Introducing The Fast-Track Life
Coaching is a form of development in which an experienced person, called a coach, supports a learner or client in achieving a specific personal or professional goal by providing training and guidance. The learner is sometimes called a coachee. Occasionally, coaching may mean an informal relationship between two people, of whom one has more experience and expertise than the other and offers advice and guidance as the latter learns; but coaching differs from mentoring by focusing on specific tasks or objectives, as opposed to more general goals or overall development.
Life coaching is the process of helping people identify and achieve personal goals through developing skills and attitudes that lead to self-empowerment. Life coaching generally deals with issues such as work–life balance and career changes, and often occurs outside the workplace setting. Systematic academic psychological engagement with life coaching dates from the 1980s.
Ethics and standards
See also: Licensure, Professional certification, and Professional ethics
Since the mid-1990s, coaching professional associations such as the Association for Coaching (AC), the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC), the International Association of Coaching (IAC), and the International Coach Federation (ICF) have worked towards developing training standards. :287–312 Psychologist Jonathan Passmore noted in 2016: :3
While coaching has become a recognized intervention, sadly there are still no standards or licensing arrangements which are widely recognized. Professional bodies have continued to develop their own standards, but the lack of regulation means anyone can call themselves a coach. Whether coaching is a profession which requires regulation, or is professional and requires standards, remains a matter of debate.
One of the challenges in the field of coaching is upholding levels of professionalism, standards, and ethics. To this end, coaching bodies and organizations have codes of ethics and member standards. :287–312 However, because these bodies are not regulated, and because coaches do not need to belong to such a body, ethics and standards are variable in the field. In February 2016, the AC and the EMCC launched a “Global Code of Ethics” for the entire industry; individuals, associations, and organizations are invited to become signatories to it. :1
With the growing popularity of coaching, many colleges and universities now offer coach training programs that are accredited by a professional association. Some courses offer a life coach certificate after just a few days of training, but such courses, if they are accredited at all, are considered “à la carte” training programs, “which may or may not offer start to finish coach training”. Some “all-inclusive” training programs accredited by the ICF, for example, require a minimum of 125 student contact hours, 10 hours of mentor coaching and a performance evaluation process. This is very little training in comparison to the training requirements of some other helping professions: for example, licensure as a counseling psychologist in the State of California requires 3,000 hours of supervised professional experience. However, the ICF, for example, offers a “Master Certified Coach” credential that requires demonstration of “2,500 hours (2,250 paid) of coaching experience with at least 35 clients” and a “Professional Certified Coach” credential with fewer requirements. Other professional bodies similarly offer entry-level, intermediate, and advanced coach accreditation options. Some coaches are both certified coaches and licensed counseling psychologists, integrating coaching and counseling.
Critics see life coaching as akin to psychotherapy but without the legal restrictions and state regulation of psychologists. There are no state regulations/licensing requirements for coaches. Due to lack of regulation, people who have no formal training or certification can legally call themselves life or wellness coaches.
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A 2004 survey of 2,529 ICF members reported that 52.5% work part-time as coaches and earn US$30,000 or less, while 32.3% reported they earned less than $10,000 per year.
A 2016 survey by the ICF, reported that of 53,000 professional coaches, most operated in America. They reported an average income of US$51,000 with some specialist coaches reporting earning $100,000 or more.