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The Secret Super Power You Get From Evidence-Based Coaching

Posted by Julia Stewart

Confident coach

Why is evidence-based coaching, such as positive psychology and neuroscience coaching, growing so fast?

Why, for instance, are positive psychology and neuroscience coaches finding it easy to build their businesses?

Several reasons come to mind...

  • They use tools that really work.
  • They are experts in helping people change.
  • They sound credible even to people who think coaching is too "woo woo".
  • They are life-long learners who constantly upgrade their skills and knowledge.
  • They usually have the training and credentials they need that most clients clearly prefer.
  • They appeal to potential markets that have previously been closed to coaching.
  • They are more likely to use evidence-based tools in their sales and marketing.
  • And people are fascinated by positive psychology and neuroscience.
  • But there is one more huge reason: They are confident.

Here's a story to illustrate what I mean.

Long before I became a coach, I went back to school to become a physical therapist and started a part-time side business of personal training to pay my bills while going to school. I already had two degrees in dance and was previously a college dance teacher, but had a back injury and needed a career change. Back then, if you taught dance, the college also required you to teach aerobics, which meant I had to learn the research on exercise. The data blew me away. I knew how powerful exercise was and that gave me confidence and even certainty that I could help people with it. I knew almost nothing about sales and marketing but had a 95% success rate selling personal training. I was soon making double what physical therapists made, quit school, and added coaching to my services for even more success. And then, positive psychology and neuroscience transformed my coaching all over again. Now I'm celebrating twelve years of success with School of Coaching Mastery. And it all started with the confidence I got from knowing what really works and having a background that sounded credible to my clients.

Let confidence be your super power.

If you want more success and you're lacking any of the benefits of evidence-based coaching, get the training you need to be credible to your potential clients. Start with just one module, or take an entire program. Download more information below.

 

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Topics: Positive Psychology, coaching with neuroscience, become a positive psychology coach

How Does Artificial Intelligence Impact You if You Become a Coach?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Robot and human

You've heard that artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the future of work but how does it affect coaching?

AI is eliminating many job positions but coaching is surprisingly immune to this disruption. That said, you still need to know how to leverage massive changes caused by AI that may already be impacting how you coach...

Why is coaching resilient in the job market that's disrupted by AI when so many other professions, such as law and medicine, are turned upside down?

There are three reasons coaching is is one of the professions that have been hard to replace by artificial intelligence:

  1. It turns out that the human mind is harder to crack than neuroscientists and computer engineers previously thought. They've been successful at mimicking the so-called linear processing associated with your brain's left hemisphere, which includes math, language, and knowledge; but engineering artificial relationships that are trusting, empathic, intuitive, and characterized by non-linear insights has been much more elusive. So professions such as coaching, psychotherapy, and the creative arts are, so far, more difficult to recreate. Our massive human brain isn't big because we can process so much information, but because we are an extremely social species and social relationships require far more complex processing. That said, companies such as Care.coach are already convincing people that cartoon kittens care about them, but that may work only because actual humans are behind the cartoons.
  2. Coaching didn't become a profession until the internet, robotics, mobile phones, and artificial intelligence were already in the works and pioneers of coaching, notably Thomas Leonard, saw what was coming and designed the profession of coaching around the future instead of the past. For example, today's world of business works best when you have a mix of ways people can work with you. Be generous with free information on your website. Write a book that virtually anyone can afford. Join a coaching company that charges a modest price for coaching with a particular method. But your personal, customized one-to-one attention is today considered a luxury good. It needs to be priced accordingly. Coaching is for everybody but personal coaching is only for clients who see its massive value and eagerly pay for it.
  3. Quality coaching is phenomenally effective. Most people have no idea how to do it, which is why ICF accredited coach training is preferable to a degree in psychology. Coaching is new technology for human development. It has been designed to thrive as a profession despite the many disruptions of this century. It's sustainable.

The coaching profession was designed to withstand the onslaught of artificial intelligence and robotics in the job market. In a world of hypercomplex disruption, coaching thrives.

Be resilient in tomorrow's job market. Become a coach. Download this free eBook to learn more:

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Topics: coaching business, coach training, become a coach, ICF, Thomas Leonard, future of coaching, new clients

Can Evidence-Based Coaching Include Spirituality?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Positive Psychology - Neuroscience - Spirituality Model

At School of Coaching Mastery, we specialize in evidence-based positive-psychology and neuroscience coaching.

But what about spirituality? It's the backbone of early coaching technology. Can we still include it?

One of the strengths of early coaching was that it wasn't constrained by western scientific notions of reality. It embraced, among other things, the notion that what we think about tends to show up in our lives, an idea that is confirmed by Barbara Fredrickson's Broaden and Build Theory, as well as some neuroscience findings. That freedom was a strength for coaching that allowed coaches to creatively try new techniques that appeared to be quite effective.

Later on, researchers began studying some of these new techniques and found that many were indeed effective.

But that doesn't mean anything goes in coaching. Nor does it mean we can only use tools that have already been sanctioned by science.

As neuro-psychologist and pioneer of interpersonal neurobiology, Dan Siegel has said,

"We must be informed by science but not constrained by it."

By this he means non-science sources of wisdom can be useful in assisting growth in clients. So yes, spirituality, which I define as any perspective that takes us beyond our small ego-based thinking for greater functioning, does inform effective coaching. In fact, some would argue, the ability to accommodate rational evidence-based thinking while remaining open to transformative experiences that science cannot yet explain, is an advancement of consciousness. Maslows Hierarchy of Needs

In fact, spiritual wisdom can move us upwards beyond what Abraham Maslow identified as self-actualization toward self-transcendence (this last concept is often attributed to Viktor Frankl).

This doesn't mean you should impose your own spiritual beliefs on your clients. Rather, step into their beliefs and leverage them to move the client forward. Where their previous beliefs hold them back, offer reframes that may be useful and leave it to the client to embrace these new ways of thinking, or not.

Again, this requires an openness that most don't posses, which is why personal development and spiritual practice are often a must to develop great coaching.

Curious how new ways of thinking can help you grow and reach your goals? Learn non-science concepts taught by the Father of Professional Coaching, Thomas Leonard...

 

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Topics: Thomas Leonard, Barbara L Fredrickson, Attraction Principles, personal development, Positive Psychology, coaching with neuroscience, spirituality

What is Coaching Presence and Why Is it So Important?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching Presence

Ask any master coach what they bring to coaching that's most important and they'll probably say, Coaching Presence.

But what is it and why is it so important?

Coaching Presence is ICF Core Competency #4. They define it in their ICF Competencies Comparison Levels Table in a way that's seems easy enough: "Ability to be fully conscious and create spontaneous relationship with the client, employing a style that is open, flexible and confident", yet few coaches do this consistently and many, not at all.

At the masterful level, the ICF expects the coach to fully connect with the whole of the client, empowering the client to teach the coach. The coach is guided by their natural curiosity, is free of any need to perform or provide value, and comes from a place of not knowing.

What? The client teaches the coach while the coach doesn't need to know anything or provide any value? Isn't that backward? Who would pay for that?

Ah, the paradox of great coaching...

Coaching presence is a challenge because our egos think they know what to do, what to say, and what to advise; but egos make terrible coaches.

The neuropsychologist, Dan Siegel, describes presence, not necessarily coaching presence, but presence itself, as fully in the now, undistracted by the past or future, or by one's own personal needs, is calm, positive, maintains open awareness, hasn't decided how things should be, is supportive of others, curious about the next moment, and in the flow.

This is a state of consciousness that few experience in their day to day. Most are unable to conjure it on demand.

Why does it matter? The state of consciousness that is presence, is contagious. When we come from this state, others often slip into it, too. And this is the state that invites insight, expanded awareness, creativity, confidence, and agency; all qualities that help clients grow, find resourceful solutions and act upon them. And that is the goal of coaching.

This remarkable state of mind virtually eliminates the need to advise, solve, or teach our clients anything. You probably won't believe that until you've experienced it, though.

How do you get there?

A daily practice of meditation or mindfulness can prepare your brain for presence, so can experiencing the flow of nature without thinking or evaluating, because practices such as these have been shown to integrate the brain via neuroplasticity. Some forms of yoga and tai chi can help you develop it, too. But even just taking a deep breath can get you started.

In addition, getting all your needs met, via excellent self care, can help you maintain presence more often. And if you combine these with effective coach training, observing master coaching demonstrations in class, hours of practicing your own coaching, plus written feedback on it, you'll get pretty good at presence, over time. Our Neuroscience Tools and Practices Module is designed to help.

You will spontaneously ask the right questions at just the right times.

 

Learn more about the Certified Neuroscience Coach Program:

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Topics: ICF, master coach, mindfulness, Neuroplasticity, Flow, coaching presence, certified neuroscience coach

Is It Narcissistic to Hire a Life Coach?

Posted by Julia Stewart

narcissitic life coach client

Life coaching clients are sometimes accused of being selfish or self-absorbed. Does that make them narcissistic?

To find out, let's look at what narcissism really is. It's also helpful to understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy selfishness and being self-aware vs. self-absorbed.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is an unhealthy pattern of behavior that requires someone to think and act as if they're superior to others. They need excessive praise and admiration, lack empathy, and can be abusive in relationships. NPD is a serious disorder, but like any personality disorder, NPD is marked by a lack of self-awareness. If someone has it, they may be unaware how they come across, are unlikely to delve deep into their drives and vulnerabilities, to see their weaknesses, or to work to improve their relationships. In fact, they tend to think others are at fault, not them.

NPD is not the same as being self-absorbed or selfish, although NPD can include those qualities, which could be a reason why people use the term "narcissistic" to name-call people who make themselves a priority by working with a coach.

In fact, criticism is one way people with NPD abuse others, so it's possible those who criticize coaching clients are the ones suffering from NPD.

Healthy selfishness is an acknowledgment that, like everyone else, you have needs that must be met for you to function at your best and you have more to offer others when you are at your best. That's also self-awareness. Healthy people express their selfishness in ways that are flexible and avoid either rigidity or chaos. They have strong boundaries but may sometimes soften them for the benefit of people and things they love.

To an unhealthy person, self-awareness may look more like self-absorption. The former requires depth and a willingness to go beyond one's comfort zone to grow. The second is superficial and obsesses over a carefully-crafted exterior self-image.

Becoming a coaching client requires a willingness to deepen self-awareness. It's about personal growth and responsibility. NPDs tend to think they are superior even without a coach, are uninterested in self-awareness, and think others need to grow, not them.

Modern culture encourages self-absorption, but most of us don't have NPD. Our willingness to grow can be our gift to the world and coaches can help us do that.

 

Want to develop your self-awareness and grow? A coach can help you. Find a coach here:

 

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Topics: coaching clients, Boundaries, FIND A COACH

How to Intuitively Ask Incredible Coaching Questions

Posted by Julia Stewart

How to ask incredible coaching questions 

Incredible coaching questions change a client's reality almost instantly.

So why don't coaches ask incredible coaching questions more often?

In order for a great coaching question to be incredible, it needs to be asked at the right time and the right way. That takes presence and intuition.

What is presence?

  • Presence is being completely focused on the present moment, undistracted by the past, the future, or by your own ego. Presence can be strengthened by relaxing, or practicing mindfulness exercises or other types of meditation.. 

What is intuition?

  • Intuition is when you seem to know something but you don't know how you know it. Interestingly, you can strengthen intuition with the same tools as presence.

You can also develop presence and intuition by coaching many many hours. When you bring these qualities to your coaching, magic seems to happen.

 

If you'd like to learn more about how to ask incredible coaching questions, sign up for the new FREE eCourse by that name...

 

You'll receive one brief email lesson per week for 10 weeks that will enlighten you about incredible coaching. Click the link below to get started, now.

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Topics: free coach training, coaching questions, intuition, coaching presence

Does Your Coaching Client Really Have All the Answers?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Client has all the answers

This week, a coaching student asked me about the old coaching cliche that the client has all the answers.

There are important reasons why effective coaches honor this principle and reasons why it's a coaching trap if you aren't careful with it.

Why is it a trap?

It becomes a trap when you treat it like a hard-fast rule. That violates the very nature of coaching, which is personal, customized, and flexible. Every coaching conversation and every client is unique and requires unique responses from the coach.

If you try to apply this rule to every coaching session, you and your client will sometimes get stumped and you won't know how to handle it. It's unfair to your client and to yourself to box yourself in with this belief.

How did it become a trap?

This phrase shows up in coaching books and training programs because, "The client has all the answers," is an attention-grabbing concept. It has often been used to distinguish coaching from consulting. But it is much too simplistic. Some coach-training schools still treat this as a rule rather than a guiding principle. They mislead coaches into thinking there is only one answer to the question,  "Who has all the answers?"

Why is it important to honor this principle in your coaching?

There are several reasons. Here are the top three:

  • When someone arrives at a realization or solution, themselves, they are far more likely to follow through on it. When you hand solutions to your clients you make it less likely they will do anything about them. As the fortune cookie says, "Ideas are like children. Everyone loves their own best."
  • Another reason is that your client's strengths, values, experience, and skills are different from anyone else's and the solutions that work for them will also be different.
  • Finally, when a client discovers that they usually have the answers within, it creates confidence and freedom from the constant need to hire experts to solve their problems. This feature has contributed to the mercurial growth of the coaching profession.

What's the alternative to, "The client has all the answers?"

Thomas Leonard treated this issue differently. He said, "The answer is somewhere," which is far more nuanced. He said it didn't matter whether the client has the answer, or whether the coach has the answer, or whether the answer was found outside the coaching session, as long as the client got the answer needed. I agree up to a point, but it really is true that people follow through on their own ideas more than those of others and without follow-through, clients usually can't succeed.

Here's an even more nuanced way to handle this:

If your brain, heart, or gut is telling you that "The client has all the answers," can't always be true, you're probably right AND it's still useful to approach your coaching from this perspective.

Ask yourself this: "If my client has all the answers, how can I help them find them?" You'll discover that asking open-ended questions which tend to begin with Who, What, When, etc... help your client gain awareness of themselves and their situations. Often this is all that's needed for them to discover the answers within. On the occasions when your client doesn't seem to have the answers, offer options, resources, and other helpful tools. But avoid telling them what to do. That just creates resistance and resistant clients are less likely to follow through to success.

Want to become a coach?

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Topics: become a coach, coaching clients, Coach Training Programs, Thomas Leonard, certified competent coach

The Ultimate Guide to Finding Your Coaching Niche

Posted by Julia Stewart

Find Your Niche

One of the biggest hurdles most coaches cross on the way to filling their businesses with  clients, is finding their coaching niche.

Other terms for this include finding your target market, finding your ideal client, or identifying your avatar, persona, or favorite client. These are the people you do your best work with, who you enjoy coaching, who succeed at their goals, and who send their friends to you. Marketing gets easier once you find your niche, but not necessarily for the reason you think.

Some coaches turn "finding my niche" into a massive problem that stops them from succeeding.

That's the real problem. It doesn't have to be that way.

Here's a story:

One of my students asked me to coach him in class. His goal was to find his niche. His problem was that he couldn't get his marketing focused without a niche so he was coaching all kinds of people. I asked a few questions and found out that my student already had more clients than he ever thought he'd have.

So I shared something I learned from Thomas Leonard, the Founder of the Coaching Profession, while I was studying with him. Thomas said you don't need a niche, especially when you're starting out. He said plenty of generic life coaches were doing fine without finding their niche.

I suggested to my student that since he already had plenty of clients, maybe he didn't need a niche. He was immensely relieved and immediately reoriented around serving the clients he already had instead of obsessing over getting a niche.

Even if you have plenty of clients, identifying a marketing niche can be useful, so here are the two main paths to finding one:

1. Pay someone to help you identify your niche. I know a coach who hired a branding expert to help her identify her niche. Together, they found a very specific group of people who had problems the coach was familiar with. In fact, the coach belonged to that group and struggled with the same problems. She found a snappy and memorable domain name, set up a website, and soon had a full coaching practice. But she hated coaching her clients. So she fired them all! She said she got tired of listening to them complain because they didn't want to change their lives. She and her coach made two mistakes: They didn't identify a niche that was ready to change and they didn't realize that she wasn't ready to work with those clients, without judging them, because she was still struggling with the same issues, herself. Not everyone who pays a coach or marketing expert to help them find a niche will find their niche and not everyone who finds one will fire all their clients, but it's not uncommon.

2. Get paid while you find your niche. I know another coach who started coaching without a niche. One of his clients was so successful with his help that they referred several colleagues to him to coach on the same topics. The new clients, were also successful with his help and referred more. He had found his niche! He soon had so many clients that his business grossed over one million dollars per year. Not everyone who finds a niche this way will have a million-dollar coaching business, but it can happen.

You can start coaching without a niche.

If you just start coaching, your niche will find you. Over time, notice who your favorite clients are. Make note about what it is you like about them. In particular, notice the clients who refer more clients to you. Think about who they are, how they are, and how you communicate with them. Design a website just for them. Ask them for testimonials. Ask them to review your site and tell you what they like and don't like. Edit until they love it. That's how to market to your niche. Easy when you know how.

Our Coach 100 Business Success training program is included with the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program and the Certified Neuroscience Coach Program, at no extra charge. It'll help you identify your niche, fill up your coaching practice, get referrals and testimonials, become a better coach, get ICF certification if you want it, and more.

 

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Topics: coaching business, Coach 100, coaching success, ICF, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, coaching niche, certified neuroscience coach

Is "Coaching Program" an Oxymoron?

Posted by Julia Stewart

coaching program oxymoron

Confusion about coaching programs and coaching packages has been surfacing in conversations with clients, coaches, and coaching students all week.

Obviously, it's time to write about it.

These phrases were in existence at least eighteen years ago when I became a coach, but lately they seem to be confused with the very nature of coaching, itself.

What are coaching programs and packages?

  • A coaching program is a structured process of personal or professional development. It may or may not include any coaching. If not, don't call it a coaching program.
  • A coaching package is a way to sell services by offering tangible choices. You get these services for this price; you get more services for a higher price, etc. If your package doesn't include coaching, don't call it a coaching package.

So what is coaching and what's the confusion?

  • Coaching is a personal conversation that's customized in the moment so the client can reach their goals and desires. When done well, it's all about the client and they reach those goals and desires. This is such a rare experience that people who are ready to live their dreams will pay handsomely for it.
  • Yesterday, a student thanked me for a ten-minute coaching session I'd given them the night before. They had a big interview coming up and their coaching goal was to overcome a lack of confidence that they feared would prevent them from succeeding with the interview. By the end of ten minutes, we'd reframed their situation, they had the confidence they needed, and they aced their interview. Ten minutes. That's the power of real coaching. When you can do that, you don't need gimmicks to sell your coaching.

How can you tell you're not getting real coaching?

  • If the "coach" chooses the topic of conversation, it's not coaching.
  • If the "coach" tells you what to do, it's not coaching.
  • If you're one of many clients present in the conversation, it's not coaching.
  • If the coach follows a formula, it's not coaching.
  • If you, the client, listen more than talk, it's not coaching.
  • If the conversation is all about the "coach's" process, program, or package, or worse, about the "coach"; it's not coaching.
  • If the "coach" has more faith in their process than in you, it's not coaching.
  • If the "coach" tries to sell you anything during the conversation, it's not coaching.

If a coaching program or package includes the above and not the following, it is virtually the opposite of coaching.

What do you get from a real coach?

  • Someone who believes in you and elicits your best
  • Someone who is genuinely curious about your situation and helps you uncover strengths and assets to help you succeed
  • Someone who listens intently and hears beyond the obvious
  • Someone who cares more about you than about selling programs and packages
  • Someone who can improvise to create the coaching you need right now
  • Someone who helps you create an environment that supports your success
  • Someone who cuts through information overload and helps you learn what just you need to get there faster
  • Someone who helps you grow into who you need to be
  • Someone who helps your reach your goals more quickly

 

Real coaching works without gimmicks.

 

If you're serious about reaching your goals, find a real coach.

 

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Topics: Strengths, FIND A COACH, coaching definition

Which Coach Certification Will Make You Successful?

Posted by Julia Stewart

coach certification stamp

Which coaches are most successful?

In a recent article, Seth Godin, the guru of marketing, pointed out that the top 5% of businesses do very well. He also mentioned that everyone would like to be number one, but mathematically, not everyone will be number one, which is okay because the top 5% is where you need to be. This applies to coaching, too.

How do you get into the top 5% of coaches?

There are many pathways to success in coaching. One is to increase the quality of you customer service. Another is to increase the quality of your coaching. Both will help you become "remarkable". In other words, your happy clients will rave about you and that brings more happy clients. Experience, training, education, and certification will also help you do well. Of these, certification tends to be most important in coaching.

Do you need to be certified to succeed as a coach?

No one certification, by itself, will be enough for you succeed to as a coach. And there are still some coaches who claim you don't need any certification, at all. This used to be true back when few working coaches were certified and it may still be true depending on who your clients are. If you coach mostly entrepreneurs, they may not care if you're certified. But if you want to qualify for lucrative coaching contracts in large organizations, you will most certainly need a recognized certification.

What certification will help you succeed as a coach?

By far, the most recognized coach certifications are those of the ICF. They have three levels and the highest, their MCC, is only held by 4% of the coaches they have credentialed. This might suggest that you need the MCC to succeed, but that's not true. Many coaches are still uncertified and we have to count them, too. Still fewer coaches are certified by the ICF, only about 25,000, as of this writing, out of the 50,000-60,000 professional coaches, worldwide. We can estimate that 2,500-3,000 coaches are in the top 5%, many more than are MCCs. So I would suggest the next level down, the ICF PCC, is the one you want to shoot for. In my experience, those are the coaches who are succeeding.

Will the ICF PCC guarantee coaching success?

No. As stated earlier, no one factor contributes to coaching success, but certifications do matter and entry-level certifications sometimes aren't enough. When you choose your coach training path, look for trainings that are accredited for at least enough hours to qualify for the PCC. You may want to shoot for the stars and get MCC-level training, as well.

Where can you find coach trainings that are accredited for PCC and MCC credentialing?

The ICF has listings for many trainings that meet the requirements for PCC certification (125 hours) and MCC certification (200 hours). The Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program was the first positive psychology coach training program accredited by the ICF for 125 hours and later became the only one accredited for 200 hours. We are still the only positive psychology coach training, other than university training programs that are much longer and more expensive, that is accredited for 200 hours. If you're looking for evidence-based coach training, one of the fastest growing areas in coaching today, check out our program.

 

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Topics: ICF, Coach Certification, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, MCC, PCC

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