School of Coaching Mastery

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Coach Training Schools: How to Identify a Fake Coaching School

Posted by Julia Stewart

icf_tpss.jpg

After fifteen years in the  business of coaching and coach-training, I've seen my share of fake online schools. So when I stumbled across a "new" online school with a few tell-tale signs, I intuitively knew it was bogus. Just to be sure though (like any good coach), I checked to be certain. Yup, I was right the first time.

Unfortunately, there is seemingly no limit to the number of people who will spot something popular on the web and will try to scam the unsuspecting into sending money. Don't be fooled!

If you're wondering if a coach-training website, or any educational website, is legit, here's what to look for...

7 Clues a Coach-Training Website is Fake:

1. The site doesn't clearly indicate who owns it or runs it. This new site that I found just states, in the "About Us" section, that it's a membership site for people interested in positive psychology. Pretty sketchy.

2. It claims to be a university or graduate school, but the web address doesn't end with .edu or .org. Read number 4 for more about this. In the United States, there are specific laws about who can claim to be a university. Generally, a university offers many topics and awards degrees based an specific requirements. This one claimed to be a US organization, but didn't seem to fit the definition.

3. It claims to be a college or university in the United States, but it gives out diplomas. In the US, you get a diploma when you graduate from high school. If you go on to post-secondary school, such as a college or university, you earn a degree, certification, or certificate of completion, not a diploma.

4. It claims to be accredited by an official-sounding not-for-profit organization that is approved by the United States Department of Education, but the web address doesn't end with .edu (only educational institutions with this type of accreditation can use .edu addresses). This one made such a claim, but the address ended with .us. Curious whether there was any validity to the claim, I went to the Department of Ed. website and searched their list of approved agencies. Nope, not there.

A hallmark of fake schools is the claim of being accredited by official-sounding organizations that don't exist.

By the way, Department of Ed. approval is the gold-standard in university accreditation. However, legitimate coaching schools that claim accreditation are generally accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF), which is not approved by the Department of Ed. ICF is a good organization. In fact, it is the oldest and largest such organization in the world. This type of approval or accreditation is the gold standard in coaching. You can trust coaching schools that are approved or accredited by the ICF. Just check the ICF's site to be sure.

5. Information about the courses and topics taught is scarce. This new site shares basic information that anyone can find with a quick web search on positive psychology and copy & paste it onto a fake site.

6. There are no trust marks or confirmation links on the site. Trust marks come from third-party organizations, such as the Department of Ed, or the International Coach Federation, or the Better Business Bureau. They usually include links to the accrediting site that confirm the school's claims and may even rate the school on trust and best practices.

6. Here's the scariest red flag: to join this new "organization" that I discovered, you're instructed to copy & paste their payment form into an EMAIL with your name, address, credit-card number, security code, and expiration date! No legitimate organization will EVER ask you to put sensitive payment information into an email.  Email is just not secure. My conclusion is that this site is designed to steal identities from people who are interested in positive psychology and that if you are foolish enough to "join", you will soon discover that your credit card has been maxed out. And because of the tell-tale "diplomas" mentioned on the site (#3 above), it is likely outside the United States, even though it claims to be "American". It's difficult, if not impossible, to catch international scammers, such as these.

So How Can You Find Trustworthy Coaching Schools?

There are many good coach training schools, but Google isn't the best way to find them. Use the ICF's Training Program Search Service (TPSS). They have a huge number of approved and accredited coaching schools to choose from that they have already vetted for you.

Looking for an ICF Approved Coach Training Program?

The Certified Positive Psychology Coach® program approved for 125 ICF hours. Check us out at the ICF TPSS under the following name:


Julia Stewart Coaching & Training LLC, DBA: School of Coaching Mastery
.

ICF Approved 125 hours

Or go here:

Become a Certified Positive Psychology Coach

Topics: coach training, ICF, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Life coaching school accreditation, coach training school, Positive Psychology

Discover Whether Positive Psychology Coaching is for You with this New Free eBook

Posted by Julia Stewart

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Curious about positive psychology coaching?

If you're looking to make a positive change in your career and you're curious about positive psychology coaching, you're in luck, because a new free eBook called, Become a Positive Psychology Coach, answers most of your questions and can point you in the direction where you can learn more.

The free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook even includes comments from practicing positive psychology coaches who represent a variety of coaching niches within the general specialties of life, business, and executive coaching.

More...

  • In a nutshell, you'll learn how much fun it is to help clients reach their goals and flourish.
  • Plus, knowing that the tools of positive psychology coaching have been tested and researched is a huge confidence builder for all coaches, especially when they are new.
  • In addition to confidence, positive psychology and related sciences help positive psychology coaches fine tune their tools, so they know who, what, when, and how to introduce them for greater effectiveness.
  • And that scientific background lends credibility with skeptical potential clients.
  • Coaching is advancing as a profession and positive psychology coaching seems to be the next phase.

To find out whether you should join the pioneers of positive psychology coaching; download the eBook for free:

Free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook

 

Topics: Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching, free ebook

Positive Psychology Coach: Why You Need Appreciative Inquiry in Your Coaching

Posted by Julia Stewart

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Why does your coaching need Appreciative Inquiry?

First of all, if you went to a good coaching school, you might be using some Appreciative Inquiry (AI) tools without even knowing it, because many of the tools that the ICF Competencies refer to as, "Powerful Questioning" and "Creating Awareness", as well as some of the actual language included in the IAC Masteries is taken directly from Appreciative Inquiry.

AI is baked right into most coaching, but not knowing that could cost you.

First of all, if your coaching school neglected to disclosed the sources of their awesome material, that's a little dishonest. Second, if you don't understand the basic theory behind the tools you use, you may have a harder time using them effectively. Third, you're more susceptible to magical thinking, when your training isn't grounded in evidence-based material, because alhough great coaching works "like magic", there are very real reasons why. Finally, not fully understanding how your profession works leaves you unable to improvise when unexpected issues arise during your coaching sessions.

So back to Appreciative Inquiry.

It's initially based on research done by David Cooperrider in the early 1980s at Case Western University. That puts it years ahead of the "invention" of professional coaching in the 1990s. It's also well ahead of the formal launching of positive psychology, as a field of research. However, positive psychologists are more upfront about their sources.

Cooperrider noticed that organizational outcomes improved, often dramatically, when people focused on what was already working, instead of mainly on what was wrong. His observations are influencing people around the world and as it turns out, individuals also experience dramatically improved outcomes when the apply the approaches of AI.

If you'd like to know more about Appreciative Inquiry, here is a video of the recent class called How to Use Appreciative Inquiry with Your Positive Psychology Coaching, led by me, Julia Stewart, along with Marcus Mottley, PhD, CPPC, a clinical psychologist, Certified Positive Psychology Coach® and expert on AI.

 

Topics: Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching, Appreciative Inquiry

How to Give Your Brain a Happier Holiday: Infographic

Posted by Julia Stewart

 How to give your brain a happier holiday

Learn More About Your Brain and Coaching

Topics: brain, happiness,, holiday

ICF Master Certified Coach: Join Me on the Journey

Posted by Julia Stewart

Master Certified Coach

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our students are getting certified by the ICF, however.

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

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

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

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

Want to learn more about becoming a coach and getting certified? Get the "Become a Coach!" eBook, below.

Get Your Free 'Become a Coach' eBook Now

 

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

How to Coach Masterfully: Google's Top Coach Tells You How

Posted by Julia Stewart

I found this great video on how to coach masterfully at the Institute of Coaching's spiffy new website. In this 30-minute interview with Google's Director of Executive Coaching & Leadership, David Peterson, PhD., discusses what it means to be a masterful coach, how it is nonlinear, goes way beyond asking powerful questions, and how nearly everyone at Google is shifting to a coach approach, so those who call themselves, professional coaches, need to get really good at what they do to stay credible.Hence, the discussion on coaching mastery.

He also says that as the world moves exponentially faster, it's more critical than ever to be able to establish rapport quickly with clients, faciliate change rapidly and show results. A few years back, we posted a short video with then Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, in which he says, "Get a coach," was the best advice he ever received and how he believes everyone needs a coach. Apparently Peterson and his team really are getting those great results! Watch for more insights:

 

Get Master Coach Training. Check it out below:

  Get Business and Life Coach Training

Topics: Become a Master Coach, master coach, Google, Institute of Coaching, Masterful Coaching, masterful coaches, mastery, Master Coach Training, Google CEO

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

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coach Certification

Coach Certification: The Great Debate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you interested in getting coach certification?

Join Coaching Groundwork Advanced

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

What is Coaching?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Have you ever wondered what coaching is?

We've written about what is life coaching before. Here's a cool little video (under 2.5 minutes) that the ICF just released called, "What is Coaching?", that covers all related types of coaching, such as business coaching and executive coaching. Athletes have always had coaches, but we're talking about a different type of coaching here. 

Have fun with the video. It'll help make coaching clear to you:

 

Interested in becoming a coach? Get the free Become a Coach eBook below:

Get Your Free 'Become a Coach' eBook Now

How to Apply to Be a Certified Positive Psychology Coach®

Posted by Julia Stewart

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One of the most common questions we get about the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program is, "How do I apply?" In the past, application was made primarily by telephone interview, so we could determine, along with the applicant, whether the program was the right fit and whether the coach qualified for advanced placement. It's still possible to apply this way, but it seems to take too long, so we're streamlining the process.

You can now apply to the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® program via an online application. It's currently free to apply and only takes a few minutes.

 

A few other important questions about becoming a Certified Positive Psychology Coach®:

- Is this program approved by an internationally recognized coaching association?

Yes, the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program is Approved by the ICF (International Coach Federation) for 125 hours and it's licensed by the IAC (International Association of Coaches).

- Will I be prepared to coach professionally when I graduate from the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® program?

Yes, this is a training program for professional coaches that integrates advanced coach training with positive psychology from start to finish. 

- Do I have to wait to join?

No. New modules start every month, so we have rolling enrollment.

- What is included in this program?

Everything you need to graduate and get certified is included: classes, recordings, written materials, tests, certificates, research papers and articles, study groups, business tools, and your Certified Positive Psychology Coach® credential. We also recommend a variety of related books and other media, but you're not required to buy anything extra.

- I live in Europe (or Africa, Asia, Oceania), do you have classes I can attend?

Yes, our courses are taught via live interactive webinars and you can access them via any internet-connected device or via telephone (we have "local" phone numbers for 18 countries). If you miss a class, you can watch the recorded video. Our class schedule is between 10am - 10PM Eastern/NY Time and our students literally are from all over the world! That said, classes are small and students get to know each other well and become good friends. View upcoming classes here.

- How much does the program cost?

Current tuition is listed here. You can save 10% if you choose to pay your tuition in advance.

 

More FAQs about this program are here.

 

Want to apply to become a Certified Positive Psychology Coach®? Click below:

 

Apply to Be a Certified Positive Psychology Coach®

Topics: become a coach, free coach training, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching

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

Posted by Julia Stewart

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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

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