Life coaching is all the rage. Harvard Business Review reports that coaching is a $1 billion a year industry, but just what is a personal coach, professional coach, or life coach and why are so many executives and individuals using them to catapult their careers, break free from 9-5 jobs, and to create better, more fulfilling, richer lives?
First, what is a professional coach? The International Coach Federation (ICF) -- the leading global coaching organization and professional association for coaches -- defines coaching as "partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential."
Second, who's using coaches? In a 2009 study of the professional coaching industry by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), they found that coaching was used by 90% of organizations surveyed and that even in the economic downturn, 70% report that they are increasing or maintaining their commitment to coaching. Coaching is clearly popular, but what does a professional coach do?
As with any growing profession, there can be a lot of confusion. To help distinguish fact from fiction, click through the pages to read the top 10 personal coaching myths...
Top 10 Professional Life Coaching Myths
Myth #1: Life coaches are professionals who can help you achieve your goals.
Fact: Some, but certainly not all coaches are professionals who can help you reach your goals. One of the problems in the coaching industry is that anyone can call themselves a professional coach, life coach, personal coach, etc. Jennifer Corbin, the president of Coach U, one of the largest and oldest coach training organizations in the world, has said, "Technically, anyone can hang up a shingle as coaching is not regulated. Many people 'coaching' have no idea what coaching is as they haven't been trained or haven't been coached by a professionally trained and credentialed coach. There are 'schools' that will offer a credential after three hours of training and people read a book or watch a TV program and decide 'I'm a coach!'" As a result, the quality of coaches vary dramatically. I strongly suggest working with a coach that has been accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF). The ICF provides independent certification that is the benchmark for the professional coaching industry.