The Road to Becoming a Life Coach: Getting Started
Leading up to this announcement, I was struggling to find the right words to say and the right things to share about this life milestone. I am jittery with positive emotion as I wrap up my last class, but I have to reflect, with honesty, on the moments that led up to this.
The decision to go back to school of any type was one I battled with for more than a year. Did I have the time for it? Was it worth the financial investment? Was I going to be fulfilled in what I was learning? How would it apply and provide a benefit to my employers?
I was happy with my profession and inspired by leadership, but I was quickly losing passion. Days were slower, time was opening up and the projects I was a part of started to feel less challenging. Was I even making a difference in the world? As a manager and mentor, I always challenged people who shared these thoughts with me and repeated:
It’s important to find passion in everything you do. Be it behind a desk, on the front lines of a service project, you have to look for it. It’s there somewhere.
I knew it was up to me to find that passion again, so the hunt began. I first used Coursera to enroll in a few higher education classes to find out if certain educational paths were right for me. I took everything from a business administration to marketing class online as I tried a variety of potential higher education journeys. Still, I wasn’t satisfied. I didn’t quite agree with some of the things I was reading based on client experience and I knew I wouldn’t be able to stomach the cost of graduate school.
While at Florida State University, I completed the undergraduate program in Leadership Studies. All my experiences here were among the most memorable and fulfilling, including mentors like Dr. Osteen who changed the course of my life dramatically. Could I do something in this realm and what would that look like? And what about the perception others already had of me? My personal brand. Is there something I could do that was authentic to me and enhanced this?
Cue becoming a life coach.
Once I started doing my research on ICF-certified programs (that’s international recognition and certification) and meeting with advisers, I knew this was the path for me. Think about my online presence, even, I’ve made it my mission to help others find passion and become their best selves. That’s what this blog is about, that’s why mentorship is important to me, that’s my reason to believe.
I selected Erickson International because they offered flexible virtual classrooms - not online classes at your own pace, just a live digital presence you can fulfill from your home. They also put an emphasis on the art and science of coaching. Let’s be real: if I was investing money in this I wanted to make sure there was scientific and empirical data to support what I was learning. I also really enjoyed the community they built and felt it was right for me.
I signed up for the once a week, 6 a.m. local time course. I woke up gladly each Wednesday morning ready and eager to learn. But once I was in the rhythm of attending class, the next challenge was finding balance between my personal and professional life, and this new passion project. Remember those slow work days? They turned up about 100 notches as I began this journey.
There were days that I questioned if this was right for me. There were days that I didn’t sleep. There were days I stayed up until 3 a.m. reading material that fascinated me. There were days - three days in fact - where I happened to be on the West Coast or on an airplane during class time so that meant 3 a.m. classes or some from 10,000 feet. There were days I gleamed about life coaching to my friends. And there were days I really had to sit with myself and find a way to remind myself to commit.
Today I finish my last semester - or module as Erickson calls it. Along the way I’ve learned skills in listening, openness, asking the right questions, and truly understanding and believing that what we need is inside all of us. With the right guidance, we can tap into ourselves to find what we’re looking for. I am living a values-driven life, with passion. I understand the importance of having a vision, and I am creating one for myself and my coaching practice.
While I continue my learning, I have to host practice sessions in tandem with my courses. I have a list of friends and colleagues that will help me refine my skills over the next year or so. You’ll see more and more of my lessons reflected in my online presence and the way I live my day to day.
One of the main reasons why I wanted to become a life coach is also because I found a gap in these types of professionals and how they were speaking to millennials. Gone are the days that a life coach is only relevant to a c-suite executive or someone at their mid-life crisis. Everyone could use this level of professional guidance toward creating a vision and setting actionable steps to reach a goal. Once I am certified, I’ll bring an offering to this community through a lens that makes sense for my generation.
I also hope to use becoming a life coach to build out Marketable Millennial in a place where I can better hone in and focus on sharing these anticipated “life hacks” and “life lessons” by LC - from a place of more credibility. More blog topics and webinars (woops - am I revealing too much?) that come from this lens.
And I truly hope that you’ll join me along the journey. Ask questions, share topics you want me to write about, and let’s grow together.