Top 8 Myths About Becoming a Life Coach

In talking to people about participating in our coach training program, here is what I hear the most that I would like to debunk – here and now!

1. You Need to Have Your Own Life Together First: Many people believe that to be a life coach, you must have a flawless life. In reality, being a life coach involves learning a skillset about how to be with others in a way that allows them to find answers within themselves. Because you are not telling them what to do or even modeling a better life, the requirements are that you are self-aware and able to be present with others in an empowering way. These are learned skills.

2. Life Coaching Is Just Giving Advice: Life coaching is not about telling people what to do. It’s about asking the right questions, providing support, and helping clients find their own solutions and paths. It is about providing a space for clarity and accountability so that people learn about themselves while also declaring and taking action to move toward what they want in their lives and businesses.

3. You Don’t Need Any Training or Certification: While it is true that anyone can call themselves a coach, professional training is useful (and some would argue, required) to learn the actual skills of coaching. (See #7.)

4. You Need to Be an Expert in Everything: Some think one needs to have all the answers to become a life coach. However, coaching is about helping clients discover their own answers, not about being an all-knowing guru. You need not be an expert in anything. You need only learn how to be with others in a way that they can discover what they want and best ways to get it.
Similarly, you need not be a lawyer to coach lawyers or know about art to coach artists. Because coaching is about asking questions and listening deeply, it can sometimes even be a detriment to be an expert in the field where you are coaching because it may make you more likely to try to offer suggestions, rather than to listen and truly coach.

5. Only Extroverts Can Be Successful Life Coaches: Introverts can be excellent life coaches, often bringing deep listening skills, empathy, and thoughtful insights to their coaching practice.

6. Life Coaching Is the Same as Therapy: Coaching and therapy are different fields. Coaching focuses on the present and future, helping clients set and achieve goals, while therapy often deals with past issues and emotional healing. Therapy requires significant training, while most coaching programs are 9-12 months in length.

7. You Need a Natural Gift to Be a Good Coach: Effective coaching skills are learned and developed through training and practice. It’s not about having an inherent talent. In fact, often when people come to coach training believing they are “already coaching,” what they are actually doing is offering advice and/or helping others to solve their problems – certainly useful ways of being with people, but NOT coaching.

8. Coaching Is Only for Personal Development: Life coaching can also be applied to career development, business growth, relationship improvement, and many other areas. Coaching is used to achieve whatever results the client wants in their life.

Understanding these myths can help you make a more informed decision if you’re considering becoming a life coach.

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About the Author

Picture of Cami McLaren

Cami McLaren

is the owner of McLaren Coaching. She has been coaching professionals and leaders since early 2008. She runs Transformative Coaching Essentials, a coach training program that produces first rate Professional Coaches and "Coach-Style Leaders." She coaches individually and works with organizations to improve communication, time management, productivity and ultimately bring greater results.

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