Life Coaching competence

What makes a competent coach?

There are literally thousands of coaches out there, myself included, who have  undertaken various coaching accredited courses. 

It is my honest view that there is no course out there that could fully help us acquire even half of the following attributes that are paramount to a competent life coach:-

  • To be a good listener
  • To be patient
  • To be ‘pleasantly blunt’
  • To ask the right questions
  • To be perceptive
  • To have empathy
  • To methodically be effective in conceptualising problems and helping people finding the practicable solutions that will make them happy.

To have a deep first hand understanding, perception and empathy to the feelings associated with statements such as:-

I can do my job but I hate my job, or
I am stuck in an unhappy relationship, or 
I hate my life because I am going through a divorce, or
I am a failure because I am divorced, or
My partner has an addiction I can no longer cope with, or
I am a single parent and I am mentally ‘sinking’, or
I wish I had the confidence to do this, that or the other, or
I have a million things to do and don’t know where to start from, or 
I want to get over my ex and its impossible, or
Since I split up with my partner I am finding it difficult relating to others, or
I don’t know how to deal with my over-demanding boss, or
I wish I had a more rewarding career, or
I wish I could cope better with, or reduce, the work stress and many, many more

The list is practically endless!!

So a life coach should be truly empathic to all the above (and many more) to the extent that he/she almost shares the pain or the client’s conundrum, emotional or mental crossroads etc?

In order to REALLY help people you need to REALLY inspire and convince them to believe that they can help themselves and then have the ability to work with them to help them become better, happier, more fulfilled versions of themselves. And this, to a very large extend, relates to mainly 3 factors:-

  1. The life journey and experiences of the coach
  2. The natural (not taught) attributes of the coach
  3. The genuine desire of the client to be truly accountable and diligent in the goals they set to better themselves and therefore live happier lives.

And if you are not convinced yet then consider these:-

How on earth could a non-confident person guide a client into having self-confidence?

How could someone who never faced real adversity and emerged unscathed on the other side ever guide a client into effectively dealing with adversity?

How could anyone that has never had children ever comprehend sufficiently the emotional roller coaster that is called ‘parenthood’ so to truly understand the numerous issues that may be associated with an unhappy or unfulfilled parent?

How could someone who has never had the fortune (or misfortune) to have experienced feelings of love, of being loved, of rejection, of disappointment, of divorce, of cheating, of being cheated etc ever understand the emotional spectrum associated with all the ups and downs with relationships?

How does someone that never divorced ever comprehend the sheer heartache associated with the unpleasant processes that span from consulting family lawyers to being in the midst of vehemently contested hearings in family courts?

How does someone who has not gone through a contested divorce ever comprehend the sheer pain the opposing parties bring to their children?

How does someone who has never been divorced with children ever understand what it means to all of a sudden share them through a court contact order and how to minimise their emotional damage? The parents’ feelings of guilt?  The eternal self doubting questions? The difficulty in moving on etc ?

The pressures of work?  The rigours and stresses of executive life?  The soul destroying politics in organisations?  The effects of a life with no balance between ‘work and play’? etc

Again, the list is endless but the point is that real life experiences (as a compliment to qualifications) are invaluable to being an effective life coach.

And there is no way that even the best coach out there would have personal experience in the entire theoretical list of possible finite client problems they may be faced with. But I have no doubt, and hopefully by now I have sufficiently illustrated, that the more ‘relevant, rich and colourful’ the real life experiences of the coach the more likely he/she will be effective in assisting clients to gain clarity and develop the strength to face their problems and gradually discover the happier more fulfilled version of themselves..

Of course academic qualifications may provide a relevant and polishing aspect to the quality of coaching but the necessary prerequisites are the ones outlined.


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