Should you take another course?
Can you quit your corporate job without more qualifications?
While it might seem like a really good idea to rack up a bank of qualifications before you quit your corporate job, it isn’t always a good idea.
In this blog I give the pros and cons of getting yet another qualification.
Pro - You’ll know what you’re doing
This is the main reason to take a course. If you want people to give you money for your expertise then you need to know you’re adding value. Taking the right course will give you the basic skills to do the work you want to do. I studied coaching with Coach U which gave me, not only the foundation skills to be a coach, but also some training to help me run my business and get new clients.
Con - Courses don’t equal expertise
Just because you’ve taken a course doesn’t mean you’re skilled. The best way to become skilled is to practice. This means getting out there and, in my case, coaching. You can knit beanies, give massages, start VA-ing, write your novel BEFORE you quit your corporate job so that by the time you start charging the money that’s going to pay your wages you KNOW you can do what you way you can do. (If you’re ready to do this, the 12 Ways to Transition Course might be for you - find out more HERE).
Pro - Qualifications give you credibility
Not every industry is highly regulated. That means that people can call themselves ‘experts’ in any number of given disciplines and have no skill at all. A qualification from a reputable establishment proves that you took your duty to your prospective clients and customers seriously. I wanted my clients to know that I studied hard and that my qualifications were worth the paper they were written on. I also became accredited with a known accreditation body which differentiated me further. Find out what the equivalent is in your field.
Con - Not all qualifications are equal
There are A LOT of courses out there. They will be coming up on your Facebook feed and every time you go on Google. Not all of them are high quality. I know it can be hard to justify the expense of some of the top courses but think about your clients. They are putting their trust in you and when they see you’re ‘qualified’ they think that means something. Go for something that is respected and accredited and not just quick and cheap.
Pro - You’ll build a network
Some of the coaches I met when I started my coaching course are still my best buddies today. We refer business to each other, we stroke each other on the back when things aren’t great, we challenge each other to be better. You’ll meet people who could become future business partners, friends, maybe even family!
Con - You also need to network with established people
My first coach, Ginny Baillie, told me something very important when I first started my training. I was spending a lot of time with newbie coaches, like me. They were struggling to find clients and were wondering whether this was a bit of a scam. All the coaches seemed to be coaching other coaches. Where was the ‘real’ business? Was there actually a demand? Ginny said “Hang out with coaches who are running successful coaching businesses” and I did (starting with her!).
Your buddies on your training programme are experiencing the same challenges and struggles as you at the start, and that’s reassuring. But they don’t necessarily know how to overcome those struggles. You also need to build networks of people with more experience than you who will show you what exceptional looks like.
Pro - It’s a great place to start
If you want to quit your corporate job but you’re not quite ready, taking a course is a great way to get started. You’ll feel like the journey has started and you’ll have put your money where your mouth is. The first big commitment you make is to spend time and money on your development and that is a powerful message to yourself and others that you mean it.
Con - Courses are the world’s cleverest procrastination technique
This is the real problem with courses. Over the years many of my clients have told me about the next course they need to take before they can actually start their business, or the next qualification they need to get before they’ll be confident enough to charge, or the next trendy technique that they need to qualify in because it’s going to be the big new thing. Just get on with getting clients and getting experience and charging for what you do. If you think you’re taking courses as a procrastination technique, just stop. You know what you’re doing. Get out there and do it.
Pro - Courses can differentiate you
For a while I was a Professional Certified Coach. I was one of the first 20 PCC’s in Europe. It was a big deal. Then I did a training with Hay Group on the 6 Leadership Styles which, again, was little known but hugely valuable. I still use that tool today. My qualifications made me stand out in the market. What qualifications will make you stand out?
Con - Courses can make you look like everyone else
However, if you’re a little late to the party you’ll end up taking qualifications that makes you indistinguishable from everyone else. For a while EVERY coach was taking MBTI, Insights, NLP, DISC and a whole load of other psychometrics. It was like you couldn’t call yourself a coach unless you could deliver all these tools. At first I wondered if I should too (even though my heart sank. I’d already spent £3000 at Coach U. Wasn’t that enough?). Then I became disillusioned with psychometrics when I tried a few myself. And then I thought “If I do these I’m going to look like everyone else. I have to trust my skill at asking questions and eliciting the wisdom of my clients” and I decided not to bother. You’re always trying to niche, specialise, differentiate. Don’t go the same route as everyone just because it’s the done thing. Stand out. Be brave. Be you.
It’s a judgement call isn’t it? Yes qualifications have their place. But making a success of quitting your corporate job isn’t about your qualifications. It’s much more about getting out there in to the world, making sure the right people know how you can help them, and getting really really good at solving that problem.
Want to know more?
If you’re ready to make the leap, why not explore my courses that will help you transition from the corporate world to doing something you love for a living.
Blaire interviews people who’ve made a living doing what they love, re-thought the 9-5 and found a way to live a more fulfilling lifestyle as a result on her A Brilliant Gamble Podcast. Subscribe now and be inspired to stop sacrificing and start living life on your terms.