School of Coaching Mastery

Coaching Blog

4 Reasons It's Harder for Psychotherapists to Transition to Coaching

Posted by Julia Stewart

Therapist to Coach

Written by Julia Stewart

I've worked with thousands of coaches in the decade, or so, that I've been training coaches and most of them think they already know how to coach before they get training. That's true only in about 1% of cases.

That 1% applies to psychotherapists, counselors, social workers and other "helping professionals", too. People from these backgrounds can make terrific coaches, but usually they need to unlearn a few things and unlearning often takes longer than learning from scratch.

A story: One day, a member of our Certified Coach Training Program, a licensed psychotherapist, used a therapy technique to extract some info from a resistant client during a practice coaching session in class. He got the tidbit he was after, but the client was insulted and shut down the whole session. His classmates were likewise offended. I had a WTF moment, listening to this travesty, but the coach seemed to think he'd done something clever!

Lesson #1: You NEVER have permission to practice therapy on a coaching client. They are high-functioning and you'd better fully respect that. Use a therapy technique and you will destroy the trusted relationship you need to coach them well - and you'll be violating professional ethics, and possibly the law, as well.

Another story: I worked for years with a psychotherapist whose communication style was serious, cerebral, and analytical. It was perfectly suited to the type of therapy she did, but it hurt her coaching sessions and she had a real challenge learning an effective coaching style to qualify for IAC certification. When she finally achieved it, I literally had tears in my eyes!

Lesson #2: Coaching is light. A big part of what we do is validate the client. It sounds easier than it is for a lot of coaches, but the goal is for the client to be resourceful, so serious, cerebral, and analytical won't cut it.

A third story: I worked for a while with a counselor who had trouble transitioning to coaching. Whenever she got stuck, she asked the client how they felt: "How do you feel?...How do you feel, now?...How do you feel, now?" Argh! I'm pretty sure this wouldn't be great counseling, but I can tell you with authority that constantly focusing on the client's feelings is lousy coaching!

Lesson #3: Coaches don't heal people's feelings. We don't ignore them either, but they are an adjunct to the conversation, not the main topic. It's far better to ask a more specific question, such as, "You don't sound excited when you talk about that goal. What's up with that?"

Final story: I had a former child psychologist show up to a live certification event, but each time she coached, her clients (fellow participants, who were coaches and open to the process) got irritated and shut down. Hmmm, what's up with THAT? Answer: she communicated with her coaching clients in a voice that may have been appropriate for frightened children: soft, gentle and high pitched. In other words, she was talking baby talk to her clients. Ugh. No wonder they were irritated!

Lesson #4: You probably wouldn't use baby talk with your clients, but a communication style that worked for you, as a therapist, may still undermine your coaching. In fact, it may be a train wreck. And you might assume your clients are the problem, rather than your communication style, if you don't get feedback from a good coach trainer, because resistant coaching clients act a lot like therapy clients who have issues: mistrusting, closed mouthed, uncooperative, etc. 

Don't hobble your transition into coaching. Get training on coaching communication and make sure you get lots of in-class practice and feedback from experts. Otherwise, you'll repeat the problems above, or worse.

Better yet, if you want to coach and you're just getting started, you may want to skip the psychology degree and just get coach training, instead. You'll save a ton of money and time.

Get Certified Coach Training

Topics: professional coach, become a coach, Coach Training Programs, IAC Certification, Certification Practicum, Certified Coach Training, psychotherapy, Certification Prep

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

Do You Need to Be Certified to Become a Coach?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Get Certified 4 resized 600

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

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

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

#1 Reason you need to become a certified coach:

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

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

Do I need to be certified to become a coach

#2 Reason you need to become a certified coach:

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

#3 Reason you need to become a certified coach:

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

#4 Reason you need to become a certified coach:

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

Competitive resized 600

#5 Reason you need to become a certified coach:


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

Do you need coach certification

#6 Reason you need to become a certified coach:

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

#7 Reason you need to become a certified coach:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Become a Certified Competent Coach

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

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:

Join the IAC North American Virtual Chapter

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

Seven Amazing Life Coach Lessons Learned From Oprah's Lifeclass

Posted by Julia Stewart

Life CoachI became a Life Coach because of Oprah.

Yup, that's how much an influence she's been on my life. I first got fired up to become a coach, while watching Oprah do a series with Life Coach, Cheryl Richardson, twelve years ago. Now I'm training other folks who are equally fired up, to become coaches, themselves. Thank you, Oprah!

Last Monday, I saw Oprah live at the premiere of her Lifeclass Tour. You might wonder why I waited 'til now to go see Oprah live. All I can say is, I won the ticket lottery for the world premiere of her Lifeclass Tour here in St. Louis and boy was I excited! Here's what I took away from this amazing adventure...

LESSON 1: Know When to Break the Rules. Moments before leaving my house in Washington County, I called my friend, Career Coach, Joanne Waldman, PCC, for some last-minute directions to her house, more than an hour away. Joanne, who was accompanying me to Lifeclass, mentioned that the rules said we were supposed to bring small handbags, not gigant-o bags, like the one I was planning to bring (Oprah likes her audience to look great on camera, so wear bright colors and keep your little bag under your seat).

No problem! I have a huge collection of cute little bags and I quickly found one just big enough for my wallet and cell phone. I got to Joanne's house right on time, despite some crazy road construction and it was an absolutely gorgeous day. We were psyched to be seeing Oprah in just two more hours and were about to get some lunch on the way when...

Holy Crap! I left our Lifeclass tickets in my big bag at home! (That's life with ADD.) If only...oh God! But it was too late. No tickets, no admission. I called the theater. No dice...

LESSON 2: Set Your Intentions and Act Like Your Hair's On Fire. I called my sister, Becky, and asked her to bring my big bag with the tix and meet us halfway. It was crazy. There was no way we'd get there before the theater closed its doors for the taping, but we went for it.

God bless Becky, she drives like a 5-Alarm Fire Chief even when there's no rush. She met us with the tix. I handed them to Joanne for good keeping and took off to make the hour-and-a-half drive with only an hour and ten minutes left 'til doors closed. Like good coaches, Joanne and I visualized walking through those theater doors with big smiles on our faces and handing our tickets to the ushers. And we made it. With fifteen minutes to spare! Career Coach, Joanne Waldman, PCC(Okay, there was some speeding involved.)

My friend, Career Coach, Joanne Waldman, PCC, in-line with a big smile on her face, just before walking through the front doors of the Peabody Opera House for Oprah's Lifeclass, feeling really relieved to be there on time (and in one piece). =====>

 

And you guessed it! Half the audience was carrying gigant-o handbags (see above pic) and nobody cared. So respect your limitations (mine is distractibility) and adjust the rules to fit you. And if you screw up (which you will), set strong intentions and act on them like your hair's on fire.

Life Coach, Julia Stewart, MCC

 

 

<===== Here's me in the lobby, just before the ushers threw us out, insisting we get to our seats. Yeah, we broke their rule to 'keep moving', so we could nab a couple of pics. After all, we were feeling pretty special for getting there faster than humanly possible.

 

 

 

LESSON 3: Take a Chance on the Unknown. I had the option to enter the lottery for 4 different Lifeclass tapings, each with a different guest. Two were Deepak Chopra and Tony Robbins, heroes of mine. One for Iyanla Vanzant, who's great. And one for a guy I never heard of, Bishop T. D. Jakes. I really just wanted to see Oprah, so I took a chance on the new guy and he was absolutely awesome. I won't even try to tell you what he said; you have to SEE him. The show airs Monday, April 9th, 8ET/7CT. Bishop Jakes is all about Finding Your Purpose.

LESSON 4: You're Here for a Reason. That was the key message of the show. You're here at this show for a reason (Joanne and I knew that. We were MEANT to be there, so we had to get there on time). Your life has a purpose and Oprah and Jakes taught us how to find it. Adversity doesn't stop you from achieving your purpose. In fact, Jakes' metaphor for purpose and adversity is an archer: If you're the arrow, and your life is the bow, then the farther the archer (adversity) pulls the arrow (you) back, the farther and stronger you'll go to reach your purpose (Joanne and I had just proven that on the way to the show).

LESSON 5: Your life is a class. I was already familiar with most of the lessons they taught that day. After all, I've been a life-long personal development junkie. Oprah and Jakes just have an incredibly intense and wonderful way of teaching it all. They connect to the audience more profoundly and reach more people, as a result. They are more animated (that's why you have to SEE them). They're more entertaining. After all, they are masters of television. They are stars. But aren't you are star, also? Oprah thinks so.

LESSON 6: It's what happens off-the-record that really inspires. At the end of the show, as we were about to leave our seats, Oprah came back out, not for the television cameras, but just for us. She talked about how her purpose was to use television to help people have better lives. That she was always asking God to use her. And she had focused on how to use the Oprah show to serve her purpose, not have the show use her. And that's her big vision for OWN TV. That she has made mistakes with the network and was digging out of a hole (the papers say she just laid off 20% of her staff). She asked for our help to spread the word, so our culture has at least one television channel that uplifts, instead of just pandering to our lowest common interests.

It was her candidness and vulnerability that spoke most clearly. Here is the biggest star in the world (according to one poll), a profoundly spiritual being who just happens to be a billionaire in kickass diamond earrings. It seems like she has the Midas Touch, but even she can make mistakes...

Hmmm, could it be that adversity will help her arrow soar even farther and stronger?Oprah's Lifeclass Tour

Yep, that little speck center stage is Oprah, from my iPhone in row Z of the orchestra. That's okay, I saw her with my own eyes and heard her message with my own ears. =====>

LESSON 7: Be a Servant Star. Oprah's Lifeclass made me realize that I'd lost track of my purpose, so I can't use School of Coaching Mastery to reach it. I started the school to help carry out Thomas Leonard's purpose to improve coaching worldwide with IAC coach certification. He infected me with his vision ten years ago, but then he passed away, the IAC changed, its certification has changed, the ICF has also changed in some good ways. Now I'm mired in certification requirements...

School of Coaching Mastery has never really been about life coach certification. It's about the mastery coaches achieve on the way to coach certification. But what's the purpose of coaching mastery?

Coaching mastery is about helping people (coaching clients) learn the life lessons they need faster and more deeply, so they can create better lives and reach the highest, fullest expression of their beings. Period.

I've talked for years about the importance for coaches, of becoming Servant Entrepreneurs and I just had the honor of seeing the Ultimate Servant Entrepreneur.

Oprah is a Servant Star. Not because she's about being a star, it's because she's about revealing the star in you and asking you to use it to serve.

How inspiring is that?

In what ways might you already be a Servant Star? How do other Servant Stars light you up? How do you light people up? What do you need in order to use your life to serve your purpose? Do you know what your purpose is? How is adversity sending you even farther and stronger toward your purpose?

Are you ready to step up to Being a Star Who Serves? Please share your thoughts below...

Watch Oprah's Lifeclass Tour on Monday nights at 8PM ET/7PM CT. Watch two hours and call your life coach in the morning...

Topics: life coach, School of Coaching Mastery, become a coach, ICF, Thomas Leonard, Servant Entrepreneurs, IAC Certification, iPhone, OPRAH, life purpose, Cheryl Richardson, Tony Robbins, life coach certification, Julia Stewart, personal development

The Truth About Coach Training

Posted by Donna Steinhorn

Coach TrainingIn 2008 Donna Steinhorn and Julia Stewart led a teleclass series on The Big Fat Lies That Coaches Cling To. The following article, written by Donna, is an adaptation from one of those teleclasses...

When Julia and I started out coaching, it was pretty easy to decide about coaching schools since there were only a few to choose from.  And for the most part, the handful of coach training schools were all ICF accredited and the only certification in town was the ICFs.  So basically the decision came down to live training or teleclass training. 
 
But times have changed.  Today there are over 100 coaching programs.  6 month programs and two year programs.  Accredited programs and programs without accreditation.  Certification programs through universities.  Live training, Teleclass training, hybrid versions, CD versions.  There are programs specifically for therapists transitioning to coaching, Christian Coaches.  Peer coaches.  Corporate coaching training, business coach training, life coaching training….and the list goes on.  The same is true for certifications.  There are the “independent” credentialing bodies of the IAC and the ICF.  The schools who credential their coaches…the certification courses.  
 
Lie: I need to have a coaching certification….Having letters of certification after my name assures potential clients of my expertise.


Truth: Clients have no idea what any of the letters after coaches' names are.  Unlike JD or MD, or PhD, there are hundreds of different designations and other than coaches, not many clients know what an ACC, PCC, MCC or IAC-CC are.  Nor for the most part do they care.  Now that is beginning to change as our profession matures, and a few universities have begun to create degreed curriculum in coaching.  But for now, most of the university programs are certificate programs, and even the Masters in Applied Positive Psychology at Penn State is not actually a university accredited program.
 
On the other hand, there are increasingly more corporations and companies that are looking for credentialed coaches.  Some don’t really care what kind of certification that is, while others do actually seek an ICF credentialed coach, so if you are a corporate coach, you will want a credential.  

And the truth is, as the coaching profession continues to mature, I believe credentials will become increasingly more important.  The question remains, which credential will that be?  Right now, the ICF has been around longer, but there are some who point to the fact that in order to become an ICF credentialed coach, you have to attend an ICF accredited school, and be mentored by an ICF credentialed coach.  They question how truly independent that makes the ICF.
 
The IAC is still in it’s infancy, but since they do not accredit schools, they have a greater degree of independence when it comes to their credentialing process.  And of course, as the universities build out their coaching curriculum, there is always the possibility that a uniform credential will come out of that, but only time will tell.
 
Next, let’s address a very popular lie... 

Lie: You need to finish your coach training and be certified before you can coach

Truth:  Not only do you not have to be certified before you begin coaching, but in the case of the ICF, you must verify hours coaching in order to achieve any of the certifications, and in the case of the IAC, you're more likely to pass if you have had a good deal of coaching experience.
 
Now I’m not saying that with no coach training you should hang out your shingle as a coach.  It’s best to have some core training under your belt, to have experienced coaching yourself with a qualified coach --not a buddy coach --(I’m always astonished at people who want to be coaches but don’t see the value of coaching for themselves??) and to have had some practicum experience, coaching and being coached while be observed by a credible mentor coach.
 
By way of illustration, I’ve taught and mentored hundreds of coaches, and talked with hundreds more.  I’ve conducted practicums, certified coaches, and listened to hundreds or hours of coaches coaching.  And I have to tell you, there’s good coaching, great coaching, and quite a bit of bad coaching out there.  And more often than not the bad coaching came from folks who have not taken any coach training nor experienced coaching themselves.
 
Lie: I don't need coach training to pass IAC certification.   

Truth: Although it's true that a tiny percentage of applicants have passed one or both steps for IAC certification with little or no training, the vast majority of IAC certified coaches have had extensive training or mentoring that enabled them to get certification.
 
The question of whether or not you need coach training also comes up in another way…

Lie: If I have an allied degree, in counseling or social work, or organization development, I don't need coach training.   

Truth: You may or you may not.  Coaching, while using some of the skills you may already have, is a different skill set, and taking specific coach training is the best way to ensure that you are providing coaching and not something else.  I have had several clients who were helping professionals who were transitioning into coaching. They could tell you that there was a definite distinction between coaching and therapy or counseling, and until they took coach training, they often strayed between the two.
 
Lie: All coach training is created equal.  

Truth: Of course, that's not the case.  It's important to check the reputation of the program you want to attend. To know what the curriculum will cover; who will be doing the teaching; whether the school focuses on skills, marketing, spirituality, business or more; how the coursework is delivered, and what is expected of you? Whether the school philosophy is aligned with your own.   

And while we are talking about schools, let’s address a lie that I’m often asked when people are looking at coach training, and particularly looking to find a cheaper alternative to a coaching school….

Lie: You can learn everything you need from recorded or written coach training materials.


Truth:  You can learn a great deal from recordings and written materials, but ultimately it's live coaching skills practice and classes where you interact with the teachers and students who can ask the questions you didn't know to ask, that will benefit you the most.

Coaching is a profession. The definition of a profession is:  "A paid occupation, esp. one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification."  If we are to continue to grow and become part of the mainstream of helping professionals, we must align ourselves with that definition.
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Topics: business coach, mentor coach, ICF, Coach Certification, IAC Certified Coach, IAC Certification, certified coaches, coaching schools, coaching skills, teleclass, Life Coaching, IAC

Why We Decided to Become IAC Licensed AGAIN

Posted by Julia Stewart

IAC Coaching Masteries Authorized LicenseeIf you follow this blog, you know I had a beef last summer with the IAC over a number of changes that they made with the organization. It was looking less and less like the organization that I’ve enthusiastically supported since it was nothing more than a gleam in Thomas Leonard’s eye, nearly ten years ago.

I concluded that IAC Licensing just didn’t offer enough value for my school or my students, for us to associate with it exclusively. And there are so many other organizations doing great work, why align ourselves with just one?

Since there are pros and cons with each organization, I want to give our students clarity and a choice. I’ve been carefully reviewing many organizations that approve or accredit schools and I want to be sure that whatever we offer, will clearly give coaches an edge and not just overwhelm them with conflicting information.

In the meantime, we have an awesome track record helping coaches get certified by the IAC. 100% of our students pass the IAC Step 1 Online Exam. It’s tough, but we’ve cracked the code.

The IAC says they only pass 25% of all applicants for Step 2 of IAC Certification. That’s makes it a killer test. So far, 75% of our students are passing Step 2 on the first try. That means our coaching students have a three times greater chance of passing than others. I’m proud of that and I bet we can do even better.

So why not continue to make our IAC curriculum available? So we’ve signed up for a limited license to teach our IAC curriculum to not more than 20 coaches each year. Coaches have to ‘declare’ their intention to be certified in a given year by the IAC, if they want access to our IAC training.

Another thing that softened my attitude toward the IAC is that they are making changes to their licensing contracts. They will begin screening new schools that apply for licensing. Schools that don’t have IAC-CC’s on staff will only be licensed to train ‘IAC Practitioners’ and the new IAC website will make it clear which schools are qualified to train Certified Coaches.

The profession of coaching is evolving. Credible coaches and coaching organizations have to become even more credible just to distinguish themselves from the scammers. Expect more growing pains as coaching moves from the purely entrepreneurial side of the slate to the more professional side.

By the way, in honor of our renewed alliance with the IAC, we’re adding considerably more to our Certified Coach Training Program, including our new Master Coach Training, plus Certification Bootcamp courses and Master What the Certifiers Are Looking For courses. I want to see 100% of our students who apply for IAC Certified, pass Step 2 and become Certified Coaches.

The bad news is that we will also be raising the CCTP tuition to $3995.00 at the end of February.

IAC Certified CoachGo here to check out our IAC Certified Coach resources.

Topics: IAC-CC, IAC Certified Coach, IAC Coaching Masteries, IAC Certification, Become a Certified Coach, Certified Coach Training, certified coaches, coaching schools, IAC

Why We're Changing Our Certified Coach Process

Posted by Julia Stewart

Certified CoachSchool of Coaching Mastery is undergoing several exciting changes at once, including our Coach Certification process.

It's all to streamline our coach training and certification options, so they are as meaningful and valuable as possible to the coaches we serve.  

One of our biggest concerns is our Coach Certification. It's a dauntingly high hurdle that potentially shuts out thousands of great coaches. That doesn't serve coaches or their clients.


This came to my attention when I was considering whether to renew our IAC Coaching Masteries(tm) license this December. One of the many reasons I'm choosing to not renew our IAC license is that fewer coaches than ever are seeking IAC Coach Certification. Even most of my own students aren't applying for it when we offer to reimburse their fees! SCM's old certification is at approximately the same level as IAC Certification.

Does this mean we're going to lower our standards? No. I think high coaching standards are more important than ever. What School of Coaching Mastery is going to do is offer a 2-step process that recognizes the outstanding value of proficient coaches who get results, while actually raising the bar for master coaches.

Let's bring the fun back into coach certification!

I think there are two main reasons why more coaches aren't pursuing IAC Certification. One is that Thomas Leonard is no longer out there evangelizing it. Thousands of coaches were already fired up to get certified when Thomas passed away. Without him, the excitment has just melted.

The other reason is that IAC certification is harder to achieve. Over the years, especially after the advent of the Coaching Masteries, I noticed that coaching sessions that I would have passed back in 2004-2005, weren't passing any more.

Harder can be better, except when it's not.

Back when we were using the proficiencies, we passed about half of the coaches who applied. Now only 1/4 of all coaches pass IAC Certification on the first try, which suggests that it is now twice as hard to pass. (SCM students pass at the rate of 2/3.)  

As any great coach knows, the perfect goal is one that is difficult, but doable. If we set the bar too high, the client gets overwhelmed and gives up.

It take courage to let other coaches grade your coaching ability. When there is a only pass out of every 4 applications, it's just easier for coaches not to bother - or to opt for rubber-stamp certifications. That doesn't encourage growth in coaching. On the contrary, it discourages it.

I'm not blaming the IAC. I took their lead, but I'm the one who set up the Certified Mastery Coach designation as one huge leap, with no intermediate steps along the way.

Thomas had it right: Inspire coaches with a certification that recognizes great coaching, but don't make it so hard that they don't even apply for it. Otherwise, there's just no point.

I do, however think there's a place for a more advanced certification, because as the coaching profession continues to mature, it's becoming more competitive. As Thomas used to say, the best way to be successful is to master your craft.

 In addition, I think coaching skills, alone, are really not enough of a basis for certification, any more than coach training and coaching hours guarantee effective coaching. We need evidence of great coaching results. That's what clients want and deserve for the high fees that they pay us.

So going forward, SCM will have two certifications available. First, the SCM Certified Coach, who has demonstrated a proficient level of coaching, along with recommendations that speak to the coach's effectiveness. SCM-CC level coaching is  significantly more effective than most coaching and deserves recognition.

And we'll have the Certified Master Coach who has demonstrated masterful skills and results. Our old Certified Mastery Coach designation will be phased out by December, when we drop the IAC license, but coaches who are currently working on it will be able to achieve it by then.

What excited me about the old proficiency-level certification is that it inspired coaches to reach their full potential, rather than settle for what they previously thought was possible.

That's what coaching is all about, right? Helping clients be, do and have much more? Why not a certification process that does that for coaches? That's my intention for our 2 new levels of certification.

As for IAC Certification, I believe our student/coaches will continue to pass it at a reletively high rate even after we stop teaching the IAC Masteries. At least if they apply for it. [UPDATE: SCM DID renew its license to teach the IAC Masteries, afterall. Then we decided to also go for ICF accreditation.]


Applications for the two new SCM Coach Certifications will be available in September. In the meantime, if you're curious, you can

see the basic requirements here.

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" target="_self">see the requirements for our new certifications here.

Certified Coach

 

If you'd like to be kept updated about upcoming opportunities to get certified by us, go here. And scroll down to the right to fill out a short form.

Topics: certification requirements, IAC Certified Coach, IAC Coaching Masteries, IAC Certification, certified coaches, certified life coach, certified business coach, certified coach

Is the International Association of Coaching Headed the Wrong Way?

Posted by Julia Stewart

International Association of Certified Coaches

Yesterday, I got an odd email from the International Association of Coaching (IAC) President, Bob Tschannen-Moran.

Maybe I misunderstood, but it seemed to me that Bob was trying to tell me that a recording that I made with Natalie Tucker Miller and Elizabeth Nofziger, who are both IAC & SCM Certifiers, and using systems that belong to my company, actually belongs to the IAC to do as it sees fit, regardless of my wishes. Hmm...I think U.S. Copyright and Freedom of Speech laws would differ with that.

[Update: I just received a note from Bob, saying of course the recording is mine. I did indeed misunderstand. This post isn't an attack on Bob or the IAC Boards. I just disagree - or misunderstand. You're invited to add your thoughts in the comments section, below.]

If you know me well, you're probably chuckling, because I'm somewhat famous for my temper. It’s my worst weakness. On the up side, I always learn something valuable when I get mad. Here's what I'm learning from my latest tempest:

My loyalty actually lies more with Thomas Leonard's International Association of Certified Coaches (See the original logo above) than it does with the current IAC.  Today's IAC is the organization that evolved from that over the past seven years and of course, it is different. The problem for me is that I'm not okay with all of the differences.

If you’re curious, check out Thomas Leonard's original announcement about the IACC here. Is it better or worse? That's a matter of opinion, but here are some of my thoughts:

Thomas' vision for improving the quality of coaching worldwide was huge. He saw a skills-based coach certification as the vehicle to bring about this worldwide upgrade to coaching excellence and the IACC was the organization to oversee it.  It could only be accomplished if large numbers (most?) of coaches got on board. With a big mailing list of devoted followers and a willingness to put up $25,000 seed money, Thomas had the tools to make it work.

Given Thomas' tragic death less than five months after he announced the IACC, it is a triumph that it survived at all. His estate was tied up for over a year. His company changed hands and took a different path. However, the IACC already had thousands of passionate supporters. Many of whom, like me, were donating their time to make it happen. Still, it was a disturbing sign that his vision was already being watered down, when not long after Thomas' passing, the International Association of Certified Coaches' name was changed. It's now the International Association of Coaching.

What about the commitment to Certified Coaches? Read on.  

The IAC retained the Certified Coach brand. Although it no longer uses the Proficiencies, it still certifies coaches using a process similar to the one Thomas and the original IACC President, Michael 'Coop' Cooper, laid out. It is a very rigorous certification process that only about 25% of coaches pass on the first try. It does indeed raise the quality of coaching for many who attempt it.

However, the IACC's sister organization, the Coaching School Accreditation Council, announced at the same time by Thomas, doesn't exist. This organization would decide if a school could teach the intellectual property on which the Certified Coach designation is based and thereby prepare coaches to get certified. 

Is there an IAC coaching school accreditation process? No. Rather than a coaching school accreditation as rigorous its coach certification, the IAC has chosen instead to make its IAC Coaching Masteries(TM) available to anyone via a commercial license. It doesn't matter if you're a coach, a dentist, a plumber or a marine biologist, if you want to be an IAC Licensee and teach the Masteries, all you have to do is pay the IAC some money. What?

The IAC doesn't even require its licensees to be IAC Certified Coaches. Funny, they have one of the world's most rigorous coach certifications, but apparently anybody with a credit card is qualified to train coaches to prepare for it. Where is the consistency of purpose?

Worse, the IAC website doesn't clearly communicate this to visitors. Most people (in the U.S. anyway) assume that a license means some kind of test has been taken. If you want a license to practice medicine, you have to pass a test. If you want a license to drive, you have to pass a test, etc., etc. But if you want a license to teach the IAC Coaching Masteries(TM) all you need is some money. Good for the IAC, not so good for coaching.

A commercial license is the type you agree to if you want to use software by Microsoft or Apple. It's a bunch of legalese you must accept in order to use their intellectual property. It doesn't imply approval, it simply protects the organization that does the licensing.

The IAC license protects the IAC from risk, but it offers no leadership to the coaching world, not the sort that the IACC was founded upon. An organization can't lead without taking risks. 

Although I'm really not okay with the IAC's commercial license, I was the first to buy one. Why? I still believe in this certification. I'm just disappointed that so little attention has been paid to HOW coaches will upgrade their coaching by seeking IAC Coach Certification. The IAC says it is not in their mandate to teach or accredit. But this is an important need and leaving it unaddressed leaves a big crack in the process. The result is that only a fraction of Certified Coaches exist compared to the original intent. 

Numerous coaches have told me privately that they think the commercial license is a big mistake. However, the membership has virtually no way to fight it. Because although the original IACC granted voting rights to all Certified Coaches, the current Board of Governors (BOG) and Board of Certifying Examiners choose their own replacements, not the members. This means they can change the rules without even notifying us.

Don't get me wrong, many Board members are my close friends and colleagues. There are some dedicated people there working hard on the IAC and I think their intentions are good. But if you want to get on the BOG, you have to be recommended by a current BOG member and then voted on by the other BOG members. That can block certain people from ever being able to serve.

The current voting structure leaves the BOG unaccountable to anyone. It's easy for a comfortable 'group think' to set in and for board members to agree on rules that work for them, but not for the whole membership. If the IAC were to become the huge worldwide organization that Thomas envisioned, a small group of people and their friends would have too much power over this fast-growing billion-dollar industry.

Even though I've been invited to join both Boards, I'm not comfortable with the current process. I think IAC members should be making these choices, themselves. Give them the vote! Members of an organization who have voting rights tend to be more engaged and invested in it. Because there’s a disconnect between the board, the members and the mission, many of the original supporters have fallen away.

Is it fair for me to expect today's IAC to act like the original IACC? Probably not. But some elements that I think are critical to its mission, the mission that I still care about, have been lost over the years and that makes a big difference, at least to me.

That leaves me wondering whether School of Coaching Mastery's IAC license is still a fit for us. Without it, I'd have greater freedom in developing my own intellectual property and there wouldn't be disagreements over who owns my recordings.

Don't worry, if you're an SCM student, we're not going to make any changes right away and regardless, we'll keep our agreements. Even if we drop the license, we can still help you get certified. I've been helping coaches pass IAC Coach Certification since 2003 and the past two years since we first bought the IAC license (It wasn't available until then) haven't helped us do that any better.

What do you think? Should the IAC's Board be voted on by the IAC Membership? Should the IAC continue to license any and all comers? Is there any reason to stay faithful to the original IACC mission? Should members have more power? Or should we just quietly go on paying our dues?

By the way, if you're curious about the recording in question, it's available for free to members of the IAC North American Virtual Chapter, a free service for all coaches that we offer and that is aligned with the IAC.

Join the coaching chapter

 

Join the IAC North American Virtual Chapter for free here. 

Topics: Coaching, School of Coaching Mastery, SCM, Thomas Leonard, IAC Certified Coach, IAC Coaching Masteries, Natalie Tucker Miller, IAC Certification, certified coaches, International Association of Coaching, IAC

Become a Master Coach with Free Triads

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching Triad I spoke to a member of Certification Bootcamp this morning about her Coaching Triads.

She called me because I sent her a rather cryptic message:

  1. Stop being 'nice'; start being honest.
  2. Dig deeper. 

But maybe I should back up a bit and mention what a coaching triad is and how it helps you become a master coach. A coaching triad is a tool I dreamed up with one of my mentor coaches many years ago as a way for coaches to prep for IAC Certification. Triads provide learning on multiple levels and they are free. Three coaches get on a three-way-calling line or use a free bridge line. They each take turns being the coach, the client and the observer. After each coaching session, they talk about what they heard. Everybody learns - fast. This is an 'extra service' that Bootcamp members are using to prep for the live intensive - fast.

Back to the coach who called me. You see, someone (I thought it was her) from the bootcamp emailed me over the weekend, and asked how to tell a triad partner that her coaching was missing the mark. She also mentioned that she was having trouble coming up with a problem or goal to be coached on in every triad session. Hence my advice above.

It turns out I sent the advice to the 'wrong' coach, but it fit perfectly for her. And I can't find the original email from whoever sent it and I suspect it doesn't exist. (Imagine the theme from the Twilight Zone playing).

Those questions are common problems for coaches in triads until they start thinking like master coaches. Then the problems disappear like 'magic', because their thinking has changed.

We employ as many tools like these as possible so our student/coaches become master coaches faster. Certification, especially live certification, turns up the heat like a catalyst in a chemical reaction. Learning become almost instant.

I believe it was Leonard Bernstein who said that to achieve great things, it takes a plan and not quite enough time. So I suggest you plan to be a master coach faster. It's the surest way to coaching success. Once you start thinking like a master coach, you'll understand why.

Coach Certification Bootcamp

Ready to achieve great things and become a master coach faster? There are 2 seats left at the early bird price for the live Certification Bootcamp intensive. Join us!

 Oh, and if you're the one who sent me that email, you're answer is above.

Topics: Free, Become a Master Coach, becoming a certified coach, Coach Certification, IAC Certification, Triad Mentor Coaching, Coaching Triads, certified coach

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