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Positive Psychology Coaching: The Real Reasons Clients Want It

Posted by Julia Stewart

Most coaching clients don't hire coaches explicitly because they want to be happy. They generally hire a coach because they want something specific such as to make more money, be more productive, become better leaders, cope better with problems, be healthier, or even have stronger marriages. Why do they want these things? On some level they believe these things will make them happier, but that's not the real reason that positive psychology coaching, also known as Happiness Coaching, is important.

It turns out happiness CAUSES all of the above, not necessarily the other way around, which is one of the many surprises that positive psychology researchers have uncovered.

Happiness isn't just corrolated with success, it actually causes it. So if you're coaching on success in any realm, you'll probably be a lot more effective if you coach on happiness, first. And what makes people happy is often not what you think.

All coaching needs to be positive psychology coaching.

Watch this 2:34 video of leading positive pychology researcher, Sonia Lyubomirsky, on why happiness matters.

 

 

If you're curious about becoming a Certified Positive Psychology Coach, click below:

Become a Certified Positive Psychology Coach

Topics: become a coach, becoming a certified coach, certified business coach, how to become a certified life coach, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching

Learn Strengths-Based Positive Psychology Coaching for Free

Posted by Julia Stewart

positive psychology coaching

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Elan Sun Star 

One of the free services that School of Coaching Mastery offers to coaches is our free study groups, which are hosted by SCM coach members. Our newest study group, the Positive Psychology Coach Study Group is about to launch with Strengths-Based Business Coach, Nancy McCabe, CCC. Nancy is an awesome model of positivity and she happens to be a member of our Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program. Learn more about Nancy here.

Why would you want to join the Positive Psychology Coach Study Group?

How can you join the Positive Psychology Coach Study Group?

  • Go here to join the free Positive Psychology Coach Study Group

  • You'll be sent directions on how to register for the specific study-group webinar sessions you want to attend 

  • If you need to miss a session that you've registered for, please UN-register in advance, using a link provided in your confirmation email

  • REGISTER ASAP, BECAUSE SEATING IS LIMITED

Join the Positive Psychology Coach Study Group below:

 

Join the Positive Psychology Coach Study Group

Topics: business coach, becoming a certified coach, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching, Strengths, Science of Coaching

Best Life Coach Certifications

Posted by Julia Stewart

Best Life Coach CertificationsWritten by Julia Stewart

If you want to become a life coach (or business coach, executive coach, career coach, etc.), then you need one of the following best life coach certifications (See table, below). They are all "general" coach certifications, meaning they measure the knowledge and skills required for professional coaching, regardless whether you are a life coach, business coach, executive coach, or some other type of coach. Because, as we say in coaching, "All coaching is really life coaching, because everyone has a life." If you have expertise in business, for instance, you can combine that with your coaching skills to become a business coach.

There are hundreds of life coach certifications to choose from. I created the following table to compare and contrast some of the leading coach certifications, and their requirements, to help you avoid getting caught up with the wrong organizations. Watch out for organizations with similar-sounding names that may be disreputable. Some of them are scams. 

You need at least an entry-level (competent) certification, because surveys show that prospective coaching clients prefer coaches with credentials, when given the choice, even if they don't ask about certification. On average, most certified coaches achieve proficient-level certifications. Certified master coaches are relatively few and are considered the "elite". Yes, you can often attract more clients (those who are looking for the best) and charge more for your coaching when you have master-level certifications.

What makes these the best life coach certifications? All the following organizations are highly respected. Some basic differences include:

Best Life Coach Certifications Table resized 600

 

If the above table is too small for you to see, or if you just want to have a copy of it for future reference (recommended), click the button below:

Get the Best Life Coach Certifications PDF

Topics: become a life coach, become a coach, become a business coach, Become a Master Coach, becoming a certified coach, Become a Certified Coach, life coach certification, Become a Masterful Coach, Certified Coach Training, certified life coach, certified business coach

Before You Become a Coach: Seven Serious Questions to Ask Yourself

Posted by Julia Stewart

Become a coachWritten by Julia Stewart

Are you wondering if you should become a coach? Or how to get started as a coach? Or whether you should get certified as a coach?

This time of year, I hear from folks all over the world who are thinking about becoming life, business, or executive coaches. Their questions inspired this post.

Although the questions vary, the subtext is always the same: Can I succeed, as a coach?

That one, I can't answer, but you can, after you've asked yourself the right questions.

Here are seven questions to help you determine if becoming a coach is right for you:

1. What's your reason for becoming a coach?

  • If you love to help people, or you got coached yourself and loved it, or personal and professional development are your passion (see #7); these are great reasons. If you're out of work and out of money, or you just got diagnosed with a serious illness; these are poor reasons. As with any business, you'll need time, energy, money, and passion to succeed as a coach.

2. Is now the right time for you to become a coach?

  • Speaking of time...timing is half the secret when it comes to succeeding at anything. Do you happen to have the time, energy and money to work on your new business, right now? Or did you just fall in love, are getting divorced, making a big move, or going back to grad school? Major life transitions take up huge amounts of energy, focus, and time (and usually money). Starting a new business is a major life transition. The more you pile on, the harder and slower it will be to succeed. I'm not saying it can't be done, but be prepared.

3. Do you have the skills you need to become a coach?

  • Virtually everyone underestimates the skill required to become an effective coach. Most think they learned what they needed in school or on the job. Probably you have some of the skills and that's good. But it's extremely rare to have all the skills needed, without substantial coach-specific training, or a decade of full-time professional coaching. Get training, rather than education. Education gives you context, history, theories, etc. What you need is skill. Get the skills you need to succeed more quickly.

4. Do you have the financial resources to become a coach?

  • Coaching is often cited as one of the easiest and cheapest businesses to set up. While that may be true, as with every business, "it takes money to make money". In the case of coaching, be sure you have an alternate income source until your coaching practice is full. You should have clients within your first three months, but a full practice can easily take a year, sometimes more.

5. Do you have the emotional resources you need to become a coach?

  • Great coaches believe in learning opportunities. There's no better learning opportunity than starting a new business, because it'll bring out all your insecurities. Capitalize on this opportunity by working with a mentor coach. S/he'll believe in you until you believe in yourself and will help you build a community of ardent supporters. 

6. Do you have the business know-how to become a coach?

  • People who already have experience running a small business, tend to hit the ground running, when they launch coaching businesses. If that's not you, work with a mentor coach who knows the business of coaching, inside out. Get advice also from a small-business attorney, accountant, financial adviser, and more.

7. Do you have the passion to become a coach?

  • This is the biggy. If your answers to the first six questions feel like too much work, maybe you just don't have the passion for coaching. On the other hand, if you feel curious, excited, but with a few butterflies (think: waiting inline for the ferris wheel), you've got that illusive IT, the passion needed to succeed. Passionate people dive in and do what others complain about, cut corners on, or procrastinate over. Passion will carry you forward. Add a great strategy to make it simple.
If you can say, YES, to #7 and can arrange for the other six, then coaching could be an awesome profession for you and, YES, you can succeed at it!

 

Ready to become a coach?

 

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Topics: executive coach, mentor coach, coach training, become a life coach, become a coach, Coach 100, become a business coach, becoming a certified coach

Do You Need to Be Certified to Become a Coach?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Get Certified 4 resized 600

If you're thinking about becoming a coach, then you may also be wondering if you need to become a certified coach and if so, what certifications do you need?

Some coaches will tell you, "No, you don't need to be certified to become a coach."

I'm going to tell you why that's terrible advice and why you do need to get certified, especially if you're a new coach who wants to succeed. My information comes from several large surveys of the coaching industry and my experience working with thousands of coaches. But don't take my word for it. Once you have the facts, make up your own mind and set yourself up for success.

#1 Reason you need to become a certified coach:

According to research by Coaching Sherpa and others, professional coaches with training & certification earn more, become successful more quickly, and are less likely to drop out of the profession.

According to School of Coaching Mastery's own research, 80.6% of all coaches wish they were more successful. Why lose even one good potential client because you don't have some letters after your name?

Do I need to be certified to become a coach

#2 Reason you need to become a certified coach:

Certification helps distinguish you from non-coaches who call themselves coaches, and who often mislead or even harm clients. As more scandals arise about so-called coaches, authentic professional coaches seek reputable certifications as a way to assure potential clients that they are genuine coaches.

#3 Reason you need to become a certified coach:

Rightly or wrongly, most people assume that certified professionals are better than those who are uncertified. Yes, there may be uncertified coaches who are good, but the public doesn't always know who they are. In the absence of a good referral from a trusted friend, many people look for certification, which essentially is a stamp or approval from a trusted source.

#4 Reason you need to become a certified coach:

Your clients probably want you to be certified. According to a survey by the ICF, 84% of actual coaching clients said coaching credentials were "important" or "very important" to them. This flies in the face of what some coaches say, which is that clients don't care about certification. Evidently most do, and the numbers go up according to region, with 91% of the general public (not just actual coaching clients) in Latin America stating that certification is important. Not only that, but according to SCM's own survey, 82.8% of professional coaches said they would feel more competitive if they were certified and 76% said they would sign on more paying clients. 

Competitive resized 600

#5 Reason you need to become a certified coach:


You probably want to be certified. According to the SCM survey, Do You Need Coach Certification?, which to date has been completed by 1,239 coaches worldwide, when asked if they intuitively want to get certified (in other words, is this what you really want, or is it just what you think you should do), 75.7% of professional coaches said they want to get certified.

Do you need coach certification

#6 Reason you need to become a certified coach:

Someday you may legally need to be. Most people who want to become business, executive or life coaches wonder if they need credentials in order to legally practice coaching. In most places the answer currently is, "No", but that may change. No one knows for sure what will happen, but having a recognized certification, such as ICF or IAC, can help grandfather you in, if/when regulation comes.

#7 Reason you need to become a certified coach:

You'll become a better coach. No, letters after your name won't magically make you better. But preparing for an oral certification exam will. I've learned something new with every certification that I've qualified for and I've seen hundreds of other coaches improve, as well. Great coaches tend to be more successful.

#8 Best reason you need to become a certified coach:

Regardless of the laws where you live, if you think like a coach, then you've evolved away from thinking that just having enough to get by is okay, and you actively choose to set yourself up for success in every way possible, instead. You're interested in best practices, not just minimum standards. Coach certification helps set you up for success and it represents coaching best practices.

Given all the good reasons why coaches, especially new coaches, benefit from coach certification, I sometimes wonder why some coaches persist in telling new coaches they don't need it. Do they secretly want new coaches to fail, so there will be less competition? Are they terrified that the march toward professionalism will leave them in the dust? I don't know. But whenever I write about certification, some disgruntled coach leaves an angry, jeering, or paranoid comment on this blog, or on Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Clearly this is a hot-button issue for some. But if you're a new coach, don't just take advice. Get the facts and decide for yourself.

Take the survey, "Do You Need Coach Certification?". It'll help you decide if certification is right for you, based on your own  answers.

Ready to become a certified coach? Explore certification options here. Or check out our entry-level training and certification:

Become a Certified Competent Coach

Topics: become a life coach, become a coach, become a business coach, ICF, becoming a certified coach, Coach Certification, IAC Certification, Become a Certified Coach, certified coach

3 Major Upgrades You Must Make to Become a Group Coach

Posted by Julia Stewart

Group CoachingIf 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.)

Register for How to Coach Groups

Topics: group coaching, mentor coach, becoming a certified coach, How to Become a Certified Coach, How to, teleclass

Life Coach Training: Shit Life Coaches Say

Posted by Julia Stewart

Mattison Grey sent me the 'Shit Life Coaches Say' video the same day that I got an invitation to create a TEDed Lesson. So voila! I made a coach training lesson out of it.

That was also about the time I set up a Pinterest account and started linking it to some old 'How Not to Coach' videos from SCM. Some of them are quite funny and 'Shit Life Coaches Say' fits right in.

The embed below is from Pinterest. View the TEDed lesson here.

Source: ed.ted.com via Julia on Pinterest

 

Like all How Not to Coach videos, this one has some truth to it. Newer coaches quickly adopt the language of the profession and love to talk the talk with each other, because they all 'get it'. Nothing wrong with that. Except...

If you can't put something into plain language, you probably don't really understand it, yet. And that makes it hard to communicate it to non-coaches ~ including those you'd like to have for clients. Move away from using jargon as soon as you can.

Oh, and if being laughed at makes you uncomfortable, get used to it. Life coaching is a recognized profession and like all others, it's a target for jokes. Remember the one about the doctor, lawyer and priest?

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Topics: coach training, become a coach, Life Coaches, becoming a certified coach, Mattison Grey, How to, TED, Life Coaching, life coach training

Life Coach Certification vs. Coaching Certificate: The Difference

Posted by Julia Stewart

Life Coach Certification

[UPDATE 2012: The Free Coach Training program no longer includes a Coaching Certificate.]Coaches often ask me if SCM's Free Coach Training program comes with a life coach certification or if they can use letters after their names when they qualify for the free Coaching Certificate.

The short answer to both questions is: No.

The Free Coach Training program comes with a free exam and if you pass it, we'll award you with a free Coaching Certificate. I'm pretty certain we're the only coaching school that does that, but it's not the same as getting a business or life coach certification from us.

What's the difference between life coach certification and a coaching certificate? Here's a side-by-side comparison:

Life Coach Certification

Coaching Certificate

A stamp of approval of you as a coach, by the organization that certified you

Think of it as an automatic recommendation of you and your coaching skills from a trusted source

You can add appropriate letters after your name

In coaching, certification is THE credential to have; not graduation, not a degree, not a diploma, not a certificate

Respectable life coach certifications all require evidence of coaching skill, not just knowledge

Often difficult to get - that's why they mean so much

You'll received a frameable certificate, plus a mini-certificate for your website to prove your credential to the world

Evidence that you completed some training or passed a test

It's not a recommendation, since the organization doesn't really know you

No letters after your name

Evidence that you're not just self-taught

Evidence that you're working toward becoming a skilled coach

Challenging, but not difficult to get

You'll receive a frameable certificate, plus a generic badge for your website to prove your accomplishment

 

I based the above specifically on School of Coaching Mastery's policies concerning business and life coach certification and coaching certificates.

By the way, today we awarded eight coaches with our new Certified Competent Coach credential. They received it either by passing the requirements of Coaching Groundwork Advanced (Next session starts Tuesday, March 6) or by demonstrating competence in one of our Master Coach Training Levels (Next Master Coach Training startes Wednesday, March 7).

School of Coaching Mastery now has three levels of skill-based business and life coach certification, which are the Certified Competent Coach (CCC), Certified Proficient Coach (CPC) and Certified Master Coach (CMC). They are roughly analogous to the ICF's Associate Credentialed Coach (ACC), Professional Credentialed Coach (PCC) and Master Certified Coach (MCC).

Just so you know, 'credentialed' and 'certified' mean the same thing. 'Credential' is used more in Europe, where 'certification' is used in the USA. 'Certificate', however is different. I know, these words all sound alike.

Coincidentally, today the IAC announced in their members-only blog that they will be retroactively awarding  their new Certified Coach (CC) credential to coaches who previously did not pass their old certification, which is now called the Master Certified Coach (MCC), but who did demonstrate a skilled level of coaching (66% or higher score). The new IAC CC credential will be approximately analogous to our CCC and PCC, while the IAC's MCC is roughly analogous to our CMC.

No wonder coaches are confused about life coach certifications with all of these different letters and similar-sounding names! The important thing to remember is that coaching is becoming more professional and that it's a good idea to have a credible life coach certification. A Coaching Certificate is a good start, but keep going.

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Topics: certification requirements, School of Coaching Mastery, ICF, becoming a certified coach, Coach Certification, IAC Certified Coach, Become a Certified Coach, life coach certification, certified life coach, certified business coach, IAC, Coaching Certificate, certified coach

Top Ten Reasons to Become a Certified Group Coach

Posted by Julia Stewart

Become a Certified Group CoachYou've probably heard that group coaching is a must-have for your coaching business, but you may never have thought about becoming a Certified Group Coach.

In my opinion, you don't have to offer group coaching, but if you're ready to branch out from just one-to-one coaching clients, group coaching is the next logical place to go. Yes, information products are great, but dollar for dollar and hour for hour, you'll make more from group coaching, especially if you don't already have a mailing list of thousands.

There are probably hundreds of good reasons to add group coaching to your business, but I've highlighted ten from my own experience below, just to give you an idea.

Group coaching is an advanced skill set, combining many of the skills of one-to-one coaching with group facilitation and more. I thought it would be easy for me, because I was a very good one-to-one coach with 15 years of experience as a college professor. In the beginning, it was a lot harder than I thought! But if you think group coaching is something you want to learn more about and if you'd like to become a Certified Group Coach, skip to the bottom of this blog post and check out an upcoming opportunity.

Top Ten Reasons to Become a Certified Group Coach:

1. Make more money

In 2003, my first coaching groups were focused on a hot new certification from the IAC, which used Thomas Leonard's Proficiencies. I was teaching the Proficiencies at the time, so offering a mentor group to help coaches master them, was a natural for me. I filled my first group up with 10 people and had to open a second one quickly, because even more people wanted to join. It kicked up my income very nicely, even though the groups themselves were a bargain to join.

2. Charge less to your clients

As I said, I charged bargain fees to my clients for those first groups, only $75 per month, per person. But with 20 new clients, that was $1,500 more income per month and about $250 per contact hour. Nice pay ~ and very affordable for my clients! Actually, you can charge much more for group coaching, depending on your market. Generally, groups meet for three to six hours per month, with group sizes ranging from 3 to 10 clients. And most coaching groups cost $150 to $350 per month, per person. Do the math. Group coaching saves money for the client and makes more money for you.

3. Grow your fan base faster

I mentioned your email marketing list earlier, because your True Fans are a vitally important element in your coaching success. Building that list with just one-to-one clients can be murder. Coaching groups with 3 to 10 members each, will help you build that list 3 to 10 times faster.

It's an incredible amount of work to design ebooks, white papers and other information products to attract new people to your list, but coaching is customized in the moment, so there is far less upfront work, while far more value is delivered - and at a higher price that clients gladly pay. People simply view in-person, customized service as more valuable than pre-designed, canned content - because it's far more effective.

Contrary to what you may have heard, coaching clients don't need to buy cheap products from you before they hire you to be their coach. For most of them, you being a credible coach who is in the right place at the right time, with an appealing specialty or niche, is all it takes.

4. Give more value to your clients

Here's where it gets interesting: your group clients will actually get a lot more value from each other than they would from you alone, so a group of ten will multiply value by ten. Why? Groups are organized around commonalities between the members of the group and their mutual goals. So guess what? They have experiences, know-how and resources that you don't have and they tend to share them generously - so long as you know how to set up a bonded  synchronous group, which is one of those advanced skill sets I mentioned.

5. Upsell to one-to-one coaching

It's natural to balance group coaching with one-to-one coaching, because sometimes your clients need you to drill down deeper with an issue than you have time for during the group meeting. This is an important value add for your clients, which gives them the benefits of one-to-one coaching plus group coaching. You can easily add an option for each group member to have one or two individual coaching sessions per month with you and of course, you can charge extra for that.

6. Increase your credibility

As you become known for certain specialties or niches in your coaching groups, you'll become known for those specialties and niches in all your coaching. Once I offered the Get Certified Coaching Groups, which I mentioned above, I became known as a mentor coach who helps coaches get certified. This became an important part of my one-to-one coaching practice for several years, as well - until I leveraged my reputation and what I had learned to start School of Coaching Mastery. You see, over the years, I became an expert on this type of coaching and potential clients saw me as someone they wanted to work with on this. In other words, I developed the credibility to do well with this niche and specialty.

Back then, there was very little training in group coaching, so I had to teach myself and it took years of trial and error. There were no group coaching certifications, but if there had been, I'd have gotten one. Credibility is everything when you're in business for yourself.

7. Decrease your work hours

You can work day and night on a membership site, on information products and live events - or you can just coach. Group coaching pays you even more per hour than one-to-one coaching, so if a short work week is a goal for you, then group coaching needs to be a specialty of yours.

8. Add additional income streams

As you organize your coaching groups, you'll find yourself writing more, because it'll be an easy way to communicate with groups. The nice thing about that is that once you've written something, it can be re-purposed.

Remember how I mentioned that it's a lot of work creating information products? If you've already created something for a high-paying coaching group, you've been well-paid for your time. If you take that written piece and sell it as a free-standing product at a lower price, whatever you make from it will be profit. That's the easier, more profitable way to do it.

Also, working with groups of people will give you a good idea what kinds of solutions they're looking for. That may spark great ideas when you're ready to do live events or create products.

9. Upsell from information products

Remember how I said that clients don't have to try inexpensive products from you in order to be willing to hire you to coach them? Well that's true. And sometimes you'll attract people who were just looking for that inexpensive ebook that tells them how to do something, but upon reading it they'll realize what they really want is a coach. If you have both group coaching and one-to-one coaching options, you'll be able to reach more people in exactly the format they want.

10. Learn where your next opportunities are

Just as I mentioned in #8 above, working intensively with clients will give you ideas about what they really want and need next - even when they, themselves, can't tell you what that is. So group coaching is perhaps the most valuable form of R&D possible, because you get to know your coaching clients inside and out. For me, that took me from coach, to mentor coach, to founding my own coaching school. I knew what my clients wanted and needed because I had gotten to know them so well.

Where will group coaching take you and your business? Where ever it is, you'll get there much faster if you don't have to learn it all from the ground up. That's why we're offering the 8-hour Master Group Coaching Success module, which ends with a Group Coaching Certificate. You'll learn how to organize, market and facilitate successful coaching groups in these live tele-webinars, which come with written materials and more.

Want to become a Certified Group Coach? Take Master Group Coaching Success, described above, and then join the upcoming Certified Group Coach Mentor Group. I'll personally mentor you as you learn to lead your own groups and get started with your very first group. You must attend both the learning module and the mentor group in order to become a Certified Group Coach.

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Topics: group coaching, coaching clients, Become a Master Coach, becoming a certified coach, Coach Certification, Thomas Leonard, Become a Certified Coach, coaching skills, IAC, Coaching Certificate, True Fans

How to Get Life Coach Certification

Posted by Julia Stewart

Tested and Certified

If you’re like most new life coaches, you’ve researched the life coach profession wondering what training and life coach certification you need. You’re smart to wonder about both from the start, to make choices and take action, for critical reasons.

The choices you make at the beginning of your coaching career are analogous to the windup and follow-through of a baseball pitcher. Everything the pitcher does in those short moments determines the direction and velocity of the ball - and whether or not s/he strikes out her opponents.

Professional ball players get extensive training, coaching and practice, since childhood, before they make it to the majors. Life coaching isn’t nearly that structured. As a result, most coaches are inadequately prepared when they try to enter the ‘big leagues’.

Many life coaches think they’ve been coaching for years, but it’s extremely rare for an amateur coach to coach at a professional level. How do I know? I’ve been listening to amateurs and professionals coach for over a decade. The difference is huge. Moreover, it takes time to develop genuine professional skills, usually years.

But there are choices you can make early on that will help you coach like a pro much sooner. The simplest choice, one that will pull you towards success for years, as opposed to getting stuck by trying to figure it all out as you go along, is to decide to get a major life coach certification.

Which life coach certifications are considered best?

The most widely recognized life coach certifications, or credentials, are offered by the International Coach Federation (ICF). Sixteen years after being founded by Thomas Leonard, the ICF claims, on their LinkedIn Group, nearly 7,000 credentialed coaches in over 70 nations. There are three ICF credentials, ACC, PCC and MCC. All are based on coach-specific training at approved or accredited schools, the number of professional coaching hours, an ethics pledge and perhaps a test; or something called the ‘Portfolio’ approach, for coaches who don’t have coach training.

Another highly-respected life coach certification, which is the one that I have, is the International Association of Coaching’s (IAC) Certified Coach credential. Eight years after being founded by Thomas Leonard (yes, the same man founded both), the IAC lists less than 50 Certified Coaches (correct me, if I’m wrong) on their site. I belief this number was at least double a few years ago. The IAC-CC life coach certification is based on an online test, an ethics pledge and demonstration of what the IAC calls ‘Coaching Mastery’. I’m not sure whether the lack of IAC-CC’s represents the degree of difficulty, a lack of popularity, both, or something else, but this is a highly credible life coach certification.

Why you need to decide on life coach certification now:

Kids who decide they want to be Big League pitchers devote way more of their time to training and practice than those who are just playing for fun. Preparing for a major life coach certification works the same way. It compels you to:

  • Get a substantial amount of life coach training

  • Study what you’re learning and pass all the tests

  • Get a mentor coach for customized assistance

  • Coach a lot of clients

  • Understand and commit to professional coaching ethics

  • Practice, practice, practice

In other words, choosing to become a certified life coach now, puts you on a path similar to the kid who dreams of becoming a professional ball player - and succeeds. It demands much more from you and also offers far more.
Just as baseball players who play in the majors make many times what players in the minors are paid, so too, successful professional coaches make ten times or more what their competitors make.

Several years ago, the ICF published the results of a world-wide coaching study which showed that 10% of coaches who responded to the study reportedly made $100,000 per year or more, while 50% of respondents reported that they made $10,000 or less. In other words, the top 10% made 10 times more than the bottom 50%. In my opinion, that’s like the difference between the majors and the minors.

Why do you need to decide on life coach certification early?

You don’t have to, but it can help you save time and make more money. Most master coaches that I’ve talked to say that the decision to be a high-quality coach put them head and shoulders above the competition early and helped them stay there. Virtually all of them have ICF or IAC coach certification, or both. Working toward a major certification is a framework that simplifies choices and accelerates your progress.

Additionally, demands on your time increase as you establish your business, so trying to go for life coach certification later means you’ll have to take time away from your business, which could cost you clients and money. You may make more money after you’re certified, but you could make less until then.

So how do you get life coach certification?

Visit both the ICF and IAC web sites and read the steps to becoming certified. Choose which coach certification you want and put yourself on the path to getting there. This will include a coaching school that prepares you for the certification of your choice and you’ll probably want a mentor coach who holds that certification, as well.

Can I get a life coach certification from my coaching school?

Yes, but it won’t carry as much weight. Certifications from schools vary widely. Some have rigorous standards; others have no standards at all. Life coach certifications from the ICF and IAC are the industry standard.

What’s the difference between life coach certification or business coach certification?

Neither the ICF nor IAC makes a distinctions between life coach certification and business coach certification. The skills are basically the same. It’s often said that ‘All coaching is life coaching.’ It’s your experience with business that sets you apart as a business coach. Any niche or specialty you choose will likely be based on experience.

To increase School of Coaching Mastery’s students’ options and pathways to the majors, we’re currently working toward ICF accreditation, in addition to our IAC License. We’re already using both the ICF’s Core Coaching Competencies and IAC Coaching Masteries within our Master Coach Training Program. We believe we are the first coaching training school to actively use both.

Click the button below to find out more about life coach certification at School of Coaching Mastery:

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Topics: certification requirements, ICF, becoming a certified coach, Thomas Leonard, Become a Certified Coach, life coach certification, Certified Coach Training, certified coaches, certified life coach, certified business coach, IAC, certified coach

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