Have you ever wondered, "Do I need a coach?" If so, this post is for you...
I've put together 10 of the best reasons to find a coach.
And when I say, "coach" I mean a certified life coach, business coach, executive coach, career coach, relationship coach, wellness coach, etc. Make sure your coach has a reputable certification
and some excellent recommendations. Most good coaches do.
Here are the Top Ten Reasons You Need a Coach:
- Your life, business, career, relationship, etc., is already good, but you want it to be much, much better. Coaching isn't a crisis intervention. Nor is it a substitute for psychotherapy, or advice from a professional such as an attorney, accountant, physician, etc. If things are basically good, but you know they could be a lot better and you're ready for that to happen, that's a great time for you to hire a coach.
- You want YOU to be much, much better. Just because most things are going well, doesn't mean you don't want to improve them and that includes yourself. Many people hire a coach because they know they are built for more and they want to reach their full potential sooner, rather than later. This is different from being insecure. People derive considerable joy from stepping into their personal greatness. In fact, some people believe this is the single biggest source of happiness. Great coaches are experts at eliciting their clients' personal greatness.
- You're going through a big transition. Change can be difficult, even when it's what you want. Anytime you go through a big transition such as starting a new business or career, getting divorced, moving to a new city, going back to school, etc.; it's a great time to have someone who believes in you and who can help you make the most crucial choices as smoothly as possible. A good coach won't take you on unless they truly believe in you.
- You're a high achiever. This is the type of client I prefer to work with. High achievers tend to be driven and good at success, but they don't always create the success they really want. If you're ever wondered, "Is this all there is?", or "How did I get myself into this and how do I get out?", you could really benefit from working with a great coach. Everybody has a few blind spots. In fact, neuroscientists say we are unconscious of 95% of what goes on in our brains. Think about that! A good coach can see you as you are, without judgment, and help you be your best and achieve what you're built to do. Just ask Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, Who needs a coach?
- You want more meaning in your life. "Meaning" is what makes your heart sing. It generally comes from doing what matters most to you. This gets much easier when you understand what you most value and find cool ways to express it. If life feels a little shallow, or you don't know why you do what you do anymore, you could really benefit from working with a great coach.
- You want to take better care of yourself. Most of us were taught to take pretty good care of ourselves. That's fine if you want an average life. But people who accomplish great things often need to upgrade their lives tremendously before that's even possible. They need clearer boundaries, a physical environment that's supportive, more organization (or an organized assistant), enough rest, great stress management, and/or people who "get" them and who are actively supportive. Otherwise, "death by a thousand cuts" will slice their dreams to shreds. Good coaches know how to assist their clients to get the wonderful self care they truly need, to step into the lives they were built to live.
- You want to upgrade the people in your life. I don'tknow about you, but I used to choose my friends according to who I had the most fun with. They weren't always the nicest or most evolved people. Eventually, I realized I wanted to upgrade my friendships. Then I realized (gulp), I needed to upgrade myself in order to attract the people I wanted to spend more time with. It wasn't that hard, because my coaches helped me do it. I set higher standards for myself and started living up to them. I found others who lived up to similar standards and we were naturally attracted to each other. Now when I choose friends, I find people who are supportive, really supportive. And they've got a friend for life.
- You want to make more money. It might seem crass to bring up money right after talking about meaning, values, high standards and good friends, but let's face it, a great life or career usually includes enough money, sometimes lots of it. Many people hire coaches when they want to upgrade their careers or launch a new business. The funny thing is that values, high standards, good relationships, etc., tend to make people more successful in many areas, including finances. One thing a great coach can do is help you get over any internal blocks (we're back to that unconscious 95%) you may have about making plenty of money. In fact, eliminating all sorts of internal blocks is one of the ways good coaches help their clients enjoy success of all kinds.
- You're willing to invest in yourself. This is about so much more than money. Are you prepared to take the time, effort, risk and yes, money, in order to have the life or business of your dreams? Or are you satisfied playing small? Are you ready to stop talking about your dreams and start living them? If you had the right coach in your corner, would you have the courage to step into your greatness? Only you can answer that.
- You're a coach. If there's one profession where you really do need a coach most, it's coaching, itself. Although coaching is still one of the fastest growing careers, success with coaching is definitely not a slam dunk. Every successful coach I've ever known has had his/her own coaches, usually several. It helps us keep growing and stay out ahead of our clients. And it's an integrity issue for us; we can't expect people to hire us, when we're not willing to hire our own coaches. That's one reason I offer a coach training, plus mentor coaching package for coaches who are high achievers.
This is a recent testimonial from one of my clients:
"When I hired Julia as my mentor coach, I wasn't entirely sure I needed it. I had quite a bit of education and experience already and the industry does not require certified coaching credentials to be recognized as a coach. I wasn't sure it would be a good investment for the money. After coaching for 3 months with Julia and taking several classes at SCM, I can say that not only was this a great investment but possibly the best investment I have made in my career. I would recommend this to experienced coaches as well as inexperienced coaches. The value of the service far exceeds the cost, which makes this a savvy investment in YOU!" - Patrice Swenson, CCC, Winona, MN
Best Coaching Blogs 2013 is under way and already the social butterflies are pollinating hundreds of admiring voters. (If you haven't entered yet, you still have time to win, but sign up now.)
I'm going to share some secrets of Online Social Butterflies and how they win Best Coaching Blogs, each year. You see, mastering social media cross pollinates with mastering coaching. That's my evil, um... divine plan!
First, what's a social contest, anyway? It's a win-win online contest that leverages everyone's social reach (friends, contacts and followers on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+) to attract large audiences for popular voting. Ultimately, everybody wins because contest visitors discover more great coaching bloggers when they visit the site.
Wait! Does that mean coaching bloggers could lose potential clients to their competition? Nope! I'll explain, uno momento.
If you want to see Online Social Butterflies in action, follow the Best Coaching Blogs 2013 List on Twitter. You can pick out the front-runners without even visiting the contest, because they regularly tweet about the contest. Also, search for hashtag, #BestBlogs for related tweets.
Best Coaching Blogs invites coaches who blog on coaching topics to enter their blogs and each year, both new and established blogs win top honors. The winners actively 'play the game' by inviting their readers, colleagues, clients and social reach to come vote for them. People can vote as often as they like, so the contest measures more than just the number of people who like a blog, it also measures passion: both the voters' and the bloggers'.
Passion is a big deal in coaching. It's what ignites clients and creates success. But competition? Not so much. At least not for a lot of clients.
Cooperation, mutual support, acknowledgment, belief in others; that's the stuff of coaching. And it's also the stuff of social media mastery. Both realms, coaching and social media, require that we get our little egos (that part in each of us, that always wants to WIN!!) out of the way and make it all about other folks - without turning ourselves into robots or doormats.
Winning Best Coaching Blogs usually requires more than just a great blog, although great writing and content definitely help. Winning requires the right balance of competition and cooperation. I don't know an English word for that, so I made one up: coopetition.
Here are Some Winning Secrets to Coopetition:
- Start early. Be the kind of person who supports and champions others, as a matter of course. The more history you have doing this, the more people will want to do the same for you. Wait until you need something from them (like a vote) and it could backfire.
- Embrace your selfish reasons. Yes, it's totally okay to be for yourself. Just don't be that way, only. If you try to deny your agenda, people won't trust you. If you fail to express it, people will walk all over you. So go ahead and ask for people's votes. If you've been supporting them, they'll want to help. Even if you haven't, they'll respect your request.
- If you're already supporting others and clear with them about what you want, you're ready to play a fun game. In Best Coaching Blogs, that could mean leaving comments on competitors' blog entries that acknowledge what's great about those blogs. It could also mean voting for your competitors (!), or even telling the world why they should vote for your competitors (!!). You could even ask your competitors to vote for you (!!!). This can get icky and manipulative fast, though, so take care.
- Why is coopetition a winning strategy? Because being a model of coopetition is extraordinarily attractive. It seems like people who act that way should lose out, but they win, instead. The bloggers who do it best always attract more voters, readers and clients, rather than lose them. So it's about a lot more than winning a contest.
- Trust the process. This is hard for high achievers, but you really can't control most of the moving parts in this process; you can only influence them. Resist the urge to pester people, or to obsess about whether or not all your votes get counted. Not even Zuckerberg has total control of Facebook.
- Even in life, it's the folks you support who 'vote' for you and what you want. That's the coopetive advantage. In Best Coaching Blogs, it's the finalists who pick the top winners, so those who play the game well, immediately become the biggest influencers. But 'winning at any cost' is a losing strategy in this contest, as well as in life.
- How does this relate to coaching? People who can let go of their need to win, to be right, to never fail, and who can support and champion others, make great coaches. Entering Best Coaching Blogs is a 'game theory' approach to coach development. If you're interested in becoming a great coach, be sure to participate. Vote here through August 31st. Enter here only through July 31st.
On June 20th, 2013, Kristi Arndt, MMC, former Vice President of the International Association of Coaching, interviewed me for the IAC's Master Coach Interview Series. You need to be a member of the IAC to access their copy of the interview, but you can listen via the online player here for free, to the resulting 49-minute audio. I've listed the topics covered in the time line below, so you can choose the parts you're curious about.
Or, join the IAC virtual chapter for free to get a copy of the interview download link and listen at your convenience. By the way, Kristi will co-host an upcoming IAC chapter meeting with me, in which you'll get a taste of the power of virtual triads to strengthen your coaching and pass IAC Coach Certification.
IAC Master Coach Interview Topics Time Line:
1:00 What I did before becoming a coach
2:00 The Oprah Connection
5:30 The IAC/School of Coaching Mastery Connection
7:15 What does "master coach" mean?
12:00 Coach 100
14:00 What "master coach" means to Kristi
16:30 Why you need to love your coaching clients
17:30 How to get into "master coaching mode"
19:00 How to integrate your shadow
21:00 Master coach certification, as a benchmark
22:30 Tony Robbins' coaching
25:00 ICF vs. IAC coaching
26:00 School of Coaching Mastery coach certification
29:00 How NOT to prepare for coach certification
30:00 What DOES work in passing coach certification
31:30 Live, in person, coach certification
33:30 Coaching pioneers
38:00 How SCM fosters coaching mastery
42:00 How the IAC Coaching Masteries(tm) show up in life
44:30 What's new and exciting
48:00 How to contact me
48:30 Best Coaching Blogs 2013
Listen to the full interview below, or use the slider to find the parts you most want to hear:
More great coaching resources:
As our name suggests, at School of Coaching Mastery, we specialize in Master Coach Training. So we've developed quite a bit of expertise around master coaching. It's a whole different approach. One that's recognized and valued by both the ICF and the IAC.
Here are the Top Ten Benefits of Becoming a Master Coach:
- Coaching is simplified. Coaching can be dizzyingly complex and every client session is different. Templates and formulas don't work. The elegance of a simple, but accurate, model does work. As Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my whole life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity."
- Coaching is hyper-personalized. Your clients pay for a highly personal and customized experience, created just for them, because that's what fosters extraordinary results. Master coaching provides the tools to do exactly that.
- Coaching is inter-developmental. At the Master Certified Coach level, the ICF expects the coach to learn from the client. Brilliant clients are attracted to brilliant master coaches. Imagine what we learn from our clients.
- Coaching is uncanny. Master coaches unearth truths, within moments, that can elude other coaches for years - and could elude your clients for eternity.
- Coaching is thrilling. Clients are thrilled when someone gets them completely and is still fascinated by them. Coaches are thrilled by their clients' journeys to magnificent success.
- Coaching is catalytic. Brilliant people are usually surrounded by people who don't get them. That's awfully lonely and it undermines confidence. Just having us believe in them is a catalyst that launches coaching clients into greatness. And by the way, virtually everyone is brilliant under the right circumstances.
- Coaching is fun. When the coach knows what to focus on, pressure evaporates and fun ensues. To the uninitiated, it might sound like the coach and client are just laughing together. But within that fun energy, is the energy of greatness. Incredible work gets completed and projects get launched and out the door, quickly.
- Coaching is humbling. When your mind-state is in "master coaching mode", you can't help but notice how amazing your clients are and what an honor it is for them to share their brilliance with you.
- Coaching is fulfilling. Master coaches know they are answering their calling when they coach. They are changing lives and changing the world for the better. Talk about an honor! As George Bernard Shaw said, "This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one."
- Coaching is highly paid. You've heard how much coaches charge. Have you wondered why? Part of the answer is because master coaching is worth it. The bigger reason is because great clients need to make big investments in order to show up fully. Mediocre coaching may not be worth $200-300 per hour, but great coaching is worth far more.
I've dedicated my life to master coaching, yours and mine. Are you up for it? Because if you are, the next Master Coach Training, 32-hour program, including 20 hours of advanced practice, starts soon and special pricing is available for a limited time.
This is what I live for. Hope to see you there!
If you want to become a group coach and enjoy smooth sailing, you need to make three major upgrades, first. Make these three important upgrades and you and your clients will experience the power of groups and coaching success - and you'll be a happy coach.
Why would you want to become a group coach, anyway? Most coaches offer a variety of services within their businesses and group coaching is often the first additional service, beyond one-to-one coaching, that they add, because it allows them to leverage their time, offer a lower-priced option, while making more money. And clients may get even more value from a coaching group, than from personal coaching, so it's a win-win all around.
Here are the 3 Major Upgrades You Need to Make to Become a Successful Group Coach:
Upgrade #1: Your coaching skills. Ten years ago, when I first became a group coach, I thought group coaching would be easy for me to add to my business, because I had been facilitating groups for decades as a college professor. And although my first foray into group coaching was so successful that I had to immediately add a second group to make room for all my clients, I found that coaching a group is much more challenging than I had expected.
Many group coaches make the mistake of leading a workshop or teleclass, instead of coaching a group and they miss the opportunity to customize the experience for each group member. I knew the distinction, but had to learn the hard way how to run a genuine coaching group. It's not as easy as it looks.
Let's face it, most workshops and teleclasses sell for far less money than group coaching; some are even free. If you're going to charge the average group coaching fee of $200 per month, per person, for 4-8 people to coach with you 3-4 hours per month, you need to provide far more value and personalization for each member than you would in a workshop or teleclass. Learn these advanced skills and hit the ground running with your very first group.
Upgrade #2: Your marketing. Lead great coaching groups and you'll have 4-8 times as many happy clients raving about you and your coaching. That's the good news. Filling groups has its own set of challenges. You'll need to reach more people who want to work with you in a group and they need to be able to meet at the same time each week. One common frustration to filling coaching groups is that you'll sometimes attract people who really want to join your group, but can't meet at the same time. This means you need to get really smart about attracting the right people, so you always have a group of eager potential clients with whom to fill your coaching groups - and you need to get smart about scheduling them.
Will you attract group coaching clients with an amazing blog that's optimized for search engines? Or maybe you should attract them by becoming a networking whiz. Or maybe your speaking skills will attract coaching groups to you. Be extra smart: develop multiple ways for clients to find you.
Upgrade #3: Business Administration. Once you start coaching groups, you need to expand your administrative tools and practices. Even getting paid gets dizzyingly complicated if you don't have a great system in place. Get an online payment gateway to manage your clients' payments. Get an email system to keep them up-to-date (and also use it for marketing). Get a virtual assistant if you're not tech savvy (or don't want to be). You'll also need an upgraded approach to scheduling. It's much harder to get 8 people together at the same time than just two.
If you'd like to learn more about coaching groups, sign up for the upcoming Q&A: How to Coach Groups class coming up in two weeks. If you're really serious, take our Group Coaching Mastery course or join the Become a Certified Group Coach program. (Your 'How to Coach Groups' fee can be applied to the course and program if you decide to join them later.)
One of our most popular blog posts is 101 Incredible Coaching Questions. The thing is, the best coaching questions won't do much unless you know when and how to ask them. Of course, we teach all the fine points of that at School of Coaching Mastery. And although a few tips won't make you a good coach, this infographic (my 1st-ever original infographic) will help you take that list of 101 coaching questions and start to turn them into some actual coaching. Be sure to check out the options below for next steps toward becoming a professional coach. Some of them are free.
Want to practice coaching? Join our Facebook Page to find coaching buddies. Or join our IAC Virtual Coaching Chapter to learn about coaching triads. Or join a free study group.
Want to become a professional coach?
It's almost impossible to the miss the story about the two 'life coaches' in Brooklyn who committed suicide this week. That story is everywhere, because it's so ironic. The two actually co-hosted a radio show called, The Pursuit of Happiness!
Apparently, they failed to find it.
This post isn't about them. They clearly were in a lot of pain and their passing is tragic.
This post is rather about the subtext of the media frenzy (okay, it's a small frenzy; let's just call it media attention) surrounding this story.
The subtext asks...
- How could these life coaches help anyone find happiness, when they were clearly miserable, themselves?
- Were these life coaches hypocrites?
- Would you want a life coach who is suicidal?
- Aren't there any requirements to calling yourself a life coach?
- How can you trust anyone who calls him/herself a life coach, when they might be depressed, mentally ill, suicidal, or who knows what?
In answer to number 4: No. There are no legal requirements to calling yourself a life coach. Yet.
That means my dog could be a life coach. She may be more qualified than some human life coaches.
And I'm not just singling out life coaches. Business coaches, executive coaches, career coaches, health coaches. None of these titles means anything. In today's world, everyone, including bill collectors, can and do call themselves coaches.
The guy selling vitamins at the health-food store is a nutrition coach. The woman who works at the dress shop is a retail coach. The manager at a telemarketing company is a sales coach.
None of these phrases means anything, because they have come to mean whatever anyone wants.
Right now, there is maximum freedom in the coaching industry, because there are no real legal requirements. That allows massive creativity and growth and that's great for coaches. Although the situation appears to be changing and the suicide story may speed up that change.
The real problem these days is for the consumer who doesn't know whom to trust.
The answer, of course, is credentialing and industry oversight, but a lot of 'coaches' are fighting it.
- They say it's an evil plot by established coaches to keep out the competition
- They say a piece of paper won't help them coach any better
- They say it's an effort to control coaches, or to sell them training and certifications
That first argument is just paranoid. The second is true. Although, I've seen hundreds of coaches learn to coach much better, while on the way to qualifying for a piece of paper. And the last may, or may not be true, but it's not a good enough reason to not get certified.
Life coaches get certified because they want to be the best they can be. Because they are committed to their profession. Because they feel it is the right thing to do. Because they are proud to be certified. They also get certified to distinguish themselves from the worst of the worst.
Consumers look for assurances that they can trust the life coaches they hire. And they deserve some assurance. That assurance often takes the form of a certification.
I got my first coach certification a decade ago and have qualified for several more, since. I've learned something new with each one. I'm not finished.
Although I believe more in learning than I do in credentials, I've noticed that the goal of credentialing is an effective way to stay focused on learning. It has worked for me and for thousands of other good coaches.
I sell training and certifications to coaches mostly because I want to help good coaches distinquish themselves from ineffective or dishonest coaches. It's an honor to work with people who are committed to being their best. Whether you get certified by my organization or some other, get certified.
Certified Life Coach means something. SCM, IAC or ICF Certified Life Coach really means something.
It's time to stop calling yourself just a life coach.
If you want to explore the path to our entry-level certification, click below:
Each year, at about this time, people start visiting our site, looking for the Best Coaching Blogs Contest and this year is our Fifth Anniversary, so it's going to be extra special. Best Coaching Blogs is the only coaching blog contest, that we know of, which is decided by popular vote and that's hugely important.
For instance, this blog, the Coaching Blog, was named Number 3 in the Top 100 Life Coach Blogs of 2013, which is awesome. But it would be even more awesome if our readers, subscribers or fans voted it #3, because they're the folks we write it for. And that's the coolest thing about Best Coaching Blogs.
Best Coaching Blogs contestants attract more readers, subscribers, fans and even clients just by actively participating in this contest - especially the bloggers who make it into the coveted Top Ten. Either way, it's cool to be able to refer to you 'award-winning blog' ever after.
Hundreds of coaching blogs have been entered in Best Coaching Blogs over the years, so it's super cool to win it and each year, there seems to be an upset or two, with surprise winners coming from out of 'nowhere'. That makes it fun for everyone, whether you're a new coach or a big coaching organization.
So how do you enter Best Coaching Blogs 2013? This year, the contest will run a little later. Instead of running for one month in late spring or early summer, the actual contest will run in July and August this year. But you can enter as an early bird and get a head start on winning.
Click the button below and fill out the quick form to join Best Coaching Blogs 2013 for free. Then make sure you write some award-winning-worthy content between now and then. The contest tends to be won based on your most recent blog posts. Also add the contestant badges to your site and plan your social media campaigns. The bloggers who actively promote their blog entries via social media have the best chance of winning Best Coaching Blogs. Good luck!
I've written previously about how executive, business and life coaches make money. And we have a free eBook that goes into detail about life coach salaries. But here's something we don't often write about: How else do professional coaches make money?
Average salaries for executive, business and life coaches range between $50,000 - 150,000USD for COACHING services. But most coaches have a few other services that they also offer, which can boost their salaries well into the high six figures.
The ICF has just released this helpful infographic on the "Extras" of coaching. In other words, extra services. Below it, you'll find a link to sign up for the Life Coach Salary eBook, to learn more about how coaches make money and how to set your coaching fees.
To get the FREE Life Coach Salary eBook, click below:
I'm always looking for new ideas that'll upgrade, broaden, or deepen my coaching, so it's more effective. You too? Then you'll love this post.
It's a challenge to keep readers like you, well...challenged. You're a pretty sophisticated bunch.
But here goes: some of the best ideas I've encountered, which ultimately changed my life and the way I coach and may change your life and coaching too.
1. The Power of Negativity. This first one is possibly the most powerful idea to come out of positive psychology. It's the concept of the Positivity Ratio and the upper limit of positivity, which can be measured as both positive thoughts and feelings, as well as whether you're curious or defending your point of view, and/or focused on yourself or on those around you. To flourish, you, your relationship, your business, or your coaching, needs at least a three-to-one ratio of positivity to negativity. AND there's an upward limit around eleven-to-one, beyond which things go down fast. So, if you're a Law of Attraction Nazi, or if you focus only on the good stuff in coaching, stepping over the problematic stuff, or if you relentlessly reframe problems into opportunities, or (as one of my clients famously put it) FLO's (F*cking Learning Opportunities), you may hinder, rather than help your clients. (Read Barbara Fredrickson's Positivity.)
2. The Tyranny of Mild Praise. This one also comes from positive psychology and it's about relationships. Let's face it, the relationship between coach and client does much of the coaching for us. Therefore, the concept called, Active Constructive Responding (ACR), is critical. What is ACR? It's an over-the-top form of acknowledgment that includes positive tone of voice (genuine excitement, awe, wonder), positive body language (smiling, eye contact, touching), repeating the specifics of what the other has said, commenting on it's importance to the other, suggesting a celebration; all of which leads to flourishing within the relationship. NONE of the other types of responses, including Passive Constructive Responding (Flat tone of voice, general praise, "That's nice."), Passive Destructive Responding (ignoring, changing the subject, turning away), or Active Negative Responding (showing concern, pointing out problems); I repeat, none of these promote relationships. In fact they ALL have a negative impact on relationships, which obviously can negatively impact coaching. I've listened to thousands of coaching sessions over the years. Even "good" coaches tend to rely heavily on Passive Constructive Response, or a hybrid of ACR and PCR, which clearly limits the value of their coaching. ACR can be a challenge to weave into coaching and for some of us, it's a challenge to make it truly genuine, but master coaches do it all the time. For others, over-using ACR (see above) damages our credibility. This is a tool that we can't afford not to master. (Read Martin Seligman's Flourish.)
3. Change Your Brain to Change Your Mind.
This one comes from neuroscience and it has profound implications for positive psychology coaches
, as well as every other type of coach. As members of my positive psychology course
know, the Positivity Ratio can be used to measure and increase your current potential for flourishing and it'sa nifty coaching tool. There are also tools, founded in modern neuroscience, that can change the brain to sustainably increase peace, happiness, love and other elements of positivity. Literally, you can grow some areas of your brain so that they become more dominant, relatively permanently. And over-developed areas that may be problematic (such as the over-sized amygdala of those who suffer from anxiety) can shrink, again causing sustainable change. Change your brain; change your life for good. I just took a neuroscience seminar on this, but you can read more about it. (Read Rick Hanson's Buddha's Brain
4. Coaching's Not Complete If It's Not Integral. I'm taking a course from Integral Philospher, Ken Wilber. Some people say he's the most important philosopher since Plato, but that statement begs an argument, so I won't say it. Suffice it to say, if you don't know his work, your evolution may be stymied. And that of your clients, as well. As coaches, we say our clients are whole, complete and perfect. Trouble is, we may be blind to some of that perfection. And our clients almost certainly are. Blind spots make trouble (see #5, below). Wilber's Integral Model, known as AQAL, is an elegant map that streamlines how we know anything and how we evolve. It's closely aligned with Spiral Dynamics, which I'll be teaching next month. But AQAL goes even further. The AQAL Map is a beautiful tool to use when helping our clients design accountability structures, supportive systems, environments and strategic habitats (or whatever you prefer to call them). With AQAL, we can easily see if we're leaving anything out, or if the client is blind to some aspects of reality (almost everybody is). Plus, we have an evolutionary framework. It makes the complex simple, when you understand it. I'll be teaching an introductory course on integral coaching soon, but start reading books on Integral Theory now. (Read Wilber's simplest book, Integral Vision.)
5. All Coaching is Shadow Coaching - Or Should Be. My first lesson from Zen Master, Genpo Roshi, included a joke - on us. To paraphrase, he said (with a laugh), evolved people like to say they're whole, complete and perfect, except the parts they don't like about themselves. But you can't be complete without all of it! So what parts of yourself don't you like? The part that overeats? The part that's naive? The part that gets tongue-tied at parties? It's not those parts that keep you fragmented, it's the fact that you try to disown them. Then they become blind spots, which grow into shadows, which undermine and sabotage you. That's what fragmentation really is. For many people, the first step toward wholeness is integration of the parts they formerly disliked. That's the underlying cause of stuckness and it keeps coming back until all aspects of the self are integrated (or Integral). Some people are so fragmented that they lose the ability to choose wholeness. That's what is known as mental illness and I'm not suggesting that shadow coaching can cure that. But even healthy people have shadows and we can choose to integrate them with assistance from a skilled coach. I use this approach in my Great Self Coaching. Genpo Roshi is incredibly masterful at it from a Zen perspective. (Read Genpo Roshi's Big Mind/Big Heart.)
6. Your Business Model May Be Too Infantile to Last. I've also been studying Adizes Management Methodology of late. Ichak Adizes is a legendary management consultant who deftly identified several different stages of a business life cycle. His theory explains, among other things, why the US Government is floundering these days (no, it has nothing to do with Republicans vs. Democrats). One thing that strikes me about it is that most coaches base their businesses on one of three early-stage levels and expect their businesses to continue at that stage forever. It won't happen. I'm happy to say, I saw this even before I studied Adizes and I'm ready for it. I'll write more at length on how you can design your business to last in a future post. But this issue could explain why our industry is so successful, but some coaches never enjoy that success. (Read Ichak Adizes' Corporate life cycles)
We all have access to too much information these days. But there really is no substitution for knowing the right stuff.