Web Worker Careers: Coaching

Balancing ball and wallDespite the current economic climate, in which training tends to be the first thing cut from tightened budgets, the coaching industry continues to grow. A coach acts as a sounding board, motivator, mentor and teacher, and can provide advice topics ranging from time management to relationship issues. Is coaching a possible career for you?

Types of Coaches

The field of coaching goes beyond business and personal coaching to include health, parenting and counseling. Here are some examples of the various types of coaches.

Personal life coach: Personal life coaches like Kirsten Mahoney of Insight Out Life Coaching and Robin Belkin of MyVeryOwnCoach conduct coaching sessions over the phone to help overstressed clients gain control of their lives in order to reach short-term and life-long goals, be more productive at home and at work, make better decisions and develop skills.

Executive coach: Jackie Nagel, president of Synnovatia, helps entrepreneurs that are stuck, stalled, starting up or reinventing themselves. Aviv Shahar of Aviv Consulting coaches executives to help them solve problems and find growth opportunities through phone conversations, evaluation tools and mind maps.

Niches: Some niche areas coaches hone in on include the financial services industry; teaching dining and business etiquette to help professionals avoid embarrassing moments at formal events; giving advice to entrepreneurs looking for angels or venture capital investors; designing and giving presentations; and supporting women starting a business. Coaches also specialize in interview skills and marketing.

An example of a niche coach is Ita M. Olsen of OlsenSpeech, who helps with speaking skills and accent issues. Considering I’ve had more than 10 years of speech therapy due to profound hearing loss, I wondered how effective this could be over the Internet, but Olsen says that over-the-Internet speech coaching actually works faster than in person.

How to Qualify

You don’t need to get a qualification to become a coach, but if you have the right personality and skills, several international coaching organizations provide support, certification and training, including:

Most coaches have gone through such training, or obtained graduate degrees in counseling and coaching that built upon the listening and people skills they already had. Some training courses recommend having clients as you undergo training. ICF recommends three steps:

  1. Go through coaching training regardless of your experience and background.
  2. Work with a credentialed coach to get a feel for what it’s like to be a coaching client.
  3. Earn coaching credentials or certification.

Coaching Tools

Typical coaching tools might include social networking apps, phone, headset, remote access tools (like GoToMyPC), webcam, video and voice recording apps, email, IM client, Skype, CRM tools (like Salesforce, ACT! or Zoho CRM), and email newsletter delivery applications (like Constant Contact or TailoredMail).

Find Clients

Coaches land clients from speaking engagements, face-to-face networking, teaching classes and seminars, word of mouth, radio show appearances, their web sites and by offering one complimentary session (it helps assess if coach and coached are compatible). Regular email newsletters containing valuable information can help to keep coaches in the minds of clients and prospects.

Joanne Friedman, chief executive officer/principal analyst with Connekted Minds Inc., built that company’s client base through networks like LinkedIn, social media, blogs and email. BackPocketCOO‘s Cameron Herold even found a client through Twitter. “One of the first people who followed me was an entrepreneur from LA who’s building companies. She and I connected in person at a fun event we both attended and instantly hit it off. Over the past year, we’ve stayed in touch using Twitter, FaceBook, email and phone. Without Twitter, we’d never have met,” says Herold.

Before jumping into the coaching waters, heed this advice from Lori Link of Resource Link Corp: “Identify your ideal client profile and only do business with those who fit. Otherwise it’s the old 80/20 rule — the 20 percent that don’t fit your profile will take 80 percent of your time and give you 100 percent of your heartburn.”

Would you consider a coaching career?