning to be credentialed by the ICF I still recommend that you follow their benchmarks.
That’s why I cannot stress strongly enough of how important it is to choose an ICF accredited course.
When you’re comparing ICF accredited courses, you’re comparing the best of the best.
Now use the rest of this checklist to refine your choice, and make sure that the coach training course that you choose is the right one for you.
Are you happy with the duration of the course?
The ICF recently changed the minimum study hours that a coach needs for PCC and MCC certification.
- Currently, PCC coaches are required to study for over 125 hours.
- MCC coaches are required to study for over 200 hours.
- ACC coaches are required to study over 60 hours.
As you can probably tell, you can’t expect to get any substantial training in a very short course, for example, 6 hours or less. Neither should you settle for a self-study course, that comprises only reading materials and videos.
Here is a brief list of our most popular courses and the duration of each.
You can see all of our online courses listed here.
- ILS Coach 101 – 14 hours ACSTH over 3 weeks.
- ILS Professional Coach — 74 hours ACSTH over 3 to 6 months.
- ILS Master Coach — 162 hours ACTP over 7 months to 1 year.
- ILS Master Coach Entrepreneur —213 hours ACTP over 2 years.
Is the training offered as live classes with a trainer and group – not as teleclasses or self-study?
The class environment, I believe is essential for developing a highly skilled professional coach.
You need the interaction with an expert trainer, and you need to practice with your fellow classmates as often as possible. It’s also important to be able to ask questions as your problems and challenges arise.
Lastly, it’s critical to be observed while you coach so that you get immediate feedback and guidance.
Make sure that your course is not a teleclass, where you phone in like a conference call, to listen to the trainer speaking, and you can only hear your fellow classmates. What I find is that most students start drifting off and struggle to concentrate and fully participate in teleclasses. In fact, many students admit to answering their emails, instead of focusing on the class.
Also make sure, that your course is not self-study. Please double check that you’re not buying expensive books and video materials.
Isn’t online training cold and less effective than being at a venue?
Many students think that the best way to learn is to attend a class at a venue. Amazingly, I have found that online classes, where you can see the trainer, as well as fellow classmates, basically a virtual online class, is even better than a venue based training.
And I’ll tell you why.
Besides the savings in terms of travel costs and the convenience of being able to log into the live class from anywhere in the world and from any device that is connected to high-speed Internet, these online classes are extremely focused and very engaging.
Venue based training needs to push as much learning into a shorter space of time as possible because everyone has spent time and money to travel to the venue. But we can only absorb so much information at a time, and we need gaps in between our training to integrate and apply what we learned.
This is why a weekly online class with your trainer and classmates, of about 3 to 4 hours duration is ideal.
You attend the class, learn new things, practice coaching with your fellow classmates and then get to apply everything you have learned during the week.
At least two or three times a week, you’ll find me sitting at my computer, where students from around the world and I have a wonderful class together.
We talk, ask questions, and most importantly with the click of a button, I create breakout rooms for them, where they have privacy to practice coaching with a classmate.
As a trainer I can pop into any breakout room, to silently observe the coaching, and then to unmute myself to offer valuable direct feedback.
This is why years ago, we cancelled our rental agreement with a training venue and committed to online class based training. We do travel to train teams and groups in organizations, but our public training is now 100% online, as live interactive weekly classes.
Make sure, that you are attending coach training classes, and ideally with gaps in between your study for integration and application.
Are the trainers of a high calibre and working as coaches?
Some training companies, allow their trainers to train some theory only, in other words, the trainers have very little actual experience is working coaches.
Make sure that the trainers that you are learning from, have actual success in the world of professional coaching.
It makes sense that you’d want to learn from people who actually know how to do this work and have proven this in the real world.
Below some of our InnerLifeSkills Trainer Team. All working as successful coaches.
Are you trained in a variety of specializations?
Next, I would make sure that you’re going to be exposed to learning how to coach in a wide range of specializations.
I don’t want you to be trapped and limited by only being able to coach in one or two styles of coaching.
You want to make sure, that you have maximum flexibility as a coach so that you can work with a variety of topics and different markets.
I suggest that you don’t only learn for example life coaching or executive coaching. Make sure that you will be able to coach youth, wellness markets, personal development markets and corporate markets etc.
When you study with InnerLifeSkills, we teach you all the following specializations and we also teach you to build your own unique branded specialization.
- Life coaching
- Youth coaching
- Business coaching
- Executive coaching
- Team coaching
- Goal coaching
- Strategy coaching
- Action plan coaching
- Wellness coaching
- Intuition coaching
- Relationship coaching
- Wholeness coaching
- Family dynamics coaching
- Dream builder coaching
- Dream interpretation coaching
- Financial freedom coaching
- Life purpose coaching
- Or your own specialization
Please make sure that you’re not boxed in, a key to success is to be able to be flexible enough to customize your services to meet the demands of your niche market. To be able to offer a variety of services and products, so that you never rely on one income stream or on one market.
Do you get practical coaching materials — scripts and worksheets?
Because coaching is extremely practical, it is helpful to have scripts and worksheets to accelerate your learning path.
Make sure that you’re getting a lot of practical learning materials, including scripts and professional worksheets, so that you can start working with your new skills immediately.
Also make sure, that you are encouraged to break free from structures, scripts and worksheets. I know this sounds like a contradiction, but it’s important.
Scripts and worksheets are there to help you to accelerate and fast track your learning, but they can become limiting once you start gaining competency.
Once you become more confident in your skills, you need to be able to have the freedom to adapt and to use your intuition. That’s when the scripts, processes and worksheets need to become like recipes that a master chef uses but isn’t restricted by.
Create a big toolbox of scripts, processes and worksheets, but then make sure that you are free to dip into parts of the processes, or even to create your own processes.
A master coach needs to be able to coach organically and fluidly. You need to have enough processes in your toolbox, to be able to dip into them, adapt them and break free from them.
As an ILS Master Coach student, you would receive more than 50 coaching processes that have detailed scripts and worksheets. You will also be taught how to break free from these processes and worksheets, so that they do their job to fast track your learning, but never restrict you.
Are you taught to confidently coach with a flexible structure in 20-90 minutes?
Your coaching must be flexible enough, to adapt to coaching in short durations, for example, 20 minutes, or to be able to coach for longer durations like 90 minutes.
Ideally, you should also be able to coach a group over a few hours.
This means that the method you learn must be pliable. Being able to compress into a short time, or able to stretch over a longer time.
If you only learn how to coach in 45 minutes, you will be restricted and won’t be able to offer services that need to be shorter or longer.
I want you to be able to have maximum flexibility so that you can attract different types of clients and offer different types of services.
You should be able to offer any of the following:
- Short espresso coaching — 15 to 20 minutes
- Comprehensive introductory sessions — 90 minutes
- Regular sessions — 45 minutes
- Half day group sessions — 3 hours
- Full day group sessions – 6 hours
By being able to adapt our ILS 3 Step Coach Method to different time frames, you will be able to offer different services which will keep things interesting for you and attract different clients and build multiple income streams.
Will you be able to create your own coaching brand?
Be careful of courses that insist that you use their brand after you qualify. Make sure that you will have the freedom and license to create your own brand should you choose to.
I’m delighted when our coaches call themselves InnerLifeSkills Coaches, or the ones that are successful mention ILS on their CV’s and about pages. They still create their own unique brands so that they distinguish themselves in the market.
It’s important to be able to communicate the value of what you’re offering to your potential clients.
Since most people don’t understand what coaching really is, you need to create a brand that communicates the destination that you want to take people to. Or you want to build a brand that indicates the niche markets that you serve.
Here are some examples of InnerLifeSkills Coaches who have created their own successful brands.
ILS Coach who built a brand Follow the Sun. Here she is featured on the cover of a magazine.
ILS Master Coach who built a brand called Potential Exponents.
ILS Master Coach who built a brand called Keye Coaching.
ILS Master Coach who built a brand Empowered Living.
Will you be taught to coach a variety of topics?
A properly trained professional coach should be able to coach any goal. Most ICF training courses will give you the essential core competencies. These are flexible enough, to be able to coach any topic.
However, at InnerLifeSkills, we believe that you should have more than the core competencies, to be able to efficiently adapt to the many different topics and goals that clients bring.
Also, your clients will start to feel frustrated, if you keep applying the same methodology, every time you see them. Ideally, you should be offering multiple sessions, over a duration of for example 6 months to a year. This is best for your income as well as for the best possible outcomes for your clients.
Can you imagine if every time the client arrived, you asked them exactly the same questions and took them through exactly the same process?
You need to be flexible, for your own sanity, and to keep things interesting for your clients.
That’s why it’s important to build your coaching toolbox and to fill it with at least 20 or more different processes, that are suited to different topics and goals.
If your client wants to make a decision, you need to be able to dip into your toolbox to access a few different processes that help with decision making. If your client wants to build a business, you need to have several processes that you can draw on, that are specifically helpful for business building thinking and planning.
It’s really no good having one method or one structure to try and handle all of the different types of topics that you will confront as a professional.
InnerLifeSkills teaches you over 50 processes, here is a list of our most popular processes with a suggestion of how to apply each one to different topics.
- ILS 3 Step Coach Method — the scaffolding for all coach meetings and conversations, adaptable to any topic or goal.
- Life Wheels — used to excavate one or more goals as well as to help find a focus for an introductory or first coach meeting.
- Decision Wheels — useful for visualizing choices and decisions.
- The As If NLP Frame — for visualizing desired successful outcomes and backwards planning.
- Disney Strategy — for big inspired long term goals that need visioning, planning and contingency planning.
- The ILS Kite — for coaching inner obstacles like fear, procrastination, self-doubt etc. also extremely useful for coaching conflict and relationships and groups.
- ILS Power Formula – for project management, succession planning, delegation, talent development, performance appraisals, role definition, applicable for any practical goal.
- Mentors Table – for inspiration and receiving guidance from within.
- ILS 4x4 Motivation Matrix – for establishing how someone is motivated so that you can leverage their primary models of motivation.
- ILS Apple Tree Life Purpose — 3 processes for excavating a personal purpose statement.
- ILS Inner Wisdom Well — useful for helping clients to find their best intuitive wisdom.
- ILS 4 Step Systemic Coaching Method — for working with belonging, placements, burdens and gifts in families and organizations.
- ILS 7 Step Dream Builder — for brand building coaching and manifesting any career or business dream.
- ILS Money Cup – for empowering oneself to break limiting financial beliefs.
- ILS Relationship Bridge — for building successful relationships at home and work.
- ILS Holes2Wholeness — a popular self- empowerment process.
- And so much more…
I hope that you can see how important it is, to have maximum flexibility, to be able to work with a variety of topics and goals.
Will you get added value beyond ICF core competencies?
Once you know that you will be trained in the ICF core competencies, you must look for what else the coaching course offers.
Make sure that the coaching course also offers the following.
- Marketing and business building training so that you can secure clients.
- A variety of specializations, so that you can coach different markets.
- A big toolbox of coaching processes, so that you can coach different topics and add variety to your methods.
- Additional online resources, like videos and audio. All InnerLifeSkills students have access to our online library of video tutorials, worksheets and sample audio coaching sessions to listen and learn from. This online library is updated regularly.
Summary of the 10 Point Checklist to use when choosing a life coaching course...
• Download the PDF of this checklist to use.
• Make sure the training is ICF accredited.
• Check the duration of the training, aim for a minimum of 125 hours.
• Ensure that you will be attending live online classes with a trainer and classmates, and with spaces between the classes to integrate your learning.
• Check that the trainers are experienced and successful working coaches.
• Make sure that you’re going to learn a variety of different coaching specializations.
• Check what practical materials you will be receiving including scripts and worksheets.
• Ensure that you will be able to coach between 20 and 90 minutes comfortably, and to stretch your coaching for groups for up to 6 hours.
• Make sure that you will be able to create your own coaching brand, and not be forced to use the training provider’s brand.
• Ensure that you will have a big toolbox, with many different processes to help you to coach different topics.
• Look for what additional added value you get, beyond training in the ICF core competencies.