Reckless or Rebels? My honest and upfront answer about my experience in the coaching industry.
There are a variety of organizations and programs being formed, even as you read this! All so people with a heart to serve can purchase permission, learn something, and walk away with a certificate. In truth, there's no ONE -WAY to become a certified life coach. So, why did I choose this and how did I do it?
After the loss of mother in 2018 I found myself in the throws of grief, postpartum depression, and identity crisis. I had no one in my life with real respect, or experience, in mental health. I had many people in my life who labeled me as dramatic, angry, and overly sensitive. I'm not saying they were wrong, but I knew I wanted to change how these emotions ran my life, but wasn't really sure how to do it myself. It wasn't until I had a mental breakdown running in the middle of an ice storm, that I thought, "I don't want to die and I know I don't want to un-alive myself so what am I doing here?". This was an eye opening experience for me because of what happened next would change the course of my life.
Newly aware of the conversation in my head, I thought, "if I can slow down and think that, what else can I think of to change all of this?". In that moment I ran home, slammed open our broken metal screen door and threw myself onto the couch. I remember my husband watching me in disbelief as I grabbed my phone, because it didn't seem like a priority after my epic main-character-meltdown.
Hey Google, How Do I Change The Way I Think?
I opened my phone and googled how to change my thoughts. What happened to me was profound and I needed to know how to do it again! It's seems so simple, but I had never observed my thoughts before like this. This is when I discovered Brooke Castillo's, The Life Coach School Podcast specifically, Episode #94 How To Practice Thinking.
I became aware for the first time in my life. I learned that I could choose what I thought and in turn, it could change how I felt, what I did, and the results I created in my life!
Shortly after discovering this life changing podcast, I found my mother's last written journal entry where I read the last sentence she'd ever written. Two days before my mother passed away of stage 4 lung cancer that spread to her brain, she wrote,
"I just wonder if I've done enough yet with my life."
In this moment I felt the familiarity of wanting to drop to my knees and sob, but something else happened. I chose a new thought, and that was, what can I make this mean?.
This was a new "thought strategy" I quickly learned from the podcast. And on this day, I chose to make it mean the most powerful lesson my mom would ever teach me. Immediately after, I began to live my life with purpose and intention, never taking my thoughts for granted again, and I wanted to continue growing. I began taking walks every day listening to Brooke's podcast where she introduced me to Tony Robbins, who then Introduced me to Les Brown, who introduced me to Zig Ziglar, who introduced me to Jim Rohn and the intro's went on and on. Soon enough it felt like my soul had awakened and I was reminded of a childhood dream of mine to become a motivational speaker. One that was dimmed by forceful and unsolicited advice to "be more realistic".
As I sunk my feet down deep into my journey I learned that life coaching was like 1:1 motivational speaking, and the best coaches taught step by step strategies that people could really integrate into their lives.
What a dream this could be, I thought, Could I really do this?
Would I, Should I, & How-To Become A Life Coach
You know it. I googled that next. Little did I know Brooke would also have this topic covered. Soon, I learned that there was no governing body and that I could, indeed, become a life coach with the wave of my smartphone and a single decision to say it out loud! What?!
I learned that I could take a 30 minute test and print off a certificate. I learned that I didn't need anything at all. Then I learned about the International Coaching Federation and the large corner of the internet they encompassed by charging and getting paid to dub new programs "ICF approved". I learned that this consisted of a minimum 6 month program if you wanted the International Coaching Federation to bat an eye at you. This organization is about as official as the International Shoe Lace Collecting Federation that I just made up in my head.
With that being said, Brooke Castillo also has a certification school that she created called, The Life Coach School. Unfortunately, at the time it was one that I could not afford. Eventually my insecurities led me to a much cheaper ICF approved program that my broke-ass-self bought for six grande, split into monthly payments over 5 years.
I was determined to do this, be successful at it, and then do Brooke Castillo's program when I could afford it one day. I started the program, and soon realized that I was completely on my own, everything I watched watched was pre-recorded. I found myself coaching my peers in "practice exercises" and soon realized I wasn't getting ANY help in return. I was putting out more than I got back and receiving maybe 5 bland questions in return as they followed the schools guideline script. Defeated, I left the program that consisted of me fast forwarding through pre-recorded lessons and checking off common sense "tests" that no one checked anyway. I was not learning, I was not growing, I wasn't getting anywhere. I was merely someone's paycheck. Gross.
Jess, The Life Coach : Gone Rouge
I had previously gotten my real estate license online in an effort to help bring income in. As a new agent, which I only did for the money, I began coaching for free on the side. Growing a more focused, confident, and healthier mind; I sold enough homes to quit real estate, build our first home, and go coaching full time within 6 months.
My quality of thoughts really were the key to everything
Thought work, motivational videos, and podcasts had become my daily guide for living and growing.
Brooke had the audacity to tell me I could do whatever I wanted, and so my friends, I quite literally, did.
Regardless of the eye rolls and judgement I got, I went all in on calling myself a life coach.
Braiding together the best teaching points from the greatest masters in the personal development industry, I began organically developing my own coaching methods. I began curating what worked for people like me.
That summer a Tony Robbins & Dean Graziosi product, at the time called, The Knowledge Business Blueprint, found me as I scrolled through YouTube videos for motivational talks to walk and listen to. I clicked, I watched, I bought. THEY GOT ME!
Two thousand dollars later I had a program that would help me organize all of my coaching topics into an organized program. After which, I was thrust into an online Facebook community. It was full of people who wanted to know my progress, my success, and HOW I got there.
Once again, I was given permission to do what I wanted.
Dean and Tony taught me that so long as I was ANY amount of steps ahead of ANYONE else, I could teach them how to do it. SOLD. It was through sharing my story repeatedly with vigor and the real belief that greatness was within me that I was hand picked from the community of 40,000 entrepreneurs for a special opportunity. I'd be flown out to coach Tony & Dean's personal KBB workshop clients in Arizona just 6 months later.
Holy Shit, Brooke Was Right!
There I was, in a paid-for hotel room, looking over Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, AZ as it hit me; I'm REALLY DOING THIS AND BEING PAID FOR IT.
I was caught somewhere between pride and impostor syndrome when I chose the thought, I deserve to be here.
I began coaching more often and soon enough my self-taught skills and creative strengths fused together to become what people know now as, Coach Curator. Sure, I was a life coach, but also had the skills to help people figure out how they could conceptualize their own business, and get it off the ground with an overarching digital presence for authority in their space.
This was knowledge I earned by doing it myself.
I got the validation I was looking for from Arizona and moved fully into my own clientele source. It was there that I got in touch with how far I could go as a coach in the industry and for the first time it was, real.
" I saw how I could impact the lives of women around the world and it was clear to me that it was going to take continued dedication and growth."
As I grew my success, quality of life, personal goals, and relationships I had an aching reminder telling me that I still wanted to do #BrookeCastillo's program. If I wanted to reach women the way that I needed to. I needed to look at Brooke for what she was: "an example what's possible". After all, every Thursday when a new podcast dropped, I was still learning, still laughing, and still being called out 3 years later.
In those 3 years I had gone from stay-at-home-mom in a run down spider/ant/mold infested duplex with college dropout status stamped on my forehead, to a stable self-made career woman, in a beautiful home, with a healthy family that actually took vacations, what?!
Yes, Lot's of disbelief and ceiling breaking had happened.
It was on my treadmill listening to the latest podcast episode, when I learned that she was inviting people to the next co-hort of The Life Coach School Certification Program. I finally had the money, and nothing was stopping me, so why not?
That One Time I Fulfilled My Dreams & Joined The Life Coach School
I did it because I wanted to, not because I had to do it. I did it because I COULD. Everything had come full circle. I was enrolled in the program that I promised myself, one day I'd be able to do. It's no secret that this program is just over 20K, so why do it if I already had a successful business? The answer, to put it simply, was because she was consistent.
She never let me down in character, or in teaching values. Even her free value was a LARGE proponent of the success that I had.
Would it be better than the ICF approved program I did just 3 years before? Who Knew.
But, Yes. Yes it would. How? Real Coaching. Real Accountability. Endless Value.
Accountability That Matters In 3 MAJOR Ways :
I paid either upfront or monthly, but the entire amount was to be paid in full in just 6 months. If I quit the program, I still had to pay the full price. This made it to where I committed and didn't put running my current business in front of this process, which I was tempted to do at times. I remained fully dedicated the whole time because $20K is a big factor in play for someone not to be fully immersed, am I right?
I was taught and coached live on camera, with an LCS Certified Master Coach Instructor, every single week! Same day, same time, same hour. My instructor ALWAYS showed up, taught with passion and conviction, and never made me feel wrong. I was expected to coach my peers live during the calls and held accountable for when I didn't have space for the client in mind. A beautiful way to become a coach with integrity and know you'll always have your client's back. It was here I learned an implemented the real difference between business coaching and LIFE coaching.
I was expected to coach on my own time, record it, utilizing the strategies, tools, and ideas taught in class every week, not to mention the amazing juicy class recordings released weekly of exclusive content taught by Brooke. Not only did I have to create these recordings, but I had to submit them to a file to have them looked over at any given time, which really keeps online learning students on their toes, trust me!
COACHES & The Benefits of Certification Programs : Impact, Abundance, & Accountability
"In September of 2021, I hit $111K , which I give major credit to the LCS program for."
I was 1 month shy of certification with LCS when I hit my first ever independently made 6 figure year, woah. I'm still excited to type that out! With the tools I had access to inside of the vault, of Self Coaching Scholars (an automatic membership perk when you are the certification program) I was able to continue to develop my coaching skills further, manage my mind, and my evolve my business strategies.
I often give credit and confidently refer people all the time to the LCS programs because of the out pouring of consistent messaging, amazing tools, variety of learning options, topics covered, INCLUSIVITY, and mainly, I was able to create real change in my life with it.
Is it expensive, sure. But I believe that people with the audacity that they can be a successful life coach will make it happen if they are committed. After all...that's what I did.
Have other people had MAJOR personal and professional success utilizing ICF programs? Absolutely, but I'm aware of how I learn. I'm a sponge, with diagnosed ADHD, and because of that I need to be held accountable when it comes to massive change in my life.
So, If you're looking for a program to be certified with, I find it helpful to ask yourself these 5 questions:
Why am I choosing this program?
Do I think this program will advance my already natural drive for coaching?
How will this help me, help other people?
How will this program hold me accountable?
What's my ROI, or Return On Investment?
If you're in the market for a coach and wondering about their credentials and integrity, I find it helpful to ask yourself THIS set of 5 questions:
What specific change am I looking for?
Does this coach have experience in this area?
Do they have more than 5 testimonials?
Determine this: What's the change you're looking for? Is it worth the price?
How will this coach show up, communicate, and be accountable to you personally?
The Coaching Industry Is Saturated, They Said...So, what.
In the end it's up to YOU to define what you're looking for, to implement standards by which you live, work, and buy with.
Right now, it doesn't make any coach, any less special because of the perception that the "coaching industry is saturated".
In my personal opinion, it's not. It's special, growing, and here's why.
The world is growing, and people want to evolve in many ways. Coaches are the portal for helping others facilitate change in their lives in a variety of ways. And as long as there are people, there are people that are going to want to create change in their lives, and as long as their are people wanting to create change in their lives, then there's a market for coaches.
Whether you're looking to become a coach or get coached.
Look for Real People, identify Real Coaching, and don't settle for anything less than Real Results.
Your time matters to me, so, thanks for reading,
All my best,
Jess, The Life Coach