School of Coaching Mastery

Coaching Blog

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

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

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

Life Coach Certification vs. Coaching Certificate: The Difference

Posted by Julia Stewart

Life Coach Certification

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

The short answer to both questions is: No.

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

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

Life Coach Certification

Coaching Certificate

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

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

You can add appropriate letters after your name

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

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

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

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

Evidence that you completed some training or passed a test

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

No letters after your name

Evidence that you're not just self-taught

Evidence that you're working toward becoming a skilled coach

Challenging, but not difficult to get

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IAC Announces New Master Certified Coach Designation

Posted by Julia Stewart

Certified CoachI received an email yesterday about my coach certification from the IAC. It said in part...

 

"We have some exciting news to share with you!

It’s no secret that achieving the IAC certification designation requires a very high level of coaching skill. We’ve heard it referred to as the “gold standard” in coaching and we have to agree. After much deliberation, the IAC has decided to honor those who have previously met these standards by calling IAC coaches what they truly are: Master Certified Coaches. Effective immediately, IAC-CC’s are now considered MCC’s, or Master Certified Coaches..."

The email goes on to say that based on an internal review, plus input from members and licensees, they've decided to create a new level of certification that recognizes a deep understanding of, and a skilled use of, the IAC Coaching Masteries(tm). Evidently this will become the new IAC Certified Coach designation.

That's good news. I've raised concerns before that the current certification seemed to be getting harder to pass. And while I'm all for high standards, I was concerned that too few coaches pass it. Most either get too busy with their businesses and forget about certification, or give up before they reach it, or get impatient and turn in their coaching recordings too soon and fail. Only 25% of applicants pass.

The truth is, you can be a very good coach and still not pass this extremely difficult certification (now called the MCC). So why not have another certification that recognizes that your skill level is higher than most other coaches (the new CC)?

I made a similar change to School of Coaching Mastery's coach certification a while back. Coaches who possess superior skills deserve to be recognized for that level of achievement.

There's a huge gap between competent coaching and masterful coaching. And that intermediate level of coaching, which I call the proficient level, deserves its own coach designation. Also, potential coaching clients deserve to know if they're working with a high-quality coach. The ICF has had three levels of coach certification for years.

If I understood an email from the new IAC President, Susan Meyer, the IAC may be  reviewing previous coaching submissions to see if they pass requirements for the new designation. If so, that could put smiles on the faces of some deserving coaches.

I'm glad the IAC is making this move and as my friend, Mattison Grey, said about getting the new MCC designation (on Twitter): "Instant upgrade. I'll take it!"

Want to learn more about the IAC and its coach certifications?

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Topics: ICF, Coach Certification, IAC-CC, IAC Certified Coach, IAC Coaching Masteries, certified coaches, master coach, Master Certified Coach, IAC, certified coach

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.

 

" 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

Professional Coaches: Stop Going Naked

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coach Certification Bootcamp

I've talked to hundreds of coaches and nearly all of them say the same thing:

They see themselves equally as entrepreneurs and professionals. I'm not surprised.

DEFINITION:

Entrepreneur: Someone who starts businesses for fun. May or may not be successful.

Professional: Someone with professional training & credentials who offers professional services for a fee. May or may not be successful.

Coaches don't just wear two hats. You could say we have two brains, when it comes to running our businesses. One for the entrepreneur (Fun & profit!) and one for the professional (I'll learn everything I can to give the best results and I have credentials that confirm that.)

I love being an entrepreneur. It's loads of fun. I bet you do too. And I bet your inner professional held you back until he/she was convinced you'd done what it takes to be the best you can be. Not always fun - but worth it, if you want to be a professional with integrity. And necessary, if you want to be a professional who succeeds.

You see, to your inner professional, practicing your profession without the appropriate credentials is as terrifying as walking down the red carpet stark naked!

  • Or performing brain surgery without being a doctor.
  • Or flying a plane without a pilot's license.

There's no getting around this, if you see yourself as a professional. So, if you're a coach who wants more clients and you're trying to do it without training and certification (the coaching profession's recognized credentials), then your inner professional is just trying to save you from disaster and humiliation.

You can thank it for that.

Your inner entrepreneur doesn't get this. It's busy running a cool business and it doesn't have time & money to spend on more training. And anyway, coaches don't really need certification, right?

Actually, according to a number of studies (See Coaching Sherpa), professional coaches without training & certification earn less, become successful more slowly, and/or drop out of the profession after a couple of years.

No surprise, eh?

You've got to get your inner professional and inner entrepreneur talking to each other. They need to work together so you can have the fun, ease and profits you planned on and the integrity you require.

Fortunately for you, there's something that will make both your inner professional and inner entrepreneur very, very happy.

It's called Certification Bootcamp. It's for practicing coaches, only, and it's short on both time and money, long on fun, and high on quality, value and results (Listen, I'm a professional, too).

The premiere edition of CERTIFICATION BOOTCAMP is coming up in a few weeks.

IT INCLUDES:

  • 10 TELE-WEBINAR CLASSES
  • 4 TELECONFERENCES
  • 1 LIVE EVENT

You can customize it and take only what you need.

It's fast and fun and priced so low, even your inner entrepreneur will love it. If you jump in quickly, you inner professional will breathe a sigh of relief and will finally, FINALLY, let you succeed like you know you are meant to.

NO MORE GOING NAKED.

This program is only open to a few good coaches and it's already filling, so if you're at all curious, check it out right now. Your inner professional will thank you.

If you have more questions, call us at +1-877-224-2780

Coach Certification Bootcamp


Check out Coach Certification Bootcamp here.

 

Topics: professional coach, Coach Certification, IAC-CC, IAC Certified Coach, IAC Certification, Become a Certified Coach, certified life coach, certified business coach, certified coach, advanced coach training

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