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Too young to become a Life Coach?


Jade2012
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Hi everyone,

I am 26 years old and have been looking into becoming a life coach for some months, I have done my research and found a course that looks very good and inspiring. My reasons for wanting to become a life coach are fairly simple, I have always had a desire to help others, both in my personal and professional life and from the research I have done, this occupation would suit me almost perfectly.

To give you some background on my person. I studied Politics and Sociology at university and since finishing university I worked in a private college offering vocational qualifications, I worked in a marketing as well as operational role. Currently, I am working for an online job board in the executive sector.

My question/concern: I am 26, am I too young to become a life coach? I have spoken to a few people and some say it depends how you utilize what you learn in your life coaching course and what 'life experience' you have. Others say, I am simply too young and therefore do not have enough 'life experience'.

What do you think?

Thank you in advance for your help.

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David100351
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My question/concern: I am 26, am I too young to become a life coach?.

The question for me is how you will be viewed by your potential client group. Certainly, your client group will at the start be more limited, at 26, than mine, with a wealth of experience in counselling, business management and the NHS - and an additional 35 years!

So, you need to find a way of expanding your client group, by finding specialisms that suit you. With your experience, the obvious suggestion would be work with young people, for instance offering careers advice (for which you will need an additional qualification, but which would fit very well with a vocation in coaching, IMO), advice on exam technique (time management, relaxation, etc), and on relationships (looking at family patterns, the mars and venus thing, etc).

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Jade2012
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Hi David,

Thank you so much for your very helpful reply.

Working with young people including students and graduates had crossed my mind. Could you perhaps suggest what sort of course would be best for me to take to be able to offer 'careers advice'? Do you have any other suggestions on how best to expand my client group?

Also, do you know much about 'young' life coaches? Have you come across many? Do you know of their general strengths and weaknesses?

Finally, I am also very interested in working for a company where I can use the life coaching skills that I will learn, are you aware of suitable companies who would employ someone such as myself?

Sorry about all the questions, I am just very interested in picking someones' brain, who has so much experience.

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Energylz
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I've come across some younger life coaches, though I'm not sure how well they practice or how well received they are by clients.

Remember that life coaching isn't 100% about having life experience yourself that would relate to the clients, but about the life coaching techniques that allow you to assist the client in finding the route and answers to the way they want to go in that aspect of their life that you are working on. Of course having life experience yourself can help with that, but it's not 100% essential to be able to assist in any situation.

All Love and Reiki Hugs

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Crystal elf
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Totally agree with that.
Don't get too hung up on the life experiences thing; its not always about that. If it was, age or some other 'life experience assessment' would be the only criteria for being a life coach. Have confidence in your training, your talent and enthusiasm, empathy, and whatever life experience you have had so far.......it will be enough. Besides, how do you measure life experience? You could be young in age, yet have lots of experience in a particular area......work relationships for example. You could be old in age, but have no experience with children because you have none! Both the young and old have strengths and weaknesses.
Just an aside...........are you really more concerned with your life experience at 26 or the fact that clients will look at you and think you are young? If so, what if you were 45, but looked 28.........some men at 25 are going grey or loosing hair, so look older!
So........just do what you want to do, and work with what you have.

Love
Crystal elf

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Jade2012
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Hi Energylz,

Thanks for your reply.

I suppose part of the problem of not knowing how well young coaches practice (and indeed any life coach) is because the practice is not regulated in the UK. So I assume it is only through getting the right accreditation and making a name for yourself that you can set yourself apart from coaches with poor practices.

I'm very pleased that you say it is not 100% down to 'life experience'.

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Jade2012
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Hello Crystal elf,

I found your reply very comforting, thank you.

My concern about my age only really arose when I spoke to someone who works in the executive recruitment market and is very knowledgeable but careers in general in the UK. I am not personally concerned about my 'life experience' I do consider myself a very mature, well-traveled and insightful 26 year old, of course that is not to say that I don't still have a lot to learn in life and experience to get, which I appreciate will come with time, such as having children etc. My main concern was being perceived too young by clients but I suppose that is why it has been suggested to me to start off coaching young people and finding a niche.

Perhaps you could help me with this question as well, do you know of any companies that hire life coaches? Whether on a self-employed or contract basis.

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Energylz
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I suppose, to summarize what I said...

Life coaching is not about telling people what they should be doing from your own experience, it's about informing them how they can organise themselves and look at what resources they have available that can help them find the answer to that aspect of their life they want to change... and being there to support them and encourage them to make those changes.

Sounds to me like the person in the executive recruitement market likes to be a person who thinks they know what is best for a person, rather than letting the person discover what is best for themselves. 😉

All Love and Reiki Hugs

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Jinx
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Hi Jade

Agree with much of what has been said above. Assuming you train and become a brilliant life coach, this is about your marketing. If I was looking for a coach I would want someone who I felt understood my situation and it's a much easier sell if they've been through similar life stages, worked at the same level, been there, seen that, got the t shirt.

So being 26 is a marketing advantage if you aim at a younger group. You've got a good understanding of their life style and pressures and more recent experience than an older person.

Hope that helps.

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AlisonM
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As others have said, life coaching is predominantly a skill set and a set of tools that enable a client to become more self aware and more in control of their lives. The life coach listens and asks questions that are designed to make the client think, reflect and then make appropriate changes in their lives.

I think that you can do this just as well when you are 26 as when you are 56, and you're not going to be 26 forever are you - starting now will mean that in 10 years time you will have an accomplished skill set, more life experience and a head start on your contemporaries.

I would say that there are bigger challenges faced by prospective life coaches than the age that you are - you are most likely to be self employed with all the challenges that this brings. Does the course you are thinking about taking include some business development/marketing elements?

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Jade2012
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Hi Jinx,

Yes, I think from everything that I have been reading I will focus on the young student, graduate etc. market.

Thank you for your reply.

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Jade2012
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Good Morning AlisonM,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on my question.

The course I am looking to do provides you with support to gain your first client and beyond. The course I am looking at is the CPCP with [url]Open training courses and management development[/url] do you have any thoughts on this course in terms of marketing/business development?

A question I seem to struggle to get an answer for is whether anyone is aware of companies that hire life coaches, do you know of any? or could you point me in the right direction?

Thank you in advance for your time.

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AlisonM
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Good morning Jade,

I'm a bit out of touch with the life coaching world, but back in 2001 I began the Coach University Coach trainng programme, which I completed some time in 2004. It was distance learning by telephone conference calls, about two or three hours a week of learning and sharing of experiences. Ii was very enjoyable and I got a lot from it.

I stepped away from it a few years ago because other things required my attention - so can't really comment on what is happening now - but up until that time I didn't know of anyone who was employed as a coach. I have however, known plenty of people who have put together training and development packages which they then deliver to large organisations. This seems to be a route that many life coach graduates follow.

As far as the course you are looking at is concerned - I couldn't see all the details as I didn't want to give my name etc to download the programme, but as far as I can see it is a five day course and I assume, some follow up in the weeks that follow.

I don't know if this is standard for now - but it is much less than I got from Coach University. Whether that is OK or not, I'm not sure.

Things that I would say are important are:

  • an encouragement to get together with fellow trainees and coach each other
  • some focus on your own personal development and growth
  • an opportunity to discuss client challenges in a teaching setting
  • how to market yourself

Maybe other people wil have some thoughts and input too.

Alison

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ChrisWesley
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Hi Jade,

I think age implying lack of life experience IS an issue, but not a show-stopper. If you can demonstrate in your marketing that you are someone people can trust, who is competent and likely to be able to help them, then you can succeed, but your age will make it harder.
So - I would say don't advertise it, instead emphasise what you have to offer.

Coach for free, and collect testimonials and use them to promote your service.

Good Luck!
Chris

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Jade2012
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Hi again Alison,

This link gives you the details of the course without signing up:

[url]Certificate in Professional Coaching Practice[/url]

This is a short breakdown of what I have been offered:

64 Hours of coach specific training to include

• 5 days face-to-face class room training

• ICF Competency Master-Class

• Formal Coaching Assessment for your accreditation

• 10 individual coach mentoring sessions

• 6 individual coaching sessions

I am really interested what you think of this course, as you seem to have such a good understanding.

Thank you for your time.

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Jinx
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I don't know any company who employs life coaches full time. Some corporates have a panel of business coaches they recommend to (or very occasionally provide for) employees who have a need identified through the appraisal process.

Some corporate wellbeing companies use freelance coaches for specific assignments. Wasn't our speciality but at my previous job we hired business coaches to deliver talks for clients (eg Managing Pressure) or work with senior or high potential staff on a specific area such as how to handle a promotion or new work area. Once we were asked to find coach to work with a group of people going through redundancy.

For all of those jobs we hired people we knew who were well qualified and very experienced in that specific work area so we had a good CV to show the client and win the work.

Hope that helps.

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David100351
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Hi David,

Thank you so much for your very helpful reply.

Working with young people including students and graduates had crossed my mind. Could you perhaps suggest what sort of course would be best for me to take to be able to offer 'careers advice'? Do you have any other suggestions on how best to expand my client group?

Sorry for the delay, I don't appear to have subscribed to this topic. Ah well.

There are courses in careers counselling. That would be the gold standard, I would think, and would probably be required for working in colleges of further education, universities, etc.
If you don't wish to go that route, I would be looking seriously at an accredited course in the Myers-Briggs system of personality typing, which has been very closely matched to careers. Emmaus House in Bristol run a good one of those, if being taught by nuns etc won't put you off. (They are great).

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Jade2012
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Hello Chris,

Yes, you make a good point in suggesting not to 'advertise' my age, thanks.

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Jade2012
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Some corporate wellbeing companies use freelance coaches for specific assignments. Wasn't our speciality but at my previous job we hired business coaches to deliver talks for clients (eg Managing Pressure) or work with senior or high potential staff on a specific area such as how to handle a promotion or new work area. Once we were asked to find coach to work with a group of people going through redundancy.

Hi Jinx,

I had not actually heard of 'corporate wellbeing companies' until your message and I think that is actually a very interesting sort of company for me to explore further, so thank you for that!

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Jade2012
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There are courses in careers counselling. That would be the gold standard, I would think, and would probably be required for working in colleges of further education, universities, etc.
If you don't wish to go that route, I would be looking seriously at an accredited course in the Myers-Briggs system of personality typing, which has been very closely matched to careers. Emmaus House in Bristol run a good one of those, if being taught by nuns etc won't put you off. (They are great).

Good Morning David,

When you say the Myers-Briggs system has been very closely matched to careers, what do you mean?

I will definitely have a look at both the Myers-Briggs system to see what I could get from it.

Also, I would have no issue with being taught by nuns although Bristol would be a little too far away, I live in London. But thank you for the suggestion.

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David100351
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Good Morning David,

When you say the Myers-Briggs system has been very closely matched to careers, what do you mean?

There are several systems of personality typing. Myers-Briggs has been embraced by the business and educational community, and much research has been done in comparing myers-briggs type with career title, and degree of success and happiness in that career. It is therefore now the best tool to use when one is called upon to suggest a list of possible careers to a client, in which they will be both successful and satisfied. From this wider list a short list might be prepared, based on the client's individual abilities and motivations within their personality type.

Also, I would have no issue with being taught by nuns although Bristol would be a little too far away, I live in London. But thank you for the suggestion.

It is residential. Trying to immerse yourself in this stuff on a day by day basis is second-best (at least, it would be for an INFJ!)

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lisasmith123
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Hello, Jade!

I am glad to read your decision on becoming a life coach.

You should start from dealing with clients of your age. You can understand them better as you yourself might have faced situations as them. Eventually, you would start getting experience and this would lead to your growth as well. It is the duty of a life coach to guide their clients in the right way with the best possible solutions.

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Zandalee
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Amen, become what you are called to...be the best.

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