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How Many Years Does It Take to Become a Life Coach?

Posted by Julia Stewart

How long does it take to become a life coachThis question gets asked a lot online, in one form or another: "How long does it take to become a life coach?"

Here are answers...

And that makes sense, because it's an important question to ask if you're thinking about becoming a business or life coach, but it probably means different things to different people.

It might mean:

  • How to become a life coach?
  • What are the best ways to learn to coach?
  • How many years of school are needed to become a coach?
  • How to make money as a coach?
  • How long does it take to get a full coaching practice?
  • How long does it take to become a certified coach?
  • How long does it take to achieve coaching success?
  • How long does it take to become a masterful coach?

Each of these questions has a different answer and every coach has a different experience, but here are a few basics, if you're wondering about becoming a coach.

The standard length of time for coach training is about two years. There are programs of varying quality that claim to do it faster, but...

Here's what you need to know: How quickly you learn the skills you need to become a successful coach depends on your level of personal development and how much time you spend actually coaching. If you haven't done your personal development work (It takes a lot more than just reading some self-help books), your "stuff" will get in the way and you will learn more slowly. And in addition to personal development, you need to be coaching everyday in order to become a good coach.

How long it takes for you to make a living as a coach, depends on how much money you need to live on and how skilled you are at building a business. 

Here's what you need to know: No business is profitable on Day One, so if you need money right away, get a part-time job to supplement your coaching income, at least for a while. That extra job will be part of your support system that carries you to success. Also, most people cut living expenses to a minimum, while they're building a new business. It can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to support yourself with your coaching business and with an extra income and low expenses, you'll avoid the kind of desperation that sends potential clients running. The result? You'll be able to support yourself sooner with coaching.

The length of time it takes to get a full coaching practice is anywhere from three months to five years.  

Here's what you need to know: Most coaches take at least several months to fill a coaching practice, even with an effective strategy like Coach 100.  Without an effective strategy, it can take several years - or never. If you're new to running your own business, or you don't understand marketing and sales, or worse yet, you think marketing and sales are slimy, it will take you longer than if you have a good business background. Make sure your coach training gives you the business skills you need to be successful with your coaching business and if you're uncomfortable with marketing and sales, work with a mentor coach, who can help you develop an authentic approach to building coaching success.

How long it takes to become a certified coach, depends on the certification and how diligently you work toward it.

Here's what you need to know: Coach training programs that claim to train and certify you in a few hours, or even a few days, are probably not respectable. The most recognized certifying organization is the ICF. Make sure your training is approved by that organization and know that most coaches take a several months to several years to get certified.

You won't be surprised when I tell you that how long it takes to become good at coaching depends a lot on the coach.

Here's what you need to know: There are many factors that go into the quality of an individual coach's skill. They include, your aptitude for coaching, your communication skills, your level of personal development, your faith in the coaching process, the quality and amount of coach training you've had, the amount of time you have actually spent coaching, whether or not you're getting feedback on your coaching, etc. But one thing is clear: The sooner you start, the sooner you'll master the skills you need to build a successful business and start transforming lives. What are you waiting for?

Want more information on how to become a coach? Get the free eBook, Become a Coach, below:

Get a free Become a Coach eBook here.

 

Topics: coaching business, mentor coach, coach training, become a coach, Coach 100, make a living as a coach, personal development, how long does it take to become a coach

Do You Need to Be Certified to Become a Coach?

Posted by Julia Stewart

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

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

I'm going to tell you why that's terrible advice and why you do need to get certified, especially if you're a new coach who wants to succeed. My information comes from my own survey of 2,552 coaches, which is represented by the pie charts, below, plus several large surveys of the coaching industry by organizations, such as the ICF, and my experience working with thousands of coaches.

But don't take my word for it. Once you have the facts, make up your own mind and set yourself up for success.

#1 Reason you need to become a certified coach:

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

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

Do I need to be certified to become a coach

#2 Reason you need to become a certified coach:

Certification helps distinguish you from non-coaches who call themselves coaches, and who often mislead or even harm clients. As more scandals arise about so-called coaches, authentic professional coaches seek reputable certifications as a way to assure potential clients that they are genuine coaches. In fact, in large-scale surveys by the ICF, coaches consistently cite untrained individuals who call themselves coaches as the number-one problem facing the coaching profession.

#3 Reason you need to become a certified coach:

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

#4 Reason you need to become a certified coach:

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

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#5 Reason you need to become a certified coach:


You probably want to be certified. According to the SCM survey, Do You Need Coach Certification?, which to date has been completed by 2,552 coaches worldwide, when asked if they intuitively want to get certified (in other words, is this what you really want, or is it just what you think you should do), 75.7% of professional coaches said they want to get certified.

Do you need coach certification

#6 Reason you need to become a certified coach:

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

#7 Reason you need to become a certified coach:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ready to become a certified coach? Join the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program. Or check out our entry-level training and certification:

Become a Certified Competent Coach

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

How to Become a Life Coach

Posted by Julia Stewart

Life CoachesDo you want to know how to become a life coach? Here’s a quick story that illustrates the experiences of many of the thousands new coaches that I’ve taught, coached, or talked to over the past few years. It shows how to become a successful life coach. Maybe it will help you decide what path to take.

I call it: A Tale of Two Life Coaches.


Colleen* and Danita* are two new life coaches. Colleen is from a Midwestern town in the US, while Danita lives outside of Ottawa in Canada. Each has a college education and several years working at a career she’s good at, but not inspired by.


Colleen recently left her job as an elementary school reading specialist. She loves helping people, but longs for more professional freedom, so she began dabbling with coaching and enjoys it. Rather than join a coach training school she takes advantage of free teleclass series on topics related to coaching and online coaching summits in the hope of saving money, because her finances are tight.


Danita is a psychotherapist who’s feeling a bit burnt out. She feels emotionally drained by some of her clients and wants to work with high-functioning people who are ready to have successful lives and businesses. Danita has wanted to become a coach for years and is now ready to take the plunge. Although she already has excellent skills for helping her psychotherapy clients, she knows that coaching and coaching skills are significantly different from what she already knows.


Danita is committed to being the very best she can be. She decides to give herself all the advantages possible by joining a great coach training school. She loves the SCM approach and joins the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® program. She knows it’s an investment in her future.


Three months later: Colleen loves what she’s learning in free teleclasses, but she’s constantly overwhelmed. She wants to get her new coaching business off the ground, but isn’t making progress. She can’t decide what to name her business. She has heard she needs a niche, but has no idea how to find one. Finally, she invests in an expensive marketing program that promises to teach her everything she needs to know; plus she’ll get thousands of dollars worth of free information, if she signs up, right now.

 

Three months into her coach training, Danita loves everything she’s learning and already has some coaching clients. Unlike the free teleclasses that Colleen takes, which are designed to get her to buy more programs, the material Danita is learning at SCM is designed to give her what she needs when she needs it, while allowing her the flexibility to customize. Danita already feels confident about her coaching skills because of the feedback she gets from her instructors, as well as from her clients. She has her Coach 100 directory listing, which is included in her program, displayed at Find a Coach Here and got her first few paying clients through the program. Whenever Danita feels overwhelmed, she uses tools from her SCM Fully Alive with Positive Psychology Program (also included), talks to one of her instructors, or calls one of her buddy coaches from SCM. She’s seriously considering taking advantage of SCM’s low-cost ICF mentor coaching, only for Certified Positive Psychology Coach® members.


Six months later, Colleen is still struggling and is worried about money. Although she has attracted a few coaching clients, most of them are for free and they don’t stay with her long. Plus she’s spending almost all of her time marketing, instead of coaching. The marketing program she bought was too difficult to implement and she never had time to enjoy all the free goodies that it came with. So she joined an expensive "platinum coaching program" with a famous internet marketer, who she hopes will explain it all, and she’s desperate for the program to work, because otherwise, her finances will run out.


At the same time, Danita has raised her coaching fees and her business is now 50% coaching clients and 50% therapy clients. She’s even beginning to enjoy doing therapy again. Danita has had the opportunity to ask questions from master-coach instructors in her classes, which has helped her make smart choices about her new business. She also has coaching credentials and her first coach certification, which she knows will give her added credibility. Already, prospective clients are asking her about her coach training and certification and it’s a relief to know that she has all that covered. It’s also satisfying to know that her clients are more than paying her back for her SCM tuition and that most of her clients stay with her, because they’re enjoying great results.


One year after starting, Colleen regrets ever having gotten started as a coach. She spent thousands of dollars on marketing programs, but made very little of it back from coaching. She’s now focused on finding a job as quickly as she can and feels foolish to think she ever could have been a coach.


Meanwhile, Danita’s coaching business is thriving. She’s kept a few of her favorite therapy clients, but is only accepting new coaching clients, who pay her almost twice as much as her therapy clients. She’s put in hundreds of hours of hard work, but wouldn’t trade a minute of it, because she’s learned so much and so loves her new coaching business. Her mentor coach is helping her see possibilities for her business that she never could have dreamed of. She’s earned her first coach certification and is well on her way to being a successful master coach.


The sad thing about this tale of two life coaches is that they both had the same aptitude when they started. Colleen could have succeeded and she didn’t just lose the thousands of dollars that she spent on marketing programs. She lost tens of thousands of dollars that she could be earning as a coach. More over, the people she could have helped with coaching may never get the help they deserve and Colleen didn't get to enjoy her dream business.


The obvious difference is that Danita joined a coach training school that worked for her, while Colleen tried to do it ‘on the cheap’, which almost never works. But there are deeper reasons. Danita made a definite commitment to become a coach and be the best she could be. She also made a realistic assessment of what she needed to succeed. That commitment to what she wanted and to what she knew to be true launched her on a trajectory that led her toward success.


Colleen, on the other hand, started out just ‘dabbling’ and because she didn’t know for sure what she wanted, over time, she was influenced by marketers to buy expensive programs via the ‘free’ teleclasses she attended. As a result, she bought programs she didn’t really want and that didn’t meet her needs. Also, those programs gave conflicting advice which only added to her confusion and overwhelm.


Have you made a definite commitment to coaching? It’s the key to coaching success. It’s fine to dabble if all you want is a hobby, but if you know coaching is what you want to do professionally, you need to take the big leap!


*Colleen and Danita are composites of coaches that I’ve known. The names are fictional, but similar stories have been repeated again and again. Your results may be different, depending on the commitments you make.

Ready to commit to your success? Join the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® program now.

Need to learn more first? Get the free Fact Sheet:

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Topics: coach training, become a life coach, become a coach, free coach training, Coach 100, Free, Life Coaches, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, coach training program, how to become a coach, coach training school

Coaching Trends & the Future of Coaching

Posted by Julia Stewart

Future of Coaching

 

What’s on the horizon for the profession of coaching?

 

 Let’s look at today’s trends and then imagine the implications…

TREND: With artificial intelligence expected to replace many humans in professions that rely on knowledge and linear thought, such as medicine and law, thousands are training for fields, such as coaching, where intuition, creativity, people skills, and communication tools are more difficult to replicate in machines.

TREND: Coaching skills have become wide-spread among workers who manage others.

TREND: Coaching horror stories are on the rise.

TREND: Hundreds, if not thousands, of privately-own coach training schools have formed.

TREND: However, coach training is increasingly found in universities with sky-high tuition.

TREND: As the climate crisis continues to grow, distance communication, working from home, virtual meetings, and other forms of distance work will rise.

TREND: Webinar training tools, video chat, and other distance-learning and communications systems are evolving and improving.

TREND: Scientific Research on coaching is on the rise, proving a scientific basis for coaching results.

TREND: Positive psychology has become a source of powerful coaching tools.

TREND: It is too late to prevent climate change, climate resilience for seven billion people, is a worldwide goal, and resilience is a top deliverable of positive psychology coaching.

TREND: Neuroscience and neuroplasticity powerfully inform effective coaching interventions.

TREND: Technology will continue to disrupt modern life at an ever-faster pace, with most people experiencing several major transitions in their lifetimes.

TREND: The number of coaching professional organizations and certifications that claim to be the ‘best’ continues to increase.

TREND: Professional coaching can now be found in virtually every part of the world.

TREND: Movements have been afoot, around the world, to regulate life coaching and other forms of professional coaching for decades, but so far, coaching remains unregulated.

TREND: Most coaching clients say they prefer to work with certified coaches.

 

If current trends in coaching continue, what is likely to happen in…

 

10 years:

Coaching Growth: The number of new professional coaches swelling the ranks will continue to grow. The number of professional coaches will level off over time, with a less-prepared, less-motivated coaches dropping out, due to increased competition.

Coaching reach: Coaching will no longer be considered exotic or only for the rich and famous. It is almost as common as personal training, today. In addition, non-professional coaches will exist throughout society and many people will experience the benefits of coaching from childhood onward.

Coaching delivery: Technology will provide coaches with excellent options for coaching their clients internationally, but local in-person connections will continue to be important, as technology continues to integrate online with offline. Coaching in corporate settings may continue to be delivered person-to-person, but most coaching will be likely to be delivered via computers, smart phones, and other mobile devices.

Coaching fees: Coaching fees have traditionally been sky-high since coaching’s inception. Fees will level off, with a furthering split between a relatively small group of elite certified coaches, who deliver high-end, high-paid coaching, and a much larger group of coaches who offer lower-paid services.

Coaching regulation: Professional coaching may be regulated in some countries, with many more in the process of developing regulations. These regulations will require coach-specific training, certification and/or college degrees, as well as adherence to standardized codes of ethics as requirements for coaches who coach for pay.

Coach training: Coach training via teleseminar or teleclass will go the way of the buggy whip. Many privately owned coaching schools will go out of business, leaving mostly coach training schools that are either approved by the ICF or are aligned with universities. Coach training will be delivered via multi-media distance learning and less via live training in universities and hotel conference rooms. As universities attempt to take over the job of educating coaches, the cost of coach training will skyrocket (Ex: Currently Penn State University offers the Master of Applied Positive Psychology for Life Coaches, at a cost of $50,000 for one year of training.)

Certifications and degrees: Consumers will commonly be aware of coaching horror stories and will know not to work with uncertified coaches. There will be no one certification, whether from a not-for-profit organization, or from a school, that dominates or is preferred – this will lead to further confusion amongst those who hire coaches, as well as those who want to become coaches. Newer coaches will have coaching-related degrees, certifications and/or certificates from ICF-approved schools and universities. Older coaches, those with years of coaching experience, but not the newer certifications and degrees, will survive only if they have excellent reputations as effective coaches.

 

20 years:

Coaching will be a mature profession that continues to evolve. Virtually all professional coaches will be trained and certified, and coaching regulation will be the norm. People will expect much more from professional coaches, partly because amateur coaches will be everywhere and partly because the dramatic transformations that occur with high-quality coaching will be expected, not just hoped for. Hypercomplexity, via technology and climate change, will be challenges that prompt people to hire coaches more often.

More dramatically, as a result of coaching's growth, society will evolve, with more people living values-driven lives. People will upgrade their expectations of life and will find creative ways to satisfy their new standards. Non-professional coaches will exist everywhere in society and many people will relate to one another with a ‘coach approach’. It will become common for people to be coached at every stage of life. What is considered masterful coaching today will be considered average professional coaching.

 

30 years:

Society will continue to transform due to the effects of climate change, artificial intelligence, and professional coaching, and coaching will be a highly respected profession. Excellent professional coaches will continue to earn high fees, but professional coaching will be regulated virtually everywhere. In addition, people throughout society will be coaching others for free. Since coaching can be used for ‘evil’, there will be both positive and negative effects, but the awareness that comes from coaching and being coached will make it harder to manipulate groups of people. Far more will be expected and required from politicians, business leaders, teachers, coaches, and other leaders. Individuals will live their lives more courageously and having a coach to partner through important transitions, will be considered an absolute necessity, which means virtually everyone will have a coach.

 

What do these coaching trends mean to you, the new coach?

 

  1. The future looks extremely bright for the cream of the crop. If you plan to be a professional coach and you want to be well paid, do whatever it takes to distinguish yourself as one of the best. That includes training, certifications, and evidence-based coaching skills.
  2. If you want to stand out quickly, take advantage of this small window of time to study with a privately-held school that will help put you head and shoulders above this increasingly crowded field. If you can afford to spend $50,000 on your training and there is a good-quality university coach training program that will actually teach you to coach, consider it. Because currently most universities only teach about positive psychology, leadership, and other related fields, but neglect in-depth skills and philosophies that make for great coaching and for coaching success.
  3. Get at least one coach certification from a not-for-profit organization, such as the ICF. Consider getting more than one such certification, since that may soon be a requirement for practicing coaching where you live and it’s impossible to predict which current organization, if any, will prevail.
  4. Continue to upgrade your knowledge and skills throughout your career. It will help you stay up-to-date on important trends, earn higher fees, and it’ll help you stay in business if/when regulations occurs.
 

The School of Coaching Mastery Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program provides coaches with the skills and certifications they need to prevail now and well into the future. Get the facts about this innovative program...

 

Get Certified Positive Psychology Coach Fact Sheet

 

Topics: coach training, coaching success, ICF, Coach Certification, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, coaching schools, get certified, coach training program, coaching career, coach training school, Positive Psychology, experienced coaches, Neuroplasticity, positive psychology coach

Why Tony Robbins Can't Pass ICF Coaching Certification

Posted by Julia Stewart

Tony Robbins Life Coach CertificationThe other day I had a conversation with one of my coaching students about why Anthony Robbins wouldn't pass IAC life coach certification.

On further reflection I realized that he wouldn't pass ICF coach credentialing, either. Why is that? Because he engages in some huge life coaching no-no's. I'll explain in a moment...

Maybe it isn't fair to measure what Tony Robbins does by standardized life-coaching models. After all, he calls himself a 'Strategic Interventionist', not a life coach.

Then again, he does have a coaching page on his website that claims he is the "Father of the Coaching Industry". Hmm, that flies in the face of what tens of thousands of coaches say, that Thomas Leonard is the 'Founder of Professional Coaching'.

For instance, Thomas Leonard founded both the ICF and the IAC. But...

And I'm just guessing here, but this is a really big "BUT": There are quite a few overlaps between Thomas Leonard's approach to coaching (I studied at both his schools, where I received several coach certifications and I was Lead Certifier for the Thomas Leonard Coaching School) and Tony Robbins' approach, which I've studied informally.

I'm a huge Thomas Leonard fan, BUT...it times out that Leonard may have stolen (ahem, borrowed) many of his ideas from Robbins. I'm just speculating, but Tony Robbins' most popular book, Awaken the Giant Within, in which Robbins calls himself a coach, was based on his work with thousands of people over twenty years and was published in 1991. Thomas Leonard founded his first coaching school (the first life coaching school in the world), Coach University, in 1992, with an awful lot of the very same ideas (though there are some key differences).

Not that I think Tony Robbins invented all of his own ideas. Like many entrepreneurs, he seems to have repackaged, renamed and reorganized ideas that were already out there; some new; some ancient.

A few folks trace these ideas back to Jim Rohn, EST, or Landmark. Others trace their early development to the 19th Century American Transcendentalists. But you can find their roots in the words of Jesus Christ and the Buddha, and in even earlier writings and oral traditions from around the world. (This is one of the many reasons why a degree in psychology or social work, even a PhD, won't make you a life coach.)

But back to Tony Robbins and why he can't pass life coach certification...

REASON #1: Robbins often coaches people who are suicidal. One of the biggest no-no's in coaching is that coaches don't coach people who are mentally ill. And suicidal thoughts are a symptom of some mental illnesses.

Both the IAC and ICF warn against using coaching as a therapeutic tool. The main reason for this rule is that an unskilled coach could actually harm the client. An additional reason is that the coach may expose him/herself to a lawsuit for practicing psychotherapy without a license.

I would not encourage a coach to coach anyone who is in tremendous psychic pain, but I personally have coached clients who had some big issues. In many cases I required them to see a therapist while they worked with me. But they often told me that coaching helped them more than therapy. For some clients, those who are willing to take responsibility for their issues, the tools of coaching are far more empowering than psychotherapy.

Robbins claims he's never lost anyone. If that's true then maybe his strategic interventions aren't as foolhardy as they would be for some coaches. And maybe he's actually saved thousands of lives. In that case, what he does is courageous and extremely valuable.

REASON #2: Sometimes Robbins does most of the talking. This is one of the basic rules of life coaching: Let the client do most of the talking. But Robbins frequently doesn't follow this rule.

I've seen him coach people when he did almost all of the talking. And it appears to work. Why? He reads body language extraordinarily well and he has a keen understanding of human nature. Isn't that true of other coaches, as well? I think it is, but Robbins has decades more experience than most coaches and he's worked with thousands of people. Most coaches can't scratch the surface of what Robbins has already accomplished and their skill levels reflect that.

Still, talk too much in a coaching session and both the IAC and ICF will fail you. In most coaching sessions, I think they are right. But there may be exceptions...

REASON #3: Robbins makes rude jokes about his clients, often when they are deeply suffering. As one of my colleagues said, 'I just thought he did that because he was an a**hole!' Apparently he does it because it jolts the client out of a stuck brain state just long enough for him to shift them into a more empowering thought pattern. And it seems to work!

The IAC and ICF both recognize that shifting the client's thinking is an important part of good coaching, but using a sledge hammer to do it? That's a great way to lose the client's trust. In most cases, it's better to respect and empathize with the client, especially when they're struggling. Then again, if you have only a short time to coach someone who is in deep trouble, maybe the gloves need to come off...

REASON #4: Robbins doesn't have any coach-specific training. Actually, this is only a problem for the ICF. The IAC recognizes that there are good coaches who, like Robbins, have thousands of hours of experience and have been learning for decades everything they can about how to facilitate enormous personal growth and development in others, but who may not have attended an ICF-approved coach training program.

The ICF on the other hand, recognizes that quality coach training speeds up the coach's development, so s/he can coach competently within a year or so, instead of within ten years, which is what it often takes, for the self-taught. The ICF believes so strongly in coach-specific training that they recently announced that they won't even accept untrained coaches for membership in their organization.

Robbins started his journey as a coach while he was still in high school - long before coach training existed. He not only coached his classmates, he claims he read 750 books and attended every seminar on personal growth that he could afford (sometimes attending the best ones several times, so he could master the material). Then he went on to coach thousands of people for decades.

Tony Robbins exemplifies what Malcolm Gladwell says in his book, Outliers: That extreme mastery is the result of about 10,000 hours of experience, rather than the result of extreme talent. Talent is nice, but an obsessive commitment to 'take massive action', as Robbins would say, matters more. 

Let's face it, Anthony Robbins really doesn't need life coach certification.

He is famous and his results speak for themselves. He gets away with an awful lot, because his clients already know his reputation and trust him, immensely.

So does life coach certification even matter, when it doesn't recognize the skills that such a well-known master coach uses so successfully? It does, but maybe not for the reasons you would think...

Both IAC and ICF certification processes are more rigorous to achieve than most coaches realize. They virtually force coaches to get thousands of hours of coach training and practice in order to pass. They won't turn you into Tony Robbins, but they will make you a much better coach.

Think of life coach certification as a supportive structure that helps you become the kind of professional coach you'd want to work with.

But take everything certifiers say about coaching with a touch of humor. Because both of these highly-respected certifying organizations miss a wide range of possible master coaching techniques, regardless of what they say about inter-rater reliability. That just means the certifiers agree with each other; it doesn't mean that their criteria include every form of master coaching.

If they fail you, remember, they'd fail Tony, too.

Don't use either passing or failing life coach certification as an excuse to quit your coaching development. Use it as a challenge to keep going and become the kind of coach who can turn around a client's life in minutes.

By the way, Tony Robbins probably is the Father of the Coaching Industry. But Thomas Leonard is the coach who began turning coaching into a profession. Both have made enormously important contributions.

Thomas started the IAC because he was frustrated that ICF life coach certification was leaving out some great coaches. I later started School of Coaching Mastery's coach certification, because I became frustrated that IAC life coach certification is also leaving out some great coaches.

I'd certify Anthony Robbins.

I've definitely learned some new things from him. And I've seen evidence that what he does is highly effective. I've even learned how to use techniques that Thomas Leonard cautioned against.

What do you think? Do you agree that Tony Robbins wouldn't pass ICF or IAC life coach certification? Or am I totally full of cr*p?

Want to learn more about becoming a coach?

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Topics: ICF, Coach Certification, Thomas Leonard, Tony Robbins, life coach certification, certified life coach, Life coaching school accreditation, IAC, certified coach, Coach Certification Bootcamp

Can Positive Psychology Strengths Coaching Actually Weaken You?

Posted by Julia Stewart

positive psychology coaching photo by Denis De Mesmaeker.jpg

Lately, I've read a couple of blog posts, from reliable sites, that attack the effectiveness of positive psychology, positive psychology coaching, and specifically, strengths-based coaching*. I appreciate a well-written contrarian point of view, because it can highlight incongruities and exceptions to rules that we might easily miss, because the accepted wisdom on a particular topic, would rarely address it.

Plus contrarian titles make us curious.

That last point is the real reason you see so many contrarian articles: Angelina Gives Birth to Alien Baby! Man Bites Dog! Stand in line at the grocery store and entertain yourself with contrarian titles in the magazine stand. The good ones make you want to buy the magazine.

I frequently write contrarian articles, myself. My post on why Tony Robbins wouldn't qualify for ICF certification has had nearly 100,000 hits, because it suggests one of the most famous coaches, worldwide, couldn't get certified.

That was pretty cheeky of me.

I've been certifying coaches for nearly 15 years. I know something about coaching standards, but I actually admire Robbins and say so in the post. He doesn't need coach certification, because he's famous, skilled, and has a powerful reputation. My post isn't a condemnation of him, but a nuanced look at coaching and certification, plus a suggestion that there are multiple ways to coach well. I raise points that most coaches don't talk about. Hopefully, that gets them thinking more deeply about a controversial topic.

So lately, when I read a couple of take-downs of positive psychology, I first thought, "Okay, fair game. These posts create curiosity."

But these articles don't just offer contrarian points of view. They are more like beatings and the writers betray a shocking ignorance of their topics, especially considering their platforms. One was from The Atlantic. The other from Harvard Business Review.

Ignorant writing, hiding behind contrarian titles, on well-respected sites, is the academic equivalent of "fake news". It's misleading, creates confusion, and promotes discordant thinking.

To be fair, both HBR and The Atlantic shared multiple sides of the topic via separate posts and that's legitimate. But the writers of these articles (see below) still betrayed an ignorance of positive psychology. They sounded like hacks, who did a quick Google search on the topic, then reacted negatively to their superficial understanding of the material, and then wrote a pounding about it. And if you found the articles via Facebook ads, or Google searches, you might never read the opposing view.

Before we knew about online Russian propaganda, this type of article was known as "click bait." Click bait sites are blogs intended to pull in traffic, with false or misleading material, in the hope that readers will click ads, while on the page, to make money. Has journalism fallen so low that even Harvard has succumbed to this type of cheesy approach? By the way, I found an excellent rebuttal to the HBR article, on a different site, here.

Many people, who left comments on the HBR article, display a stronger understanding of positive psychology than the author. Below, is one concise comment from Peter Peckarsky:

"This is not a HBR-quality piece. It's speculative and published for clicks. An accurate title should read something like "Poorly Applied Strengths-Based Coaching Can Actually Weaken You - Just Like Any Program With No Balance."

I'm going to address the basic misunderstandings displayed by both the author of The Atlantic article, When Grit isn't Enough, and the HBR article, Strengths-Based Coaching Can Actually Weaken You, below.

  1. Positive psychology was never intended to to replace other valid psychology tools or theories. It's intended rather to balance them and fill out gaps in theories that previously fell short of helping people thrive. As with any other theory, when applied ineffectively, it may actually harm. When used appropriately, it can transform lives. The founders of the positive psychology movement set a goal, twenty years ago, to make positive psychology obsolete, because psychology interventions should never be a binary choice between positive vs. negative.
  2. Positive psychology interventions such as strengths, grit, and growth mindset; are descriptive, not prescriptive. They describe what people, who are already flourishing, have been doing, with the suggestion that those who want to flourish, may choose to experiment with similar behaviors. Of course, there are environmental, personality, and other factors that impact outcomes. To turn these tools into dogma, political correctness, judgmentalism, or any other type of rigid thinking; is as wrong-headed in positive psychology as it would be with virtually any other topic.
  3. Thousands of peer-reviewed research studies have been published in the two decades since Martin Seligman declared positive psychology an official field of study, while president of the American Psychological Association, and they continue. In fact, they have since early days, addressed many of the deficits the authors raised, but failed to find in their own research. Apparently, if you were to read even one book by Seligman, you would know more than a writer from Harvard.

My takeaway in this age of fake news, click bait, and Russian propaganda; is that truth still matters and those of us who care about it need to be more vigilant than ever. Reading a blog doesn't make you knowledgeable, not even this blog.

Also, the fantasy that education would become obsolete in the era of Google has proven itself to be a lie. But where will education come from if educational and journalistic institutions lower their standards?

I don't have any easy answers, but I can say that at this school, we're still taking responsibility for the content we publish. We don't run ads on this blog, because we don't think it's wise to put our motives in conflict. So, If you trust us and are curious about becoming a positive psychology coach, you're welcome to download the following eBook.

Free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook

 * Thanks to Coach Louise Santiago, PhD, for sending me the HBR post mentioned above.

 

Topics: Free, ICF, Tony Robbins, Positive Psychology, Strengths, Martin Seligman, positive psychology blogs, become a positive psychology coach

Shocking Ways the Climate Crisis Will Change Your Coaching Business

Posted by Julia Stewart

Climate Change Danger by Environmental Illness Network.jpg 

The Climate Crisis is announcing itself ever more loudly as epic floods, droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, "rain bombs", enormous fires, "exploding glaciers", disappearing coastlines, civil wars, refugee crises, and even drug epidemics. Most of us are unaware how dramatic and widespread climate disasters have already become, because our news is primarily limited to our own regions, and because taking it all in is overwhelming and terrifying. However...

Acknowledging all this is positive, because...

The Truth is Always Positive.

It's time for coaches to fully acknowledge that the world we grew up in is gone and this new world portends unprecedented challenges, as well as enormous opportunities for us, for our clients, and for the world, itself.

There is already evidence that leaders in Climate Change are succeeding, which offers tremendous hope that humanity will head off the worst of Climate Change, before it's too late. But we've made too little progress, so far. Real change requires inspired action from virtually everyone, including those of us who elicit the greatness of others.

Because an insidious impact of climate catastrophe is overwhelming negative feelings, such as hopelessness, PTSD, crippling anxiety, and depression. No one is great when they're in the grip of negative feelings. Positive psychology coaches know that preparing for post-traumatic growth can head off the most debilitating symptoms of trauma, that we can assist people to become more resilient, more proactive, and to build resources to meet virtually any challenge. But...

We must help ourselves before we can help the whole world. Are you ready?

Climate Change is the single biggest existential threat to your coaching business, but with planning, inspired action, and intent, you can make that a net positive, rather than a negative. In so doing, you'll emerge as a much-needed leader in an increasingly chaotic world, but...

How do you lead in the Age of Climate Crisis?

This is a conversation all coaches need to have. We need to talk about it with each other, with our clients, with our own coaches, and of course, with our families, friends, and communities. The answers will likely surprise you.

You may think you know your calling or purpose, that you already live a values-centered life, but the trajectory of your life is being redetermined by the planet, herself, and she may send you places you never intended. The cool thing is that this universal emergency is forcing us all to identify what actually matters and to let all the other BS go.

The climate crisis has pulled me away from my usual concerns about positive psychology coaching and how to help my clients thrive, while teaching others to coach with powerful, evidence-based tools. All that still matters, but I had to I become a Climate Reality Leader in Al Gore's Climate Reality Leadership Corps, because right now, that matters even more. As a CRL, I'm licensed to share Gore's Inconvenient Truth/Inconvenient Sequel talks to my networks, in customized form.

The most emotional moment in the 3-day Climate Reality Training I just took with Gore and his team was when he acknowledged that, "we could lose everything we hold dear". Everything. Every one of us is in danger of losing all that matters most to us. This is no exaggeration, because many already have lost everything.

Or we can be heroes, leaders, inspirers, and creators of a new world.

I have answers, but I don't have all the answers. I'm a coach, so my Climate Reality talks must be interactive.

Will you come talk about it? I'm giving my first Climate Reality for Coaches talk on December 11th, 8-9 PM EST, via interactive webinar. Just to be clear, this is a talk about the Climate Crisis and how it impacts coaches. It is not about coach training. It is, of course, free of charge. Lead the change with me.

Come join me to talk about what this all means to you and to all you hold dear.

Register for the Climate Reality for Coaches Talk

 

 

 

 

Topics: coaching business, Values, Climate Change, positive psychology coach

Does a Psychotherapist Need Coach Training to Become a Coach?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Do Psychotherapists Need Coach Training

At School of Coaching Mastery, we get tons of inquiries from people interested in becoming coaches. Quite a few of those inquiries come from psychotherapists. Questions from psychotherapists about coach training fall into two types.

The first type of question, from psychotherapists who are interested in coach training, are from therapists who assume that coaching and therapy techniques are the same and therefore their degrees and years of practicing therapy should exempt them from coach training, or that they should take the shortest and cheapest route to coach certification. Those coaches often mention that coaching is unregulated and that they already coach their therapy clients with skills such as, training, education, and support. Usually, they're looking for confirmation that they can just call themselves coaches, or they're looking for a fast, easy, and inexpensive course for therapists.

This group of therapists are sometimes surprised to discover that "not regulated" does not equal "anything goes" in professional coaching. Coaching is well-researched; we know what techniques work best (often not those used in therapy), we have codes of ethics and well-defined standards of certification. The reason we're still unregulated is because we don't target vulnerable populations or people in crisis. Never-the-less, we may become regulated eventually, and approval and certification from well-established professional organizations, such as the ICF, will likely be beneficial for professional coaches.

This group is also sometimes surprised to discover that they don't actually understand what coaching is, what it is for, or how to do it. Coaching is not practicing therapy without a license, nor is it therapy without a diagnosis. It is neither training, nor education. It is not advice giving nor consulting. It is not a way to practice something you're not licensed for, just because you call yourself a coach. I'm reminded of the woman who told me she called herself a coach, but was actually practicing conversion therapy (an attempt to convert a gay person to straight), which she couldn't get licensed to do, because being gay isn't an illness and therefore no one can be "cured" of it. I told her what she was doing violates coaching ethics.

The second set of questions come from therapists and counselors who also have advanced degrees in psychology or psychotherapy, including holders of doctorate degrees and professionals who have been practicing for years. This group is usually well-informed, has high standards, and is genuinely excited about becoming coaches. A sizable percentage of these coaches join our Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program, because they love the focus of coaching, which is on flourishing rather than healing, and because they're excited about the new direction positive psychology is taking, away from pathology and towards well-being. This latter group fits in perfectly at School of Coaching Mastery and we encourage them to join.

We have an application to join the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program, which helps us weed out people who aren't likely to succeed as coaches. You don't have to have a professional degree in psychology to be accepted into the program, but if you do need to be excited about becoming the best coach you can be, so you can offer maximum benefits to your coaching clients.

If you're a psychotherapist, or anyone, who thinks you may want to become a coach, ask yourself why. If it's mainly because coaching is trendy and well-paid, but you have no deep passion for it, no amount of money or time spent on coach training will be worthwhile for you. However, if you love the idea of helping people reach their full potential and attain exciting goals or dreams, this may be the profession for you. Apply to the program to find out.

Interested in becoming a positive psychology coach? Get the free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook here:

Free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook

 

 

 

Topics: coach training, become a coach, ICF, coaching vs. therapy, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, psychotherapy, Positive Psychology, life coaching vs. psychotherapy

Should You Become a Coach in the Age of Disasters?

Posted by Julia Stewart

How to Coach Photo credit - hurricane by kakela.jpg

On September 11th, 2001, all my New York City clients canceled. My coach, in California, also canceled. I canceled a cardiac stress test, because all day my heart was pounding. My coaching school continued classes.

Like everyone in the US, my thoughts were primarily about the calamitous attacks on NYC and Washington DC. Although, as a New Yorker, the World Trade Center attack loomed larger for me,

At the time, I was studying to become a coach while running a busy personal training business. After 9/11, I wasn't sure ideas like "live your best life" made sense, anymore. I was afraid I would lose my personal training clients and that nobody would want to coach with me, because the world seemed completely different. What mattered before seemed utopian. What mattered now was a much uglier side of life.

I was wrong.

After we rescheduled, I told my coach I was thankful my coaching school continued classes on 9/11, because for one hour, on a perfectly horrific day, I did something normal. God, that felt good.

My point is this: Don't assume you know what people will want, in this world of disasters, because what they want will surprise you.

My coach gave me an assignment: to get my first coaching client. Geeze, in this environment?

Gradually, my business got up and running again. My clients told me harrowing stories that had happened to them. One, who worked near the World Trade Center, had had to walk down forty flights of stairs to escape. Another, who worked further away, watched as people jumped from the blaze. Everyone had lost someone.

To my surprise, they all told me they were more committed than ever to working out, because they realized, in this new normal, that they needed to be fit to survive. One of them asked if he could be my first coaching client.

I didn't even need to market; my first coaching client volunteered. He stayed with me for seven years.

Millions of New Yorkers changed after 9/11. In the most capitalistic city in the most capitalistic country, people started putting values ahead of profits and family ahead of achievement. They turned to coaches to help them define their callings and life purpose, and to designed their legacies. Coaching boomed, because there was a new need for it.

Today, I teach coaches from around the world via webinars. Many are from North America, where this summer, the northwest is aflame with hundreds of forest fires, while the southeast is hammered by monster hurricanes and biblical floods. Some of my students complain in class about smoke, while others share fears about finding clients in devastated cities, while still others leave class early to evacuate their homes. Now that Climate Change is well underway, this is the new normal. Terrorism probably won't go away, but it has epic competition.

Can you coach in this environment? Yes, you must. People need you more than ever.

Give people time to get back into their homes and to restart. They're not ready to coach while they're in shelters and hotel rooms, or hospitals, or funeral homes.

This is not a suggestion to capitalize on misery. It's a reminder that coaching helps people, so don't pull back, thinking they won't want you. Don't bombard people with sales offers. Do be willing to listen. Do be willing to help, if you can. Be willing to waive or lower a fee for some clients.

One helpful way to reframe a disaster is to focus on the people who help, because they inspire us. Coaches can also be helpers when people are ready to think about what they want the rest of their lives to be like.

In this age of disasters, coaching is needed more than ever. You're needed more than ever.

Get a free Become a Coach eBook here.

 

Topics: Coaching, coaching school, become a coach, coaching clients, 9/11, reasons to become a coach, free ebook

Positive Psychology Coaching: How the Solar Eclipse Can Transform You

Posted by Julia Stewart

Solar Eclipse by Tim Ebbs.jpg

If you live in North America, you know today is the day of the coast-to-coast solar eclipse. And if you're in the path of the totality, that's pretty exciting. Since ancient times, the eclipse of the sun has been seen as harbinger of change. Whether that be turmoil, doom and gloom, or lasting peace, the eclipse is when big things were supposed to happen. Today, we know what to expect from above AND we can CHOOSE what to change down below. How?

Positive psychology offers clues on how the total solar eclipse can help transform us. Where ever you are, follow these coaching tips to use today's eclipse of the sun to begin all over again.

3 Ways the Solar Eclipse Can Spark Your Transformation:

1. AWE. According to positive psychology researcher, Dacher Keltner, the experience of awe changes us, immediately. Awe occurs when we're confronted by something incomprehensibly huge, something incredibly beautiful, or something terrifying. A total solar eclipse can be all three. It's the direct experience of three massive celestial bodies (the ones that matter most to life on Earth) behaving bizarrely, by blotting out the Sun's rays, without which, all life on Earth will die.

No biggy, right? You know the Sun's coming back in a minute. But that won't stop your fight-or-flight response from kicking in during totality. The hair on the back of your neck may stand up as you experience what your intuition says is all wrong. Your brain's error detection system will tell you something BIG is out of order, and if you're within hearing distance, the howling of dogs, and other disturbed Earthlings, will confirm your worst fears. But at the same time, it's so BEAUTIFUL: stars come out; planets may be visible, you might even notice a 360 degree "sunset" on the horizon. People who travel across the world to see eclipses, called "shadow chasers", say the total eclipse of the sun is the most awe-inspiring experience a human being can have.

How does awe change us? According to research, people who've just experienced awe behave differently. They are kinder and more generous to strangers, and feel closer to loved ones, perhaps because they realize how small each of us is and that we're all in this thing called, life, together. That's nice for others, but may matter much, much more to you: because when you're kinder and more generous, without expecting anything in return, you start enjoying more happiness and good things come seem to come to you more easily. A minute or two of creepy darkness, and awe-inspiring celestial alignment, may well be worth the extra happiness and success you can enjoy for the rest of your life.

Even though kindness may seem commonplace (if you've been fortunate), it's one of the most powerfully transformative tools for creating greater joy, wellbeing, success, and good health for yourself, and since happiness is contagious, you'll be helping others be happier, just by your presence. 

Coaching Tip: Later in the day, when you're alone, spend up to 30 seconds recreating the emotions you experienced during and after the eclipse. Use all your senses as you remember the details of your experience. Called "savoring", this technique helps strengthen the neural connections that make transformation sustainable. Do this everyday for a month to maximize the effect and intentionally increase your kindness and generosity to others. Your life will transform.

2. PEAK EXPERIENCE: Similar to awe, the peak experience is intense and transformative. Some people try to induce it via extreme sports, because wildly dangerous experiences help them feel fully alive. But peak experiences are helpful another way: They shake up your sense of "me-ness" and push you out of your usual conditioned responses, if only for a few moments. That's scary, but also exhilarating. In the moments that follow, people often solve problems that have vexed them and come up with innovative ideas. If you're a business owner, artist, or anyone who needs creative solutions to life, peak experiences are everything. You can induce one by jumping out of an airplane without a parachute, but fortunately, the total eclipse provides us with a similarly mind-bending, awe-inspiring, frighteningly overwhelming event without actually threatening our lives.

Coaching Tip: Got a big problem or need a huge idea for your business? Right after the total eclipse may be the perfect time for you to discover the solutions, while your brain is temporarily scrambled  from that super weird experience.

Ask yourself these questions immediately after the totality: What needs to change from now on? What's one way you'll be different from this moment forward? What's the first step you'll take, to make that real, within the next 24 hours? Or sit down as soon as you can, with pen and paper, and brainstorm new ideas. Get crazy (that'll be easier than usual). You may just discover the answers you need. Don't forget to act on them to make them real!

3. GRATITUDE: After two minutes of irrational fear, you'll be GLAD when the sun comes back out. Notice how everyone laughs and giggles with relief. Thank the Universe that this was "just a test". The Sun's not really going away; it'll be back tomorrow, as usual.

Coaching Tip: Just after the eclipse, chat with the folks around you about how thankful you are for Nature and that you just got to experience this relatively rare event. Or when you're alone, list 3-10 things you appreciate most about Nature and for each one, spend 10 seconds savoring your gratitude. It's important to really feel it. You don't have to do this everyday, but it's a good idea to spend some time once per week, or so, thinking and feeling what you're grateful for on a deep, heartfelt level.

And if you need help, get out into Nature regularly, because it's incredible even on "normal" days. In fact, psychologists theorize that the current rise in depression is largely caused by our addiction to screens and our artificial lifestyles. We evolved to experience Nature everyday and we literally need it. Perhaps the greatest boon from the eclipse is that it gets millions of us outside.

Gratitude, like kindness, is one of the most potent ingredients in a flourishing life. You can experience it any time you want. When you do, happiness becomes your default, while anger, sadness, blame, and judgment all evaporate. Practice gratitude on a heartfelt level whenever you can and your life will be more peaceful and serene. And people who appreciate their lives always seem to get more of what they appreciate!

So get ready for a life-altering event. And make the intention to transform your life, and perhaps the lives of others, using the eclipse and a few easy tools.

And if living a life of joy and transformation is what you're built for, why not become a positive psychology coach? The Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program gives you tools to upgrade your life and business and the power to help others do the same. Plus, starting this Fall, The Fully Alive with Positive Psychology Program is included, at no extra charge. You'll have tools like the ones in this post to help your clients flourish. And if you join by the end of this month, you can save on the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program and still get the Fully Alive program in the Fall. Win-win-win.

Go here for information about the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program:

Become a Certified Positive Psychology Coach

 

Topics: gratitude, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Positive Psychology, transformative conversations, Fully Alive, positive psychology coach

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