As a life coach, you’re never done learning more about your profession, your skill set, and better ways to serve your clientele. Indeed, continuing education is highly important for life coaches of all niches and specializations. Lifelong learning provides you with an ever-evolving toolset and the means to give your clients the guidance and actionable advice they need to thrive.
But how should you practice lifelong learning and continuing education as a life coach? Let’s answer this question in great detail.
Enhancing Coaching Skills
Your core, practical coaching skills are the bread and butter of your profession. So it only makes sense to enhance your coaching skills as time goes on.
Specifically, you should look to develop expertise and greater mastery in coaching techniques, like:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT
- Mindfulness meditation and yoga
- SMART goal setting
- Active listening
- Group talks and therapy
- And more
The more life coaching techniques and skills you accumulate and master, the better services you’ll provide to your clients (and the more you’ll benefit as a person, too).
These days, enhancing your coaching skills is easier than ever. You can take dedicated coaching classes on specific techniques or strategies using online classes and other technological innovations, like videoconferencing software or self-paced online learning portals. You don’t necessarily have to attend a full college program – you can take self-paced online courses to expand your skill sets and maintain your current work/life balance.
Staying Updated on Research and Trends
The life coaching industry is always changing with the times. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to keep updated on current life coaching research, trends, and new approaches or practices. Not only will this keep you relevant in your industry, but it will allow you to pursue new, novel, and effective tools to improve your business as well.
For example, you might read ongoing journals studying the best techniques for life coaches based on psychological analyses and studies. Furthermore, you should always read any journals or studies that contradict previous findings.
Say that you read a journal stating that cognitive behavioral therapy is suddenly not as effective as once thought. It’s in your best interest (and the interests of your clients) for you to investigate that further and decide whether you will continue using CBT for your own life coaching sessions.
Expanding Business Knowledge
Expanding your business knowledge is always a good idea, especially if you want to scale up your clientele and make more money.
There are lots of ways you can do that. Just a few ideas include:
- Taking some business courses or reading some books to learn more about marketing, sales, and business management. Remember, you are a business owner just like you are a life coach. Knowing how to run your business more effectively is smart in more ways than one
- Keeping up with market demands and shifts in the life coaching industry. For instance, if there’s a new demand for life coaches in the area of second careers or career changes, you might consider looking into marketing to folks seeking out life coaches specialized in that arena
- Constantly looking for new ways to market effectively to your client base. Marketing is itself always shifting and changing. Social media ads, for instance, might work in one year, but the next year, it might be wiser to switch to PPC Google ads instead
Do not neglect the business side of your profession. Without it, you won’t get clients in your in-person or virtual office anytime soon.
Building a Professional Network
As the saying goes, it’s not what you know, but who you know. Building and keeping a professional network is vital in any industry, but especially life coaching. With a good professional network of peers in your contact list, you’ll always have people to refer new clients to you and have people to ask for advice.
You should try to connect with fellow coaches and experts in the industry at conferences, conventions, and classes. Furthermore, consider engaging in mentorship and peer supervision programs. For example, if you know of an up-and-coming life coach who is trying to build up their skills, why not sit in on a few sessions and offer them some feedback?
You can ask for the same thing if you are just starting out in your life coaching career. Getting feedback and social assistance from others in the industry is good for building your professional network and ensuring that you immerse yourself in the life coaching profession as deeply as possible.
Continuing Education Opportunities
In addition to all the above focuses, you can and should pursue explicit continuing education opportunities. These include but are not limited to:
- Professional conferences and workshops, which also give you opportunities to network with your peers
- Online courses and certification programs. These provide you with new skills and certificates you can post on your website or use to attract new clients
- Reading books, articles, and research publications that further the life coaching field and your academic knowledge of this industry
Of course, you should attempt to balance structured continuing education – such as online courses and certification programs – with more self-paced or self-directed learning, like reading a book about coaching techniques.
For instance, if your client list has decreased recently, and you have a little extra time on your hands, taking an online course to shore up your life coaching resume could be a great idea. But if your client list is full and you want to learn about a new life coaching technique you just learned about, picking up a book about that technique could be just the ticket.
In the end, you should never consider your life coach education to be completely done. Instead, you should always look for new opportunities to expand your mind and your horizons as a professional advisor.