How to go about choosing the best UK coach training course for you
Executive coach training. Business coach training. Life coach training…. there are a huge number of coaching courses out there.
Coaching skills can enhance your career opportunities; make you more valuable to your existing employer, as an independent adviser or consultant, or more attractive on the jobs market. But if you do decide to become a coach it’s important to find the right coach training course for you.
So, how to go about choosing the best UK coach training course for you?
Here are our 10 tips based on the questions people most often ask when choosing coach training:
Some people choose to take a coach training course after redundancy, or before applying for jobs after a period away from work – such as to raise a family, or care for a sick or elderly relative. Another advantage of choosing coaching as a career is that it can be developed as a part time or freelance role that can be flexed around other commitments.
You may be looking for a complete career change and thinking of starting your own coaching business. You may want to formalise your coaching skills through a properly accredited coaching course because you’ve found yourself coaching by default. People in this position include everyone from business advisers and brokers to yoga teachers and therapists in a variety of fields.
You may be interested in coach training as part of your personal development, rather than because you want to practice as a coach. That’s perfectly fine. But be honest. Ask yourself some questions such as: what is the significance of attaining a recognised certificate in coaching for you personally – confidence, credibility, having a USP? Do you want a taste of coaching or a deep dive?
And keep in mind that as you progress through your chosen coach training course your confidence and desire to practice as a coach may grow.
Choose a coach training course that has been properly accredited by a recognised and respected organisation.
There are three main UK professional coaching organisations:
– The Association for Coaching
– The European Mentoring Coaching Council
– The International Coach Federation
But there are other organisations covering other fields where you plan to use your coaching skills. Check with the professional body you are considering joining after you qualify as a coach.
You may be looking to acquire specific skills in life and personal coaching, executive or business coaching.
Life and personal coaches can help people better understand their priorities and tap in to their full potential in their personal (and work) lives, including a better work-life balance. Such a coach can support someone in the run up to – or after – making a big change in their lives. They can give clients perspective or a ‘helicopter view’ of what’s going on in their lives and better understand personal patterns of behaviour.
Executive coaches focus on coaching at board and executive level. Sometimes coaches are appointed by the organisation. Senior people will sometimes seek out their own executive coach. You may be helping someone at this level find solutions to current challenges, stay ‘on point’ in their role, or develop a clearer focus in terms of their career and ambitions. The right coach can help someone unlock their potential. Executive coaches may also work with whole boards, to develop a great sense of team and a clearer focus.
A business coach might help entrepreneurs get their personal businesses up and running, help them define goals and identify building blocks to be put in place to achieve them. They might work with larger companies when things aren’t going well to work out practical plans to resolve the issues, which could be sales related, employee related, or in areas such as marketing.
When you look at the course details, see what they say about these 3 areas. If you are unsure what branch of coaching you wish to pursue, choose a course that gives you a strong, broad grounding.
If you choose a well rounded coach training programme it will give you more options once you qualify, particularly when looking to register with the professional body relevant to the coaching field which you settle on.
It’s important to have a plan but how that plan develops may change as you acquire coaching skills and learn more about areas such as Clean Language, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), neuroscience and coaching and the whole range of areas where coaching skills can prove valuable.
When researching coach training programmes take a detailed look at the syllabus. What areas are covered? Does it offer a combination of tried and trusted coaching techniques, alongside newer and developing fields? See what information is available about the coach training tutors and their own expertise. Does the course sound practical and hands on, or more academic? Which would be most suited to your own learning style? What do you need in order to learn at your best? Do you like learning in large or small groups? Do you prefer distance or face-to-face learning; or a blended approach?
What are the main course requirements and can you meet them? How many contact teaching hours are involved? Where will the course take place and when? How long does the course take? how much personal study time will be involved and what sort of written work (or evidence of practical work) will you be required to produce? What time can you commit given your current schedule?
A properly accredited coaching course will be demanding. A good course should be blend of coaching theory and practical skills development and the coach training course organisers should support you, helping you succeed. But do the hours and requirements fit with your personal commitments?
For example, is there an alumni you can stay in touch with and do the programme providers offer any Continuous Professional Development (CPD) events for coaches after you gain your certificate?
There is nothing more valuable than hearing from someone who has already successfully completed a coach training course programme. Successful coaches come from all walks of life. Look for coaching course testimonials from people who most reflect your own background, or the coaching path you may want to pursue after you qualify.
There may be a lot of written material about the coaching training course, but it’s also worth speaking with someone before making your final decision.
Have a few questions jotted down and then ask to speak to someone on the phone. There is a lot written about the importance of chemistry when you start working with people as a coach.
What is the chemistry like between you and your potential coach training course provider?
Be realistic about what you can afford. Employers may pay for, or subsidise participation in coaching courses because the skills will be valuable in any number of roles, particularly for those taking on leadership and managerial roles, or earmarked for such roles in the future.
Check to see if course fees can be paid in stages, or ask if they will make a payment plan for you – such as monthly direct debit payments. You many consider borrowing money to pay for a coaching course but be realistic about your ability to pay the money back. No qualification is worth acquiring a debt that you cannot pay back comfortably. Better to wait. But do check to see if the programme organisers know of any sponsorship or bursary programmes available.
Training as a coach can be an amazing, life-changing experience, but before you sign on the dotted line ask yourself – is coach training right for you? Or is the timing right? It might be better to wait 6 months, or a year. What does your gut say? Intuition is an important skill for a coach, so use it. Consider this: if someone like me asked my advice about training as a coach, what would I say?