Ones mental health is, and quite rightly so, getting a lot of attention on social media. People are becoming a lot more aware of the importance of prioritizing their mental wellness and business and organisations are looking at ways to support and invest in their workforce. Sadly there are a lot of people out there who are ready to take your money, make ridiculous promises, under deliver and are quite frankly in the 'wellness arena' to get rich quick!
If your goal for 2023 is to hire a coach so you can find your purpose and passion, take your business to the next level, have someone you can brainstorm with and keep you on track then here are some things you may want to know and ask before you click ‘I’m in’ and hand over your hard-earned cash!
By law one cannot accept a financial transaction without having a trade/business license. If you are handing over your hard-earned cash to an individual, please verify that they have one. Any reputable coach will happily share this information with you. Many coaches will have their business stamp somewhere on the Coaching Contract or Agreement which will have their license number and the business/company name it is registered to.
If you are going through a Wellness Center or Wellness Platform online, ask them if the coaches they are representing or hiring, come under their business license or if the coaches have their own business licenses. If it is the latter inquire as to their policies and procedures to ensure the coaches are licensed to work as a coach.
There are so many places one can get a ‘coaching certification’ but there is a huge difference with regards to the hours, training, supervising, mentoring and professional development.
$20-100 Coaching Certificates are great for those who want to gain more information into the coaching and wellness industry. These courses will provide reading materials or a series of short videos with some awareness questions and maybe ask you a few questions at the end to see if they have competency in understanding of the particular topic. These courses do not require the ‘wannabe coach’ to have supervision sessions, submit recordings for observation and feedback. Nor do they cover the ethical or legal requirements of setting up your own business.
Credible Coaching Certification Programs (many are affiliated with the ICF, EMCC and AC) will set a coach back thousands of dollars. These programs require the coaches to commit to several months of in-depth training and be assessed on the following: coaching competencies, confidentiality, data protection, contracting, International Code of Ethics, when and how to refer a client to Mental Health Professional (Psychiatrist, Counsellor etc.), legal requirements and documentation needed for starting your own business, marketing and branding your business. The student coaches also have to submit a number of recorded coaching sessions for review, attend group practice sessions and webinars, share reflections and additional learnings, sit an exam and/or write a paper on coaching models, competencies and a personal case study.
All coaches who have successfully completed their coach training will have a certificate with the school’s name, logo and name of the course. If they are affiliated with the ICF, EMCC and AC this too will be displayed. A badge is also given to the coaches so they can display it on their websites.
Another bonus of going through a credible coaching institute is they will provide the coach with a letterheaded document with a breakdown of the hours, a description of the training and exams they took.
Example of my Life and Success Coach Training and Senior Certified Professional Coach programme breakdown
NEVER work with a coach that does not have a legal contract in place. This is not only to protect the coach but it is there to ensure everything you say, do, or share is held in the deepest confidence. Exceptions to confidentiality relate to circumstances such as intent to seriously harm someone, child abuse, thoughts of suicide, terrorism, etc. Otherwise, all remaining information is kept confidential.
Many coaches and clients disregard the importance of having a detailed contract in place. During the course of the coaching relationship a lot of personal information will be shared, regardless if you originally signed up for breath work, marketing strategies, or gaining more confidence in public speaking etc. You (and even the coach) may relay information about your past, your partner, your finances, your boss, your sex life, your fears, things that you are embarrassed or ashamed of. The contract is there to protect you and the information you give.
I have heard too many stories of coaches sharing data, openly discussing their clients by name and their situations, those that are not competent in dealing with trauma, depression, chronic pain or health issues and will advise, give diet plans etc. because they don’t want to lose their money nor wanting to or knowing how to refer their client to someone more suitable.
A legally binding coaching contract should cover the following (this should also be covered on their website under Terms of Service):
Description of Coaching
Data Protection Act
Fees, Cancellation and Lateness Policy
Record Retention Policy
Supporting Qualifications and Additional Documentation
If a coach states that they work with children or specializes in trauma, chronic illness, health, depression, grief, addiction, ADHD, Autism, cancer, please do your research.
Important: Please be mindful that anyone who works with children should have a police background check, understands safeguarding. The coach's qualifications and business license must states they can by law work with children.
For health/chronic pain/nutrition coaches and those that specialize in finances, trauma, depression, grief, addiction, ADHD, Autism, and cancer, supporting qualifications and additional training is required and special licenses need to be obtained. Once again the coach should have information on their websites as to where they got their qualifications and the level they are currently at.
When looking through websites check that the coaches have included the following:
References with names and pictures/video
For the time being coaching is still unregulated and I feel strongly that it is our responsibility as coaches and those who are in the Wellness Industry (and anyone that promotes coaches via media and online platforms) to inform and educate the public as to which questions you should be asking and what you need to look out for.
Be curious and ask your questions because any coach worth their salt will welcome any questions you have regarding their training, licensing and contracting.
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