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There are many coach training programs out there. How do you even begin to narrow down the choices that align most with your goals? What should you look for?

I get how important it is to find the right program. The program you choose will be the foundation for your coaching practice—the tools, instructors and theory will shape how you deliver your service.

There are five things you need to consider when choosing a coach training program. Let’s break them down.

1. Difference Between Coaching and Therapy

Before coaching existed, the only option for people to grow themselves and work through personal issues was therapy. With the emergence of the life coaching industry, some coaches blur the lines between coaching and therapy. We must make a distinction between the two industries.

Therapy is designed to help individuals who operate below functioning in some area of their life, struggling with mental illness, personality disorders, depression, addiction or any other severe issue. Therapy aims to get patients to a functioning level.

Coaching is for people operating at functioning, or above, who seek to reach their full potential and excel in their lives. When looking for a coach training program, we recommend choosing one that focuses on coaching and not therapeutic models.

2. Accessibility of the Instructor

When researching programs, check the level of access to the instructor or program creator, especially if you’re enrolling in a program from a well-known coach. 

Typically, big training programs with a well-known coach provide little-to-no access to that coach. You may admire the coach and join the training program because of them, but find out later that you have no access to the program creator. 

Having access or connection to the program creator will uplevel the experience. You can ask deeper questions about the material and receive guidance from the very mind that created the framework.

The size of the training class also affects the level of personal support you get. If you’re looking for deep personal support, find a program with class sizes 50 and under for a more personalized learning experience.

3. Investment

Investing in a coach training program that provides the best value may seem like a daunting task, with options offered at as low as $97 and as high as $30,000+.

Cheaper training programs only offer self-study without practical experience or hands-on learning, leaving you unconfident in your coaching abilities. You may find yourself buying multiple courses to feel qualified as a coach.

A good life coach training program is usually priced at $7,0000 or more and provides a whole coaching system, plus private coaching and lots of practice. By choosing a well-rounded program, you will have a great return on your investment and a strong foundation for your coaching career.

Note that a high price tag does not mean the training program is great. Do your research to commit to the best training possible and the one that resonates with you.

4. Techniques vs. Systems

There are coaching techniques and there are complete coaching systems. Getting certified in a technique will not deliver consistent results for your clients—coaching is not a one-size-fits-all model. 

You want to look for a coach training program that provides a complete coaching system. A system will equip you with tools, processes, and techniques to help clients on a deeper level. Your “coaching toolbox” can take a client on a journey during long-term coaching relationships, using specific tools and techniques when they would be most powerful. 

Another factor to consider is an International Coaching Federation (ICF) accredited program. ICF helps set a standard in the unregulated coaching industry. Programs accredited by the ICF provide a complete coaching system and adhere to specific educational, experiential and ethical requirements.

5. Personal Growth through Training

Whether or not you will personally grow from your coach training program depends on the system (or lack thereof). As in the previous point, if you are only taught a technique, you will not have a personal transformation. You may gain insights, but deep, lasting change will not occur.

When you participate in a system-based coach training program, you experience the transformation you will take your clients through. This is important because if you don’t experience what you are learning, you cannot effectively coach someone else through that process.

A bonus to look for is a psychology-based component to the training or an instructor with a psychology background. You are going to shift and have resistance to change. Having the knowledge and support from someone who understands psychology and how the psyche works will accelerate your transformation.

Choosing the right life coach training program requires careful consideration and research. Make sure to look for a program that focuses on coaching, provides access to the instructor, offers a complete system and guides you through a personal transformation.

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