woman looking at a chalkboard with business terms written on itI was talking to a management consultant recently, and the conversation dipped into the coaching arena. You see, this consultant has more than 25 years of experience consulting businesses, government entities and schools. Yet, he also acts as a “coach” with many of the trainings he conducts through his consulting business.

When reviewing his bio, I wondered why he never thought to include “life coach” in his credentials. His response:

How does one technically become a coach?

This question made me think. Although he’s done many personal and professional trainings (in a range of areas), this businessman hasn’t been certified by the International Coach Federation or the Association for Coaching, to name a couple.

Yet, with his education and immense experience in training, coaching, consulting and professional development, I would deem him fit to boast the title of “coach” or “life coach.”

The convo led me to dig a little deeper into this subject. I don’t know about you, but nowadays it seems like every time I turn around someone claims to be a life coach.

When I see someone on TV or pick up a new book and research the author, 7 times out of 10 (as of late) the person’s bio includes the title “life coach.”

According to my good friend Wikipedia, “the first use of the term coaching to mean an instructor or trainer arose around 1830 in Oxford University slang for a tutor who “carries” a student through an exam.Coaching thus has been used in language to describe the process used to transport people from where they are, to where they want to be.”

And this process of “transporting” people from their current to their desired status has blossomed into a billion dollar industry. In his article, “Top 10 professional life coaching myths,” Robert Pagliarini notes that the Harvard Business Review reported that coaching is a $1 billion a year industry. And IBISWorld’s latest Business Coaching market research report notes a $9 billion revenue for the industry in 2014.

Although business is booming, many people have been and continue to be skeptical about hiring a life coach—and one of the reasons is, as stated above, because it seems like just about anyone can call him or herself a coach.

In the same coaching myths article, Pagliarini supports this notion when explaining “Myth #1: Life coaches are professionals who can help you achieve your goals.” He writes, “One of the problems in the coaching industry is that anyone can call themselves a professional coach, life coach, personal coach, etc. Jennifer Corbin, the president of Coach U, one of the largest and oldest coach training organizations in the world, has said:

Technically, anyone can hang up a shingle as coaching is not regulated. Many people ‘coaching’ have no idea what coaching is as they haven’t been trained or haven’t been coached by a professionally trained and credentialed coach. There are ‘schools’ that will offer a credential after three hours of training and people read a book or watch a TV program and decide ‘I’m a coach!’ As a result, the quality of coaches vary dramatically.”

Another problem is that life coaches can be expensive. Harvard Business Review explains that the median hourly rate for a life coach (in 2009) was $500/hr.

I would love to receive career advice and have help getting from my current location to my desired personal and professional goals, but at that rate (which I’m sure has increased over the years) hiring a life coach to achieve this isn’t likely.

So, for those of us who cannot afford the services of these coaches and because, today, many with a little experience slap themselves with a “life coach” label anyway, I thought we could try our hand at being our own life’s coach.

And to help us do so, below are eight questions to help assess your personal and professional life and goals. Think about each one carefully to make an honest assessment of your current status.

Note: These questions are simply to get you thinking and won’t actually provide you with a step-by-step approach to reach your goals. Once you answer the questions, hopefully you’ll have a better understanding of your current status and then can proceed to create your own step-by-step plan to transport yourself from where you are to where you want to be.

1. How are you currently meeting/achieving your personal, professional and business life goals?

2. What level of discipline do you possess to manage your goal ?

3. How do you evaluate your current personal and professional state of business readiness?

4. To thy own self be true: How unique, creative and/accomplished do you believe you really are?

5. In what ways are you helping or hindering your life’s success with your current skill and mindset?

6. What are meaningful and authentic ways you can express/manifest your gifts, talent and skills?

7. How accomplished are you relative to effectively influencing others?

8. How effective are you in managing yourself and your career in a challenging, global, diverse workplace?

To further help you become your own life coach, conduct research on this area. A few examples include:

How to Be Your Own Life Coach in 4 Easy Steps

Be Your Own Life Coach

10 Ways to Be Your Own Life Coach

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