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The life coach industry is relatively new, so it has no regulation as of 2011. This means Milwaukee-area coaches get to decide for themselves how to set up shop, what to charge and what training will build on their existing strengths to make them good coaches. It sounds like a challenge, but it is empowering, which is exactly what this helping profession is all about. A basic coach training course gives you enough insight to get started seeing clients, but as long as you are coaching, you will continue to learn and grow.
Talk to life coaches already working in Milwaukee or surrounding towns to find out how they got their start. As of 2011, life coaching is a profession that has no requirements, like a degree or certification. This means anyone desiring to be a life coach can try to get clients. The International Coach Federation can help you find nearby coaches who might be willing to advise a newbie.
Explore coach training programs, both near Milwaukee and via distance learning. If you lack a background in a helping profession like social work or career counseling, coach training will help get you up to speed, so you can be competitive in the market. Chicago's Wright Leadership Institute offers classes in Milwaukee.
Complete a coach training program like the one Wright Leadership Institute offers or Patty Jackson's Wisdom of Life coaching school in nearby Pewaukee, Wisconsin. This is optional but recommended. You will learn business skills, coaching techniques, gain practice listening to and working with others in your training program and become better qualified for this new field. Plus, you will network with other coaches.
Create business and marketing materials, including a website and business cards. Milwaukee has two "lifestyle coaching" meetups, as of 2011, which may be useful for marketing or networking purposes (see Resources). Begin advertising yourself as a life coach in the Milwaukee area. Start to coach clients, charging whatever you feel comfortable requesting, suggests coach Doug Nau.
Read coach and counseling literture to continue gaining coaching skills, particularly in areas in which you want to focus. For example, if you want to coach troubled teenage girls, read literature that focuses on female development, girlhood and teen years. This helps make you a better coach.
Seek advanced training like a full certification, if you want professional credentials that bolster your resume and give you more coaching experience. Full coaching certification programs, like the one the International Coach Federation offers, require you to do at least 100 hours of coaching. As of 2011, the only Wisconsin program the International Coach Federation recommended was Radical Leadership in Lake Geneva, 55 miles from Milwaukee.
If you decide to skip coach training because you have experience as a therapist, mediator or social worker, this is fine. Your background is closely related to the life coach field, giving you the necessary skills. However, opting for the additional experience is still a plus.
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