School of Coaching Mastery

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ICF Credential vs. IAC Life Coach Certification

Posted by Julia Stewart

certified_coach_goldribbon.jpgI interviewed my friend and colleague, Donna Steinhorn, IAC MMC, ICF PCC, on the difference between ICF and IAC life coach certification. Unfortunately, the recording was no good, which is one of the of the many reasons that attending live is always the best policy.

The feedback from coaches who attended the interview has been awesome. So I'm going to add a few highlights here, in case you missed it.

The two organizations, themselves, are of course, the ultimate authorities on what they do and they change their policies from time to time. So if you're looking for highly detailed info, visit their respective web sites. The ICF's is coachfederation.org and the IAC's is certifiedcoach.org.

Donna has been deeply involved in coach training and certification for many years and is one of only a handful of coaches who have both ICF and IAC coach certifications, which is why I chose her for this interview ~ that, and the fact that Donna is fun to talk with.

Both Donna and I have been on the coach training and certification bandwagon for eternity (Donna is a member of SCM's Board of Advisers) - and we're both rebels, so we have a shared skepticism, as well as support of these two leading professional organizations and their respective credentialing processes.

We began our conversation by noting that there are limitations to both ICF and IAC coach certifications. Each has its own coaching competencies (or masteries, as the IAC calls theirs). Each definitely has its own coaching style, which you need to be able to demonstrate. Neither style encompasses every possible way to coach brilliantly; they're just doing the best they can.

So why are there two professional coaching organizations and certifications? Actually, there are zillions of them - some completely bogus - but these currently are the most respected. Oddly, the same man, Thomas J. Leonard, the 'Father of Professional Coaching', founded both the IAC and ICF. Thomas founded the ICF in 1995 and later, the IAC in 2003, just before he passed away.

ICF credentialing, as it's called, emphasizes coach training, mentoring and experience, as well as an online test and demonstration of coaching skill. Thomas sought to streamline the process of certification with the IAC, which emphasizes the results of coach training, mentoring and experience, rather than the documentation of it. This makes the IAC certification process a bit simpler, but it's by no means easier, because coaches need to demonstrate masterful coaching skills. Only about 25% of coaches who apply for IAC Coach Certification pass on the first try.

The ICF has three levels of coaching credentials: The Associate Credentialed Coach (ACC), The Professional Credentialed Coach (PCC), and the Master Credentialed Coach (MCC). The IAC currently has only one certification, the Certified Coach (IAC-CC), but from what I've observed, the level of coaching skill required by the IAC is roughly comparable to the ICF MCC. (UPDATE: the IAC added another 'intermediate' level of certification, as well.)

Finally, the ICF has two pathways for credentialing: The portfolio route allows you to get your coach training anywhere and the accreditation path requires you to study at an ICF accredited coach training school. The IAC doesn't require demonstration of coach training, just the results of it: masterful coaching skills. I know most IAC Certified Coaches and I believe all of them have had substantial coach training and/or mentor coaching. Donna says there may have been one coach who passed without being trained.

I asked Donna if there were any hidden costs to getting certified by either organization. She mentioned the mentor coaching requirement by the ICF, which would cost you about $350 - 400 per month, but Donna doesn't consider that a hidden cost, since all coaches need to have their own coaches at all times. Personally, I don't think anyone needs a coach every minute of their life, but coaches are foolish if they don't work with successful coaches of their own. I worked with two excellent mentor coaches while I prepared for IAC Coach Certification.

What, in Donna's opinion, is the best benefit of getting certified? She considers the coach directory on the ICF website, which only lists ICF credentialed coaches, to be by far the best benefit, because it brings her a steady stream of potential clients. We agreed that the IAC would do well to offer such a benefit to its own membership.

Finally, which coaches need certification most? Donna says corporate coaches and perhaps executive coaches, since companies usually want to see credentials. She doesn't believe life coaches need to be certified, but I've seen anecdotal evidence that clients are screening life coaches more carefully than they used to. Even new life coaches are telling me that potential clients ask about training and certification.

School of Coaching Mastery's Certified Positive Psychology Coach® program prepares coaches for ICF credentialing.

So there you have the Readers Digest version of the ICF Credentialing vs. IAC Life Coach Certification interview.

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Topics: certification requirements, coach training, coaching clients, ICF, Coach Certification, Thomas Leonard, IAC Certified Coach, certified coaches, Donna Steinhorn, IAC, certified coach, coach credential

Life Coach: Do Coaching Clients Even Know What They Want?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Life Coach Clients CHOICE

One of the hallmarks of ICF coaching is that the coach establishes the coaching agreement (what the client wants to achieve) early in the coaching session. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it's actually one of the issues that distinguishes ICF coaching from, for instance, IAC coaching.

I taught the IAC approach for several years. Their approach tends to focus on establishing a trusted relationship first, then focuses on finding out what the client wants later, because...
  1. Clients won't share their dreams with us unless they fully trust us.
  2. Many, or even most, clients can't articulate exactly what they want without coaching.

So who's right?

They both are. The IAC is correct that the client needs to trust us completely and that they may not be able to articulate what they want from coaching until we've helped them clarify it. However, one of the weaknesses of coaches who've been trained in the IAC approach is that they sometimes never ask what the client wants from the coaching relationship, in general, and from the coaching session, specifically.

On the other hand, if a coach assumes they've covered this issue completely by simply asking, "What would you like to achieve, today?" the session will likely be superficial and the goals achieved may not get to the heart of what matters most to the client.

Why are these two approaches to coaching so different?

Each organization has written their coaching IP (intellectual property) to define coaching under specific conditions. The IAC Coaching Masteries® is intended to describe what happens in one masterful coaching session. The ICF Core Coaching Competencies® describe both the coaching session and the entire coaching relationship and can be understood at the competent, proficient, and masterful levels. At the masterful level, ICF coaching is remarkably similar to IAC coaching.

How do coaches need to handle this?

First of all, the ICF emphasizes the importance of a trusted coaching relationship as much as the IAC does. Second, asking specifically what the client wants and how they know they have achieved it, early in the session, helps increase trust by demonstrating that the coach wants to know the client's goals and intends to help the client get there. In addition, tremendous clarity is created when the coach asks these questions and follows up by thoroughly exploring what the client means. And yes, sometimes the client's initial goal changes as greater clarity is achieved.

Why don't more coaches do it this way?

To honor both the ICF's emphasis on articulating the client's goals early and the IAC's emphasis on relationship building first,  clarification of goals second, requires tremendous finesse. That's what makes it masterful.

New coaches who study the IAC approach, may be hampered by the language of the Masteries, because they are written for coaches who understand the nuances of coaching. While the ICF approach, when studied by newbies, may result in stilted and shallow coaching sessions, unless instructors guide students toward the masterful use of the ICF's Competencies.

Takeaways:

  1. Sometimes clients know exactly what they want, but not always.
  2. All clients need a trusted environment before they will share their cherished dreams with us.
  3. Masterful coaches can establish trust while creating tremendous clarity, but it requires finesse.

If you'd like to coach with the finesse of a master, you might want to join the following program. Advanced placement is available for coaches who qualify. Learn more below...

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Topics: life coach, ICF, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, IAC

ICF Master Certified Coach: Join Me on the Journey

Posted by Julia Stewart

Master Certified Coach

The ICF's Master Certified Coach (MCC) is generally considered the ultimate in coach certifications. And since I run School of Coaching Mastery, it seems fitting that I have that credential. For the nearly fifteen years that I've been coaching, though, I really didn't need it. Here's a short history of coach certifications and why the ICF's is more important than ever.

Way back in the beginning, when Thomas Leonard started the IAC (called the International Association of Certified Coaches, or IACC, back then), I was only interested in getting that credential. Despite Thomas' passing in 2003, the IAC did certify coaches and I got to be among the first certifiers (via CoachVille) and was eventually given the title of Lead Certifier for the Thomas Leonard Coaching School, where we certified most IAC-CCs from 2003 through 2005, until the IAC split from CoachVille. But after that split, IAC certification gradually slowed to a trickle. Without Thomas in the lead, the IAC just didn't have the visibility it needed to fulfill its promise.

Of course, the ICF was founded by the same Thomas Leonard years earlier (1995, making it a ripe old 20 years, now). Its certifications (ACC, PCC, and MCC) required way more hoops to jump through, including training hours, mentor coaching, coaching hours, etc., but it already had a powerful toe-hold by the time the upstart IAC came around and the IAC never slowed it down.

I think the competition actually has been good for everyone; the ICF has now made some important improvements to their certification process, so it's more respectable than ever. And although other not-for-profit coach certifiers have come around, such as the Center for Credentialing and Education, with its Board Certified Coach credential, the ICF is still the leader in coaching certifications.

In the meantime, the IAC seems to be licensing schools more than it's certifying coaches. Just today, their newsletter, the IAC Voice, mentioned three new school applications and one new certified coach. That's been par for the course for several years now and it's an unworkable business model. If the IAC licenses more schools to teach its Masteries each year than it certifies coaches, that means, on average, each of those schools has a chance to graduate one fraction of a certified coach per year. See what I mean? Why bother?

School of Coaching Mastery was the first school to be licensed by the IAC worldwide, but with so few coaches interested in IAC certification and even fewer succeeding at getting certified by the IAC, it has started to feel a little like false advertising to call ourselves IAC Licensees, because our students just aren't getting certified by the IAC, anymore (so I'm thinking about dropping our IAC license next year).

Our students are getting certified by the ICF, however.

That brings me back to my MCC journey. Although I've had the IAC's master-level certification for years, now that I have an ICF-approved coach training program, the ICF wants me to get certified by them.

More importantly, after all these years, I feel like I really want this credential. So I'm on my way and using my love of learning to dive deep into the ICF approach to masterful coaching.

Curious what it takes to get the MCC? I have on good authority that they only pass 7% of coaches who apply for the MCC, so statistically, I have a 93% chance of failing the first time. That's okay, because there's a 100% chance I'll keep sending them coaching sessions until they pass me, so that MCC pin is nearly mine (at least in my head).

To keep myself honest and on track (accountability, anyone?), I'm writing about my experiences and discoveries in this blog. I'll keep you posted.

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Topics: ICF, Coach Certification, master coach, BCC, MCC, IAC, certified coach

Coach Certification: Should the ICF and IAC Change How They Certify Coaches?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coach Certification

Coach Certification: The Great Debate

The ongoing debate about coach certification, coaching qualifications, and the profession of coaching was raised again today by Kerryn Griffiths, who runs ReciproCoach (an organization that has formalized the old laissez faire practice of buddy coaching, as a method of gaining practice for coaches) in an article called, "Where is coaching regulation headed?" Her article, which is only available to members of ReciproCoach, offers the rather alarming proposal that currently certified coaches might not be allowed to coach, anymore. While I disagree that this is a legitimate worry, I share some of the questions raised by Kerryn, as well as by the authors of a research paper liberally quoted by her: "From Competencies to Capabilities in the Assessment and Accreditation of Coaches (Bachkirova and Smith, 2015).

The process of certifying coaches based on competencies dates back about 20 years and it has been challenged many times. Does it really measure quality coaching? Do certified coaches really coach any more effectively than those who aren't certified? Which certification process is best? What does the research say?

I've been grading coaching sessions using coaching models invented by me, or by Thomas Leonard, or by the ICF, or IAC for over twelve years. What I can tell you is that none of the models I've used is perfect. They all miss possible approaches to coaching, because coaching is a process created in the moment by coaches and their clients and coaching models are all based on past experience.

Also, the coaching models currently in use by the ICF and IAC are not based on research, mainly because they were created before much research had been done on coaching. However, some recent research supports the skills the IAC and ICF advocate. For instance, asking is indeed usually more useful than telling and asking, "how?" tends to be more useful than asking, "why?".

My main complaints with both ICF and IAC certification models is that they really are both styles of coaching; they do not represent all good coaching. If you sent me two recordings of coaching sessions, one that passed ICF certification and the other that passed the IAC, I'm pretty certain I could tell you which was which. (Come to think of it, please don't send me any coach recordings. I'm busy enough, thanks.)

Also, competency-based coaching (the IAC calls their IP, "masteries", but the certification is still competency-based) has a way of limiting options and it encourages a tendency toward perfectionism in both coaches and certifiers. Perfectionism is fear-based (fear of being found flawed) and leads to constriction, limitation and less innovation; hardly good qualities for coaching.

In my opinion, there are at least a thousand styles of coaching that could be effective with the right clients in the right circumstances and most haven't been invented, yet.

A few years ago, I started telling my students who sat for certification, "Surprise me. I'd love to learn something new from you." And a few of them have, indeed, opened my eyes to new possibilities. Most coach certifications aren't like that.

But research has its limitations, too. Findings are sometimes only valid within a very narrow set of conditions and sometimes researchers miss or confuse what's really going on. In the end, all we ever have is our best guess. That doesn't mean we shouldn't investigate, only that we need to hold our findings lightly.

So is it worthwhile getting certified? I think it is. For one thing, most coaches want to be certified for some great reasons. Plus, if you can shoe-horn yourself into one of these coaching styles, you probably have many coaching tools in your tool belt and you know how to use them. Don't worry if every session you do wouldn't pass. Do remember that these coaching styles represent less than 1% of what may be effective. A few years ago, I suggested Tony Robbins couldn't pass ICF or IAC certification. What's the difference? Here's a brief comparison of ICF and IAC certifications.

New certifications and certifying organizations may come along. They might be better. Bachkirova and Smith offer an interesting model based on capabilities. I'll need to hear it in action before I jump on board. Presumably, they will research it, first.

My personal opinion is that most certifications focus too much on the coach and not enough on the client, where the evidence of success can be observed. Does the client open up to more possibilities, have insights and increased clarity that lead to enthusiasm, growth and solutions, plus action plans, supportive infrastructures and next steps? If clients are revisited days or weeks after the coaching, will certifiers find that they followed through on plans made during coaching and their lives are indeed transformed? If so, who cares how the coach got them there? The ICF and IAC do look at these, but I'm suggesting they mostly look at client outcomes, rather than coaching behaviors. I'm guessing researchers will be looking at both.

When enough research has been done, maybe - this is a BIG maybe - coach certification will be perfected.

In the meantime, the ICF is the main game in town. The IAC offers an alternative, but needs to certify a lot more coaches to stay competitive. I've heard a suggestion that they let their licensees start certifying coaches for them and that may be a great solution. In any case, if coaching is ever regulated in your country, being certified by the ICF or IAC will likely grandfather you in.

Coaching schools, such as School of Coaching Mastery, often offer their own coach certifications.

Are you interested in getting coach certification?

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Topics: ICF, Coach Certification, Thomas Leonard, Tony Robbins, life coach certification, IAC, Masteries

Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program is Now ICF Approved

Posted by Julia Stewart

Certifed_Positive_Psychology_CoachR_Header

We got the news, Wednesday, that the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program has been approved for ICF ACSTH. They actually approved us for 125 hours, which is 25 more than we expected (yay!). This means that our grads will have a streamlined experience when applying for the ICF ACC credential and even the advanced placement members will have an easier time qualifying for CCEs and the PCC credential. This is important, because coaches who've gone the non-approved 'portfolio route' to ICF certification tell me it's pretty arduous and not recommended. So I'm excited for our members!

This news comes on the heels of Certified Positive Psychology Coach® becoming a Registered Trademark belonging to School of Coaching Mastery. That's what the little, "®" means. Essentially, we own this certification and no one else has the legal right to use it or grant it. We took this step to establish a level of excellence in positive psychology coaching and to protect our certified coaches from possible imitators. 

We plan to keep our IAC License for the foreseeable future, but are more focused now on the ICF approach to coaching. One big reason is that, after years in the coach-training-and-certification business, I've observed an undeniable truth: coaches are far more likely to get certified when the certification they pursue is directly related to completion of a training program. This is, perhaps, one reason why the ICF certifies so many more coaches. Another is that the ICF has done a great job of making businesses and organizations aware of coaching and ICF credentials. A third reason is that the ICF Coach Directory does a good job of attracting clients to coaches.

So congratulations to our coach-members who become certified and get more clients!

One bit of related bad news, if you haven't yet joined, Early Adopter Tuition will now be phased out over the next several weeks. Don't delay, if you want to join and save!

Become a Certified Positive Psychology Coach®

 

Topics: ICF, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, IAC, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching

What Does It Take to Become a Top (Business or Life) Coach?

Posted by Julia Stewart

How to Become a Top Coach

A new coach told me recently that she thought coaching is probably like most professions:  20% of coaches get 80% of the clients. And yes, she may be correct. According to my research, only about 20% of coaches are really thrilled with their businesses. Obviously, if you're going to become a business or life coach, you want to be one of the top 20%.

So what does it take to get to the top 20% of business and life coaches?

Some marketing and sales gurus will offer you "shortcuts" to coaching glory via fancy business models, affiliate programs, slick sales techniques, or complex technological solutions.

But you're a person of integrity. Don't you first want to have something of value to sell?

Because the most successful coaches I know are also the most effective coaches. They didn't get that way by marketing. They took consistent targeted action over time to become masterful coaches and developed their sales and marketing acumen along the way. Sales and marketing are most effective when you have a fabulous service offering, such as master coaching.

So what is master coaching? The ICF and IAC have defined what it takes to get master-level certification, but their requirements are different. And arguably the world's first coach,Tony Robbins, probably can't pass either the IAC's or ICF's certification. But no one argues with his success - or his mastery.

And then there's Thomas Leonard, who founded both the ICF and IAC. His definition of mastery has nothing to do with certification. He said mastery is when you innovate your profession, grow the boundaries, so to speak. 

Malcolm Gladwell made famous the 10,000 hours rule that says to master anything, you need to put in about 10,000 hours of practice. For many experts, this translates into ten years or more. Hours and years alone, though, aren't enough. You need to be actively learning throughout. That's the key.

Pablo Casals was once asked why he still practiced the cello in his nineties. He said, "I'm making progress."

So do you want to know what it takes to become a master business or life coach?

  • Learn the most effective coaching skills. This may sound obvious, but a surprising number of people skip this step and just announce they are coaches. Few, if any, succeed.
  • Learn what is not coaching. Confusing your service offerings makes each offering less effective for your client.
  • Practice. Then practice some more. Then keep practicing.
  • Get expert feedback on your coaching. Otherwise, you likely are practicing - and hardwiring - your mistakes.
  • Develop your personal awareness. Discover your most important values, needs, and strengths. Use them to create an amazing life. Step into your Greatness. That's so attractive.
  • Let your free or low-fee clients train you. Their success or lack of it will help prepare you for high-fee clients.
  • Ask your happiest clients to refer more clients. They'll be glad to help.
  • Hang out with successful coaches. You become who you hang out with.
  • Get your own coach(es). It's enlightening to be on the receiving end of coaching.
  • Have a vision for your coaching that focuses you and pulls you forward. If you feel overwhelmed or crazy-excited, you're not there yet.
  • Become a leader in your profession. The leaders tend to become the most successful, even if they didn't start that way.
  • Keep up-to-date with new research. Intuition offers awareness; science offers precision. At the top, the differences that make all the difference are tiny.
  • Become marketing and sales savvy. They're important, but great coaching ability is your foundation. It takes time to get all three up to speed.
  • Have an alternate income source until you make it. A part-time job takes way less time and energy than worrying about money.
  • Love yourself, your life, and your clients. Wherever you are is perfect, right now. With a good plan and consistent effort, you can improve on perfection.

Of course, everything we offer at School of Coaching Mastery is designed to help you step into the Top 20% of all coaches. But because practice is so critically important to mastery, we're upgrading our signature Master Coach Training to allow for more live practice and expert feedback.

This September, we're introducing the 'flipped classroom' a la Khan Academy for our Master Coach Training Program. We offer a wealth of MCT recorded classes on a multitude of effective coaching skills that coaches can listen to/watch prior to live classes. The live classes are then reserved for Q&A and live coaching demos, practice, feedback, and 'coach the coach'. This allows everyone more flexibility in scheduling, attendance, learning and PRACTICE. And yes, you can become certified by joining this program (Which is included in many of our longer coach-training programs).

 

We want you to become a master coach faster and step into the Top 20%.

 

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Topics: business coach, coach training, become a life coach, become a coach, become a business coach, coaching clients, Become a Master Coach, ICF, Thomas Leonard, Become a Certified Coach, Tony Robbins, Become a Masterful Coach, how to become a coach, IAC

IAC Master Coach Interview with Kristi Arndt and Julia Stewart

Posted by Julia Stewart

IAC International Association of Coaching

On June 20th, 2013, Kristi Arndt, MMC, former Vice President of the International Association of Coaching, interviewed me for the IAC's Master Coach Interview Series. You need to be a member of the IAC to access their copy of the interview, but you can listen via the online player here for free, to the resulting 49-minute audio. I've listed the topics covered in the time line below, so you can choose the parts you're curious about.

Or, join the IAC virtual chapter for free to get a copy of the interview download link and listen at your convenience. By the way, Kristi will co-host an upcoming IAC chapter meeting with me, in which you'll get a taste of the power of virtual triads to strengthen your coaching and pass IAC Coach Certification.

IAC Master Coach Interview Topics Time Line:

1:00 What I did before becoming a coach

2:00 The Oprah Connection

5:30 The IAC/School of Coaching Mastery Connection

7:15 What does "master coach" mean?

12:00 Coach 100

14:00 What "master coach" means to Kristi

16:30 Why you need to love your coaching clients

17:30 How to get into "master coaching mode"

19:00 How to integrate your shadow

21:00 Master coach certification, as a benchmark

22:30 Tony Robbins' coaching

25:00 ICF vs. IAC coaching

26:00 School of Coaching Mastery coach certification

29:00 How NOT to prepare for coach certification

30:00 What DOES work in passing coach certification

31:30 Live, in person, coach certification

33:30 Coaching pioneers

38:00 How SCM fosters coaching mastery

42:00 How the IAC Coaching Masteries(tm) show up in life

44:30 What's new and exciting

48:00 How to contact me

48:30 Best Coaching Blogs 2013

 

Listen to the full interview below, or use the slider to find the parts you most want to hear:

 More great coaching resources:

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Topics: School of Coaching Mastery, Coach 100, Become a Master Coach, ICF, Coach Certification, IAC Certified Coach, Kristi Arndt, IAC Coaching Masteries, IAC Certification, Coaching Triads, Become a Certified Coach, OPRAH, Tony Robbins, Become a Masterful Coach, Certified Coach Training, certified life coach, IAC

Top Ten Benefits of Becoming a Master Coach

Posted by Julia Stewart

Master Coach

As our name suggests, at School of Coaching Mastery, we specialize in Master Coach Training. So we've developed quite a bit of expertise around master coaching. It's a whole different approach. One that's recognized and valued by both the ICF and the IAC.

Here are the Top Ten Benefits of Becoming a Master Coach:

  1. Coaching is simplified. Coaching can be dizzyingly complex and every client session is different. Templates and formulas don't work. The elegance of a simple, but accurate, model does work. As Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my whole life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity."
  2. Coaching is hyper-personalized. Your clients pay for a highly personal and customized experience, created just for them, because that's what fosters extraordinary results. Master coaching provides the tools to do exactly that.
  3. Coaching is inter-developmental. At the Master Certified Coach level, the ICF expects the coach to learn from the client. Brilliant clients are attracted to brilliant master coaches. Imagine what we learn from our clients.
  4. Coaching is uncanny. Master coaches unearth truths, within moments, that can elude other coaches for years - and could elude your clients for eternity.
  5. Coaching is thrilling. Clients are thrilled when someone gets them completely and is still fascinated by them. Coaches are thrilled by their clients' journeys to magnificent success.
  6. Coaching is catalytic. Brilliant people are usually surrounded by people who don't get them. That's awfully lonely and it undermines confidence. Just having us believe in them is a catalyst that launches coaching clients into greatness. And by the way, virtually everyone is brilliant under the right circumstances.
  7. Coaching is fun. When the coach knows what to focus on, pressure evaporates and fun ensues. To the uninitiated, it might sound like the coach and client are just laughing together. But within that fun energy, is the energy of greatness. Incredible work gets completed and projects get launched and out the door, quickly.
  8. Coaching is humbling. When your mind-state is in "master coaching mode", you can't help but notice how amazing your clients are and what an honor it is for them to share their brilliance with you.
  9. Coaching is fulfilling. Master coaches know they are answering their calling when they coach. They are changing lives and changing the world for the better. Talk about an honor! As George Bernard Shaw said, "This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one."
  10. Coaching is highly paid. You've heard how much coaches charge. Have you wondered why? Part of the answer is because master coaching is worth it. The bigger reason is because great clients need to make big investments in order to show up fully. Mediocre coaching may not be worth $200-300 per hour, but great coaching is worth far more.

I've dedicated my life to master coaching, yours and mine. Are you up for it? Because if you are, the next Master Coach Training, 32-hour program, including 20 hours of advanced practice, starts soon and special pricing is available for a limited time.

This is what I live for. Hope to see you there! 

Become a Master Coach Here

Topics: coaching clients, Become a Master Coach, ICF, Become a Masterful Coach, master coach, Master Certified Coach, Masterful Coaching, masterful coaches, mastery, Master Coach Training, IAC, Masteries

How to Ask Great Coaching Questions Infographic

Posted by Julia Stewart

One of our most popular blog posts is 101 Incredible Coaching Questions. The thing is, the best coaching questions won't do much unless you know when and how to ask them. Of course, we teach all the fine points of that at School of Coaching Mastery. And although a few tips won't make you a good coach, this infographic (my 1st-ever original infographic) will help you take that list of 101 coaching questions and start to turn them into some actual coaching. Be sure to check out the options below for next steps toward becoming a professional coach. Some of them are free.

How to ask great coaching questions 

Want to practice coaching? Join our Facebook Page to find coaching buddies. Or join our IAC Virtual Coaching Chapter to learn about coaching triads. Or join a free study group.

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Topics: coaching questions, Triad Mentor Coaching, How to, IAC, School of Coaching

Life Coach: Why It Doesn't Mean Anything Anymore

Posted by Julia Stewart

Certified Life Coach

It's almost impossible to the miss the story about the two 'life coaches' in Brooklyn who committed suicide this week. That story is everywhere, because it's so ironic. The two actually co-hosted a radio show called, The Pursuit of Happiness!

Apparently, they failed to find it.

This post isn't about them. They clearly were in a lot of pain and their passing is tragic.

This post is rather about the subtext of the media frenzy (okay, it's a small frenzy; let's just call it media attention) surrounding this story.

The subtext asks...

  1. How could these life coaches help anyone find happiness, when they were clearly miserable, themselves?
  2. Were these life coaches hypocrites?
  3. Would you want a life coach who is suicidal?
  4. Aren't there any requirements to calling yourself a life coach?
  5. How can you trust anyone who calls him/herself a life coach, when they might be depressed, mentally ill, suicidal, or who knows what?

In answer to number 4: No. There are no legal requirements to calling yourself a life coach. Yet.

That means my dog could be a life coach. She may be more qualified than some human life coaches.

And I'm not just singling out life coaches. Business coaches, executive coaches, career coaches, health coaches. None of these titles means anything. In today's world, everyone, including bill collectors, can and do call themselves coaches.

The guy selling vitamins at the health-food store is a nutrition coach. The woman who works  at the dress shop is a retail coach. The manager at a telemarketing company is a sales coach.

None of these phrases means anything, because they have come to mean whatever anyone wants.

Right now, there is maximum freedom in the coaching industry, because there are no real legal requirements. That allows massive creativity and growth and that's great for coaches. Although the situation appears to be changing and the suicide story may speed up that change.

The real problem these days is for the consumer who doesn't know whom to trust.

The answer, of course, is credentialing and industry oversight, but a lot of 'coaches' are fighting it.

  • They say it's an evil plot by established coaches to keep out the competition
  • They say a piece of paper won't help them coach any better
  • They say it's an effort to control coaches, or to sell them training and certifications

Really?

That first argument is just paranoid. The second is true. Although, I've seen hundreds of coaches learn to coach much better, while on the way to qualifying for a piece of paper. And the last may, or may not be true, but it's not a good enough reason to not get certified.

Life coaches get certified because they want to be the best they can be. Because they are committed to their profession. Because they feel it is the right thing to do. Because they are proud to be certified. They also get certified to distinguish themselves from the worst of the worst.

Consumers look for assurances that they can trust the life coaches they hire. And they deserve some assurance. That assurance often takes the form of a certification.

I got my first coach certification a decade ago and have qualified for several more, since. I've learned something new with each one. I'm not finished.

Although I believe more in learning than I do in credentials, I've noticed that the goal of credentialing is an effective way to stay focused on learning. It has worked for me and for thousands of other good coaches.

I sell training and certifications to coaches mostly because I want to help good coaches distinquish themselves from ineffective or dishonest coaches. It's an honor to work with people who are committed to being their best. Whether you get certified by my organization or some other, get certified.

Certified Life Coach means something. SCM, IAC or ICF Certified Life Coach really means something.

It's time to stop calling yourself just a life coach.

If you want to explore the path to our entry-level certification, click below:

Become a Certified Competent Coach

Topics: business coach, life coach, executive coaching, ICF, Life Coaches, Become a Certified Coach, life coach certification, certified life coach, sales and marketing coaches, Life Coaching, life coach training, IAC

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