3 Truths for Aspiring Coaches
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Professional Coach Rich Litvin advises that those who have embraced coaching as our profession refrain from labeling themselves as "Coaches."
In his article, “Never ever say you’re a Coach,” he explains, “Coaching isn’t a title. It’s a tool.” He continues to say, “I’m not a ‘Coach’. Coaching is just one of the tools in my tool belt. Sometimes, I’m a Coach. Sometimes, I’m a Consultant. Sometimes, I’m a Teacher. Sometimes, I’m a Trusted Advisor.”
I agree with Rich. But I also disagree with him about his fundamental point.
Indeed, the barrier to entry for calling oneself a Coach couldn’t be lower. Anyone can wake up in the morning, decide they’re a Coach, and declare that to the world!
But that fact is counterbalanced by perhaps the highest barrier to success of any profession out there.
Yes, anyone can call themselves a Coach, but a Coach can only make a proper living if they are invested, committed, and very good at their craft.
Being such a Coach requires time, attention, financial resources, and life experiences!
We cannot guide others down a path we haven't traveled ourselves. This is why the coaching profession lends itself to those of us with several decades of life experiences and many lessons learned through hundreds of mistakes.
Of course, as Rich expresses, great coaches consult, teach, and advise their clients. But to remove the word Coach as a descriptor of our work is not to take a stand for the legitimacy and growing respect I believe this profession deserves.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blind to the dismissive and sometimes plain rude comments people make when they hear one is a Coach. There is a particular brand of eye-rolling seemingly reserved only for Coaches. The reaction is not entirely undeserving. The field is littered with dilettantes.
But at the same time, many Professional Coaches are making an extraordinary difference in their clients' lives. Coaches who have devoted their every waking moment to serving those who truly want to create more joyful and powerful lives but don’t know where and how to start.
Great Coaches are not cheap, and this is a point of contention for many — particularly those who have never had an experience of Transformational Coaching.
But assign a monetary price on reconnecting with an estranged daughter, watching your young adult child claim their life and gain the confidence to launch into adulthood, build the dream relationship with your spouse, excel professionally in ways you never imagined possible, create a successful and prosperous new career in the second half of your life, and reinvent your personality to match your life goals — and I will show you a person who has not learned to do the only math equation that matters in life — calculating the value vs. the price of anything.
The results I shared are all pulled from my real-life coaching with clients. You cannot put a dollar price on these results. The value is priceless. Yet, the only medium of exchange in our time remains money, so we choose a number to do the work.
But if I don’t proudly call myself a Professional Coach, I diminish the value of the results that this unique work can produce. If I pussyfoot around what I do, how will people know there is another option rather than the choice to continue with life in the default mode?
So, for all you aspiring coaches who reach out to me, here are three personal truths for your consideration:
- Professional Coaching is not a hobby. You will never create impact and prosperity by gaining knowledge but not being fully invested in the work.
- Charge for the results you will help your clients create, not the hours you put in. Your hours are necessary, but you need more than your hours to help your clients transform their lives.
- Claim the title of Coach — just like a doctor, lawyer, or architect would — and don’t diminish the value of the profound work committed and skillful Coaches do.