Want to hear Lumia co-founders John and Noelle discuss this topic in detail? Tune into The Everything Life Coaching podcast companion episode to this article!
How To Talk To Your Family About Becoming A Coach
If you’re thinking about becoming a life coach, there may be some people in your life who have strong opinions about it! That’s because any big decision you make in life is bound to have ripple effects. And when it comes to what you do for a living, those ripples can touch your partner, family, or other members of your household.
If you’ve tried broaching the subject and aren’t getting much support in response, know that you’re not the first aspiring life coach to encounter this. Consider it an occupational hazard of breaking free from the mold that society has set out for you!
Remember, too, that a lack of enthusiasm from friends and family is often coming from a place of genuine caring… even if it may feel misplaced or unhelpful. So let’s talk about what may be behind their hesitation, and how you can meet it in a way that feels most productive for you both.
Objection #1: It’s too risky
When someone is thinking about making a career change, it’s not uncommon for their partner or family members to express concern or hesitation. Depending upon the stage of life that you’re in, those objections and obstacles may show up differently.
For aspiring coaches who are early in their careers, parents and mentors often suggest taking a more conventional career path in professions that are familiar and predictable. The Matra = Play it safe.
For mid-career professionals, the concerns are typically related to maintaining what you've already built. The Mantra = Don’t rock the boat.
If this sounds like what you’ve been hearing, understand that it’s really not about coaching. It’s about risk. And if their underlying issue is an aversion to taking risks, these concerns will come up whether you’re thinking about a career in life coaching, or something else entirely.
Many people are concerned about taking risks. But when we avoid risk at all cost, you know what we’re often haunted by instead?
The career advice website Zety recently surveyed more than 1,000 people about their professional regrets, and here’s what they found.
Top 10 career regrets:
- Not taking more initiative
- Not having enough mentorship or guidance
- Playing it safe or not taking more chances
- Not maintaining their network
- Not quitting a job they disliked sooner
- Not negotiating hard enough for raises
- Not focusing enough on advancing their career
- Not networking enough
- Not negotiating a higher starting salary
- Not working harder in school
In relation to those regrets, a whopping 78% of survey respondents indiciate they wished they'd taken more risks along the way. If they could do it all over again, here's what they'd do differently.
Top 10 career risks people wish they had taken:
- Pursuing a passion (28%)
- Negotiating a higher starting salary (26%)
- Negotiating for a raise (24%)
- Going back to school (21%)
- Starting a business (20%)
- Changing fields or industries (16%)
- Speaking up about a problem at work (12%)
- Choosing a challenging profession or field (12%)
- Quitting a job they disliked (12%)
- Moving for work (12%)
Objection #2: Not enough information
Here's the deal: what lurks beneath most of the concerns you're likely to hear from your friends and family is FEAR. A fear of the unknown, financial instability, or of change.
These fears are natural, and to be expected. If you express an interest in life coaching and aren’t met with immediate enthusiasm from the people around you, don’t lose heart. It doesn’t necessarily mean they will never get on board. It just means you have some work to do!
Common questions posed by loved ones often include:
- Is coaching a viable career path?
- How much will training cost, and can we afford it?
- Will we be able to cover basic living expenses while you transition?
- How much of your time will this take? How will the family be impacted?
- But what about… (your existing career, other things you’ve tried in the past, etc.)?
In order to bring your partner or family into alignment with your intention to become a life coach, you’ll need to address these questions effectively. Meet your loved ones exactly where they're at, and they in turn will be more likely to listen to what you have to say.
Later in this article, we’ll cover strategies for approaching those conversations productively. But before you jump into The Big Talk, it helps to really know where you’re at first.
Clarify Your Intentions
Whether or not you anticipate resistance to the idea of becoming a life coach, it’s helpful to be clear about your own motivations. The following exploration can help prepare you to talk about your desire to get into coaching with passion and conviction!
What’s your “WHY”?
A great coach is someone who is in partnership as their clients set goals, provides motivation, support and accountability. They're passionate about helping others, future-focused and always learning and growing.
People who enroll in Lumia’s life coach training program typically have a strong desire to improve themselves and a calling to do this work. They often tell us that they’ve been coaching informally and having these conversations for years, and now want to take it to the next level with professional training and support.
If you feel the pull to do this, then you are probably in the right place!
- Why do you want to become a coach?
- What is it about coaching that draws you in?
- What difference do you hope to make - for yourself, and for others?
- How does the coaching profession feed your dreams, and express your personal values?
What is your definition of coaching?
The coaching industry is vast, and there are many pathways you can take. When you spell out what coaching means to you at an early stage, it helps provide more clarity around what you’re hoping to achieve. Your answers to the following questions may influence what you look for in a life coach training program, as well as the coaching methods and techniques you most want to learn.
There are many flavors of coaching: executive, career transitions, health and wellness, sexuality, interpersonal relationships, parenting, spirituality, sobriety coaching and much more!
- Are there particular coaching niches that you feel drawn to?
- What do your skills, interests, expertise, and passion lend themselves to?
- Are there coaches out there who are doing what you want to do? Are there examples you are inspired by?
Having some ideas about where you’d like to take your coaching practice - however rough - can be helpful when talking to your family too! When you offer others a clear picture of what a career in coaching can look like, it demonstrates the viability of this profession. Providing examples of how your existing experiences intersect with coaching, and the career pathways you can take in the future, helps to dissolve uncertainty about whether coaching is a “real job.”
To learn more about the options available to you within the coaching industry, check out our resource guide: Careers in Life Coaching: Exploring Options & Opportunities
What's your vision for your life?
- When you imagine your best possible future, where do you see yourself in five years?
- Can you picture yourself as a coach?
- What does a typical day in your business look like? How about an average week?
- Do you imagine yourself running your own business, or putting your coaching skills to work within a larger company?
- How might this vision impact your happiness and overall quality of life - both for yourself, and for your family?
Getting from where you are today to where you’d like to be in the future often requires a series of small, steady steps. Holding a clear vision that includes as much detail as possible is often what helps us stay the course when we meet resistance along the way.
Really spend some time imagining your desired future state. Write it down. Consider what concrete, steady actions you’d like to take toward achieving your goal of becoming a coach, and what resources and support you may need from your loved ones in order to get there.
Future visioning is itself a powerful coaching technique that you’ll likely use with clients down the road. To learn more about how and why it works, check out our blog and accompanying podcast with Lumia Coaching co-founders John Kim and Noelle Cordeaux: Crafting A Future Vision To Serve You.
What are YOU most concerned about?
Odds are, your family won’t be the only ones who have questions! If you’re like most people embarking upon a career change, you’re likely grappling with fears and concerns of your own. Exploring your own uncertainties, and how you’d like to meet them, will help you to better understand, empathize with, and speak to the concerns that your family may also hold.
Many aspiring life coaches have a least one of the following concerns:
- You may have already achieved a level of professional expertise or income in another field that feels difficult to walk away from.
- You have responsibilities to consider: rent or a mortgage to pay, kids, planning for retirement, or other important obligations.
- Perhaps you’re flying solo, without a partner to financially assist with your transition.
- Maybe you’ve always worked for an employer, and the idea of starting your own business is daunting.
What are your biggest fears or concerns? Take some time to think them through. Consider where you may need to gather more facts or information in order to address them. Some articles that might be helpful include:
- 6 Fears Every Aspiring Life Coach Must Face
- Second Act: Making A Mid-Career Transition into Life Coaching
Who’s Buy-In Do You Need?
Once you’ve taken time to clarify your dreams, intentions, and motivations you’re ready for the next step! Consider who is likely to be most impacted by your desire to become a coach, and how. These are the people you’ll want to be talking to.
For each person on your list, think about the following:
- How is this person directly impacted by my decision to become a coach?
- What obligations (financial, family, household, and otherwise) do we share?
- What concerns might they reasonably have?
- Is it my responsibility to meet those concerns?
- If they do not support me, am I able to move forward without that support? If so, how? If not, why not?
At this stage of the game, it’s helpful to be aware of the difference between people whose support you truly need in order to move forward, and those whose approval it would simply be nice to have.
In a recent blog, Lumia alum Joy Diwa talks about how she handled her parent’s reaction when she told them she was becoming a coach. Joy's story offers a powerful example of some of the complexities within our close relationships, and how she internally navigated cultural conditioning and her parent’s disapproval. You can check it out here: Coaching Yourself Through Cultural Guilt and Shame.
Having “The Talk”
Odds are, you’ll probably have more than one of these conversations on your journey to becoming a coach. There are likely to be several important decision points along the way, from an initial desire to get coach training, to later stages such as launching a coaching business, or leaving your existing job to pursue coaching. So pace yourself, and take it one step at a time!
When talking to your partner or loved ones, consider the following approach.
1. Share your dream.
- Explain your vision, and why it’s important to you.
- Address the positive impact you believe it can make for you, and for them.
2. If you need their support to move forward, state the request clearly.
Examples might include:
- I’d like to do a coach training program, and will need you to take some extra responsibilities around the house/with the kids/etc while I’m in school. Are you willing to do that?
- I’d like to shift to working part time while I develop my coaching business. Can we take a look at ways to adjust our family finances to make this happen?
3. Ask what questions or concerns they have, and really listen to the response.
- Validate their point of view, even if you don’t share it.
- Where they express concerns that you also have, acknowledge that!
4. Find out what additional information is needed
- If concerns or questions came up during the conversation, how do you plan to address them?
- What’s the next step?
Want Some Extra Support?
Our admissions team has conversations with aspiring coaches just like you every day. We’re here to answer your questions, provide additional resources, and to walk through strategies for productively engaging your family in the process! Schedule a call for a no-obligation conversation to learn more about our Life Coach Training Program, and whether becoming a coach is the right path for you.