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A life coaching course will enable you to confidently pursue life coaching work with a variety of clients, giving you the knowledge and skills required to thrive in this rewarding industry. However, not all life coaching courses are created equal, so how do you know you’re choosing the right one?
‘Life Coaching’ is a broad umbrella term, which can make it difficult to know whether the course you’re looking at will provide a suitable qualification and the best value for money. The process of selecting a life coaching course may leave you feeling overwhelmed or confused, but we’re here to help make it easier.
Through our years of experience in the industry, we’ve learned that choosing the right life coaching course becomes much simpler when you follow a key set of steps. This guide will take you through those steps and help you gain a clear understanding of what you’re looking for, so you can move forward with the course that’s most suitable for you, your career, and your life.
5 Tips to Help You Select the Right Life Coaching Course
1) Know Yourself
As “life coaching” as a concept varies enormously, your first step in selecting a life coaching course is to have some degree of personal insight into who you want to be as a coach.
This doesn’t mean knowing exactly what you want before you begin your coaching course — we often find that this evolves as students go through their life coach training journey — but knowing what is important to you can be incredibly helpful when trying to identify the right life coaching course for you. A few questions that can be helpful to ask yourself within the early stages of research are:
How might I like to work as a life coach?
There are few limits as to where you can take your coaching once you’re qualified, particularly if your life coach course is accredited (an important factor that we will look at shortly). Not everyone knows exactly what they’d like to do with coaching at the start of their journey, and that’s completely fine. Part of your journey through training and starting up is often about finding what you enjoy and identifying the kind of client you want to work with.
If you’re open to what lies ahead, a broad-based curriculum would be the way to go. This ensures you’re introduced to key approaches that would work in various contexts.
It’s worth noting that some of the more simplistic approaches to coaching (represented by a primary focus on the GROW model) are perfectly suitable for basic performance coaching in the workplace. However, they rarely meet the complex needs of personal coaching or indeed clients in the workplace who would benefit from deeper work as a means to improve performance.
For the ability to coach clients at a deeper level, a more integrative and psychologically-grounded life coach course like our Diploma in Transformative Coaching is likely to be more suitable for you.
The flip side is that you may want to work in an area where there are specific requirements around accreditation and credentialing, either formally or from a reputational perspective. A classic example is coaching within organisations and corporations, which often require the coaches they hire to have been through training that has been accredited by a reputable industry body. If this is the case, it’s essential to ensure that the life coach course you choose has the necessary accreditation for you to fulfil at least some of these criteria.
What's important to me in a training environment and learning journey
Think about the best and worst learning environments you’ve been in. Each coaching school will have a distinct training style, some of which may be better suited to you. Things to consider include:
Thinking about what you want from your life coach training experience is vital in helping you choose the right life coaching course. At Animas, we’ve developed our course over several years and believe our more focused group sizes, unique support structure and focus on real-life practice and reflection provide a positive learning experience that embeds fundamental life coaching skills. You must decide for yourself whether these training features are right for you personally — learn more about our accredited coaching course to get a better sense of what your learning journey would look like.
What training or skills do I have already?
Are you starting life coach training from scratch, or are you looking to build on skills learned in previous training? Perhaps you already have some coaching experience and want to become credentialed, or you’re interested in becoming a qualified supervisor to help others become more effective coaches.
Our life coaching course is aimed at people who are new to coaching or have a basic understanding that they want to build on. If you’re already at an advanced level, perhaps what you’re looking for isn’t a core coaching course but specialist coaching skills training, which is often shorter and less expensive than a full programme.
Our Specialist Short Coaching Courses are a great example of this type of training.
Similarly, more and more often, we have potential students approach us who have a background in related professions such as Psychotherapy, Psychology or Counselling. Given that coaching often draws on approaches originating in other psychological interventions and utilises these from a different perspective, it’s likely that if you have a background in one of these professions, the content you learn may not be entirely new.
In this case, the main question to ask yourself is whether the investment in this course provides you with enough benefit. You may still find it helpful learning how to approach similar concepts from a different perspective, require accreditation or be particularly interested in our support network.
2) Understand accredited life coaching courses
Returning to the idea that not all coaching qualifications are created equally, another essential factor to consider is whether the course you’re looking at is professionally accredited.
In the UK, we recommend choosing a life coaching course accredited by both the International Coach Federation (ICF) and the Association for Coaching (AC). These are the two leading professional bodies governing the self-regulated coaching profession. Any life coach training course accredited by these bodies will have gone through a rigorous quality assurance process, ensuring you receive excellent training.
To find life coach training courses accredited by the ICF, use the organisation’s Education Search Service (ESS). Life coaching courses accredited by both the ICF and AC are rare, but the Animas Diploma in Transformational Coaching is one such training programme. As well as having this double accreditation, our course also provides an excellent mix of theoretical and practical training in a fully flexible schedule.
3) Research Life Coaching Courses
Once you have some insight into your coaching goals and understand ICF and AC accreditation, it’s time to do your homework and look at the various life coach training courses out there. Here are some key areas to think about:
Whichever life coach training course you choose is likely to cost you a fair amount of money in the short term, but the right course will pay for itself over time. To ensure you’re getting more for your money, it’s essential that you choose wisely.
A quick online search will provide you with a bewildering amount of life coaching courses, all quoting different fees. Some courses will cost in the region of £9,000, while those focusing on distance learning may be cheaper (some being less than £500!).
No matter the cost, you’re investing a significant amount of both time and money into your life coaching qualification, so you need to do your homework and check what you’re getting for the fee. This means ensuring you have a clear understanding of what the course covers.
If cost is a defining factor for you when selecting a coach training course, some schools such as our own will offer payment plans, allowing you to spread the cost across several months to make the commitment more comfortable for you. At Animas, we allow the cost to be spread over up to ten months, depending on how far in advance you register.
Programme delivery and content
Earlier, we asked you to consider what’s important to you in your learning journey. When researching courses, be sure to prioritise these factors and find a programme that aligns with what you’re looking for. Consider group sizes, how the training will be delivered, the balance of theoretical and practical learning, and the level of support you’ll receive outside of the classroom. It’s worth bearing in mind that many courses may have pivoted to deliver their training entirely online, so you’ll need to consider whether this is a good fit for you.
All of these elements will play a big part in your enjoyment of the course, so make sure you have a good grasp of how you’ll be learning as well as the course content. Here are some things that we feel are essential when looking at a coaching course if you want to feel confident that it’ll prepare you for a successful career:
It’s difficult to overstate how helpful a good support network can be, and this is something we’re enormously proud of at Animas. Unlike other coaching schools, we provide the opportunity to receive guidance and ideas from graduates and current coaches in training. Our unique support network is something our students consistently mention when talking about the biggest impacts on their coaching journey.
4) Speak to people
Embarking on a life coaching course — and potentially career — is a big commitment. Talking to people who have undertaken the training you’re considering will help reaffirm whether it’s right for you.
There are several different ways to do this. You could try joining an online coaching forum such as the Coaching and Mentoring Network and ask the opinions of qualified coaches or take a look at testimonials from former students on the website of your chosen training provider.
Some professional coaching schools will also provide additional materials that reflect previous opinions on the course from those who have qualified. Feel free to take a look at our blog or video interviews to see what our current and former students are up to and learn more about how Animas training has helped them.
At Animas, as well as being able to speak with one of our course consultants to find out anything you’d like about the course, we are also more than happy to introduce you to people who have done the training so you can hear about their experiences firsthand. Many of our graduates have gone on to become successful life coaches with thriving businesses and enjoy spending every day making a lasting impact on people’s lives.
5) Choose a Life Coaching Course That Works for You
Considering all of the above, we want to reiterate the importance of selecting a life coaching course that works for you, your lifestyle and your goals.
The majority of people choosing to train on our course become life coaches as a secondary career, which means there are still bills to be paid and restrictions to work around.
You should choose a course that suits your specific needs and can be flexible if flexibility is something you require. At Animas, we provide the option of both weekday and weekend training, along with a mix of online and offline input, so students can learn in a way that works for them.
About the Animas Accredited Diploma in Transformational Coaching
At Animas, we’re enormously proud of the course we offer, which has been refined and improved over more than a decade of experience and learning. In the face of COVID-19, we’ve successfully shifted to provide our training in the virtual learning environment, ensuring that our current coaches and any future Animas students can continue their learning journey safely and flexibly.
Find out more about our course or sign up for our free, one-day Virtual Introduction to Transformational Coaching event to get a taste of our ethos, values and training style. Our professional coaches will answer any questions you may have and help you figure out whether life coaching is the right path for you.