How (And Why) I Started My Coaching Business Without Certification
I love to help people. I am a nurturer, a fixer, a peacemaker by nature. I’m a 9 in the Enneagram and an ISFJ in the Myers Briggs. I get told all the time that I have a way of easily connecting with people and making them feel comfortable. I really just like to make people happy!
When I was really little I always thought I’d grow up and my job would just be to help people. Not really sure what sort of delusional world I was living in where that was a job that could afford me a decent lifestyle as well, but, hey, kids have wild imaginations.
The crazy thing is, that IS what I do for a living now. My wild kid imagination wasn’t so off.
With my career, I get to help people achieve their dreams. I get to help people improve their lives, their relationships and their health.
I never even thought a career like this existed until I created it for myself.
But I didn’t leap into it right away.
It actually took years for me to figure it out. And it took a lot of pain, mistakes, trial and error.
And first it started with me being stuck. Stuck in a career I thought would bring me meaning but just simply…didn’t. Stuck feeling disconnected to my purpose. Stuck wondering if this was all my life was supposed to amount to.
Then I got sick. Really sick.
My life was completely torn away from me. I couldn’t work, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t even leave my bathtub, the only place where the pain wasn’t too great to bear, for the better part of an entire year. Until I reached a point where I realized I couldn’t live like this anymore. I knew this wasn’t all life had in store for me. I felt a calling for more.
To put it simply, I got sick from all the stress of feeling stuck and not taking any action towards what I truly wanted to do with my life: help people.
Part of my business is helping women uncover their Core Purpose Values: what drives them and makes them feel happy and whole. Two of my top CPV’s are freedom and service. And I wasn’t living into either of those values when I got sick.
While I was sick I started discovering a new side of myself. Because I was sick of being sick and feeling stuck and I knew I was ready for change. Getting sick was the catalyst for me.
But before I took the leap of faith to pursue my dream of helping others and creating freedom for myself, I started looking for examples of others doing it. To prove it was really possible. And I found that proof.
I found that proof in well known mommy bloggers who shared their home life with their audience and made money doing it. In digital nomads traveling around the world making money consulting and freelancing, sharing their exotic, luxurious destinations all over my Instagram feed.
Then came the coaches. The online coaches who were starting to show up everywhere for me. People who were literally transforming others’ lives –– helping, serving, and creating an impact in the world while creating financial freedom for themselves.
Who WERE these people?
I wanted their freedom. Their flexibility. Their ability to travel. To stay at home with my kids one day. To do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and not think about the bills I’d owe.
But I automatically placed these people in a league higher than me. I fell victim to the false belief that they had something special that I didn’t have that got them to where they were.
I started to believe that I just wasn’t qualified to be a coach like them. Coaches need certifications, right?
I wouldn’t be able to help anyone… what did I know?! I wasn’t certified in anything, I definitely didn’t have near enough knowledge to help anyone with anything. Did I…?
Well, I did, I just didn’t know it at the time. The truth is, I was scared. I was hiding, thinking I didn’t have enough experience or have what it takes to actually start coaching people.
And I truly believed that until I went to an online business event where I sat in a room full of other entrepreneurs who were just like me, sharing their stories.
They had the same fears, worries, limiting beliefs about their qualifications as I did. But yet many of them were simply getting started. They were just out there, practicing, learning, growing, experimenting, and making money. At that event I learned that the successful entrepreneurs were really just like me, only with a few years more experience under their belt.
In other words, they were just like me only they had already gotten started. They started before they were “ready.” They started scared.
Truth be told, the coaching industry is like the wild wild west right now. There really are no rules or regulations, there’s no degree that ordains you a better coach than someone else.
And there are plenty of coaches out there with certifications who are terrible coaches, just like there are plenty of college graduates with degrees in engineering who are terrible engineers.
A degree or piece of paper is not what makes someone great at what they do. It’s their dedication, their passion, their willingness to learn and grow.
So when one of my clients comes to me upset, buying into the belief that she’s not ready or qualified enough to be a coach simply because one of her friends told her she needs to be certified, it really boils my blood.
It reminds me of when I was just getting started and felt shame around coaching others without being certified. It reminds me that there are thousands of people who want to be coaches but are getting shamed out of pursuing it.
Needing certification to be a coach is such BS and here’s why.
Imagine that you‘re out in the middle of the ocean. Your ship just sank and you need rescuing. A helicopter with the rescue team flies overhead and they’re shouting down at you.
“Hey, do you want a life raft, a life preserver, a rope, someone to come down and get you, or do you want us to send for a Coast Guard boat to come?”
You’re not going to care which method they use to save you. All you care about is that you are getting saved.
The same goes for your clients and future clients. They don’t care what method you use to help transform or save them. They only care that they get help.
Your coaching methodology is the life-raft, the preserver, the coast guard, the rope, etc. All that matters to them is that you have a method that works to get them the results they want. It can come from a certification, sure, that’s perfectly well and good! But it doesn’t have to.
You can create your own methodology with your own knowledge and experience that lives right in that head of yours and then prove it with your first few clients. If it needs tweaking, you tweak it.
This is what I like to call your PCM: Proprietary Coaching Method. It’s not something you need to get certified in. It’s a method you develop yourself by putting all the knowledge, experience and passions buried in your head down onto paper in a step-by-step process.
It’s something I walk my clients through with my coaching, and it something you can do to transform others’ lives without a certification.
I’m so grateful that I’ve come far enough in my business now that I get to remind my clients of what I’ve built with no certification. I get to show them that it’s possible to be an amazing coach, help others, make an impact in the world and create a good income for yourself without a degree or certification.
Look, your LIFE is your degree. Your experiences are your certification. And your own growth is your proof. Proof that you can help others.
You simply just need to be one step ahead of the people you’re trying to help. You don’t have to have it all figured out. You don’t have to be at the end of your journey.
You just need to be passionate about what you do, feel called to help others, and be willing to get better at what you do through investing in your own learning, coaches and mentors. You can’t expect to be a good coach if you yourself aren’t willing to be coached.
Will I get certified someday? Probably. I am constantly wanting to expand my knowledge and toolkit as a coach to master my craft. Certification in something like NLP or spiritual psychology definitely calls to me. But it’s not something I needed to get started. And it’s not something you need to get started either.
I learned how to coach through getting coached myself and by taking what I learned from my mentors, my life, books and podcasts and putting it into my PCM.
So my recommendation? Start practicing on a few friends as clients, start getting out there and coaching and even see if it feels like a good fit.
Go experiment and have fun developing your own PCM. And if it works, no one will care if you’re certified or not!
And if you get stuck along the way, come find me and I can help you with your PCM and coaching biz.