I once read that the profession is a wisdom worth millions. A life coach is said to help us find clarity; to ask the questions we might be avoiding; to navigate our lives and help us make great choices and to look into the root courses of certain behaviours, beliefs and habits.
From Oprah Winfrey to Leonardo DiCaprio and Serena Williams – these mega-stars have been major advocates for life coaching, reports Elite Daily.
And, believe it or not, there's actually a life coach for dogs and their celebrity owners out there.
Amina van der Schyff* (not her real name) told us about her experience of visiting Cape-Town based Narriman Richards from Life Coaching with Narriman once a week for about six months, saying she needed it at the time and the experience turned out to be unexpectedly fruitful.
"I sought a coach as my career path wasn't clearly defined and I had a past relationship that damaged my self-esteem and caused me to have issues within my current relationship," she says.
"The focus was on self-awareness and identifying and realising your path and what's standing in your way to achieve what you set out to.
"Initially I thought, 'how can someone teach you about your life, and why would you need a life coach?'
"But to drill deep within yourself and reflect on things you never thought to on your own, brought me to tears a few times.
"It's hard to explain, but it's satisfying to see growth that you never knew you are even trying to achieve."
When it comes to coaching, it's about giving others a non-judgemental space to share and explore things they may not even have thought about before, says Ridhwaan Harnaker, life coach and owner of The Coach Incubator.
We chatted to him about what it takes to become a life coach, and whether it's simply a trend that will soon die out.
"Coaching at its core is essentially a communication skill set," says Harnaker.
With the correct ethical guidelines, coach training could be delivered over a very short period, he explains. In fact, prior knowledge or experience is not a prerequisite, and most programmes require that you get a particular number of hours practice as a certification requirement.
So just how many months, on average, is a good bar to set before you're ready to start coaching?
Harnaker explains that the first coaching course he did was three months long and he got a lever arch file a few hundred pages thick – but it was full of tools and no methodology. A second course he completed in just one day, however, allowed him to gain powerful methodology.
"The trainer wrote 11 words on a flip chart and I built my entire career on it and became a part of the team that trained people on it for the next five years. I now teach this methodology. And, don’t worry – there’s more than 11 words that you’ll get in the training," he jokes.
And when it comes to training, he says that with their most recent group of coaches, they were already seeing clients within the first week – and were getting paid for it.
"No. it’s not a trend," he swiftly answers. "It’s an amazing resource. For some, it's a necessity."
In fact, the profession has been in existence since the mid 90's, says Harnaker.
"Having a coach is like having a personal trainer for your mind, your emotions and even your soul.
"The reality is that in South Africa many of us are filling positions and playing roles well beyond what we're emotionally equipped to deal with, from children babysitting their siblings to chairpersons sitting in boardrooms," he adds.
How is a life coach's job different to that of a therapist?
"Psychologists generally deal with areas of the psyche which are inaccessible," says Harnaker.
"Hence, a client who sees that they don't any have options in a given situation would be better suited to therapy. Psychologists also deal mainly with unresolved issues from a client’s past."
Harnaker explains that the scope of a coach’s work is focused more around what the client wants.
"It is future-orientated, with references to the client’s past to understand the patterns a client engages in, especially as it relates to how they behave when an unmet need arises."
For example, with the one-on-one coaching sessions, Harnaker saw a client for just 20 minutes.
She hadn’t driven a car in seven years and wanted to get back on the road, so he coached her on a Wednesday, and the Saturday she messaged him to tell me she’s driving.
Harnaker also adds that the longest he's ever coached a client is over five years and counting as the client's intention is to reach a higher level of coaching.
Any perks to making a career out of coaching?
With technology and the internet, Harnaker explains that coaching is something you could do from just about anywhere in the world. Over the last five years, he's travelled extensively without having to sacrifice his clients, nor did they have to lose out on support.
"Online coaching is becoming increasingly popular because your clients have the convenience of not taking time from their schedule to travel," he says.
"As a coach, it is important to do what interests and excites you. If you don’t want to see clients for years on end, you don’t have to. If you are passionate about a topic, make it your niche."
His niche? Sex addiction. And with the tools he's developed he explains that he can give clients an insight into what lies ahead in their personal or even professional lives simply by analysing their sexual fantasies.
Harnaker defines his profession as "a purpose that pays". He explains that it's a very lucrative career and that life coaches usually charge an hourly rate, but that it's also niche-dependent.
He's seen new coaches charge from R250 per session, while executive coaching is generally more expensive and could come to around R1000 per session. However, he's quick to add that it's not always about the money.
"Coaching isn't a selfless profession. When we give of ourselves to the extent that we don’t factor our needs into the business model, that’s no-longer coaching – that’s co-dependence," says Harnaker.
WATCH: I Hired A Life Coach To Help Me Make Friends • Life Coach
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