Know your courses - the right approach to getting a new lease on life

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 July, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 July, 2005, 12:00am

Getting qualified enough to tell people how to live can be simple, if expensive. So, if you're looking for life coaching you should first check the coach's qualifications.

A Coach U course (from the US) can be taken by phone from Hong Kong. Although this could get someone a certificate in a matter of weeks, those seeking accreditation need to do a longer version of the course.

Hong Kong Coaching Community president Bonnie Chan says people are forced to do the conference call option because of a lack of in-house options locally. 'There aren't many choices here,' she says.

A course can cost US$4,000 for 1,000 hours of training, which includes a specialisation, she says.

Carol Gibb, an energy and success coach who specialises in weight and diet advice, says that apart from asking about fees, you should quiz potential coaches on their qualifications, experience and specialities.

Gibb says there are many well-qualified people operating in Hong Kong and many of them have done distance learning that can take up to 18 months.

Gibb is a member of the Hong Kong Coaching Community and says she meets clients first for at least 20 minutes, so they can interview each other. 'It's an extremely personal thing and it has to work for both people,' she says. 'After the initial meeting, I then discuss prices.'

Gibb has a Bachelor of Social Sciences with a major in performance psychology. She also took a three-month course with Results Coaching Systems in Sydney. She has been coaching since 2001. Most of her clients are women aged between 30 and 50.

What can a life coach offer that a psychologist can't? 'A psychologist studies for many years, and what I say to my clients is, life coaches are taking people from where they are now and moving them forward. I describe it as taking someone who is well and making them better. A counsellor or psychologist is making people well.'

Most of Gibb's clients want to make changes in personal development and lifestyle. 'I'm a qualified personal trainer,' she says. 'With personal training, you're dealing mostly with the body, but with life coaching, it's mostly working on the mind.'