When Madhu Maron, who worked as a human resources executive for almost 20 years, was laid off, she put her skills to work right away, helping others with job searches, resumes, networking, and social media.
She soon realized she wanted to gather more skills so she could assist her clients with some of the underlying issues she saw them struggle with, such as self-doubt and a lack of confidence.
“It prompted me to have a tool kit and variety of ways to work with people beyond what’s on the surface,” says Maron.
She became a certified professional coach in 2003. As a coach, she’s partnered with corporate clients at Consumer Reports, DeutscheBank-PB Capital, and Prudential Life Insurance, along with private clients.
“Coaching has given me a lot of freedom in my life,” says Maron. Inspired by the potential of coaching to change lives, she now spends some of her time training new coaches and supporting them as they launch their careers.
Do you think you might want to be a coach? Do you wonder if you have the necessary qualities to become successful in this growing field? Here are four signs that you’re a fit for this profession.
1. You're the "Go-To" Person
If people regularly come to you for your great listening skills or want your advice, it's one of the best indications that you would make a great coach.
A coaching certification program teaches you how to go beyond listening to helping others find their own answers.
“We’re so conditioned to need the answers,” said Richard Michaels, cofounder, partner, and director of Leadership That Works Coaching for Transformation.
Before many students start a coaching certification, they want to be able to provide answers to others, according to Michaels. But one of the most valuable parts of becoming a coach is learning how to listen more deeply and ask your clients the right questions.
“You learn to help someone draw out his or her own wisdom. To help them become aware of possibilities, insight, and motivation can be a game changer,” he said.
One of his clients, an executive director at a large nonprofit in New York City, told him, “The time we work together is one of the only times I can hear what I’m thinking because I can just lay it all out there, sit back, and see it with fresh eyes."
2. You're Passionate About Personal Growth
Many coaches start out as clients. After years of reading books, taking workshops, or perhaps even working with a coach of your own, you may realize that your education can be put to good use as a coach for others.
Additionally, people who seek out coaching tend to be in transition—they may be changing jobs, ending relationships, or moving to a new city. They are looking for clarity about the next steps to take in their life and those who have studied personal growth or who can relate to these experiences may enjoy coaching others through those transitional times.
3. You Have Solid Life Experience
While it's not a requirement to have extensive life experience to be a coach, it can help. If you have made major transitions or faced difficult circumstances in your life, it can be easier to empathize with a client or help them see their way through their own changes.
“I genuinely do understand when clients say they’re looking for a change but don’t know what it is yet or how to achieve it,” Tim Brownson writes on his coaching blog. “Because I’ve been there, done that, and thankfully was lucky enough to walk away to now be doing a job where I never have to think ‘TGIF!’”
Before becoming a coach, Brownson worked in sales and sales management for almost 20 years.
“I felt totally stressed out, unfulfilled, and just plain stuck in life,” he writes.
He now works with clients throughout the world, helping others “get unstuck and find more purpose and enjoyment in their lives.”
4. You're a Motivated Self-Starter
If the words "I'm bored" never cross your lips and you always have an interesting project going on, you're likely a motivated self-starter. You don't need anyone to tell you what to do; you are inclined to keep things organized and in forward motion; and you are moved by some impulse bigger than you to do something. These are great characteristics for a coach.
Most coaches are entrepreneurs who start a private practice by working with individual clients and hosting workshops. Many coaches set their own schedule and hours and choose what kinds of clients they work with, which means they need to keep themselves motivated, on schedule, and focused on their goals.
If being a motivated self-starter doesn't happen to be your strong point, it's not a deal breaker to becoming a coach. It just means you'll want to set up systems of support to help you stay on task, like working with your own coach.
© 2016 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies