What is a "certified" coach? 

A certified life-coach is a trained professional to help guide goal-oriented people to meet or exceed their personal and professional goals. Professional online coaches help clients identify blocks, challenges, and opportunities. They help you get out of your head and act by being your teacher, motivator, think-tank collaborator, accountability partner, and personal cheerleader! 

Why does it matter if a coach is "certified"? 

Right now, there isn’t any type of federal regulation in the coaching industry. 

Unfortunately, what that means is that anyone can call themselves a “coach”. There are so many people calling themselves coaches now that I truly believe it will not be long before certification is a legal requirement.  


To consider oneself a “certified” coach means that they have completed training that is accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF). Right now, the ICF is the only governing body that oversees the coaching profession and has the authority to deem the quality of an online coaching program before granting accreditation. To be considered a quality program, the courses must be taught by professionals who have achieved a Master Coach credential, which is also governed by the ICF. 


There are several competencies coaches must master to receive initial their certification.  

Certified Coaches have been trained in the following compotencies: 

· Adhere to ethical guidelines determined by the International Coaching Federation.

· Coaches view clients as collaborative partners; Clients are the authority of their process while their coach helps them to create opportunities and explore options.

· Coaches listen actively to support their client yet skillfully ask intuitive and provocative questions to promote deeper self-exploration.

· Coaches help clients see the inconsistency between their thoughts, emotions and actions;  

· Coaches help clients see their areas of strength and recognize their resources; 

· Coaches help clients see which habits are holding them back and explores options that serve them better.

· Coaches help clients clarify their values and overcome blockages so that they can live in line with them. 

·Coaches work clients to clarify their goals and check that they are congruent with their values.

· Coaches suggest actions that will lead the client towards their goals keeping in mind the client has the ultimate authority over their process. 

Coaching vs. Counseling

Coaching and counseling are similar in that having the right chemistry and rapport with either professional is crucial to successfully meeting your goals. Both are trained in getting their clients to look inward and both hold whatever is said in the strictest of confidence.


Counseling tends to be “problem” centered. We all have times in life when we need to “fix” something that appears broken or we need to HEAL from a painful experience. Counselors and therapists usually ask “WHY?” (something happened or felt that way). They are licensed by the state they practice in to investigate and diagnose the underlying causes of mental health problems. They are expected to give advice and often work in tandem with medical professionals who may prescribe medication.


 Trained and certified life coaches are not (unless specified) qualified to diagnose or treat any health-related problems, and there may be situations that they do suggest you see a licensed therapist.


Life coaches are very “goal” centered. They help you focus on what’s happening (or not) in the now and help you accomplish future wants and desires. Coaching clients are looking to improve their life and have a better future; they are whole in the now and are looking to break through limits and succeed like never before. Coaches ask “HOW?” (to get from here to there). 


There are times when coaches will help clients understand the connection between what happened in the past and how it affects them in the present. There may be times when things that happened in the past cause limitations to moving forward and a coach can help you move through those limiting thoughts, but their focus is to help you develop tools to keep moving forward.  


 Professional life-coaches may share personal experiences or thoughts, but they do not generally give advice. Instead, they help their clients to uncover their wisdom and come up with their own best solutions. Coaches offer support, motivation, and accountability to their clients so that they can “go the distance” and reach their goals. 


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