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101 Incredible Coaching Questions

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching Questions

Every new coach wants to know…what are THE coaching questions??

So here they are: Powerful Questions, Open-ended Questions, Curious Questions, Clarifying Questions, Possibility Questions, Golden Questions. Do you know the difference? When and how could you use them?

Truth is, there are at least 100,000 great coaching questions and it won’t be long before there are millions. Coaching questions are kind of like iPhone Apps; a few years ago they didn’t exist. Now everybody’s creating them!

Here’s the real secret: it’s how you set up your coaching questions and then how you follow up that creates much of the magic in coaching. These questions in the hands of a novice may not have the same punch as they do when used by a master coach.

But you can get incredible mileage from these awesome coaching questions, right out of the box...

Print out this post and keep it with you when you coach. Notice what happens when you ask these powerful questions. If you don’t get fantastic results, work on your delivery. Here are the questions...

 

Thinking about becoming a coach? Get the FREE Become a Coach eBook here.

 

  1. I’m curious; may I ask you a few questions?
  2. What’s great about your life this week?
  3. How have you grown this week?
  4. What did you accomplish this week?
  5. Who did you serve?
  6. What did you learn?
  7. Who else will benefit?
  8. What are you grateful for?
  9. Who’s grateful for you?
  10. Is this what you want to be coached on or are you just sharing?
  11. What could you be happy about if you chose to be?
  12. Are you using this to grow or are you beating yourself up?
  13. Does this story empower you or disempower you?
  14. How can you turn this around and have better results next time?
  15. On a scale of 1 – 10 how honest have you been about this, with others?
  16. Do you mind if I offer an observation?
  17. Is this the problem or the solution?
  18. How would you like it to be?
  19. What’s in the way?
  20. What’s stopping you?
  21. What does this mean to you?
  22. Are you focused on what’s wrong or what’s right?
  23. Is that a story or the truth?
  24. How can you find out?
  25. Do you want this for its own sake or are you trying to avoid something else?
  26. Is this giving you energy or draining your energy?
  27. What will really make the biggest difference here?
  28. Is this a limitation or is it a strength?
  29. What’s the benefit of this problem?
  30. Who else is this hurting?
  31. What does your intuition tell you about this?
  32. Do you have a gut feeling about this?
  33. Have you solved problems like this before?
  34. What rules do you have that are getting in the way?
  35. How long have you been thinking about this?
  36. Have you ever experienced something like this before?
  37. If you changed your belief about this, what would be possible?
  38. Is this a decision or a pipe dream?
  39. Which of your core values does this goal express?
  40. Is this goal pulling you forward or are you struggling to reach it?
  41. Will this choice move you forward or keep you stuck?
  42. What’s the first step you need to take to reach your goal?
  43. What’s the worst that can happen, and can you handle that?
  44. What’s the downside of your dream?
  45. What’s stopping you from taking action?
  46. Who wouldn’t like it if you succeeded?
  47. What will you have to give up in order to make room for your goals?
  48. How would your life be transformed if you changed this right now?
  49. If you don’t change this, what will it cost you in the long run?
  50. What’s the most resourceful choice here?
  51. How can you improve this, so it adds value forever?
  52. How can you solve this problem so it never comes back?
  53. Are you acting on faith or fear?
  54. If you weren’t scared, what would you do?
  55. Are you standing in your power or pleasing someone else?
  56. What are you pretending not to know?
  57. How could you have this conversation so it empowers everyone concerned?
  58. What might make the difference that could change everything?
  59. If you approached this with courage, how could your life change?
  60. Are you procrastinating or is there a reason to delay?
  61. What’s the emotional cost vs. the financial cost?
  62. Which step could you take that would make the biggest difference, right now?
  63. How can you get your needs fully met?
  64. If your life were exclusively oriented around your values, what would that be like?
  65. How would you describe the difference between a need and a value?
  66. If you achieve this goal, will it bring lasting fulfillment or temporary pleasure?
  67. Have you thought about the impact you’ll have by creating this?
  68. How can you learn from this problem so it never happens again?
  69. How can you create more value with less effort?
  70. What are you willing to do to improve this situation?
  71. What are you willing to stop doing to improve this situation?
  72. How can you enjoy the process of solving this problem?
  73. Do you mind if I ask a very personal question?
  74. What are you willing to commit to here?
  75. Do you need to work harder or delegate this?
  76. If this weakness were also a strength, what would that be?
  77. How can you use this so it becomes a benefit?
  78. Have you decided to take action or are you just hoping you will?
  79. Are you angry or are you hurt?
  80. Who can help you with this?
  81. Does your current habitat fully support who you’re becoming?
  82. What do you need in order to succeed here?
  83. What plan do you need in order to achieve your new goals?
  84. Are your personal standards high enough to reach your goals?
  85. What will your impact be 100 years from now?
  86. Who do you need to become in order to succeed here?
  87. What are you responsible for here?
  88. Instead of either/or, how could you use both?
  89. Are you approaching this from your head or from your heart?
  90. Is this an assumption or have you checked to be sure?
  91. How can you learn what you need to know about this?
  92. Is this the best outcome you can imagine or is there something greater?
  93. Do you have a detailed strategy to get there?
  94. How will you transform your life with this new knowledge?
  95. What does this accomplishment mean to you?
  96. Why does it matter?
  97. Who did you have to become to achieve it?
  98. What did you learn in the process?
  99. Who else will benefit?
  100. What’s next for you?
  101. How have you changed the world for generations to come?

 

Love positive psychology? Get the FREE Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook.

 

Print out this list of questions and post them next to your coaching desk. With practice, incredible coaching questions will occur to you spontaneously, your clients will have amazing insights, and you will easily earn the big bucks that life, business, and executive coaches charge.

Got some great coaching questions of your own? Please share them below in the comments section.

Want to know how to ask incredible coaching questions? Check out this free infographic.

 

Want to be a certified coach in just 8 weeks? Join the Certified Competent Coach course.

 

 

Topics: business coach, life coach, Coaching, coaching school, Business Coaches, coaching questions, master coach, goals, Life Coaching, life coach training

The Top 10 Worst Advice We've Ever Heard About Becoming a Coach

Posted by Julia Stewart

 

I truly love coaching. So much so, that I've devoted the last 15 years of my life to it (The last 9 years have been about helping life coaches, business coaches, and executive coaches succeed via School of Coaching Mastery).

Why? Because truly great coaching melds optimism, personal growth, relationship skills, and helping people be their very best. Plus, it's fun, inspiring, and a great way to make a living, unless you are one of the unlucky souls who get snagged by the wrong advice, like the poor sap JP Sears portrays in the How to Be a Life Coach (Not) video, above.

JP is playing for laughs. But here's the sad part: What he says and does in this skin-crawling satire of a life coach, is remarkably close (even identical, in some cases) to advice given by hundreds of self-proclaimed expert "coaches". You'll recognize them by the yachts, sports cars, and private planes they like to pose in front of, or in the opposite extreme, the spiritual, heart-centered props and rhetoric they used to sell their Law of Attraction "abundance" programs. Yuk.

These coaches are fake. Most don't coach at all (even if they call what they do "coaching"), or they use coaching skills to manipulate their customers into buying more and more products and programs, instead of employing those skills to help their customers succeed. This violates basic ethical practices in professional coaching.

You see, if you succeed, you won't need to buy any more advice from them, and that's no good for their bottom lines.

Here's a Top Ten List of Bad Advice for Coaches. Beware...

  1. You can't make a living as a life coach. Oh really? Why then, has coaching been one of the fastest growing professions for the past two decades? The US Bureau of Labor Statistics says professional and business services, such as  coaching, is one of the one of the fastest-growing sectors, right now. If anyone tells you that you can't make a living as a coach, ask yourself why they said that. Did it come from your sour-puss brother-in-law who pours negativity on every new idea? Maybe get a second opinion. Or does it come from a friend-of-a-friend who went broke trying to become a coach? Probably they took some of the following advice. Read on...
  2. Quit your job. If coaching is growing so fast, why not just quit your job and start coaching? Because, unless you are hired by a company, like Google, to coach their employees, you probably will be starting your own coaching business. And no business, no matter how successful it becomes, is profitable on Day One. And nobody is going to cut you a full-salary paycheck two weeks after hanging out your shingle. It takes time. Either keep your current job, or work part-time to cover your bills, while you build your awesome new business. Otherwise, terror over not having enough to cover the mortgage will make you desperate and that's when you'll become vulnerable to the following scams...
  3. Learn internet marketing. Internet marketing is a seductive hotbed of get-rich-quick schemes. Self-proclaimed million-dollar-coaches, seven-figure-coaches, wealth coaches, and gurus of every stripe will offer to teach you how to "Explode Your Profits!!!", "Live a Life of Abundance!", and more, with free webinars, cheap products, expensive workshops, and incredibly high-priced "coaching", "mentoring", or "personal advising" programs. Coaches who have been ensnared by these snake-oil salesmen have gone bankrupt, lost their homes, and more. The only people who get rich quick in this world, are the people selling the products and often even they are faking their own "success". Avoid their advice at all costs, especially if it includes...
  4. You must have a niche to succeed. I was lucky. I studied coaching with Thomas Leonard, the Founder of the Coaching Profession, who taught his students, flat out, that you don't need a niche to succeed with coaching. It's fine if you don't have one, especially when  you start out. If you develop one over time, that's fine too, but don't sweat it. Why do "experts" keep saying all coaches must have niches? Because new coaches, by definition, don't have niches, and once they "discover" that not niching will prevent them from getting clients, they go into the same fear-fueled panic that plagues coaches without enough income - and then they are ripe for all the hype internet marketers throw at vulnerable new business owners - and they start buying workbooks, seminars, and "coaching programs" that will help them discover their niches. I just talked to a former student of mine, a smart, talented, accomplished coach; who says she spent the last year taking classes and doing exercises to find her niche. It was both expensive and time-consuming and none of it helped her get clients. She's feeling a bit bitter, just like coaches who follow this bad advice...
  5. Get a web site immediately. If you're a web developer, this is the advice you'll give every new business owner. But many businesses, including most coaching businesses, don't get clients via their websites. What? Nobody will take you seriously if you don't have a web site, you say? Tell that to the thousands of successful coaches who didn't get web sites until after they'd been coaching for two or three years (including me). In the meantime, use a directory listing or Facebook page, or LinkedIn profile as your web address. You'll save time and money and will have more flexibility in developing your web presence over time. Plus, a successful coaching site needs thousands of visitors and in order to get them, you will either need to become a search engine optimization (SEO) expert, or you'll have to hire one. Then again, you'll need a web site in order to do what internet marketers say you must do in order to make millions...
  6. Sell products. These can be information products, such as audio and video recordings, workbooks or eBooks, anything to build up multiple streams of income, because you can't make a living as a coach, right? I fell for this for about a year and made much less money than I had when I just coached one-to-one. If you enjoy creating products, that's good, but unless you have thousands of people on your email list, you'll hardly sell any of them. Not nearly as good a return on investment as coaching one-to-one, which according to the most recent ICF coaching survey, pays over $200 per hour. Avoid the "products" stream at least until you have a stable full practice and you'll never have to fool with this advice...
  7. Get a sales funnel. This is another tool that only works if you have a big email list (it took me years to build mine), or fantastic SEO. Big companies often do use sales funnels effectively, but if you're a new coach, it's unlikely that a funnel will do anything but waste your time and money. Good coaches make most of their income coaching their clients and may supplement that with other services, and perhaps later on, a few products. If you're a new coach, studiously avoid this one and definitely the next...
  8. Max out your credit card. Or raid your daughter's college fund. Take out a second mortgage. Or sell one of your cars. This is the kind of bad advice fake "coaches" give when a customer tells them they aren't succeeding and are too broke to buy a $15,000 - 40,000 Platinum Program to get the information they really, really need to succeed. Again, if you're getting desperate, you will be more susceptible to this underhanded sales scheme. In fact, economic behaviorists have discovered something they call the "sunk-cost fallacy", in which people who are losing money, will continue to spend in a desperate attempt to recoup what they've lost. You see this all the time in casinos. And it's one reason marketing funnels work. The more someone spends, but doesn't quite get what they need, the more likely they will keep spending on the same stuff. I thought I was too smart for this, until I caught myself doing it, once. I was feeling a little desperate at the time, which is one reason why the following advice is so terrible...
  9. Don't get coach training. There's an old coaching guard out there that never got training, because there was none when they started coaching. Coaching scammers and internet marketers point to those veteran coaches as proof that nobody needs coach training. Why would they do that? Because a good coach training program will give you confidence, teach you what works, and warn you about what to avoid. Not good for those who want to prey on you. By the way, the ICF has found that coaches with training become successful more quickly, make more money, and are less likely to get discouraged and quit the profession. Good training is a lot less expensive than losing your shirt. And that brings us to our final bit of terrible advice...
  10. Don't get coach certification. Again, some coaches will angrily fight the idea that they need any type of credential. I suspect the anger is a cover for insecurity and more than a little paranoia. Because, once you're certified by a reputable organization, that fear tends to vanish, and because you've got a stamp of approval from a trusted source, that says you've got the right stuff. Will your clients ask you about it? Some will; some won't. Why lose even one client, because you didn't bother to get certified? According to the ICF, 84% of actual coaching clients say, coach certification is an important consideration for them. In some parts of the world, that percentage is even higher.

So there you have the worst possible advice for new life, business, and executive coaches.

If you don't have the training and certification you need yet, the ICF can point you to where to get it. And you can also get it here:

Check Out Coach Training Programs Here.

 

 

 

Topics: executive coach, coach training, Business Coaches, Life Coaches, Coach Certification, Thomas Leonard, becoming a coach

Should Business and Life Coaches Ask "Why" Questions?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching Questions The_Forgotten_Jetty_by_Daniel_Sallal_CC.jpg

Coaching questions are the stock and trade of professional life, business, and executive coaches. Knowing what to ask, when to ask, and how to ask coaching questions is a major part of becoming an effective coach. But there are certain types of questions that tend to be frowned upon, because they often yield poor results.

Those include "leading questions" that back clients into corners, as well as "closed-ended questions" that reduce curiosity, and then there are "Why questions" that slow down the process.

The ICF Core Coaching Competencies encourage a different type of question, what coaches sometimes call "powerful questions", or "awareness-building questions". These can often be spotted by the words they start with: What, When, How, Who, If.

Some powerful awareness-building questions:

  • If you had everything you need, what would you do?
  • Who would you have to become to succeed?
  • How could you do it?
  • When have you been in a situation like this, before?
  • What does this mean to you?

Questions like these help to open up a client's awareness of who s/he is and what's really possible. They take coaching to a higher level and help clients expand their impact in more ways than just goal completion. They also make coaching more fun.

So why shouldn't coaches ask, Why?

Sorry, I couldn't resist that one. Here are some reasons:

  • Why questions encourage analysis of the situation and you'd be surprised at how little analysis helps in coaching.
  • Why questions often lead to interpretations that may or may not be true, but more importantly, usually aren't helpful.
  • Why questions can turn the client's focus on the past, rather then the present and future, where the action really is.

I used to discourage Why questions until I listened to an advanced coaching session in which the student-coach asked her client several carefully-worded questions that focused on analyzing and interpreting the past, but avoided the word, Why.

Example: What do you think the reason is that you have this problem? Which is gobbledygook for: Why do you have this problem? Not surprisingly, the session wasn't successful.

That said, I've heard dramatic turning points in coaching sessions when coaches asked Why questions. As I tell my coaching students, if it works for the client, it works for me, because ICF coaching may be powerful, but it's not the only way to coach. So if you feel compelled to ask Why, just ask Why.

What makes some Why question work in coaching, instead of just slowing things down?

Ah, I thought you'd never ask! Here's why: 

WHY matters more than anything else in coaching!

You read that right. That poor little much-maligned word, WHY, matters more than all the Who, What, When, Where, and Hows. Those still matter, but not as much.

“Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.” ― Viktor E. Frankl

Viktor was an incredibly wise man. As much as I love How questions (and I truly love How questions) they are pointless until you get the Why. In fact, What, When, If, and even Who don't make total sense without the Why.

Here are some Why questions you MUST ask:

  • Why does this matter to you?
  • Why is this important, right now?
  • Why does this mean so much?

Powerful Why questions uncover what the client most values.

Values are the Why.

Our most important personal values are the driving force behind everything we do. As sociologist, Paul Ray says, values determine our behavior more than anything else. More than demographics, education, strengths, needs, you name it.

Values are what matter most. 

Asking about values in a coaching session is like asking Google an important search term. Within a few moments, you get a useful answer. But invite Google to analyze and interpret the past, and it might reply, "Well I was going to answer, but I wasn't feeling well, plus my boss is mad at me and I had an argument with my wife, plus, plus, plus... Not useful.

So should coaches ask Why questions? YES. 

Focus Why questions on values, not analysis, interpretation, or the past. My 2 cents.

Positive psychology coaching tends to focus on strengths, which are the HOW of coaching. At School of Coaching Mastery, we focus on strengths and also emphasize values, because we are all about making coaching as powerful as possible. Two modules that will help you master values are the Psychology of Values and Coaching Values, Needs, and Strengths. Both are included in the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® program.

Curious about positive psychology coaching? Get the free eBook:

Free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook

Topics: Coaching, executive coach, Business Coaches, Life Coaches, coaching questions, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, positive psychology coaching, Strengths, Values

Why Life Coaches Should Never Get Botox (and Other Surprises)

Posted by Julia Stewart

Botox_by_F1uffster_-_Jeanie

Life Coaches and their colleagues (such as business coaches and executive coaches) need empathy, that sense that you can identify and even feel what another is experiencing. It's an important part of what leadership coaching and emotional intelligence expert, Richard Boyatzis, calls "compassionate coaching", the type of coaching that's been found to be most effective.

Have you ever wondered how we know what someone else is feeling? 

Neuroscientists tell us that we have something called mirror neurons that cause us to experience what others experience, both physically and emotionally. You're even more likely to feel what someone else is feeling, if you're closely bonded to them. That's one of the reasons that connecting with a client is so important.

Why does it matter that life coaches have a strong sense of empathy with their clients?

A tremendous amount of information passes between a coach and client during a coaching session. We think about six times faster than we can talk (Rock, 2006) and we feel almost instantly, so if we over-rely on the content of the client's words, we will understand only a thimble full, compared to the volumes of information we can glean via empathy. Of course, we need to be sensitive to that information and accurately interpret it, while checking in with the client, in order to stay on track. This can take considerable practice.

So why should life coaches never get botox?

The concept of mirror neurons doesn't really describe the complex wiring that goes into empathy, which is an evolutionary enhancement that many animals don't have. The more social a species is (think: reptiles, to mammals, to primates, to us: the world's most social animal) the more sophisticated our emotional wiring must be.

As Stephen Porges, author of The Polyvagal Theory (2011) tells us, all animals have something called the vagus nerve, a conduit for a host of smaller nerves that connect the face, throat, chest and abdomen, and communicate between our organs, facial muscles, and brain. It is this collection of nerves that is the seat of emotion. That's why you feel emotions in your torso, throat and/or face.

In reptiles, who experience little or no emotional bonding, emotions are simply about survival. Reptilian vagus nerves enervate the gut and produce "gut feelings" that signal danger, while the reptilian brain (analogous to the human brain stem) signals a "fight, flight, or freeze response." Humans and other mammals also possess this primitive wiring, which Porges calls, "the vegetative vagus". 

It's official; your gut feelings are real.

But mammals are more social and need more complex emotional wiring to navigate relationships. We also possess the "smart vagus" that enervates the heart and lungs. This is the vagus that has gotten a lot of press lately, since scientists discovered that the vagus delivers oxytocin, the "love hormone" that triggers much of what we call bonding between humans and other animals.

Hold on, I'm getting to the botox part.

In primates, and especially humans, vagal nerves also enervate the throat and facial muscles which communicate so much to empathic others via our facial expressions and also via our voices, which change slightly according to muscle contractions in the throat. This is why we can intuit what someone is feeling when we talk to them on the phone. In turn, the listener experiences minute contractions in their own face, throat, chest and abdomen. It's those contractions that tell you what someone else is feeling, because you are then feeling it too!

The most highly empathic people respond to tiny, almost invisible contractions around the eyes, rather then just the mouth. In fact, people who are autistic, and therefore are not usually highly empathic, tend to avoid looking at eyes and so miss important information.

When you talk to someone face-to-face, or on the telephone, you intuition is highly influenced by the minute contractions around your own eyes and other parts of the face and throat. According to Porges, if you've had botox, you will be cut off from that information. Plus, others will have a harder time reading your feelings. Less empathy all around. Bad for your relationships. Super bad for your coaching.

Botox literally cuts you off from your complex and subtle ways of knowing.

Would you like to learn more about the science of coaching? Consider joining the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program or simply take the modules you're most curious about. All are ICF approved and IAC licensed. Click below for more information.

Become a Certified Positive Psychology Coach®

Topics: executive coach, Business Coaches, Life Coaches, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching, Neuroplasticity

Should Life, Business, or Executive Coaching Be Government Regulated?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Is coaching regulated?
Written by Julia Stewart

 

People often wonder if the coaching profession is regulated. And professional life, business, and executive coaches often wonder, with trepidation, if coaching should be regulated. This article will help answer those questions, but the conversation about coaching regulation will likely go on for years.

 

To be clear, these questions have different meanings depending on whether you're thinking of hiring a coach, or you're thinking of becoming a coach, or you're already a professional coach:

 

  • If you're thinking about hiring a coach, then you want to know who will be the best coach for you, whether they should be licensed or certified, and whether there are training requirements for professional coaches. If you've been given a great recommendation for a coach from a trusted friend, these issues may matter less to you, but they still matter.
  • If you're thinking about becoming a coach, then you want to know what requirements you have to meet before you can accept paying clients and whether jumping through those hoops will be worth it for you.
  • However, if you're already making a living as a coach, you may regard these questions as threatening, because any changes in regulations or requirements where you live could impact your ability to keep making a living doing what you love. That's frightening. And if you're in the US (or anywhere else), witnessing the current Federal government shutdown, then the idea of getting government involved in your livelihood probably makes you apoplectic!

 

To professional coaches: relax. Your government isn't coming for you.To my knowledge, and I keep my ear to the ground on this, no government is currently regulating professional life, business or executive coaches (If you have knowledge to the contrary, please share it in the comments section, below). There have been attempts to regulate coaching in countries where it is widespread, but so far, coaching has established itself as a profession that doesn't target vulnerable populations, nor those who are in crisis, nor do coaches give advice on health, mental illness, or finance; three areas that usually require credentials. If you're a new coach, you can begin charging clients whenever you like. There are no legal hoops for you to clear.

 

To potential coaching clients: the onus is on you. Caveat emptor: let the buyer beware, is the rule of law that governs coaching. There's a huge variance in the effectiveness of professional coaches, so be sure you hire a good one.

 

By the way, some professional coaches are dead set against government regulation, while others are hoping for it. I put myself in the middle. Responsible coaches owe it to our clients to help them understand what to look for in a good coach. I think the ICF and IAC are in the best position to do this, but all of us need to pitch in, including coach training schools.

 

New professions can best prevent government interference by taking responsibility for their own standards. This Coaching Blog is widely read, so here are a few standards I believe you should look for when hiring a coach. Usually, the more of these you find in a coach, the better. 

 

1. Get recommendations from people you know well and trust. Did your best friend have a great experience with a coach? Then begin there. But ask your friend if the coach paid them for the referral. That's a common practice. A reputable coach will always tell you, up front, if they paid for your referral.

 

But what if you don't know anyone who has worked with a coach?

 

2. Look for coaches who are certified by the IAC or ICF. Yes, there are good coaches who aren't certified by these organizations, but increasingly, better coaches are getting these certifications, because they are a stamp of approval from a trusted source.

 

3. Look for coaches who have joined a professional organization, such as the IAC or ICF, that requires members to sign a code of ethics. Of course, unethical coaches can sign codes, but if the coach is upfront about the ethical code they are bound by, then you at least have something with which to measure their behavior. The good news is that these organizations have online coach directories of their members.

 

4. Only work with coaches who use written coaching agreements. Your agreement should give you an idea of what to expect and will likely reflect the code of ethics followed by that coach.

 

5. Work with coaches who have a substantial amount of coach-specific training. Most genuine coaches have had coach training, including the ones who've been practicing for decades. The ICF only allows coaches with at least 60 hours of coach-specific training to join their organization, so that's a good threshold to consider, but their entry-level certification requires 100 hours. If your coach is in training, but shy of that number of hours, most likely they will charge you less. Generally, you can expect to pay more to coaches who are trained, certified, and experienced.

 

6. Be especially careful of 'coaches' who offer get-rich-quick schemes. Most complaints about coaching involve non-coaches, who leverage the public's ignorance about coaching to sell snake-oil. They often focus on wealth, money, or that euphamism for money, abundance.

 

I'm sure some professional coaches will disagree with the above standards. You're welcome to your opinion, as I am to mine. Perhaps you'll help educate consumers by writing about it on your own blog.

 

Here are some places to find coaches:

 

Find a Coach Here

 

Photo by Mr Mo Fo

Topics: life coach, executive coaching, become a coach, ICF, Business Coaches, IAC Certification, coach training schools, Million Dollar Coach, FIND A COACH, coaching ethics

Your Million-Dollar Coach Has Been Recalled By the Manufacturer

Posted by Julia Stewart

Million Dollar Coach

Yesteryday, Coach Maryam Webster shared some 'million dollar coaching for conscious business owners' on Facebook. Of course, what she really did, was warn the innocent away from a predatory type of 'coaching'. Her message included:

''Before buying into any six figure type training, ask to see the teacher's financials...Then run. Far away from cookie cutter trainings and teachers like this...Forget the 6 and 7 figure coach, author & speaker trainings. Those who make money their central theme are playing on your basic survival fears..."

Be sure to read the entire conversation on Maryam's Page (you may need to log in to Facebook, first) before you spend a dime on programs like these, because they are almost always scams...

As I said in my reply to Maryam, I've written on this topic a number of times. I shared several horror stories here. I wrote more recently on the meaninglessness of titles such as 'life coach', here. Do read these posts before working with a 'wealth coach', 'million-dollar coach', 'six-figure coach', 'seven-figure coach', or anybody who calls him/herself a 'coach'. You could save yourself thousands of dollars and years of heartache.

Some of these so-called 'coaches', gurus and teachers have been sued by the likes of the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Others have gone to prison. Their victims have been emotionally devastated, bankrupt, lost their homes, or even lost their lives.

It's a serious problem, but not an easy one to fix. Coaching has a reputation for being high-paid, but to my knowledge, it's still not regulated by any government in the world. Plus most people don't know what it is, except that it involves people talking to each other. That makes it the perfect get-rich-quick scheme for any sociopath who can talk. There are an awful lot of them out there.

Genuine coaches provide valuable services and are nearly always certified by reputable coaching schools and professional associations. They have testimonials from real people you can talk to. Their clients rave about them and you can find them online and research their reputations. Coaches who are certified by the ICF or IAC are usually a good bet. And I stand behind the coaches who are certified by School of Coaching Mastery.

So why's there a kitten in the picture, above? He's Josey, an abandoned formerly feral baby cat we found half-starved, terrified and awfully lonely. He was desperate enough to let some gigantic strange creatures take him in and feed him and now he's a delightful member of the household. Josey was lucky. Imagine what could have happened to him if a sociopath found him, instead of a family of animal lovers.

When you have a dream of building a 'conscious business', or of answering your calling, or even of becoming wealthy by sharing your brilliance with those who want or need it, you're as vulnerable, and often, as innocent as a kitten. You probably need help from someone who can help facilitate your dream, such as a good coach, but you and your dream can be destroyed by a greedy sociopath. Be careful who you share your dreams with!

Today, Gina Spadafori shared on Facebook that P&G has voluntarily recalled the type of kitten food I feed to Josey. It may be contaminated with salmonella. He was lucky again, because his chow was made in a different batch.

It got me thinking how great it would be if we could recall toxic 'coaches'. It would save a lot of innocent people from being preyed upon. And it would definitely improve the reputation of the coaching profession.

But fake coaches manufacture themselves. They remind me of Sturgeon's Law: 90% of anything is crap. That doesn't mean the top 10% isn't fantastic. In my opinion, million-dollar coaches occupy the bottom 10% of the crap pile.

There is no way to wipe them all out, but you can protect yourself. Stay out of free, or suspiciously low-fee, seminars and webinars. They are designed to get you to spend irrationally. Don't be swayed by money-back guarantees. They usually mean nothing.

Instead, work with certified coaches and get recommendations.

Maryam asked me online what we should do about this problem. I'd like to see a coordinated marketing campaign by coaches, coach-training schools and professional coaching associations that warns the public about unscrupulous coaching practices and how to hire a good coach. I'm not the person to organize this. Do you know someone who is?

If you care about people in general and the coaching profession specifically, please share this blog post or voice your own opinions online. You could save someone from making a horrible mistake.

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Topics: life coach, ICF, Business Coaches, IAC Certified Coach, certified coaches, coach training schools, Million Dollar Coach, teleclass, six-figure coaches, six-figure coaching business

Why Business Coaching Works

Posted by Julia Stewart

If you're a business, executive or corporate coach, you need data on how and why coaching works in order to make effective proposals. The ICF is an ongoing source of good data on coaching.

Below is an info-graphic that communicates the value of coaching in the workplace (Click to enlarge):

 

Why Coaching Works

 

Topics: corporate coaching, Coaching, executive coaching, become a business coach, ICF, Business Coaches

Life Coach Salary: 15 Reasons Your Coaching Fees Are Too Low

Posted by Julia Stewart

 

Life Coach Salaryby Julia Stewart, MCC

Last night, I taught a Q&A tele-webinar on How To Set Your Coaching Fees for my clients, students and guests. They asked great questions and I know the class was a real eye-opener for them.

The class was inspired by questions from one of my Elite Mentor Coaching for High Achievers clients and is also included for members of the new Just In Time Coach Training and other School of Coaching Mastery Programs.

Bottom line? Life coaching is an expensive, highly personalized,  high-end service. Attempts to make coaching more affordable and hopefully, easier to sell, tend to fail. Compass Coaching is an example. All logic to the contrary, sometimes a service sells more easily when it's expensive. (Just ask a behavioral economist how logical people are about spending money!) And of course, all of this applies to business coaching and executive coaching, as well.

Long story short: if you missed the tele-webinar, or even if you were there, here's a list of 15 reasons your coaching fees are probably too low. I've divided the list between A. Your probable reasons for undercharging, B. Why that doesn't work for your clients, and C. The reality check. I hope it's helpful!

A. Why You Charge Too Little For Your Coaching:

  1. You don't see the value in coaching. This is way more common than you might think. In fact I didn't see it until I'd been coaching a while. What changed? I worked with incredible mentor coaches who helped transform my life. Then I watched myself transform my clients' lives. Then my clients started saying things like, 'If I weren't paying you $350, I'd find a way to pay you $10,000!'
  2. You have a disempowering story about why people won't pay you more. Yes, a lot of people have been out of work for a long time. But 90% are still working and many of those are making more money than ever. And coaching continues to be the 2nd fastest growing profession in the world. But those are generalizations. The truth is, people who see for themselves the value in coaching will find the money to pay for it. For example, if you're a career coach who has a great track record helping people get hired, an unemployed person will pull together the money to hire you.
  3. You're trying to sell coaching to people who don't value it. For one person, $25 per month will be too much to pay for coaching. But for someone else, anything less than $500 may be too little, because they want the best coach they can afford. Like it or not, people frequently measure how valuable something is by how much it costs. And in the case of coaching, clients actually put more effort into their own results when they pay more, because they want their money's worth. So don't waste time on the 'client' who's interested in coaching with you, but not interested in paying, unless you sense they are that rare person who will knock themselves out even if you coach them for free - and you really want to coach them.
  4. You don't think you're worth it. Okay, let's say you're a new coach and you've seen the credentials and track records of your competition. Pretty intimidating? It may be tempting to compete on price, but will that really satisfy you? A better strategy is to do everything in your power to get results and credentials as quickly as you can, so you can compete, period. Coach a lot of people for free for a set period of time, but be sure each client knows you want a testimonial from them in exchange. Become a certified coach quickly. Join the IAC and ICF.
  5. You're trying to coach too many people. When I first became a life coach, I thought 30-40 clients was a full coaching practice. And to make a good living, I really did need a lot of clients, because I was only charging $100-200 per month for each. That left me in a chronic state of always needing more clients. I wish someone had told me that most successful coaches have less than ten clients
  6. You don't know how much money you need to make. As I showed my class last night, your coaching fees aren't your life coaching salary. When you subtract the money it takes to make money, including your business expenses, taxes, and benefits you'd normally get from a salaried position, it takes a lot more money than you might think, especially if you only have 6 clients. Be sure you do the math.
  7. You want to coach low-income people who could benefit from coaching. Nothing wrong with that, unless you put yourself out of business. Better to charge a fee to most of your clients that's high enough to allow you to offer some scholarships. You can also volunteer your coaching services to an organization that provides coaching to low-income people.

B. Why Charging Low Fees Doesn't Work For Your Coaching Clients:

  1. People perceive life and business coaching as a highly-personalized, high-end, expensive service. That's what they're looking for and it's usually what they want to buy. When you charge less, you look like a bargain-basement coach (who may deliver bargain-basement results). One-to-one coaching delivers dramatic results and if the price tag is inconsistent with that, you run the risk of confusing people (and confused people don't buy).
  2. When people buy a high-end service, they're saying to themselves, 'I'm worth it!' That feeling is what they want. And when someone decides it's time to get a life coach to help them upgrade their life, that feeling is a big part of their resolve. They may actually be disappointed if you don't charge enough to make a statement that from now on, things will be different for them.
  3. People want their money's worth, so the more they pay, the more value they'll get. Your high-paying clients will work harder and achieve more. And you'll be less likely to slack off, too. As one of my colleagues told me, every time she signs on a client with her new higher fee, she thinks, 'Holy crap! Now I have to deliver that much value!' and that's a good thing.
  4. Your clients deserve better service from you. I tell my clients that it's my goal to give them exactly what they need. They're all high-achievers, so I'm confident they won't become needy just because I'm extremely supportive. But a coach who's trying to make a living with 30 low-paying clients is spread too thin between serving clients and constantly needing to market and sell in order to keep the numbers up. That means less attention for each client. And it may mean that you're needy, because you always need more clients. A needy coach is never at her best.

C. The Reality Check:

  1. Coaches worldwide average around $200 per coaching hour. Even if you choose to discount your fee, you don't need to charge a lot less than that.
  2. According to Sherpa Coaching, most professional coaches average just six clients per week. That means each client needs to pay a hefty fee in order for the coach to earn a substantial salary.
  3. Even if you have only 5-10 coaching clients, you will need to spend some time and expense on marketing and sales and you need to be paid for your entire week, not just the time you spend coaching.
  4. When you add up what it costs to be in business, including business expenses, income tax, retirement investments and, if you live in the US, health insurance premiums and 100% of you Social Security and Medicare payments, you may find that earning a $100,000 take-home salary from coaching may easily require $150,000 in annual income.

Well there you have 15 reasons why your life coaching fees are probably too low. What are you going to do about it?

Set your coaching fees with confidence. Get the new FREE eBook:

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Image by richiemontalbo

 

Topics: professional coach, coaching business, life coach, executive coaching, money, mentor coach, coaching clients, ICF, Business Coaches, life coach salary, Life Coaching, IAC, Coaching Compass

Why the Best Life Coaches Don't Offer Money-Back Guarantees

Posted by Julia Stewart

Life Coach Money Back GuaranteeThis week, a new life coach asked me whether she should offer a money-back guarantee. Some life coaches (as well as other personal coaches, like business and executive coaches) offer money-back guarantees to make it easier to close sales. The thinking is that few people ever ask for their money back, so you'll increase your sales and make more money.

That approach makes sense if you're selling flashlights, but if you're pouring your heart and soul into a personalized relationship that leads to extraordinary results for your coaching clients, the unintended consequences may outweigh any extra sales you make.

Below are some of those consequences and a suggestion for what to offer, instead. But decide for yourself. No one approach is right for every coaching business.

As I said above, the plus side of offering a money-back guarantee is that it can make it easier to 'sell' your coaching, initially. The big minus is that your clients may be less invested, both financially and emotionally. Clients who are highly invested get the best results and stay month after month, which increases your income without the pressure to constantly make sales, and it increases your clients' satisfaction, too. I call this 'the sweet spot'.

Un-invested clients get poor results and tend to ask for their money back. I learned this the hard way when I was a new coach who offered a money-back guarantee. One of my new clients quit after a month and told me the only reason she signed up was because she knew she could get her money back. You'd better believe I felt burned.

Which would you rather have: Fewer sales or more clients, but no more money? Actually, getting burned is the least of the negative consequences that stem from offering money-back guarantees for professional coaching.

Here's a bigger one: Anyone who decides to go after a big goal will have at least one crisis of confidence along the way. And people who hire professional coaches are going after big goals.

A crisis of confidence sounds something like this: 'Oh my God, I'm making a huge mistake! I just spent thousands of dollars on a life coach so I can reach my dreams. Who am I to think I can do that? And all my coach does is ask questions!? My wife will kill me if I waste that money. My friends will laugh at me if I fail. I'll feel like a loser for the rest of my life...I'd better ask for my money back and forget the whole thing. (For a real-life example of a dream nearly derailed by this type of thinking, read how Olympic Gold-Medalist, Gabby Douglas almost quit qymnastics a few months before winning the all-round female gymnist title.)

When you offer a money-back guarantee you're promising to pay your client when s/he inevitably chickens out.

The irony of money-back guarantees is that they can communicate confidence from the coach. But the most confident coaches I know don't offer them - because they don't need to. Their clients sing their praises for them and that carries much more weight than a guarantee. If you don't have great testiminals, reviews, ratings, certifications, referrals or buzz yet, maybe a money-back guarantee will help you get started.

Instead, I use what I call a Value-Back guarantee. If a client isn't completely satisfied, they're encouraged to tell me asap and together we'll design a plan for them to get the value they paid for. Both coach and client win and this way. Not only does the coach make more money, but s/he learns how to serve more clients better and the great outcomes that clients get result in testimonials, buzz, and referrals that make sales much easier than will any guarantees. (I use this approach for School of Coaching Mastery, too.)

Does this mean it's always wrong to give back a client's money? No, sometimes you may find yourself trying to coach someone you just can't help. That could drain you and your business and make it harder to serve your other clients. If you wind up firing a client, giving their money back may makes sense. (Here are some tongue-in-cheek examples of coaching clients that might need to be fired.)

Here's my last word on life coach money-back guarantees: As attractive as they sound, the truth is, no serious client really wants their money back. What they want is to get what they paid for in the 1st place. If you give back their money, both of you failed. If you work together to give them what they paid for, you both succeed.

What are your thoughts on life coaches offering money-back guarantees? I welcome disagreements! If you offer a money-back guarantee, how is it working for you? If you don't, why not?

If you have questions about launching a successful coaching business, you're in luck! The next Coaching Groundwork Advanced course is about to start and it's designed to answer your questions, so you get off on the right foot:

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Topics: professional coach, coaching business, executive coach, School of Coaching Mastery, Coaching Groundwork, coaching clients, coaching success, Business Coaches, Life Coaches, personal coaching

Starting a Career in Business Coaching

Posted by Julia Stewart

Become a Business CoachGuest post by Joy Maiywa.

If you are thinking of becoming a business coach, it is most probably because you enjoy helping people establish and grow their businesses. You most likely have a natural ability to recognize things that need improvement and are quick to ask questions or suggest changes that can bring about great results.

Like any career, becoming an effective business coach will first require you to acquire the necessary training apart from having some of the natural traits that go with the job. Business coaching involves a great deal of communicating with others. As such, it helps if you are a good and clear public speaker to succeed in the job. You also need to be friendly, analytical, result-focused, thick-skinned and easy to talk to.

To become a business coach, you will need to familiarize yourself with all that is involved in the opening, running and establishing of a business. You will need to know about business planning, finance, employee management, accounting and even legal issues affecting businesses. The type of knowledge and training you specialize in will determine the kind of businesses you will be handling. You can either choose to coach on general business practice or specialize in a particular business industry.

You can also offer business coaching in segments. For instance, if you would like to become a finance business coach, then your work will involve hosting workshops and seminars to train entrepreneurs on different financial aspects related to their businesses. Some issues you will be handling include how to put together tax forms, correct budgeting, how to avoid losses and bankruptcy, and many more. You can also choose to specialize in business problems, where you can coach people about the different business problems they face and provide the solutions to their problems. The type of field you choose should match your passion and skills. This way, you will be able to effectively mentor others who are lacking in you area of specialization.


You do not have to own a business to start a career in business coaching. You simply need to have the passion for the job and the knowledge and skills that go with business coaching. Say you are an expert in accounting. You can choose general business coach training but coach on this field only. If you are good at marketing, you can also choose to impart your skills on people needing marketing skills.

To become a professional business coach, you need to acquire some level of training for the job. This way, you will be able to effectively help others by improving their lives and the businesses they are in. You will have the skills to successfully motivate others to adopt certain business strategies and techniques that will result in their success and the companies they work in. As you grow in your career, you will also be able to hold workshops and seminars to help others become successful businesspersons. If you are looking for a career change from the corporate life, consider becoming a business coach in your area of specialization.

Joy Maiywa is a professional freelance writer and blogger. She has worked with clients from different fields including technology, education, health, and business and entrepreneurship. She writes for Degree Jungle online rankings, a resource for college students.

Become a Business Coach Quickly

Topics: business coach, coaching business, coaching school, coach training, become a business coach, coaching clients, Business Coaches, certified business coach, coaching businesses, coaching career

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