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"If every day is an awakening, you will never grow old.
You will just keep growing."
- Gail Sheehy
Not long ago, I was busy gathering data for the latest version of our 'Free Report' - a rather comprehensive brochure that sets out the opportunity that is to become a life coach and then promotes our life coach training and certification programme.
I was rather struck to find that South Africa now rates number one in the world for the volume of Google searches on the term 'life coaching'.
I suppose I shouldn't have been that surprised because when I last looked - in 2008/9 - we rated second only to Ireland and ahead of Australasia, the UK and the US! But I was pleased to see the statistics confirm my view that the interest in life coaching in our country is burgeoning.
For someone like me who has been intimately involved in this industry for the past four years after leaving corporate life, it demonstrates something of an awakening!
Four years ago when I started New Insights in southern Africa, you would have been hard pressed to find any local entries for life coaching, let alone life coach training, in Internet searches. Today, there are so many it will make your head spin!
Life coaching is an unregulated 'profession'.
What does this mean? Well, very simplistically, you can be a machine operator on a processed meat production line and happily put 'life coach' on your business card without having to answer to anyone except any unfortunate clients you may happen to land.
All manner of short courses
The 'awakening' as I call it, has seen the demand for life coaching services start to take off in this country. And, as you might expect, all manner of life coach training organizations have sprung up to meet the growing interest in becoming a life coach. Some, recognising the 'opportunity' created by the lack of regulation have been quick to invent all manner of short courses that claim to turn people into brilliant practising life coaches within a matter of a few weeks or even days!
For or against?
So, given that I have always strongly advocated quality training for coaches, you might be forgiven for thinking that I'm a proponent of tighter controls and strict regulation in this industry?
Actually, no. Let me explain...
The great thing about the lack of regulation is that the industry is highly inclusive. It means that people who have a real passion for working with other people and a natural brilliance for empowering others and helping them succeed, don't have to feel excluded because they lack an academic education, an expensive three year degree or a head full of esoteric theories and models.
When I first experienced life coaching, I was a relatively senior businessman with an Engineering degree and an MBA to my name. I had been on a multitude of corporate training programmes and felt - I'm now ashamed to admit - quite cynical about the ability of a young lady called Sharon, with no academic qualifications and no corporate experience, to teach me anything about life.
I was so, so wrong.
A deep understanding
What my life coach possessed, that I didn't, was a deep understanding of what makes different people tick, a wonderful ability to build rapport and a fascinating toolbox full of simple yet powerful and practical tools and techniques to help unlock, expose and banish the insecurities, limiting beliefs and obstructive behaviors that bog all of us down to a greater or lesser extent.
I learnt more about myself in half a dozen sessions of coaching than I had during my entire working career – and that's what fired my enthusiasm for this business.
But back to regulation. Yes, it might introduce barriers to entry that could be beneficial to my business. Yes, it would help to weed out those self-proclaimed life coaches with little or no skills training to speak of and, yes, it would confer some added form of status on the profession.
But it would also, in all probability, exclude the Sharons of this world who do such wonderful work.
At New Insights our mission is to bring the magic of effective life coaching to people from all walks of life. We do this by offering convenient and affordable training that produces quality life coaches who are suitably skilled and equipped to turn their passion for people into tangible results for their clients.
The life coaching industry is, in a sense, self regulating because of the unique power that word-of-mouth marketing holds for practitioners. Quality life coaches who produce meaningful results for their clients will always prosper, whereas their poorly skilled and equipped counterparts will quickly flounder and exit.
I say let's not do anything that might interfere with the 'awakening' that is happening all around us!
Till next week...
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New Insights Africa Life Coaching Skills Training - Putting an Extraordinary Business and Lifestyle within reach of Passionate People.
If you think you are Life Coach material why not study, at your own pace and in your own time, with New Insights Africa? If you have the passion, we have the skills, knowledge and support to offer you. Please visit our website.
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