Q1: What is life coaching?

Life Coaching is an evolutionary form of an age-old discipline with which we are all familiar. Where before, extended family structures often retained the ability to influence individual members, to enable them to "find their way", today's fractured social structures and pressured corporate environments put pressure on the availability and effectiveness of these traditional support systems, which were in any case often restrictive and limiting in nature, rather than developmental and supportive. Life Coaching is both a professional and a personal relationship between two otherwise unconnected people, which is designed and managed by the Coach in such a way as to enable the client to improve one or many aspects of their lives, independent of the pressures of the past and the present.

This is done through guiding the client to understand what it is they want to achieve: by setting goals which are realistic and which will enable them to achieve their higher level ambitions, by enabling them to believe they can achieve their goals and their ambitions, and by guiding them as to how they can achieve their desires, and by encouraging them to go out and do it FOR THEMSELVES.

This is the important point - a life coach will not, cannot, go out and improve your life for you. He or she will enable you to decide and to act. They will motivate you to overcome the inertia that is inherent in life, They will enable you to convert dream to reality and self-doubt to self-belief.

Operationally, most coaching sessions are conducted by telephone, though occasionally some coaches and clients prefer to meet and work one-to-one. Usually however the client calls the coach at a pre-arranged time for a discussion, the details of which are held in absolute confidence. These calls are generally at weekly or fortnightly intervals and last between half an hour and an hour. It usually takes a month to six weeks to start achieving the desired results, though the client will often start to feel the benefits of the Life Coaching approach more or less straightaway. It is unusual for a coaching process to last longer than six months without a break, it is not uncommon to have a series of Coaching relationships, each one building on what has been achieved before.

Your coach will listen to you in a totally non-judgemental way. He or she will enable you to open up and to decide where your true ambitions and passions lie. As each goal or desire is defined by you, the coach will enable you to decide on specific ACTIONS that will move you in the right direction to attain those goals. Typically, each session closes with agreement on the actions that you will take before the next call. The next session will go over those actions and their results, and your feelings about what you have achieved. It is this level of agreement, commitment and performance analysis that makes Life Coaching effective. You may have promised yourself in the past that you will one day do X or Y, Life Coaching gets you to make that promise to someone else, your life coach, and you know that they are going to challenge you if you don't step up and deliver.

Question 2: How do I know if Coaching will help me?

If you ever feel that your life should be better than it is, or that you want to have more control over the way your future develops, then Life Coaching could provide you with a way of achieving the aims and goals which you desire. Our coaches know that every human being has the potential to achieve almost anything they want out of life, and can show you how to tap into, and enjoy developing, your full potential.

The very first coaching session you have will introduce you to new ways of thinking about yourself and your life and will provide an insight as to how you can overcome those obstacles you feel are holding you back. Our coaches can enable you to question your life purpose and and come up with answers which will change your life.

Question 3: How does Life Coaching differ from other similar approaches?

Life Coaching is not counselling! In many situations, a counselor will look at your past to try to formulate a specific solution to a particular problem. During the coaching process your coach will come to have an understanding of how your past has shaped your present but the focus of Life Coaching is on where you are now and where you are aiming to be in the future. Every situation, every client and every coaching session is unique, and the overall aim is to enable you to take control of your life. Our coaches guide you in how to achieve life balance and they will be there to support you every step along the way.

Life Coaching is not therapy! A therapist typically addresses a specific physical or mental condition. Your coach sees you as a single, complete person; a culmination of interactions between all that you are, all that you have been and ultimately all that you can be. Instead of looking for causes and reasons, our coaches will use an holistic approach to Life Coaching which will enable you achieve your goals by enabling you to focus in on yourself, mentally, physically and spiritually.

Life Coaching is not consultancy! Coaching in a business environment in itself is not a form of consultancy, though working out how it might best be applied in a business environment can be. Consultants are generally asked to look at particular work-related issues. They usually gather data, analyse functions and quantify requirements, to support proposals designed to create operational or structural change. Their focus is generally on resolving particular functional issues. Our life coaches adopt a different approach; one where people and personality are paramount and where the changes sought are at a personal, psychological level. Life Coaching with its breadth of coverage and depth of understanding about the attitude and desires of the individuals involved, will often enable a company to achieve change in a faster timescale and with longer lasting benefits than those resulting from a standard consultancy approach.

Life Coaching is not mentoring! A mentor is altogether a different beast. A mentor will generally be there to enable someone to learn a particular task or to acquire a specific skill-set. The mentor will have a lot of experience in a particular area and will work with the client to find short cuts by learning from the mentor's mistakes and successes. The mentor will generally know the ins and outs of a specific job related situation in advance. Life Coaching does not require that the coach should have personal experience of a client's industry or occupation. Indeed it may be that the absence of experience adds to the effectiveness of coaching in this area. A mentor usually knows the answers or the route to the answers. The coach works with the individual so that they can first discover the questions for themselves and then find their own answers.

Question 4: How does Life Coaching work in the business environment?

Life coaching for a busy and successful senior executive may seem an unlikely idea, it is often these very powerful people who can most benefit from the clarity of thought and firmness of purpose that can be derived from Life Coaching. It can also be very valuable in enabling individuals to differentiate between what their business card says they are and what they really are, or would like to be. Being successful in business does not necessarily mean being successful in many other important areas of life. This is what Life Coaching can enable the senior executive to achieve. Here is an article which will help you to understand what coaches do and how much they charge! http://ow.ly/tv81R

As with Life Coaching, Business Coaching focuses goals. With Business Coaching however, the range of these goals is often restricted to those which match the overall goals of the organisation, as they apply to a team or work-group. With Business Coaching the aim is to ensure that the members of a work-group have a full understanding of the corporate goals and the targets of the particular projects to which they contribute. Life coaches work with each individual and focus more on enabling the individual to understand how they can best fulfill their own and the organisation's objectives. This approach often highlights personal development areas that not only allow the individual to make a stronger contribution to the organisation it enables them to be more successful, a more valuable team-player and serves to increase their personal level of happiness and satisfaction. The overall effect is of benefit to both the individual and the company and serves to boost productivity, job satisfaction, teamwork and staff-retention.

Question 5: How do I get myself a Coach?

Well, it's very simple, visit the Achievement Specialist Individual Life Coaching pages. That will explain how it all works and link you up with our coaches. If you have doubts about the whole process then there are a couple of other things you could do first. You could, for example, ask around your friends to see if you can find someone who has tried coaching and ask them for their recommendations. Our coaches will typically have numbers for you to call and will sometimes offer a free initial consultation. Don't think you have to go with the first person you talk to. You can get in contact with as many as you like before you decide on your coach. It is always your choice, though it is the coaches' aim to enable you to make choices that are better for you.

Question 6: Could I be a Coach?

In all honesty, it depends on you. We don't apply any particular restrictions on who can and cannot become a life coach, we do ask all our applicants to provide us with a brief biography and we always have a telephone interview with them to explore their backgrounds, their motivations, their aims and ambitions, their level of commitment and most of all, their understanding of what it means to be a life coach and their willingness to undertake the responsibilities that coaching involves. If you are open minded and interested in people for themselves, and you truly want to enable others to achieve their own goals, then you are most of the way there. You don't need academic qualifications, you must have passion, be able to communicate clearly and be able to engage with your clients without getting too personally involved. We have a short Life Coach Quiz which might help you decide. Remember! Being a practicing Life Coach means you are running your own business too, so you need to think about that as part of the planning exercise. You will need somewhere quiet where you can talk to your clients on the phone and where you can make notes on each client conversation and somewhere secure to keep your client files and other paperwork.

Question 7: Do you accept anybody onto the course?

No, running a coaching business in not for everyone and the interview process (see above) will help to establish if you have what it takes to succeed. Achievement Specialists asks that all course applicants complete the booking form, send in an up-to-date Curriculum Vitae and pass a telephone-based interview.

Question 8: How long is the Life Coaching course?

The full course usually takes six months, it is done pretty much at your own pace, depending on your personal circumstances. It can be done in three months, the average is between 6 to 12 months, although we do not have a cut off time, which means you can take as long as it takes you. The total study time is about 200 - 350 hours including the pre course study, workshop, home study materials, assignments, 50 coaching hours and final assessment.

Question 9: Is there external accreditation?

Yes, the diploma course has been independently accredited by two separate non-affiliated bodies. This means that the course has academic credibility, it has defined learning outcomes and is professionally assessed by an appropriate and independent third party. Our diploma has been awarded the top grade by International Authority for Professional Coaching & Mentoring (IAPCM). It has also had National Open College Network accreditation.

Question 10: Is there any post-qualification support?

Yes, as a coach who has qualified for the LCH Diploma from Achievement Specialist, you are automatically enrolled in the Achievement Specialists' Achievers Club This gives you access to a range of support services from Achievement Specialists. These include access to telephone or on-line support, Achievers Club discussion forum, master classes, chat room, the ability to download 100's of useful forms and we put all the requests for coaches (paid contracts) in the Achievers Club area. You also have the option of appearing on this site's 'Our Coaches' page and can take advantage of our special web-development offering where we will enable you to develop your own independent web-site, which can be linked from this one as a promotional assist for your coaching practice. Click Here for more information on the Achievers Club

Question 11:Can I make my living as a coach?

Yes, we have coaches who are earning £4,500 per coaching session. Here is an article which will help you to understand what coaches do and how much they charge! http://ow.ly/tv81R . You can work part-time, full-time. Part-time can generate some useful extra revenue, a twenty hour week should give you a good living income. You will need some money to start off; to pay for the course, to advertise and promote yourself, to set up your office, you don't need a great deal in the way of capital investment and we will show you how to find clients and develop your skills.

Corporate coaching and small business coaching are also covered in the diploma course and we show you how to maximize your experience, competencies and skills to build a coaching practice to suit your particular needs which can include all of the areas or as we recommend, a niche area.

The Achievement Specialists LCH Diploma Course provides you with everything you will need to develop a successful practice, provided you have the commitment, drive, application and desire to succeed. Our Achievers Club provides post qualification support, mentor contact and requests/contracts for coaching work but remember your ultimate success is entirely up to you.

Question 12: Will Achievement Specialists help me to set up my business?

Absolutely! We have a specifically designed module on the workshop which covers what you need to do to set up your business practice, which includes fast tract set up strategies and important legal information to save you time researching and enable streamlining of your efforts to facilitate you to be legally 'open for business' when you are ready. We explain the differences between limited or self employed and explain why you might want to do both. Health and safety at work. Insurance to cover your coaching. Information Commissioners Office with regard to data protection registration and much more.

Question 13: Will I need insurance cover?

Yes you will, and we can provide you with details of companies offering low cost cover. We discuss the important aspects of insurance during the course. With you in mind, we have negotiated a heavily discounted insurance scheme with Westminster Indemnity Insurance, which offers excellent cover for low cost. We believe being insured is important and therefore we offer our negotiated rate to all coaches not just the coaches who have carefully selected us as their training provider.

Question 14: Do you offer open days?

Our course is founded on 'The Life Coaching Handbook. Everything you need to be an effective life coach'. You can find out if life coaching is for you, or if you like our style by reading the book for free by visiting a library or buying your own copy for as little as £16.99. Read a FREE chapter which will give you a feel for how Curly presents information and at the same time learn more about coaching. The book includes what is involved in setting up a coaching practice, how to become an outstanding coach using the copy write coaching models, NLP coaching and advanced techniques. It has been a number one bestselling life coaching book since 2003. If you like the book? You will love the course! When you decide to train with us, you can claim your money back or collect a new book at the workshop, which Curly will sign and write a dedication. You can also purchase books where she will put a personal dedication to a company CEO/Director/individual, thus giving you a fantastic gift for your business promotion. Buying the book you get to decide if life coaching really is for you in the comfort of your own home without any sales pressure and you can decide now if Achievement Specialists training style is for you. You also have a bestselling life coaching resource for life!

Extra bonus: Whenever you have a company or individual you want to do business with you can order a discounted copy of 'The Life Coaching Handbook' or 'The Business Coaching Handbook', or 'The Personal Success Handbook' with a personal dedication from Curly and send it as a gift along with your marketing and contact details to your target client. This is an absolutely unique opportunity and many of our coaches use this to leverage their business.

Question 15: What is the real truth about government standards?

Our diploma course has been accredited by the International Authority for Professional Coaching & Mentoring (IAPCM). Recently the Employment National Training Organisation has been working on a government initiative related to coaching and mentoring. National Occupational Standards are about work based learning. Those working to achieve qualifications from NOS (NVQ's, SVQ's or Apprenticeships) must already be doing that job. You cannot train to be, say, a Coach through NSVQ's, but they are a route to formal recognition of the standard you are working to and the level you are working at.' IMPORTANT: The words 'must already be doing that job', is the interesting part about this extract; if you are using this criteria as your deciding factor for your training provider. You can train with us without having to 'be doing the job'.

Question 16: What makes the gold option special?

Our Gold Option is the best value for money on the market today. On top of our highly rated training and support (see website for the long list) you will also receive your own personal professional practicing life coach mentor. Your coach/mentor is not one of our paid employees because we understand you want mentoring from a coach who has qualified and is running a successful practice in their own right. The Gold Option also states exactly how much time you have with your coach (45 minutes for 12 sessions = 9 hours of dedicated tailored mentor coaching) you are not waiting in a queue for a few minutes of irregular time from an employee. You are setting up a practice and deserve to have the support of someone who is running a practice.

Question 17: Worried about which company to train with?

Are you worried about who to trust your future with and which company to train with? You should be! We have been in business since 1997 and cover our courses with a full money back guarantee. The International Authority for Professional Coaching & Mentoring (IAPCM) has given our diploma the top grade in its accreditation. Be cautious, we have heard about training companies who state their course price and if you do not book your course immediately, you are then sent emails offering sponsorship or bursaries with discounts up to 40% off the original course price!! Do not be fooled; you are not the only one who is being offered discounts in this format. Are you happy about this approach, or would you prefer complete transparency when dealing with your training provider? Are they hiding extra charges for certification or marking your work which they do not tell you?

Being pressurized to buy a course?

Therefore BUYER BEWARE! Select your training company carefully and check their integrity. Curly has created a decision matrix for you which is free and it will help you to make your decisions.Decision Matrix

Companies who do not display all their prices on their websites and will not tell you the prices when you inquire, will use manipulating high pressure sales techniques. To find our prices simply select the option and the price is at the bottom of the page. Consider this; if a company does not display course prices or content on the website there can only be one reason. They want to up-sell. Marketing claims of buy now (or within a 2-3 day time frame) and save £thousands, buy now get one free; offers of bursars or sponsorship, which arrive after you have not taken up all the previous offers, merit particular concern. If a sales person questions your belief in yourself during the sale or implies that you may lose your place on the course because you do not trust them, WALK AWAY NOW!

If training companies offer you sales leads, ask if are they prepared to guarantee paid contracts? Also, ask how the contacts are quantified? We could easily offer you sales leads when we do not have to guarantee you will get paid contracts – we only need to go to the telephone directory (is this ethical?). So if you are attracted to these offers, check where the leads come from, how old are the leads, how they have validated the leads, and who else has had the same list of leads. Ask yourself, what else might such a company embellish and how will that affect your training and the support they say is offered?

Remember it is your training, your career and your future, guard it passionately. Caution, if it is made difficult for you to speak to previous delegates (for whatever reason) and/or, you cannot select who you speak to, be wary. Free courses have been used for many years as a platform, a marketing ploy similar to the very successful timeshare selling techniques. If you are truly respected by a training provider they would be willing to tell you all their prices over the telephone before you leave your house! Resist heavy sales approaches and TAKE YOUR TIME. Saving a few pounds now because you feel you will miss a ‘deal’ could cost you much more later, not only in monetary terms, also loss of your valuable never to be returned, time. Remember deals have to be paid for in one way or another – no such thing as a free lunch.

Curly’s expertise and huge success in the coaching field attracts unscrupulous organisations (large and small) who claim association with her or even more outrageous, that she has been trained by them. This is absolutely not true! They are using a form of selling, known as ‘law of social proof’ which lacks the fundamental integrity we believe is at the true core of coaching. Social proof marketing is based on the success of another person or company. How does it work? A rogue company within a market sector will search around for the highest profiled, highly successful or most sought after person or company within that particular market sector. Having selected the victim or target, the rogue trader will claim some form of connection or association with the victim or target. Thus gaining credibility and increasing their sales, solely based on this alleged connection using the other person or company’s fame to promote themselves. This saves the rogue company money, effort spent in creating their own success and at the same time can have a bad effect the originally successful person or company.

Curly is very sorry and saddened that selecting a training provider has now become a tricky and problematic process for you. To assist you in your choice of training provider, she designed a decision matrix tool which will take away the sales hype and leave you with the facts as you want them to be. We wish you great success with your life coaching practice because coaching is the best profession in the world for the coach and the client. Decision Matrix

©2004 Life Coaching Decision Matrix: We have designed a form to enable you decide between training providers. It is based on the briefing matrix in 'The Life Coaching Handbook' and adapted to assist you with choosing a training course best suited to your needs. Simply click here and print the form. You will find the easy to use instructions at the top of the form. Please call us on our free phone 08... if you have any difficulties printing the form and we will post one out to you. Good luck and enjoy using the matrix. Decision Matrix

Question 18: Unsure, if you really want to become a life coach? Call 01264326229 and we will answer all questions you have and we will not sell to you.