Turn your expertise into income: Life Coaching

Just about everyone has expertise in something and can guide someone else to become better in that area of life. As long as you are a step ahead of someone else, you can bring value to that person, make their journey in life easier.

Any business is started because there is a need for the services or products it is offering and not just because someone wants to make money. Money is a reward for doing something successfully.

Life coaching is inspired by caring about people and genuinely desiring better lives for them. A life coach basically helps people to improve their lives. 

Is a life coaching career for you?
Here are some pointers? You:
  • ·    Have a deep caring for people and a desire to help them make their lives better. You don’t simply shrug your shoulders and walk away when you encounter someone struggling with issues. Your normal reaction is to try and explore ways to help the person find solutions.
  •      Have a high level of self-awareness, meaning that you have processed your own issues, maybe overcome some challenges and grown through that journey.
  •      Have a curious mind. You don’t take things at face value but question things.
  •      Have a high level of integrity and trustworthiness. People can trust your word.
  •      Have emotional intelligence and empathy. You are alert about other people’s emotions and also your own and are able to connect with people’s struggles.
  •      Invest in personal growth and development; you are ever learning, constantly work on becoming better.
  •      Are a good listener (have active listening skills).
  •     Are a good communicator (verbal and written communication skills).
  •     Are self-motivated and entrepreneurial/able to be self-employed.

Many people get into life coaching because they overcame something and would like to help others not to go through the same struggles they went through, or to minimize the struggle. 

It starts with sharing of one’s experience then other people probably who happen to be facing similar struggles reach out. If that helping is structured into a business, it can grow into something bigger than just helping people informally. 

 

 

 
Life coaching is one of the most lucrative fields in countries such as USA, second only to technology. It is a multi-billion dollar industry. 
Coaching is a great way for professionals to create a secondary stream of income without interfering with their work, or to build a successful career after retirement or retrenchment. They can pass on their skills to others, shortening their learning curve.
The expertise you have accumulated over the years does not have to go to waste once you retire. You can build a successful life coaching profession. There is no retirement age for coaching, with some successful coaches actively coaching people into their 80s and 90s. 
Training and Certification
To develop the passion for helping people into a successful business, it is very important to begin by joining some credible coaching program in order to get the right kind of training and exposure. 
 
Much as one can invest in good books and watch online tutorials about life coaching, it is worth it to undergo formal training where one gets exposed to the practical aspects of the career and the ethics of the career, which shortens the learning curve.  Untrained people in any field can end up making costly mistakes. 
There is still no formal training for coaches in Kenya though there a lot of globally recognized training programs available online, some which have franchises in Kenya. Studying online is also a viable way of doing it as the programs rely on technology and are very comprehensive, incorporating even practical sessions conducted via Skype or other video conferencing platforms.
You do not need certification to practice as a life coach in Kenya but you definitely need to be good and professional at what you do. At the end of the day, people need to get results from your services otherwise you won’t have a business to build.
Invest in a good coaching program or get yourself a mentor to hold your hand as you learn. Invest heavily in personal development too and include training and certification among your long-term goals. You might want to invest in training and certification within your first 2 or 3 years of getting started as a coach. 
It does cost quite some money (can cost up to a million Kenya shillings though you might find some cheaper trainings) so you need to plan how you are going to finance it. You do not have to wait until you go through training and get certified before you can help people.
Training normally takes around a year or slightly shorter followed by years of practice in order to perfect the skills.
Skills and expertise

A life coach needs to have excellent listening and observation skills as well as the ability to bond with clients from diverse backgrounds. Transforming people’s lives requires balancing between inspiring and motivating clients and challenging them to push themselves to get better without looking down upon or belittling them.

A coach has to be skilled in getting out of a client what holds them back, then helps them to believe where doubt or fear originally existed. Fear, conditioning, belief systems and mindset are some of the factors that hold people from going after their dreams, so coaching can turn one’s life around.

Many people leave this world without having lived to their full potential and a coach is the person who helps people to open their minds to the world of possibilities and develop the courage to go after their dreams.

There are many people who invest in coaching training but never go on to build successful life coaching careers. This is because just like any other business, there is a lot that goes into building a successful business and not just having skills in a particular field of work.

Life coaching is entrepreneurship meaning that one needs not only to have the coaching skills but to also have entrepreneurial skills. This means that one needs to be conversant with issues such as branding, sales and marketing, cash flow and other aspects of building a business.

How soon your life coaching business becomes profitable depends on your ability to structure your coaching skills into a business.

Step #1: Invest in relevant training and register your business

To register a life coaching business in Kenya, you need professional certificates to qualify you as someone who is competent to teach others something. Much as training in life coaching is important, you can register your business using certificates in specific areas of expertise.

You might be a human resource manager, a doctor, an engineer, a nutritionist or a teacher and want to venture into life coaching. Your expertise in that particular field can make you qualified to do career coaching.

Step #2: Identify your target audience and your niche

Coaching is a very wide field so you need to identify your target audience and the specific area you will focus on. Some of the niches possible are:

    •          Fitness
    •          Business
    •          Relationships
    •          Nutrition and lifestyle
    •          Dating
    •          Finances
    •          Life transition coaching such as retirement, divorce or widowhood
    •          Health and wellness
    •          Career
    • Mindset
    • Leadership (for entrepreneurs)
    • Executive coaching (for executives or top management in organizations)
    • Parenting (Focus on specific age bracket: babies up to age 3, pre-teens, teenagers or special categories such as step families or blended families, parenting of children with special needs, single parenting, widows/widowers parenting, etc.)

The possible niches are too many. Focus is very important if you want to be effective in your coaching business. Don’t spread yourself too thin. 

Select a sub niche in your selected niche and specialize. For example in the parenting niche, the needs of babies are different from those of teenagers and so are the needs of parenting children with special needs. 

The more you specialize, the more effective you become. The medical profession brings out the issue of specializing clearly. A specialist earns much more than the general practitioner.
 
An individual’s education, career, skills, expertise and life experiences help in the selection of a niche. A successful CEO or business owner can focus on executive coaching. An experienced nutritionist can choose nutrition and lifestyle. 
 
A mother who overcame parenting challenges can choose parenting coaching. A long serving human resource manager can settle for career coaching. A parent in a blended family can choose coaching of blended families. 
If you have had a successful career, you can structure your expertise into a coaching business, becoming a lighthouse to others who are seeking success in a similar career path.
However, the issue is not cast on stone. You may still settle for relationship coaching or parenting coaching, your successful career notwithstanding. 
Step #3: Give people tasters

A lot of coaches maintain an online presence and get at least some of their clients from online sources. Life coaching is a business that is based on trust so put out free content and let people sample what you have to offer. 

Public speaking is a great way to market a life coaching business. Get opportunities to speak about topics that are of interest to your target market during school, church and other community events. Get your name out in the market place. 

On top of that, purpose to show your opportunity to 2, 3 people every day without fail. Each one of us interacts with people every day so have your coaching business in mind at all times and in the course of interacting with people, let them know about it.

I have made it standard practice to be helpful. I ensure that I help 2 or 3 people every day, without fail. It is not enough to just let people know that you offer coaching services. Give them a taster. Help them solve a pressing need in their lives and not only are they likely to seek you out when they will need paid services, but they are likely to recommend your services to others too. 

You will be amazed how much helpful information and referrals people can give you if you just let them know what you are doing and go out of your way to be helpful and supportive. Pay attention to people and their needs. Be helpful. 

Make deliberate effort to be noticed in the market place. Start a blog or a YouTube channel, send out a regular e-newsletter or hold free online or live events. Start a Facebook group addressing an issue that is of interest to your target market.

Many people will never just sign up for life coaching simply because they visited a website and there was a name and a photo of the life coach there. People either resonate with you and the way you handle issues or they don’t.
 
You are the product so put yourself out before the people for them to sample. A life coach has to be authentic, cannot afford to be fake. People have to know you if they are to trust you enough to do business with you. In life coaching, your name is the brand so carefully develop “Brand You”.
Before there is a demand for your services, you are not yet ready to practice as a life coach. The sign that you are ready to build a business is people consuming and benefiting from your free content. That gives you the sign that you are ready to move your coaching to the next level.
Come up with a way to collect contact details of people you will be marketing to, such as the people who sample your products. You can collect emails addresses or people who consume your free online content which you can easily achieve by giving them something free such as an Ebook or report in exchange for their emails. 
You can also use creativity to enable you collect contacts from people you interact with offline. The key is to add names to your contact list every day. 
Step #4: Structure your program

You have passion and expertise in helping people to make their lives better but success loves structure. You must have a framework or system that you use to guide people. Your coaching program needs to be a clear, step-by-step process. This means that your program is broken down into a number of modules or milestones. 

Put your expertise into a coaching manual, an eBook or a video series. A coach without a structure is unlikely to build a successful business.

Step #5: Test your program

You can only build a successful life coaching business if your system produces results. That can only be proven if you actually take some people through the program and evaluate the outcome.

You will need some volunteers to serve as the ‘guinea pigs’ of your coaching program. You coach them for free or for a minimal fee to cover your costs, in exchange for their honest feedback and testimonials. That is the way to know what is working and what is not, what needs to be improved. The testimonials help you to market your programs.
Many people are knowledgeable, have skills and expertise yet they are still stuck in certain areas of their lives. It is their fears, their beliefs and their conditioning that hold them back. That is what coaching helps to change.
It takes practice to be able to understand people and where they are coming from in order to help them transform their lives. A coach cannot afford to be judgmental. 
Step #6: Roll out your program

Life coaching is an art which means that the more experienced one is in coaching, the more competent they are. In life coaching just like any other field that is dependent on personal expertise, your fees goes up the more experienced you become. This is partly because self-confidence is critical for success and that comes the more you practice and get results.

When you get started as a life coach, start charging a modest fee. Work hard, learn and improve your skills. Give your clients 200% no matter how much you charge them, if you expect to build a name for yourself in the field.

Do not expect to charge what those who have been in the field for decades charge. It will take you some time to get there but your effort will determine how fast that happens.

Step #7: Improve your programs and raise your fees

Once you are confident as a life coach and you have track record, refine your programs, charge what your services are worth and focus on the right clientele.

Once you settle for premium clients, you will serve less clients, give them personalized service and earn more in the process. Pay attention to detail and give more than what you are paid to do if you expect to serve premium clients.

Commit to lifelong learning

As a life coach you have to commit to a journey of continuous learning. You have no option but to continually grow and evolve in line with changes in technology, the economy, the education system and society as a whole.

Stay ahead of the crowd if you expect to join the world of successful coaches. 

 

 
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Financial Independence Africa
Tags: CoachingEntrepreneurship