There are no legal standards to becoming a life coach. Photo / Getty / Photo: Getty Images

By Firmain Eric Mbadinga

Can a life coach guide you to success or to happiness? A growing number of social media users in Africa believe so and have been turning to self-appointed life coaches for professional and personal improvements.

Life coaching is many-sided, sprawling across every possible area of physical and spiritual wellbeing. But social media has allowed it to boom, elevating the reach, status and financial reward of life coaches.

These personalities enjoy oversize following on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and TikTok. And thanks to monetisation of their accounts, active presence on social media determines how these coaches get paid.

However, the business model of the industry raises questions about the quality and veracity of certain content.

Unethical practises

Besides stoking controversies and generating buzz, some of the solutions suggested by life coaches leave their followers vulnerable to unethical practises, misinformation and fraud.

Social Media platforms have allowed life coaches to develop massive following. Photo / AFP

Some analysts say some of the coaches talking about fields that are so technical and scientifically complex could promote incomplete knowledge and spread misinformation among followers.

Professional accreditation

There is the need for better verification of life coaches by professional accrediting bodies, analysts say.

Sylvère Boussamba says he keeps refining his knowledge to remain relevant. Photo / TRT Afrika

Coach and fintech entrepreneur Sylvère Boussamba is a popular personality in the realm of computer technologies. From the age of 11, he began to master computer programming and some 40 years later has established himself as an entrepreneur in Libreville, Gabon.

Although his social media following appears modest compared to other life coaches, Boussamba is nonetheless a qualified and certified coach. He mainly focuses on personal coaching, professional coaching and digital coaching.

''I trained at the John C. Maxwell Academy in the United States. I came out a certified coach, trainer, and lecturer," he explained.

''You never stop learning about yourself, about other people, about what's going on in the world and about new techniques and new skills, whether they be technical, non-technical or meta. So part of my time is devoted to learning. I learn on different platforms. I've signed up for a mentoring programme to refine and adjust my own way of working," Boussamba added.

TRT Afrika contacted some of the most renowned life coaches in the French-speaking African countries to discuss the need for standards and accreditation in the industry. Some declined to comment citing personal reasons.

Cirille Nyeck insists life coaches need training. Photo / Afrika

Cirille Nyeck, a Catholic deacon and certified coach from Cameroon, was among those who agreed to speak on the topic. As far as he is concerned, you can't improvise yourself into becoming a life coach.

''Coaching is a personalised, structured support aimed at achieving an objective. The objective and role of the coach is to accompany the coachee in this process so that he determines an objective that depends on him, an objective that is ecological, that is to say that takes into account the positive and negative consequences," he explained

Nyeck is a neuro-linguistic programmer who is currently working on a political science thesis.

He said the client possesses all the resources within themselves to achieve their objectives.

"Coaching is a profession that requires great human qualities and skills. You need to be trained and well trained for that," he adds.

Social media monetisation

Some of the schemes used by life coaches to attract monetisation from their social media presence, whether qualified or not, include setting up their YouTube, Facebook or TikTok accounts outside Africa to be better paid by the platforms.

On TikTok, for instance, videos must receive a minimum of 100,000 views and creators' accounts must have thousands of subscribers in order to earn money.

Conditions of this kind lead some content-creating life coaches to focus on volume over quality of content of their videos, analysts say.

Some of the key words of their broadcasts include "tap, comment, and share the live" - words repeatedly stated to their subscribers.

Click here to follow our WhatsApp channel for more stories.

TRT Afrika