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5 Rookie Mistakes New Life Coaches Should Never Make [Are YOU Making These?]

Posted by Julia Stewart

New Life Coach

In my career as a coach trainer and mentor coach, I've known some amazing coaches who changed many lives, but I've also seen some embarrassing rookie mistakes and made a few, myself.

Some mistakes keep popping up on my radar, so here's the blog post i think about writing whenever I see one. I hope it helps!

5 Rookie Mistake New Life Coaches Should Never Make:

1. Using a personal email address as a business address. The address you use with family and friends, such as FredWilmaAndPebbles@aol.com,  may fail to address the bedrock issue in business credibility: your professionalism. Don't communicate that you're an amateur by using a family address. And MissFancyPants1986@hotmail.com may be your flirty way of expressing yourself on eHarmony, but it's TMI for business. Use your name and no one else's, or use your business name. Alternatively, tell people what you do with your address. One of my first was, ICoach121@optimum.net. Of course, having your own web address is a bit more impressive. Another early address I used was coach@YourLifePart2.com.

2. Getting a website before you're ready. A professional-looking email address is a must. A website probably can wait. In the meantime, a robust profile on one or more coach directories will do and/or social media profiles or pages. In fact, these  provide feedback on what people respond to, so it's an awesome way to learn what will work for your website. Otherwise, you're likely to have a site that doesn't really represent you or your business. I knew a new coach who lived on Maui, whose coaching was about building thriving relationships, but the main image on her website was a single leafless tree in a frigid winter landscape. What? Most successful coaches take between a year and three years to get their first website. Get to know your business self, your clients, and what communicates what you do, effectively. No rush.

3. Quitting your job at the wrong time. I've had coaching students who quit their jobs the week after they joined my school. I love their confidence and commitment, but they tend to struggle. Coaches take between 3 months and 5 years to fill their coaching practices. With Coach 100, it takes between 6 months and a year. That's a long time to go without a full-time income. On the flip side, I've known coaches who hung on to their jobs too long. One excellent coach had a quarter of a million dollars in financial reserves, but still too nervous to make the leap. A big part of what coaches do is help clients get over the fears that prevent success, so get your own coach, if you're feeling stuck. On the other hand, if you're ultra-risk-adverse, consider coaching within a large organization, if that helps you feel more stable.

4. Not getting your own coach. How can you call yourself a coach, if you've never been coached? More to the point, how will you know to make smart rookie choices, if the only coaches you talk to are other rookies? You need your own coach, period. Think of it as a business deduction. Find your coach here.

5. Not getting training. There are still a couple of old timers who tell rookie coaches that they don't need training, but that's not fair to rookies. 20-30 years ago, there was no training, but a few talented people invented coaching, anyway. The rest of us have Thomas Leonard to thank for putting coaching on the map and starting the first coach training school and international coaching association. Like having your own coach, getting coach training flattens your learning curve, helps you make smarter choices, and contributes to your success. Coaches with training become successful quicker and are less likely to quit the profession. Don't take my word for it. Ask your coach.

Don't make rookie mistakes. Get the free Become a Coach eBook:

Don't Make Rookie Mistakes. Get This Free eBook.

 

 

Topics: coach training, become a coach, Free, Coach Training Programs, Life Coaches, Thomas Leonard, Mentor Coaching, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, coach training program, FIND A COACH

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

Posted by Julia Stewart

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check Out Coach Training Programs Here.

 

 

 

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

Top 12 Secrets: How to Write a Coaching Bio that Sells Your Coaching

Posted by Julia Stewart

coaching bio

For a new executive, business or life coach, writing your first coaching bio can be pretty scary, because you don't have tons of experience or credentials yet, so you don't feel powerful when talking about what you do. Even for experienced coaches, writing a coaching bio can be daunting and you may be looking for help with it. My friend and colleague, Barbra Sundquist, MMC, wrote a great post for this blog on How to Write a Coaching Bio in Twenty Minutes and it has become one of our most popular posts, because who wouldn't like to get this uncomfortable job over and done, quickly?

But what if your coaching bio could actually sell your coaching for you?

Bios are a powerful form of marketing and as you grow your business, you want to get even more power out of everything you do. In fact, it's ideal if you marketing brings you plenty of potential clients, especially if those clients are sales-ready. In other words, you don't want emails, texts, and/or phone calls from everybody on the planet, just they ones who are dying to hire you, right?

The following secrets, employed by search engine optimizers, copywriters, sales people and savvy coaches can help you attract potential coaching clients who may be ready to buy even before they talk to you – or who are ready to buy after a short conversation. You don’t need to use every secret in every bio, but great bios usually contain 3 or more of these secrets…

SECRET 1: Use the right words and phrases. The world’s greatest bio is worthless if nobody finds it, so your first job is to write for search engines, like Google, Yahoo and Bing, because people find coaches with search engines. Search engines change their search algorithms periodically and don’t share exactly what they are, but marketers have found that certain basic SEO (search engine optimization) practices can help you get found online. For example: Use keywords (words and phrases that people search for), especially long-tail keywords (very specific phrases), in your title, first and last sentences, as well as any highlighted lines (titles and bold text) and in hyperlinked text (text that you click to get to another page). An example of a long-tail keyword might be: “Life Coach, Jane Smith, White Plains, NY”. While you wouldn’t use exactly this phrase throughout your bio, with some creativity, you can use variations on it enough to get a search engine to send a searcher who just typed, “Life Coach White Plains NY” into the search box. People tend to search for coaches in their hometowns, so you can stand out quickly by including yours. (Bonus tip: People hire coaches, not companies, so list yourself by your name, not your business name.)

SECRET 2: Tell them what they want to know. Stop thinking of your bio as a biography of you and your experience/credentials and understand the only thing potential clients really want to know about you: "Can you help me?" Mostly share details about you that they want to know, i.e. Do you understand people like me? Have you been in my shoes? Have you helped someone like me? If your bio has lots of room, or if it has a second ‘details’ page, add more details about you further down. But for a short bio, just tell people what they most want to know: “I can help you reach your goal”.

SECRET 3: Write for your ideal client. Stop writing for everybody and write for just one person, instead. How? The simplest way is to pick an existing ideal client and write just for them. Before you do, ask that client what they most wanted to know before they hired you. Then show them your bio and ask them to critique it, so it says exactly what they would want to know. Does that sounds pushy? It's not, because your best clients are grateful to you. They are also high-functioners who love to give back. Don’t hesitate to give them that opportunity. And don’t worry that you’ll be excluding potential clients who are different. Most bios fail to grab attention from anyone because they are simply too vague.

SECRET 4: Use the magic word. While we’re talking about grabbing attention, here’s the simplest way to grab your reader’s attention: Use the word, YOU. Because our brains are wired to focus attention on what is most pertinent to us, personally. When a reader sees the word, "you", in a line of text, their brain naturally pays more attention. Think about it: the word, "you", probably grabbed your attention, just now.

SECRET 5: Customize it. One bio probably isn’t enough, so think of your website as more of a hub than a store front. I’ve had clients hire me without even a phone conversation, because they found me on specialty websites and memberships that mattered to them. The fact that I was interested in what interested them was enough to for them to say, “She’s the coach for me.” Use social networks, coach directories, and special-interest memberships as an opportunity to send potential clients to a landing page on your website to sign up for your coaching – but do give them a chance to talk to you, because usually they’ll want to do that before hiring you.

SECRET 6: Create curiosity. Great copywriters say that each sentence you write has but one purpose: to make readers want to read the next sentence. There are many ways to do this: Ask questions that your potential clients need to ask themselves. Use visual imagery. Use emotional words, or high-intensity words.

SECRET 7: Create trust. Multiple bios at several locations help your clients to research you. Create a consistent image, while tailoring your bios to each site. This also helps people to find you. Add your most important credentials, if credentials would matter to your potential clients. Graduation, certification and memberships from well-known coaching schools, or associations, can give you an edge. Someone who’s reading your bio on a coach directory, for instance, probably is getting to know you for the 1st time, so share what a stranger, who is searching for a coach, would want to know. On the other hand, someone visiting your website, probably already knows a little about you, so share a bit more. (Critical tip: Lying about your qualifications and credentials creates mistrust that can destroy your business, so don't claim credentials you don't have.)

SECRET 8: Let others do the selling for you. Most of us loathe bragging about ourselves, but hiding what’s great about us is a disservice to your potential clients. So let others do the persuading. This is what today’s consumers are already comfortable with anyway: reviews, ratings and testimonials. If you have the space, include some of your best testimonials in your bio. Even if your bio has to be short, try adding a short comment from a happy client. Coach certification can also help do some of the selling for you, because it's a stamp of approval from a trusted source.

SECRET 9: Be easy to find. Not only do you want your bios to be easy to find, you want your clients to be able to find YOU. Always add your webpage and contact information to your bios. Because a link to your website is SEO gold. This is reason enough to join every directory you can. It helps search engines find you and your website, which in turn, helps potential clients find and hire you. Coaches who work from home are often conflicted about how much contact information to share online. If this is a concern, here are some possibilities: Rent a post office box for your physical address. Get a business phone number or even a toll-free number. They’re inexpensive. In addition to your web address and email, share your city, business number and PO address, but never your home address.

SECRET 10: Be easy to see. Definitely add a photo of you, if you can. Don’t use your logo, except as a secondary image. Because people hire people, not logos. The best photo is a headshot of you, smiling. You don’t have to be young and beautiful, but in most cases, looking professional works best. It’s worth getting your photo professionally done.

SECRET 11: Let them know how easy it is to work with you. Most people have never hired a coach, before. They naturally feel a little confused about how to do that. Confused people don’t buy. Spell out a couple of easy steps, such as, “If you think you’d like to coach with me, contact me by email to set up a phone conversation. In your session, we’ll talk about your goals and how you can reach them. Usually, it’s a lot of fun. If I can help you further, I’ll tell you how, but there’s no pressure.”

SECRET 12: Tell them what to do next. This is critical. Tell people specifically what to do next to get started with you. In marketing, this is called a ‘call to action’. If that feels too directive, think of it as an invitation. Depending on where your bio is located, your call to action might be to visit your website. Or it might be to fill out a short form and email you, or simply telephone or text you. Decide what mode of contact would appeal to your ideal client and don’t be afraid to make a prominent call to action. You might even want to offer something of value to them, just for getting in touch. Examples: “Email me to receive a copy of my ‘Top Ten Easy Ways to Instantly Stop Procrastinating and Get Everything Done On Time’”. Or “Call me at this number to schedule a complimentary coaching consultation and, if you decide to continue, I’ll discount $50 from your first paid session.”

Want to see this approach in action? View a few listings on our new coach directory and notice which coaches grab your attention and make it easy for you to hire them. 

Join the Find a Coach Here Directory Today

Topics: Coaching, Life Coaches, social networking, Google, Coaching Bio, SEO, FIND A COACH

Should Business and Life Coaches Ask "Why" Questions?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching Questions The_Forgotten_Jetty_by_Daniel_Sallal_CC.jpg

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

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

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

Some powerful awareness-building questions:

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

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

So why shouldn't coaches ask, Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHY matters more than anything else in coaching!

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

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

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

Here are some Why questions you MUST ask:

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

Powerful Why questions uncover what the client most values.

Values are the Why.

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

Values are what matter most. 

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

So should coaches ask Why questions? YES. 

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

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

Curious about positive psychology coaching? Get the free eBook:

Free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook

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

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

Posted by Julia Stewart

Botox_by_F1uffster_-_Jeanie

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

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

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

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

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

So why should life coaches never get botox?

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

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

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

It's official; your gut feelings are real.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Become a Certified Positive Psychology Coach®

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

11 Ways Bad Coaching and Coaching Hype Can Harm Coaching Clients

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching Hype

When I was a coaching student, my classmates and I were told it was okay to practice coaching even before we graduated, because "Coaching can't hurt anyone."

But the Elliot Rodger massacre counters that advice with a stark reality: "Coaching" doesn't cure mental illness, but it can and does hurt people when delivered by unknowledgeable or unscrupulous "coaches". Sometimes in spectacular ways. 

The thinking behind the advice I got in coaching school was that coaches don't work with vulnerable populations, or in crisis situations, and that our clients are high-functioners who are responsible for their own choices. If the coach is ethical and is getting good training, and the client isn't mentally ill, then this theory works well.  By the way, this is also why coaching isn't a regulated profession.

Coaching is unregulated, so buyers must be extra careful.

Reportedly, Rodger's parents did everything they could to give him a good upbringing and tried to help him with his emotional problems by getting him therapists and life coaches. He doesn't sound at all like a high-functioner to me, so most likely he was never a good candidate for coaching. His obsession with his perceived victimhood suggests something seriously wrong. Pick-Up-Artist Coach

That doesn't necessarily mean Rodger was harmed by his life coaches, but apparently he also explored another type of "coaching": the Pick-Up-Artist Coach (such as the guy to the right), who left Rodger feeling more frustrated than ever. The "coach" in the picture, and his website, look so creepy to me that I would call into question the mental health of anyone who hired him (or worse, slept with him).

Then there's the guy, below, who according to Slate and Jezebel, SPAMMED Rodger's YouTube channel with ads for his Dating Coach business. He claims his products could have saved lives!

StrategicDatingCoach

That's one of the many ways over-hyped coaching harms coaching clients: the marketing, itself, over-promises and misleads potential clients, while pretending the coach just wants to help. People with common sense often see through the sham. But not always.

I've known some very smart cookies who've been taken in by scam artists posing as coaches. Their sole purpose is to empty clients' bank accounts and max out their credit with ever more personal and exclusive "coaching programs". I've known more than one coaching client who lost their house, as a result.

And not every harmful coach is a scam artist. Some are well-meaning, but operate on false beliefs and methods that can leave a client dazed and confused.

Apparently Rodger tried learning "game", as PUA (pick-up-artist) Coaches call it, and it didn't help him with women. Then he join a PUA hate site.

Therapists didn't stop Rodger from going on a killing rampage, so it's not fair to blame the coaches that worked with him, except for this: ethical coaches know they don't have tools to overcome mental illness and even if they can't diagnose illness, they can observe whether or not they are helping and send a sick client to the appropriate professionals.

Here are 10 more ways over-hyped coaching, scam artists, and untrained coaches can harm their coaching clients.

1. Over-hyped coaching often encourages people to focus on false goals, such as becoming millionaires. Everyone wants more money, or at least thinks they do, so get-rich-quick schemes are always popular with scam artists. These days "spiritual" get-rich-quick schemes are especially in vogue. "Coaches" who promise wealth are one of the most likely groups to be preying upon unsuspecting clients. Sex is also a big seller.

2. The fact that most people don't know what coaching is, inspires nefarious people to call themselves coaches. "Coaches" are sometimes scam artists in sheeps' clothing. That includes an alarming number of spirit-based coaches.

3. Well-meaning (or not so well-meaning) Law of Attraction coaches may encourage overly extreme optimism, which can mimic bipolar mania, which tends to be followed by failure, including loss of money and disappointment. Then the client is told they are "doing it" wrong, that they must buy a platinum program to learn LOA better, which then leads to further failure and disillusionment. When the client finally accepts that the process doesn’t work for them, they may sink into depression. Manic Depression is the old name for biplor disorder. Really bad coaching encourages manic-depressive extremes.

4. Too many coaches are only interested in grandiose goals, when in some cases, more modest goals can transform a client's life. To paraphrase the old theater saying, "There are no small goals; only small coaches."

5. Confused coaches often expect to completely change a person’s mindset instantly, when in reality, permanently changing one’s thinking takes time and consistent effort. Sometimes the most successful coaching sessions merely open the possibility that change could happen.

6. Misguided coaches may over-emphasize environment and under-emphasize action. I was trained this way and environment is quite powerful, but coaching clients aren't passive creatures. They relearn how to be in the world by taking action and observing the results. Action trumps environment. Just ask Oprah Winfrey.

7. Over-hyped coaching promises outrageous success ("Make quantum leaps!", "Millions of dollars the easy way!", "Get beautiful women to sleep with you!", "Attract everything you want just by thinking about it!"), missing the subtle possibilities that are genuinely transformative.

8. Fake coaches focus primarily on advice-giving, which often is inappropriate for the client. Finding out the client's strengths, needs and values, helps them step into resourcefulness, which is almost always more valuable than advice.

9. Then there are the coaches who avoid any advice-giving at all, which can limit a client’s options. Effective coaches know when clients need more information. If they have it, and the best coaches have a lot of empowering information, they share it at the right times and in the right ways.

10. Finally, nefarious "coaches" make stuff up, instead of using tools that actually work. What kind of stuff do they make up? In the beginning, whatever the client wants to hear. Later, when the client has already sunk thousands into the coaching and is desperate to get some value out of it, scam-coaches tell the client whatever will make him or her spend some more money. 

How do you avoid being harmed by bad coaching? There are plenty of good coaches. Only work with coaches who have pledged to uphold professional ethics, make sure your coach has been trained in evidence-based coaching, opt for a certified coach whenever possible, and never ever try to substitute coaching for therapy. Even those things won't absolutely guarantee a good coach, though. Also use your common sense. If your gut says to run, run!

Elliot Rodger was a tortured soul who believed he was a victim of injustice. One of Rodger's victims was Christopher Michael-Martinez. His father, Richard Martinez, believes his son is a victim of injustice, namely that current laws in the US make mass-murder more likely. His call to action, "Not One More", has spurred a movement to demand that lawmakers change the laws. Will it be effective? No one knows, but what we have currently is a travesty. If you'd like to send a message to your elected official in support of Martinez' movement, click here.

Topics: Coaching, Coaches, Life Coaches, Law of Attraction, psychotherapy

Marketing for Coaches: How to Lose Friends, Respect, and Clients

Posted by Julia Stewart

finding life coach clientsIf you're a relatively new business or life coach, then the question of where to find coaching clients is probably nearly an obsession for you.

 

And that's as it should be. You're in a huge learning curve and your future business depends on your ability to learn quickly and keep moving forward.

 

This blog post will help flatten your marketing and sales learning curve and save you from bumbling ineptitude. 

 

As you can imagine, my coaching clients and students frequently ask me how to find clients.

 

Most don't ask where. You need to know 'where' before the 'how' question can even begin to help you.

 

So here's a list of places 'where' you may find clients, preceded by a few places where you almost certainly won't.

 

Where you WON'T find clients, but you may lose respect, friends, or worse:
  • Friends and family: don't invite your best friend to coach with you for a fee. You're violating your relationship with her and will likely offend her and possibly lose her friendship. Do offer to coach her for free, if you like - and if she's interested. Mattison Grey calls this the Friends Channel. Don't talk business unless you're both on the Business Channel.
  • Other people's tribes: you may belong to communities of interest that are led by other thought leaders. Maybe all the members are on the Business Channel, but your fellow members may view you as just a peer. Don't presume they're open to becoming your clients, unless they've already expressed curiosity about how you can help them and even then, have the conversation in private. Otherwise, you'll be seen as inappropriate and tribal leaders may view you as an interloper. Better to start your own tribe.
  • Your coaching school: don't try to build a coaching business by coaching other coaches, especially your classmates. You may see yourself as more developed than they are, but it's unlikely they'll agree. If you SPAM them with invitations to coach, or worse, invite them to coach with you in class, you'll just look self-serving - not attractive. Do invite your classmates to trade peer coaching with you, gratis.
  • Social aquaintences: the folks you meet in church, at a homeowners meeting, or in line at a store may or may not be open to coaching with you. Let them ask about it. If they're just being social, just be social with them. If they seem curious, go ahead and share more - probably in private.

 

Places where you CAN find coaching clients:
  • Friends of friends of family: go ahead and offer some free coaching to your family and their friends. If they like it, ask them to refer friends to you for coaching. Sometimes it's as easy as that.
  • Friends of friends of friends: the closer someone is to your social circle, the more likely they are to be concerned about confidentiality, so ask friends to refer people for free coaching sessions. Ask those people for referrals. The third tier is a better bet.
  • People who join your tribes: start a Facebook Page, LinkedIn Group, or live networking organization. Serve your members. A lot. Invite them to complimentary sessions. The more they perceive you as a contributor to their lives and success, the more they will want your coaching.
  • People you meet at networking events: live networking is powerful when you know how to use it. Everyone there is 'selling' something, so the trick is to notice those who want what you have. Invite them to a free session.
  • People who read your blog: one of the easiest ways to build a tribe is to start a great blog. Easy, but time consuming. If you love to serve and love to write, your blog can become a powerful attractor. Use it to invite potential clients.
  • People who hear you speak: lead live workshops, online webinars, or teleclasses. Educate, entertain, and serve. Your listeners may fall in love with you. You can invite them to work with you, but don't be surprised if they ask YOU to coach them, first. When you're in the right place, doing the right things, sales practically take care of themselves.

 

So there you have some powerful DOs and DON'Ts for attracting coaching clients without offending people. As always, it boils down to Servant Entrepreneurship. If you want much more...

 

Get Paid to Coach. Join Coach 100.

Topics: business coach, blogging, coaching clients, make a living as a life coach, make a living as a coach, Facebook, Life Coaches, marketing and sales, LinkedIn, Social Media Marketing, Marketing for life coaches

Life Coach: Why It Doesn't Mean Anything Anymore

Posted by Julia Stewart

Certified Life Coach

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

Apparently, they failed to find it.

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

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

The subtext asks...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Really?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Become a Certified Competent Coach

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

How Professional Coaches Make More Money

Posted by Julia Stewart

I've written previously about how executive, business and life coaches make money. And we have a free eBook that goes into detail about life coach salaries. But here's something we don't often write about: How else do professional coaches make money?

Average salaries for executive, business and life coaches range between $50,000 - 150,000USD for COACHING services. But most coaches have a few other services that they also offer, which can boost their salaries well into the high six figures.

The ICF has just released this helpful infographic on the "Extras" of coaching. In other words, extra services. Below it, you'll find a link to sign up for the Life Coach Salary eBook, to learn more about how coaches make money and how to set your coaching fees.

 

The "Extras" of Coaching

To get the FREE Life Coach Salary eBook, click below:

Get the FREE Life Coach Salary eBook

Topics: business coach, life coach, executive coaching, money, make a living as a life coach, make a living as a coach, ICF, Life Coaches, life coach salary

Life Coach Salary Rate: the Free Guide to How Much Coaches Make

Posted by Julia Stewart

Life Coach Salary Free eBookHave you ever wondered about life coach salary rates or how much money executive or business coaches make? Or are you setting up a coaching business and wonder how to set your own coaching fees? Or are you wondering if you should become a coach? If you said YES to any of these then you need to read the new information-packed FREE eBook: Life Coach Salary.

We took several of our most popular coaching blog posts and added the 'How to Set Your Coaching Fees' worksheet, previously only available to SCM students. Then we combined them into an information-rich free ebook. It's a quick read that will help you understand how much professional coaches make, how coaches set up their businesses for profitability and how to set your coaching fees with confidence.

Let's face it, confusion is the enemy of success. This free eBook can wipe out your confusion about coaching costs and help you take the next step toward becoming a successful life, business or executive coach.

You'll learn:

  • Worldwide trends in executive, business and life coaching
  • How much do executive, business and life coaches make?
  • How many clients does the average business, executive or life coach have?
  • Why every coach needs a steady paycheck
  • Why coaching costs so much
  • Why setting your fees too low can backfire for you and your clients
  • How to set your coaching fees so your clients get what they want and your coaching business is successful
I reference large-scale coaching surveys from the ICF and Sherpa Coaching, plus information on setting fees from three top mentor coaches, Donna Steinhorn, Barbra Sundquist and Mattison Grey.

If you want a full coaching practice, you can't afford not to read the FREE Life Coach Salary eBook:

Get the FREE Life Coach Salary eBook

 

Topics: business coach, coaching business, executive coach, coaching blog, mentor coach, become a coach, Free, ICF, Life Coaches, life coach salary, Mattison Grey, How to, Donna Steinhorn, Barbra Sundquist

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