Become a Life Coach and an Integral Coach

As Director of Enrollment at New Ventures West, a question I am often asked is, “Is this a training to become a life coach or is it a training to become an executive coach?” My answer is “yes … and no.” Many people approach our training with the intention to become a life coach or an executive coach (and they do!), but they also become an Integral Coach.  

Become a life coach or become an Integral Coach: what’s the difference?

One of the missions of Integral Coaching is to draw together that which has been disintegrated. This begins in the intake session, during which the Integral Coach does her best to learn as much as they can about her client and the client’s world. The coach is interested in what is happening at home, at work, with the client’s physical practices, in their social relationships, and in their spiritual life. The coach will be curious about the culture the client is living in, as well as how the client relates to their environment, finances, and technology. When the coach assess the client’s development, it will be across a range of concerns and competencies, allowing the coach to form a full picture of this unique human being they have come to coach. The coach might go very far afield from the “issue” that brought the client to coaching in the first place.

It is only once a full picture of this individual has been formed that the coach turns towards that issue that prompted coaching. Now, with a full and vibrant understanding of the client, the coach asks themselves questions like: 

Why is this issue so difficult for my client?
What interpretation of the world leaves them unable to generate the solution to this problem on their own?
What skills and competencies would assist them in developing a more powerful interpretation?
What activities can I have them engage in that would develop those skills and competencies?

From there, a customized development program is created. It takes a vivid understanding of the client to be able to generate a program that will take deep root in a client’s life and flower. When we are able to do so, we can offer a client something that can shift their life in a way that is transformative.

The person-first approach is essential

When we train to coach a person in a particular area (for example, when we train to become a life coach and coach people facing career, personal, or professional conflicts, or when we train to become an executive coach working with people in C-suites) we risk training blindspots into ourselves. We risk learning to approach people as if they will always be in a certain developmental scenario, with a set of competencies, needing a particular approach. When we do this, we cannot see people as they truly are. We miss all the ways they are wonderfully strange and special, requiring unique developmental interventions.

One of the most important things I learned in my own training as an Integral Coach was “You learn to coach freshly each time you sit down across from your client.” This was a way of saying that we can’t come to our clients—even ones we had worked with for months—with any preconceived ideas about what they need. Instead, our best approach is to develop our flexibility, awareness, and deep resourcefulness so that we can respond authentically in the moment to whatever arises. When I am able to trust in my capacity to do this, it feels like being held aloft on a great, warm, strong current.

Flexibility in your professional options

I invite you into the possibility of a certification course that isn’t about just becoming a life coach or becoming an executive coach, but rather teaches methodology that encompasses both—and more. Integral Coaches can (and do!) become life coaches, executive coaches, financial coaches, career coaches, relationship coaches, and beyond. If your goal is to become a life coach, training as an Integral Coach will offer you a rigorous methodology that prepares you for working with anyone so that you will experience tremendous flexibility in your professional options post-certification. If you are interested in learning more, please contact me or join a free event hosted by a member of our faculty.