Whether you are just starting out or have been at it a while, I bet you have had a client or two mention coaching. As in, “I need some coaching on this.” or “My buddy at work saw a wellness coach”. Either way, “coaching” has entered the therapeutic vernacular in a big way.
And maybe it should be a part of your practice. Let’s break down why.
We coach already. Every time you set goals, give action items, review homework, you are coaching. Now, most of the time, you may be drawing on the family of origin, past events and possible trauma. In fact, every coaching program I have reviewed has a major focus on many of the techniques we as therapists know, as CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy).
It provides a refreshing break from the hard parts of therapy. Now, I am NOT saying coaching is easier. I am saying that counseling is difficult and requires a great deal of clinical know-how and technique. Coaching is all forward thinking with stops along the way to examine blocks. The heavy lifting of delving into those blocks which are often emotional and tangled belong in a therapist’s office–which requires someone other than the coach.
It adds an income stream unencumbered by insurance. This is something to consider if you have an insurance based practice and are thinking about private pay income streams. You could offer niche coaching in a particular subject matter to supplement your income. For example; you could offer seven sessions of “Coaching through Work Conflict” to a local business or human resource group and charge a nominal fee to get your feet wet. The focus of the group would be active listening and communication–the cornerstone of counseling and yes, coaching.
It’s not regulated in the way our clinical practice is–and that’s good and bad. Let me explain: There are no licenses for coaches; only certifications. And, so while there are ethical guidelines supporting the profession; there is not a recognized board that regulates complaints, processes or credentials of all the various certifications. And that’s not good for the consumer who has to wade through the resume of a coach to figure out if they are authentic and credentialed. Enter the coach clinician: We are bound by our ethics that are clearly spelled out and regulated by each discipline. They are uniform and explicit around confidentiality, education and relationships. I rely not only on my Board Certified Coach guidelines but I have back-up with my clinical regulations–and that’s a win for the consumer and the profession. I use it as my number one marketing tool with coaching clients.
It provides an opportunity to have a narrow and interesting niche.
I like to explore different avenues of interest beyond my clinical expertise. Coaching provides that by delving deeply into a subject that I can research, and develop a multi-step plan to implement. One of my areas of interest involves the mid-career lawyer. I have even helped to develop a separate coaching practice around that topic. (WorkBest Legal) It melds nicely with my clinical practice and I get to work with a population that often shows up in therapy.
So, consider this. We have an opportunity as clinicians to not only enhance our practice but to add our voice and our ethical principles to a discipline that uses our training as it’s cornerstone. It is a natural fit…and a potential way to increase your income.