Mapping Out A Life Coaching Direction

If you’re thinking of a career as a wellness life coach and wonder if it is for you, here are a series of questions to explore. A person asked these of me, and with her permission, I would like to share the questions along with my responses with you.

Have a read.

1. What made you decide to get into wellness coaching? It’s funny how a life-changing event can sometimes wake us up to begin a journey of self-discovery. After the death of my first husband, I began to look for meaning and purpose and was drawn to meditation, Yoga, whole foods, and spiritual and self-development. This interest has been with me ever since – well over 40 years now. As I learned tools and insights that helped me stay strong in a world that could be experienced as unfriendly, I felt compelled to share what I learned with others. I was doing coaching before ‘coaching’ became a business. I worked with individuals, teams and couples providing one-on-one sessions, group workshops with online support for people and organizations to achieve their goals and strengthen their relationships with others through improved self-awareness and self-development processes.

2. What do you like/dislike about it? What I like about wellness coaching is that it is something that is dynamic and changes with people’s life phases; it is never ending and can be a source of ongoing exploration for the person interested in living an examined life of personal choices. What I don’t like about the wellness coaching industry is that people can get caught up in fads, fancies, and foolish ways based on someone’s hyper marketing strategies. As always, it is wise to explore who is providing the training, what type of certification you will receive and from where, what their credentials are and what other students think about the course.

3. What are the challenges? Most people who attend courses like this already have an interest in personal development so they are the converted people. Their challenge in this course, as in any adult learning experience, is to follow through, complete the training’s Action items, and if life throws them a curve, get back in the game as quickly as possible. As adult learners, life can get in the way as most people have a full life to live when they start the course.

4. What kind of person does it take to do this? The best kind of person to take this type of training and be a good wellness coach is one who has empathy for self and others. The other quality that is helpful is to be a curious person who enjoys exploring people’s content. Good questioning skills are important as a life coach. By asking good questions and being open to hear what the coachee has to say will help the person examine and explore their thoughts. To not display any of your own biases or judgments as you engage with the coachee is critical to a successful coaching experience as we all have minds that have formed opinions developed over the course of our lives. If a bias or judgment gets in the way as a coach, confront that in yourself and address it with your client. A good coach acts as a mirror and reflects back what he or she has heard and asks questions of their client for clarification of the content shared. Words are important, how they are expressed is important, and understanding context is important. We all shift our traits depending on the context we’re in – friends and family conjure up certain behaviours while business activities can conjure up a shift in our behaviours – we do this automatically but wouldn’t it be great to do it consciously. Life coaching helps a client be more mindful but coaching of this nature takes patience on the part of the coach. Great coaching skills are, therefore, empathy, curiosity, good questioning skills, non-judgmental active listening, and patience.

5. Could you do this part time? The benefit about this type of work is that you can do it part-time, full-time, as a hobby, as a community service, as a corporate business activity, one-on-one, online, face-to-face, in groups… the context of coaching is applicable to all stages, phases, and ages of life. It is really up to the individual coach whether they want to focus on a niche market, a general background, health, wellness, wealth and finances, career, seniors, money management… The avenues to explore are endless and ongoing as life changes and people change and their struggles and problems are continuous – as is the nature of life.

6. Could you make a living full time doing this and in what capacities seem to work better – self-employment, working for a company, etc? As in any field, the person driving the ship determines the journey and the destination. Where do you want to go? How are you going to get there? How will you know when you arrived? What do you have to learn along the way to navigate and adjust to in order to reach your goal/dream/vision for yourself? You could start out as a hobby, do some corporate work, do some couples coaching – keep shaping the journey until the clarity is there and the motivation to keep going brings you to a plateau of what you want to achieve; then create another plateau and so forth.

7. Is this a viable option? Viable, in what way? Financially? If financially, then you had better have a lot of enthusiasm for marketing plus social media skills and willingness to keep yourself in the game striving to get people into what is called your Funnel. Free articles, memberships, training – give them valuable content, get them interested in wanting more of what you have to offer. Have different programs and fees and offer topics of interest that people are drawn to – get them use to your style of delivery, get connected with groups who can promote your work, keep working on your own interests and market, market, market. Everything is viable with hard work, persistence, consistency, and a love of what you’re doing. I like that you say that this is what makes you feel good – helping others. That is the ‘why’ of what you want to do, which should keep you pushing forward, now you have to ask yourself to define your WHAT – what will you offer, to whom, how, and when.

8. What backgrounds generally do your students come from and what directions have they taken after taking this program. The participants have come from all walks of life, all ages, stages, phases of living and have moved on to various services of coaching – some corporate, some financial, some personal care services, some health-related topic such as thyroid coaching, fibromyalgia… Really the coaching you do is generally more about you – what interests you have and how you can contextualize it so that you become a subject-matter expert. If, as you say, you wish to be a wellness coach who wants to do one on one or small groups and workplace wellness programs, then that is what you shape and market in language that inspires you. Start to create some marketing material and see what you get. Learn to transform one life at a time – personal change is a process not an event. Keep your clients focused on their outcome and work through their obstacles turning them into stepping stones. People in the wellness industry have mentioned the importance of having a strong coaching background as a main foundation for this work.

The Wholistic Life & Wellness Coaching certification program appeals to participants for many reasons:

1. It has a practical component – lots of hands-on experience over an 8-month period.

2. It is highly group, client and peer coaching interactive.

3. It provides valuable content which is process-driven.

4. It provides teaching frameworks and forms to draw on and use with clients.