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What's the Difference Between a Professional Coach and an Entrepreneurial Coach?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Professional_vs_Entrepreneurial_Coach.jpg

What's the difference between a professional coach and an entrepreneurial coach and why does it matter?

I recently received a couple of emails from someone on my mailing list who asked questions such as these. He took issue with a lead-nurturing (a type of marketing) email he received from us in which I frankly advise new coaches to get good coach training and reputable coach certification.

The writer identified himself as an entrepreneur, who offers coaching as one of his services, so I answered him in language I thought he would understand:

I said we were very clear who our ideal student is and he probably wouldn't resonate with our messages, since they are targeted at people who want to become professional coaches, rather than entrepreneurial coaches. I wasn't interested in arguing the relative merits of professionals vs. entrepreneurs, so I neglected to add that I have a strong bias toward professional coaches, for whom training and certification are a must, as opposed to entrepreneurial coaches who generally rely their reputations, experience, and instincts, to coach. That, by the way, is why I started a coach training school that certified coaches.

A coach used to be considered half professional and half entrepreneur, 15-to-20 years ago, and the Founder of the Coaching Profession, Thomas Leonard, was a perfect example. He started multiple coaching schools and professional organizations, in his lifetime, but was a classic entrepreneur who embodied the creativity, drive, productivity, and ongoing dialogue with his customers, that entrepreneurs are known for. That said, his major contribution to coaching was the turn toward professionalism and he embodied a stellar reputation for integrity, ethics, quality, and service that went way beyond profits.

The two photos above show, on the left, a professional coach who displays an openness and willingness to serve clients. On the right, shows an entrepreneur who's burning with his vision for designing a successful business. Both may be useful to coach with depending on what you want to work on. Neither is automatically better, but the professional coach is more thoroughly defined and has qualities that can be more easily recognized and evaluated.

Since Thomas' death in 2003, a leadership vacuum opened up. Much of it was filled by entrepreneurs who were focused more on marketing and sales gimmicks that drive profitability, than on helping clients grow and reach their goals. There are still a few good entrepreneurial coaches, but unfortunately they are increasingly outnumbered by scam artists and well-meaning wannabe's who may give bad advice.

I've known quite a few people whose lives have been transformed for the better by working with professional coaches. I also have known a handful of people whose lives have been ruined by entrepreneurial coaches. That doesn't mean all professional coaches are great, or that all entrepreneurial coaches are bad. Sometimes the opposite is true. It just isn't that simple, but over the years, I've moved away from the "half-professional/half-entrepreneurial" approach to coaching in favor of primarily being a professional and I advise my students to do the same, because it appears increasingly that professional coaches tend to deliver better results for clients and professional coaching is also a better model for coaching success. 

I've been clarifying the distinction between professional coaches and entrepreneurs with my Coach 100 students for over a decade and realized that it could be helpful to many of our blog readers too, so here goes.

Pro_coach_vs_entre_coach_table.jpg

Whether you are a professional coach or entrepreneurial coach isn't really an either/or choice; it's both/and. Because coaching is still not regulated, so there is tremendous freedom for practitioners. But at the same time, it's the professional side of coaching that is driving much of coaching's positive reputation.

If you're looking for a coach, you may want to use the above table to determine how professional your potential coach is. You have a bit more knowledge and power, because professional organizations define what you can expect. Also, if your coach is a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF), you can file a complaint against a coach-member who fails to uphold the ICF's Code of Ethics.

Remember that lead-nurturing email from above, that advises good training and certification?

Recent research by the ICF found that coaches who get good training are more successful and less likely to quit the profession, while coaching clients say, all else being equal, they prefer to work with certified coaches. If you're new to coaching, my advice is that you get both coach training and certification to increase your confidence and success.

Get Coach Training and Certification

Topics: professional coach, professional coaching, coach training, Coach 100, ICF, Coach Certification, Thomas Leonard, certified coaches, coaching ethics

What's Really Behind the Huge Success of Professional Coaching?

Posted by Julia Stewart

love_is_more_powerful_than_greed.jpgToday I turned down a potential client whose business would have brought me thousands of dollars. She seemed a like a good client, with clearly defined goals to build her coaching business, which is a coaching specialty of mine.

But there was one big problem: Her goals were simply to make more money.

And her requirements were that her mentor coach must  have made a certain amount of money, which I've made, but I still turned her down.

Why did I turn her down, when helping coaches succeed is one of my specialties? Because I went into coaching and coach training to help people succeed at creating a better future for themselves and others, a better world, if you will.

Money matters. Helping others matters more to me. That's because one of my highest values is: Love.

The funny thing is that coaches who love what they do and love helping others to have better lives and careers, are the coaches who most succeed at professional coaching.

And they often make the most money.

Because the professional coaches, who are most likely to succeed, want to thrive by helping others thrive.

They're not martyrs. And they're also not greedy. They're more complex than that.

Probably only 5-10% of people, worldwide, who are interested in becoming coaches, have achieved this level of complexity.

Have you achieved this level of complexity?

If you're interested in coaching only because you've heard it's one of the highest paid professions in the world, don't train at School of Coaching Mastery.

And if you're only interested in helping others, instead of also helping yourself and the people you most care about, then coach for a hobby and make a living doing something else.

I wrote a blog post about this, The Top Ten Worst Reasons to Become a Coach, nine years ago, and it is as true today as it ever was.

If you want to thrive and help thrive doing what you love, let's talk.

School of Coaching Mastery's training programs may be perfect for you. And my mentor coaching often includes training, as needed, at no extra charge. It's expensive and well worth it.

 

I'm in the thrive and help thrive business.

 

By the way, if you love someone or something so much that you'd change the world for them, World Clan Mothers on Facebook may also be right for you. It's about turning back the tide of Climate Change so our grandchildren, and Nature, have a chance to thrive like we do. I invite you to join and get involved.

 

Visit World Clan Mothers on Facebook

Topics: professional coach, Coaching, professional coaching, coaching success, successful business

5 Important Reasons Your Coaching Business Needs Science Now

Posted by Julia Stewart

Science of Coaching

Coaches are advanced communicators. We're positive, spiritual, creative, and empathic. So what do we need science for?

Everything. 

Professional coaching has changed dramatically over the 20 years of its existance. Early coaches and their clients were pioneers and early adopters. Those are very special people. They got an intuitive sense that coaching was "right" and they had the courage to dive in and act on their intuition.

But like every profession before it, coaching has grown up. This brings good news, and depending on your point of view, maybe some bad.

Here are five important reasons your coaching business needs science, now:

  1. Coaching has gone mainstream and the Wild West is over - this means there are many more potential coaching clients, but what they want has changed. The days of dreaming up an awesome-sounding coaching program - without first testing to see if it actually works - are over.
  2. Potential clients are skeptical of the hype and unproven claims of entrepreneurial coaches. Coaching is still unregulated, which makes the barrier of entry quite low compared to other professions, such as medicine, yet coaching fees are quite high. Unfortunately, this means there are more ineffective coaches than effective ones. Stories of clients who've been burned by bad coaches are everywhere. It is imperative that you distinguish yourself from "coaches" who don't know how to coach.
  3. Potential clients are less likely to be attracted to New Age or Consciousness messages. Also known as the LOHAS market (Lifestyles Of Health and Sustainability), and sometimes derided as the "Unicorns and Rainbows Folks", these were the early adopters of coaching in days gone by. Yes, those movements are growing, but they're still a tiny segment of society. Their members often have limited disposable cash. In other words, they may want coaching, but can't always pay for it. If your ideal clients are yoga teachers, massage therapists, Reiki masters, vegetarians, organic farmers, etc.; you know what I'm talking about. However, as the coaching profession penetrates deeply into the mainstream, we find huge numbers of different potential client who are interested in being happier and more successful and can afford to hire coaches - but they're looking for very different marketing messages than the LOHAS folks. There are simply too many life coaches today for them all to be tarketing LOHAS.
  4. Today's potential coaching clients want evidence and proof that the service you offer can truly help them. You don't need to be a research scientist to gather evidence that this stuff works, but a little science goes a long way in today's competitive coaching market.
  5. The science of coaching offers the evidence and proof you need to attract today's coaching clients. What worked ten years ago has changed. What will work in the next decade will be dramatically different.

No, you don't have to become something you're not in order to add science to your coaching. If you're like me and the big-picture, creative, communicative, empathic world of coaching comes naturally, (but the detailed, linear, siloed, objective world of science? Not so much), then becoming a researcher will never be for you.

Good. There are lots of researchers in the world. What we need now are more effective coaches.

That's why I created a series of science-based coaching courses that are designed for coaches, not scientists. They translate the research you need to know on what really helps people be, do, and have what they really want; and present it in easy-to-digest formats specifically for people who think like coaches. Now you can learn what you need to know rather quickly, without wading through mountains of information that doen't pertain to your coaching.

These science-based coaching courses are now woven together into our Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program, which gives you the info and tools you need to start coaching your clients with science, plus the data and credentials to communicate your authenticity as a positive psychology coach

Science of CoachingApparently, the International Coach Federation (ICF) agrees with me that science is
the next big thing in coaching, because its next ICF Advance conference in May is called, The Science of Coaching.

It's a perfect fit for the Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program, so School of Coaching Mastery is sponsoring one of the free introductory webinars that will precede the conference. By the way, we're applying for ICF approval for the Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program, so coaches who complete it will automatically become ICF ACCs.

Then there's the Institute of Coaching, affiliated with Harvard. They're devoted to research into coaching and positive psychology. Science is where the most exciting developments are occurring in the coaching profession. 

If you'd like to learn more about Why Your Coaching Business Must Have Science, watch the webinar video by that name. It's free.

Want to know more about becoming a Certified Positive Psychology Coach? Click the button below and fill out the form to get the latest on this brand-new coach-training program: 

Become a Certified Positive Psychology Coach

Topics: professional coach, coaching business, professional coaching, ICF, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Institute of Coaching, certified coach, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching, Science of Coaching

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

Posted by Julia Stewart

Therapist to Coach

Written by Julia Stewart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get Certified Coach Training

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

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

Posted by Julia Stewart

 

Life Coach Salaryby Julia Stewart, MCC

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

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

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

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

A. Why You Charge Too Little For Your Coaching:

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

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

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

C. The Reality Check:

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

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

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

Get the FREE Life Coach Salary eBook

 

Image by richiemontalbo

 

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

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

Posted by Julia Stewart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Join Coach Launch Pro

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

Best Coaching Blogs Triumph Despite Historic India Power Outage

Posted by Julia Stewart

Best Coaching Blogs 2012The votes are in and the 1st Place winner of Best Coaching Blogs 2012 is Life Coach Vatsala Shukla of India, who did a brilliant job of mobilizing her voters, despite India's massive 2-day power outage, which plunged one tenth of the world's population into darkness, making it the biggest loss of electrical power in world history.

Since its first year in 2008, Best Coaching Blogs finalists have been  decided by a combination of popular votes and comments left by fans. But in the end, the contest finalists themselves, choose 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place winners via a closed ballot.

There were key changes in this year's contest, which for the first time, was formatted like a blog. Each blog entry appeared as a separate blog 'post', with a link to the blog itself, plus a comments section and social sharing buttons, like those at the top of this post. Social shares counted as votes and comments were used as tie-breakers. The  'down vote' option that coaches disliked in previous years, was removed and voters were allowed to vote as many times as they liked. This produced a competition that was both more cordial and more social.

Vatsala's Tips for a Stress Free Life Blog quickly took the lead in both popular votes (social shares) and comments and it prevailed in the finalist's closed vote. 2nd Place went to Evelyn Kalinowsky's Inner Affluence blog and 3rd to Gerard Corbett's PR Job Coach blog. Rachel Grant Coaching blog and Andrea Feinberg's More Free Time blog rounded out the Top Five Winners. Angela Goodeve's* new blog, Life Advice the Coaching Way, received an Honorable Mention.

Congratulations again to all the new winners! Below are statements from three:

1st Place: Vatsala Shukla: "My blog Vatsala’s Tips for a Stress Free Life had just completed its first year of existence. Entering the competition was my challenge to improve myself.  Friends and associates told me my posts were good. That was expected as they know Vatsala the person in all her multi-roles of finance professional, life coach, daughter, pet parent and friend. They understood the context in my writing. What about the world? Was my blog up to the mark? So I entered the competition and was accepted. I was elated. It was only after I started reading the blogs of my fellow competitors that I realised that I was competing with the best of the best. My challenge to step out of my comfort zone went a step further to hold my ground against great veteran bloggers whom I have over the last 4 weeks added to my must read list! Receiving the largest public votes and comments was confirmation that readers liked what they read. Winning from the finalist voting round validated it. I am overwhelmed, humbled and grateful for my win which means a lot more to me than I can articulate. My next challenge is to honour the voters and finalists by being my best."

Top Five: Andrea Feinberg: "Thanks for the opportunity to participate in this contest and end up a winner among the Top 5, my first time! We each have such different targets and I see that as a testament to the swift and broad expansion of professional coaching throughout personal and business sectors. Congratulations to my fellow finalists; we enjoyed the validation of our work through the strength of our supporters who both voted and commented on our behalf."

Honorable Mention: Angela Goodeve: "Yay!!!  Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!  It was a great experience participating in the contest, and I am so flattered and proud to be given the Honorable Mention!  I love writing the blog posts in the hope that they will provide inspiration, "food for thought", tips, and guidance to improve people's life for the better...and give them an idea of what the wonderful world of Life Coaching can do for them!  I am grateful to you Julia for being a great Mentor and Teacher, and for challenging me to join the contest, and open up more possibilities for me and my business!"

As always, the Best Coaching Blogs Contest is a fun way to expand the conversation about the benefits of  business and life coaching. Plus it highlights the many varied approaches that coaches take to empower their clients and it builds awareness of the incredible growth of professional coaching, which continues to be the second fastest growing profession is the world.

Thanks to the coaching bloggers who participated. I hope you all attracted new readers and clients by taking the courageous step to enter your blog. I look forward to next year's contest and the connections that are built between coaching bloggers themsleves, as well as  with their new fans.

Congratulate the coaching winners below and visit the Best Coaching Blogs 2012 .

Become a coaching blogger yourself! Download the free "How to Blog Effectively for Your Coaching Business" eBook: Free Blogging eBook

 

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*Full disclosure: Angela Goodeve is a life coach student at School of Coaching Mastery.

Topics: business coach, professional coach, life coach, Coaching Student, Best Coaching Blogs, blog, blogs, blogging, blogosphere, Career

Coaching Insight: A Mystery

Posted by Melissa Heisler

Best Coaching BloggersGuest post by Melissa Heisler, 3rd Place Winner of Best Coaching Blogs 2010.

There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is. – Albert Einstein


I always loved the quote above.  When I experienced people who wanted to prove this or that “truth” about evolution, science, health, the stock market, or any topic, I held on to this quote.  To me it released the pain of having to determine the singular right answer.  However, the other day it was infused with an even more important meaning.

Lately I had been obsessed with the answer to life, the universe, and everything.  My little pea-brain wanted to uncover why we are here.  What is our purpose on this earth?  Previously a friend recommended Anthony De Mello’s book Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality.  I had read 90% of this very interesting and deep read conveyed in a soft voice in March and for some reason picked it up again the other day.  In the last few pages, I came across this wisdom.


“Every time you make sense out of reality, you bump into something that destroys the sense you made.  Meaning is only found when you go beyond meaning.  Life only makes sense when you perceive it as mystery and it makes no sense to the conceptualizing mind.”


This was the final puzzle piece for me.  I had spent my life trying to undercover the meaning of life.  Was it this career or the other?  Was it family or romantic relationships?  Was it hedonistic joy or solemn prayer?  Was it self-care or servitude?  Was it margaritas and the Simpsons cartoon?  As I grew and became more wise, each option was seen through.  It was seen as a thing of itself, not true meaning.  I tried to play the game that I just had to find a more noble and less self-serving thing, action, career to find meaning.  But those felt hollow too.  

Thinking that life, all of life, is a mystery opens up not only a new world of understanding but a new way of being.  There is now an immense joy I had never experienced before.  Being stuck in traffic, wanting a new pair of shoes, or checking off my to-do list no longer have significance and precedence in my life.  Now I try to focus every moment on soaking up the mystery.  How does my brain communicate to my fingers to type these words?  How does a cold front wash across the plains to create raindrops to feed my plants?  How is it that I can feel the joy or sadness of others deep in my heart even before they speak a word?

Take a day to look at the world as one of mystery.  See how it changes your life.  Namaste.

Melissa Heisler, personal and business coach for It’s My life, Inc., loves to help small business owners, direct sales professionals, and home based businesses thrive during difficult times.


Visit Melissa's entry in the Best Coaching Blogs 2012 Contest Here.

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Topics: business coach, professional coach, life coach, Best Coaching Blogs, blog, blogs, blogging

How to Become a Successful Life or Business Coach

Posted by Julia Stewart


How to Become a Life CoachWondering how you can become a successful life or business coach?

There are three main approaches to becoming a successful business or life coach. The first, I call the Entrepreneurial Coach. The second, is the Professional Coach. The last is the Sweet Spot. Let me explain:

1. The Entrepreneurial Coach* usually has a strong business, marketing and sales background and either a juicy niche or a smoking hot specialty. This coach knows how to attract the right clients and how to encourage them to buy. However, if s/he over relies on her business smarts, s/he can get caught on the hamster wheel of constantly having to market and sell, in order to keep his/her coaching roster full.

Why? Unless clients experience fantastic results quickly, or at least maintain their motivation long enough to experience extraordinary results, they tend to drop out of coaching within a few months. That means the entrepreneur coach has to constantly close new sales just to maintain a good income. For most coaches, this is exhausting and unsatisfying.

Worse yet, if clients quit before they're delighted, the entrepreneur won't maximize their number of all-important testimonials, case studies and viral buzz - the stuff that makes for a friction-free marketing and sales engine.

2. The Professional Coach*, on the other hand, has great coaching skills, either from decades of coaching or from a few years of coach-specific training. S/he knows how to elicit amazing results for his/her clients and as a result, clients stay month after month, or buy again and again. However, s/he may know little about effective marketing and sales strategies and as a result, too few clients ever sign up in the first place. That means too few potential clients ever find out about the professional coach, so s/he's constantly searching for that rare client who's willing to pay his/her fees.

Sadly, this coach may have spectacular results to point to, but often fails to share them with potential clients, who increasingly, are looking for 'proof' that their coach really knows what s/he's doing.

* In both cases above, the coach is forced into a situation where s/he needs his/her clients. The entrepreneur always needs new ones. The professional needs to hang onto the ones s/he has. Otherwise, both risk losing their incomes. When you need your clients, your focus is on yourself, instead of on helping them. To reach the coaching sweet spot, your needs must be met, so you can focus all your energy on helping your clients get those awesome results. Otherwise, something's got to give. It's way harder to maintain a sustainable coaching business when you have to focus on your own needs instead of clients' needs.

However, there are some entrepreneur coaches who really are good at coaching and most of their clients are quite happy and loyal. And there are professional coaches who get it when it comes to marketing and sales, so they're not desperate to get and keep clients. These exceptional coaches are moving into the Sweet Spot.

3. The Sweet Spot: This is the coach who has the skill to produce awesome results quickly and to keep producing results for months or even years. That keeps current clients wanting more and paying for it happily. At the same time, this coach has his/her marketing message down cold, has expertise that new people will buy and knows how to communicate and form client relationships (a.k.a. marketing and sales). Of course, those ever important testimonials, case studies and viral buzz come easily to this coach.

When you reach the sweet spot, you aren't desperate to make new sales and you don't cling to your old clients, trying to squeeze out a few more more dollars. You naturally meet your own needs and you can focus all your energy on meeting your clients' needs and helping them get what they want. Happy clients attract more happy clients.

I call this coach The Master. Everything we do at School of Coaching Mastery is designed to move our coaching students into the sweet spot by helping them become masters, faster.

Marketing programs help entrepreneurs communicate and sell to clients, but are useless when it comes to the critical skill of getting coaching results and keeping clients.

And most coaching schools will only get you started on becoming a professional coach - who may never get clients. At SCM, we give away that part of our program for free and focus our real attention on helping our paid members become masters and enjoy that sweet spot, sooner.

Turn your five-figure business into a six-figure coaching business and turn your six-figure business into a seven-figure coaching business: Become a Master Coach.

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Topics: professional coach, become a life coach, become a coach, become a business coach, coaching clients, Become a Master Coach, master coach, coaching skills, coaching niche

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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