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Julia Stewart

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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?

Learn what really works rather than rules that can become traps. The Certified Competent Coach Course is a great place to start. To learn more, click the button below or download the Become a Coach eBook here.

 

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

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: coaching definition, FIND A COACH, Strengths

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

Positive Psychology Coaching vs. Neuroscience Coaching

Posted by Julia Stewart

Positive Psychology Coaching vs Neuroscience Coaching

Yesterday, a new student at School of Coaching Mastery asked me what the difference was between positive psychology coaching and neuroscience coaching.

It's a great question because on the surface you wouldn't know.

He was deciding between our Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program or our Certified Neuroscience Coach Program. These programs some modules in common and a few that are different. What they have most in common are beginner to master-level coaching skills with an evidence-based approach that also acknowledges the integrative power of various spiritual perspectives.

Here are a few differences between positive psychology coaching and neuroscience coaching:

  • The first difference is in the underlying philosophies of positive psychology and modern neuroscience, which have guided the trajectory of research and ultimately the types of interventions that are associated with each.. Early theories and research into positive psychology explored what Western philosophers, such as the early Greeks, had to say about happiness and living the good life, while many modern neuroscientists have explored Eastern contemplative philosophies, such as Buddhism.
  • Because influential neuroscience researchers, Richard Davidson for example, have explored the contemplative nature of the brain, many resulting practices developed that strengthen inner qualities such as equanimity and the ability to be fully present. A person's behavior naturally changes when they experience these qualities. Positive psychology researchers, such as Barbara Fredrickson, have explored inner qualities, positivity for instance, but have also looked at how outer behaviors, such as performing acts of kindness, impact our inner experiences. Positive psychology tends to be more action-oriented and less contemplative.
  • That said, neuroscience is often perceived as more tangible, and therefore appeals more to some clients who "don't believe" in psychology and want hard evidence, because it directly measures what's going on in the body's communication systems and perhaps also because it relies heavily on high-tech machinery, for instance, fMRI machines, to take those measurements. Positive psychology, on the other hand, frequently relies upon research subjects' self reports via surveys, etc., as well as researchers' observation of behaviors, but sometimes positive psychology researchers also take direct measurements, such as hormone levels in the blood, so there is some subjectivity involved in positive psychology research, but not always. Some clients are more attracted to positive psychology than neuroscience, because they love the emphasis on positive thoughts, feelings, behaviors and their power to enhance well-being and flourishing. In fact, both positive psychology and neuroscience tend to appeal to today's coaching clients who want services that are evidence based.
  • In short, the following describes the differences between positive psychology coaching and neuroscience coaching, so long as you understand there are exceptions and that there are many commonalities between these two styles of coaching: Positive psychology coaching is influenced by Western philosophy and employs many outside-in approaches to influence inner well-being via action-oriented practices, such as journaling, practicing gratitude and acts of kindness, and employing one's strengths to promote inner well-being, outward prosocial behaviors, and greater success; while neuroscience coaching is influenced by Eastern philosophy and employs many inside-out approaches that can physically change the brain over time, such as meditation, visualizations, and breath exercises that create measurable states of relaxation and enhanced awareness, and influence thoughts, feelings, and ultimately behaviors that promote a thriving life.

In truth, positive psychology coaching and neuroscience coaching have much in common, enhance each other, often go hand in hand, and should be included together in training programs.

That's why you learn about both in our Certified Positive Psychology Coach® and Certified Neuroscience Coach programs and our advanced program integrates these practices even more.

Oh and the student who originally asked this question? He decided to start with just one module and take a few weeks deciding which program to embark upon. He'll be able to apply the fee that he paid for his module to the program down payment, which will reduce his down payment to just $3. That's a smart way to do it!

Learn more about becoming a positive psychology coach and how neuroscience fits in by reading the free Become a Positive Psychology Coaching eBook. To download it now, click below:

 

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Topics: certified neuroscience coach, become a positive psychology coach, positivity, wellbeing, positive psychology coach, free ebook, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, positive psychology coaching

Your Recipe for a Happy 2019

Posted by Julia Stewart

Happy 2019

Each new year invites dreams for the future, goals to achieve, and evokes our desires for happiness.

Here's a secret about all that...

There is only one goal.

Every goal you have is a stand in for the one universal goal of happiness...

As the Buddha said, 2500 years ago, all beings just want to be happy and avoid suffering.

We have dreams and goals because we believe they will help us be happy and avoid suffering. Sometimes we have dreams and goals for others because we love them and want them to be happy and avoid suffering. But if we're honest, seeing our loved ones happy makes us happy, too.

Here's the thing...

Reaching goals doesn't make us happy. Sometimes we suffer to get things that leave us feeling disappointed. Other times we're happy when we reach our dreams but only for a short while. Psychologists tell us we over-estimate how happy we'll be when we reach our goals. One researcher, Sonja Lyubomirsky, has even averaged out how long we're likely to feel happier upon reaching various goals. Buy a new car? You may feel happier for three months. Marry your sweetheart? Two years. Most other goals offer happiness for much shorter time periods. After that, we go back to our "happiness set point" aka "resting dissatisfaction level".

Fortunately, we now know better ways to raise happiness levels sustainably and here they are...

As a positive psychology and neuroscience coach, I help people become happier, reach goals, and flourish. The ingredients I use may surprise you. To create a personalized recipe for your own happiness in 2019, choose three of the ingredients listed below and commit to trying it out. See what happens. Keep practicing. Some ingredients are designed to be used daily, some weekly, some only occasionally. You get to customize your happiness recipe for 2019...

1. Gratitude. Are you an appreciator or a complainer? It's okay to grouse a little; it can help blow off some negative steam, but overdo it and it can pull down your happiness level and the happiness of those around you. Try appreciating more, even the stuff that's not so great. Difficulties, for instance, can be re-framed into opportunities, learning experiences, and endings that make room for new beginnings. Develop gratitude into a habit and it may become an enduring strength. I used to be a chronic complainer and I was pretty unhappy. Now gratitude is one of my greatest strengths and I'm happy most of the time. Try these...

  • Daily practice: Three Good Things. According to researcher Robert Emmons, practicing gratitude is one of the most powerful tools for raising happiness. At the end of each day reflect on three good things that happened. Did you help them come about? Thank yourself for that. Did someone else contribute? Thank them tomorrow. Many people find writing down three good things is especially helpful, but even just thinking about them works. I like meditating at night and I start by spending a few minutes appreciating at least three good things. If you pray, you may want to thank God for the good you've received. Why does this work? It primes your brain to notice the good. Most brains naturally notice what's wrong more than what's right, but we can train ourselves to think more positively. We seem to get more of what we notice, so this can set us up for future happiness, as well.
  • Weekly practice: Gratitude Journal. Choose one day per week when you sit down and write a paragraph about each thing you most appreciate in your life. Put your heart into it. If you treat this as just another to-do it will have little benefit, but if you take a deep dive into what really matters and how grateful you are to have it, allowing yourself to really feel it, this practice will enrich your life immensely. I recommend getting a beautiful journal and hand writing in it. Whenever you need a happiness boost, read through your journal entries and you will naturally re-experience the positive feelings you had when you wrote about them.
  • Occasional practice: Gratitude Visit. This practice, designed by the Father of Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman, is perhaps the most profound. Think of someone who has made a real difference in your life, but whom you never fully thanked. It could be a teacher, parent, friend. They may have no idea what a difference they've made. Write a letter to them about it. Tell them in detail how they made a positive difference in your life and what the results have been. Now, if you possibly can, deliver your letter in person and read it aloud to them, making frequent eye contact. Research shows this practice boosts happiness levels even six months afterward for both the writer and the receiver.

2. Be Kind. Kindness to others also raises happiness in ourselves and others. We feel good about helping others especially if we can let go of the desire to be thanked or recognized for it. That said, learning to recognize kindness in ourselves and others and acknowledging it goes a long way toward hard-wiring this positive habit.

  • Daily Practice: Do one unexpected kindness each day and try not to get caught at it. Make it a fun game. You'll start noticing many opportunities to be more kind. Consider using your personal strengths for this. One person may be great at doing favors, another might be a wonderful listener. Still another may know when to give someone more privacy. Be careful about imposing acts of kindness on others. It's only kind if they truly benefit from it. The only aspect of kindness that's about you is the good feeling you get to have as a result. Never attain that good feeling at someone else's expense. Keep score in your gratitude journal. Note how you feel about what you did.
  • Weekly Practice: Track acts of kindness in your journal. Read your journal entries about your acts of kindness for a boost any time you're not feeling good about yourself. Also make note of acts of kindness you observe in others, whether you are the beneficiary or someone else is. When my mother had to be admitted to a nursing home, my first reaction to the place was how depressing it was. But when I began noticing the constant acts of kindness performed by the nurses and aids toward my mother, myself, and other members of my family, my experience transformed. I began to feel honored and grateful to be surrounded by so much kindness and I made a point of acknowledging the staff for it, which made their days happier, too.
  • Occasional Practice: Experience Awe. According to researcher, Dacher Keltner, when people experience awe, which can come about via witnessing natural beauty, human achievements, or spiritual wonder, people spontaneously engage in acts of kindness right afterward. I've experienced this at spiritual retreats, walks in the woods, especially when wild animals appear, going to the top of extremely tall buildings, flying over the Grand Canyon, watching a total eclipse of the sun, experiencing great art, and watching hot-air balloon races. Prime your brain for the extraordinary and let the extraordinary in you spontaneously blossom. You and those around you are likely to receive a happiness boost.

3. Practice Mindfulness. Being mindful is about learning to be present. Like gratitude and kindness, this can be strengthened into a habit and even become one of your greatest strengths. The benefits include actually experiencing your life while it's happening. The cost to not being present is you miss out on everything or feel empty even when life is good. That's a pity.

  • Daily Practice: Use mindless activities to be mind-full. Choose between one and three activities that you do daily but may not really be present for. I often use walking my dog, doing dishes by hand, or eating alone for this because none of these require difficulty or much thought. If you're accustomed to distracting yourself with your phone, tablet, computer, or TV, turn it off during these times. Keep yourself present by noticing information coming to you from all your five senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, taste. Once you've done that, ask yourself what about this moment you are grateful for. Then look for the opportunity to be kind. Consider following through on that and acknowledge yourself for being present, grateful, and kind.
  • Weekly Practice: Make at least one conversation per week all about the other person. Listen without formulating a response. If the person is going through something difficult, resist the urge to fix it or give advice. Be curious instead. Ask deeper questions. Notice what feelings come up for you. Notice the other person's feelings. Acknowledge their feelings. Notice how this impacts the conversation and even your relationship with this person.
  • Occasional Practice: When difficult situations or conflicts occur, instead of reacting with your usual feelings, count ten breaths first and imagine yourself calm and centered. Let the urge to feel victimized or guilty, or to blame others and resist, fall away, if possible. Then from this relaxed and centered place, choose the best response for all. You'll likely create better outcomes and less suffering.

These are three of the most powerful ingredients for happiness, but you can design many more, yourself.

Savor good experiences for up to 30 seconds, for instance, and you're more likely to develop a happier brain over time. And what about goals and dreams? It's good to have them and to reach them, because they offer meaning and purpose, which are additional ingredients of happiness. Just put them in perspective because they often fail to increase your happiness and reduce your suffering for very long.

Put together three or more ingredients for a happy 2019, notice how they "taste" to you and adjust the mixture as needed. And practice. That's the other secret. Keep practicing and you can raise your happiness over the long term.

To boost your happiness even more, share these ingredients and your journey toward greater happiness with a friend, colleague or client because sharing happiness makes it even sweeter. Be the one who lifts spirits just by being you and have a "happy new year" every year.

Want to learn more?

Our Certified Positive Psychology Coach® and Certified Neuroscience Coach programs go far deeper into the science of happiness, success, and flourishing. Use the tools in your own life and help others have greater lives. It's fun and well-paid. Or just add an important new skill set to your resume.

Learn more, download a free eBook, take just one module, or jump into a fabulous new career.

Click below to get started:

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Topics: certified neuroscience coach, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Martin Seligman, Positive Psychology, happiness,, gratitude, mindfulness

Why the New ICF Requirements for the MCC Credential Matter

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coach Certification

An important deadline looms for any coach who wants to achieve the coveted ICF MCC credential.

As the owner of a coach training program that meets the requirements for Master Certified Coach (MCC) level training (namely, the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program), I received an email today from the ICF, the world's best-known certifier of coaches, about an upcoming deadline for MCC applicants.

This is one of several changes in certification requirements that the ICF has made based on data collected from past applications, such as the requirement that all applicants complete comprehensive coach training that progresses from beginner to advanced skills, rather than piecing together a course here and a course there, because graduates of progressive training programs are more likely to succeed in achieving their ICF certifications.

The next deadline is for coaches who want to apply for the MCC without first achieving the mid-level PCC credential.

After February 28, 2019, Noon Eastern/New York Time, you must already have the ICF's Professional Certified Coach (PCC) before you can submit your application for the MCC. Again, this is based on the ICF's own data, which found that PCCs were much more likely to succeed at passing the MCC requirements than non-ICF certified coaches. I have been told by an ICF Mentor Coach (but have not personally verified) that up until now, only 7% of applicants for the MCC have passed. Evidently most of those who did not pass did not yet have the PCC.

Here's a story that illustrates why these changes matter so much:

The following is true, but I've obscured some details to hide the identity of the individual... I received a phone call recently from someone who had been employed for three decades as a coach at the headquarters of a large financial corporation when the building they worked in was destroyed in a major disaster. Rather than relocating all the employees whose offices no longer existed, the corporation chose to lay off all of them. Despite thirty years of experience and an advanced degree in psychology from an ivy league school, this individual found they were unemployable as a coach, because in thirty years, the landscape of professional coaching had changed and virtually all large organizations now require recognized certifications for their coaching hires.

This person was interested in taking the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program and qualifying for the MCC as quickly as possible and they were hoping to avoid beginner-level courses. I had to tell them they probably wouldn't have time to get the MCC without applying for their PCC, first, because they would also need to clock 2,500 hours of coaching AFTER they commenced training to qualify for the MCC. The ICF requires this because many people who coach without adequate training aren't really coaching. The individual said something telling at the end of our phone call: "Thanks for the great coaching."

I didn't coach them; I gave them advice.

Their confusion over the nature of our conversation helped confirm for me the wisdom of the ICF's requirements even though they might seem overly restrictive. Sometimes what people call coaching isn't really coaching and that's why the ICF won't certify them based on degrees and experience, alone. They also need coach-specific training.

In short, certification is more important in coaching than a degree and comprehensive coach training is a must for the best-known certifications.

The Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program was the first comprehensive positive psychology coach training program to meet the training requirements for MCC-level credentialing. It also meets requirements of the entry-level ACC and mid-level PCC. Currently, the only other positive psychology coach trainings approved at the MCC-level are graduate-level university degrees, which take longer to pass and cost quite a bit more. Coaches who want advanced skills and successful careers choose our program because they're uninterested in graduate degrees, either because they already have them, or because they know their clients are uninterested in them.

Another trend in coaching is the turn toward evidence-based coaching, such as positive psychology coaching.

There are many other shorter positive psychology coach training programs, but based on our data, coaches who coach at least at the PCC level tend to be more successful, professionally. We also assist our students in building their careers.

Get training that prepares you for today's coaching market.

If you'd like to learn more about positive psychology coaching, certification, and training, click below and download a free ebook, fact sheet, or list of graduation requirements. We're here to help you succeed!

 

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Topics: Certified Positive Psychology Coach, positive psychology coaching, positive psychology coach training, ICF, MCC, Coach Certification

Squeezing Your Size 12 Life Into a Size 5 Day

Posted by Julia Stewart

via GIPHY

Squeezing into a too-small box is cute when cats do it, sad when humans do.

And totally inappropriate when coaches do it. Coaches are supposed to model great self-care for our clients and, while we can't control everything in our lives, we can be honest about what's really going on. Telling the truth to ourselves is always positive, because, no matter how hard life gets, when we embrace what's true, we can start choosing something better.

Lately, too many of my coaching students are cramming too much into their lives and seem oblivious to the damage they may be doing. This post is for them - and for you, if you're over-doing it, too.

5 Reasons doing too much is a terrible idea...

  1. You're probably stressed. Over-doing it is exhausting and stressful. High levels of stress hormones over time are toxic. They can wreck you gut biome, which can damage your mental health, as well. You may be familiar with the Japanese word for death from over-work: Karoshi. Unfortunately, people tend to think they're doing great until it's too late. Wondering if you're stressed? This image, shared by a former client, will tend to "move" when a stressed person looks at it, but doesn't move if you're relaxed. optical illusion
  2. You're not giving your brain enough time to slow down. it needs that to see things for what they truly are. No wonder people can work themselves to death; they can't think straight when they over-do it. Poor choices result. And neuroscientists say those who over-do it have less gray matter in their brains, meaning fewer neurons to think with.
  3. You may not be fully present. You think you're doing so much for others, but often people just want you to really see and hear them. You can't do that when you're rushed.
  4. You're probably over-stressing those around you. Stress is contagious and can become a vicious cycle. Plus people take their cues from others. That's how cultures of over-work develop.
  5. The people around you are more likely to over-do it, too. Instead of making a better world, you may be making it worse!

What can you do instead?

  1. Practice a little self-compassion. It's okay to say "No" to more work, to ask for help, to prioritize what matters instead of pretending everything matters equally. It's okay to live by your own values instead of everyone else's. If you're over-extended, you're doing no one any favors. Give yourself a chance to just be and then start again with sanity.
  2. Notice what need you're trying to fill by over-doing it. Is it a need for significance? To win? To out-do everyone else? Are you a help-aholic who needs to be needed? A great coach can help you with this because you can get all your needs met in non-toxic ways and that's the gateway to true happiness.
  3. Identify what matters most and have the discipline to cut out everything else. It'll feel uncomfortable at first, but will get much easier. You may be surprised that no one else really cared if you did it, in the first place.
  4. Start using your strengths where they're needed most. Let people with different strengths do the other stuff. You'll save energy, stress, and discomfort for all. Everyone will be happier.
  5. If you really want to help others, model what a great life looks like. You'll be giving them permission to also live their best lives and be happier. Happy people are kinder. Everybody benefits!

Be a coach who models awesome self care.

Because potential clients are looking for this and because you'll literally coach more effectively if you're neither exhausted or stressed. Here's a course that teaches the three most important subjects in coaching so you and your clients can be your very best:

 

The Three Most Important Subjects in Coaching

 

Topics: self care, certified neuroscience coach, Needs, Strengths, highly sensitive, Values

Is Neuroplasticity Over Hyped?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Neuroplasticity_brain_to_brain

Neuroplasticity training programs are popping up everywhere.

They make a pretty grand promise: That by just learning some easy tools, you can physically change your brain and therefore your behavior, your thoughts, your emotions, and you can even eliminate your addictions and habits. Wow! Who doesn't want permanent change like that?

But how do you know if they deliver?

And even if they do deliver, are there any unforeseen side effects? And how long before the effects take place? Days, months, decades? Can you cross-train your brain by practicing one activity and see then see improvements in another?

And do you really want a stranger tinkering with your brain?

These are questions I asked myself and then dug into research on the topic when I started designing the Certified Neuroscience Coach Program, because for a while, we called it the Certified Neuroplasticity Coach Program.

Bottom line: In coaching, it's the outcome that matters, the flourishing life or career that the client enjoys as a result of the coaching. That outcomes is generally due to changes in thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, which themselves are the result of changes in the brain. Brain change matters but outcomes matter most.

Neuroplasticity isn't even the point.

It's an intriguingly trendy name for a phenomenon that most neuroscientists were sure didn't exist until the 1990's when they discovered that the brain continues to change in adulthood, that in addition to new connections forming between neurons, new neurons actually form, as well. The discovery of neuroplasticity launched a whole new focus on personal development.

If you own an fMRI machine and are licensed to use it, perhaps you can promise to change your clients' brains in measurable ways and prove it. Otherwise, better to focus on the outcomes of neuroplasticity. And keep updating your knowledge, because there are downsides to brain change and questions about "dosage". For example:

  • The story of London cab drivers, who develop larger hippocampi by memorizing London’s 25,000 streets, is well known. Less well known is that the process of memorization undergone by these cabbies appears to have decreased other forms of memory, with resulting atrophy of corresponding brain regions. Neuroscientists have found evidence that there’s a trade-off, but they just don’t know for sure.
  • The story that brain plasticity trainings, such as Lumosity, don’t work, is also well known. But there are other brain-training programs by reputable scientists that still claim you can make sustainable changes to you brain. Are they right? It's hard to know without solid research evidence and that's not always available.
  • The recent book, Altered Traits, by Dan Goleman and Richie Davidson, is about how meditation changes the brain, but much of it cautions about over-promising because too much is still unknown. For example, you may know that meditation appears to make lasting changes the brain, but most of those findings have been based on people, such as Buddhist monks, who have been meditating several hours per day for decades. The problem is that, although meditation makes immediate changes, they tend to wear off quickly, and no one knows yet whether there is a reasonable amount that “regular people” can do to make lasting change.

So far, programs that promise neuroplasticity appear to over-promise.

On the other hand, neuroscience tools can be highly effective in coaching and, if you aren't using them yet, you probably need to start, especially if your clients seek lower stress levels, better focus, greater resilience, goal achievement and more because neuroscience tools and practices do appear highly effective in achieving desirable outcomes. Whether they also cause growth inside the brain, itself, is interesting but beside the point.

Clients want better outcomes not bigger brains.

If you're curious about using neuroscience tools and practices with your client, check out the courses included in the Certified Neuroscience Coach Program. Take a few course or take the entire program and upgrade your coaching with the latest tools. Download additional information by clicking below:

 

Learn More About Neuroscience Coaching Here

Topics: Neuroplasticity, coaching with neuroscience, Certified Neuroplasiticty Coach, certified neuroscience coach, personal development, psychotherapy

Top Ten Best Positive Psychology Blogs

Posted by Julia Stewart

Positivity_by_.imelda.jpg

If you are a positive psychology coach, then you need to keep up with the latest in positive psychology. Books, seminars, and research papers are wonderful for in-depth learning, but sometimes you want to understand a new concept quickly. That's when positive psychology blogs come in handy. Here are 10 awesome blogs for you to check out...

The best positive psychology blogs are updated frequently with useful information, often written by positive psychology researchers, themselves, on their latest findings. And there are also terrific blogs written by academics, positive psychology coaches, and other thought leaders. They can be wonderfully inspirational, or focus on practical applications of positive psychology findings.

This blog you're reading is written for coaches and often focuses on positive psychology coaching. Subscribe for free in the upper right corner of this page and check out the free eBook on becoming a positive psychology coach, below.

The following are the top ten positive psychology coaching blogs that we like best.

 

Top Ten Best Positive Psychology Blogs

1. The Greater Good in Action: The Science of a Meaningful Life.

This is my favorite go-to blog for positive psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. It includes engaging article written by positive psychology researchers on topics like awe, gratitude, and self compassion.

2.Positive Psychology Program: Your One-Stop Positive Psychology Resource.

Here's another information-packed resource on all things related to positive psychology such as life satisfaction, self worth, and the positive effects of spending time in nature.

3. Just One Minute: One simple practice a week can produce powerful results.

By author and beloved teacher, Rick Hanson, these positive neuroscience exercises are easy to incorporate into your life.

4. What Matters Most? Using your strengths to impact well-being.

Written for Psychology Today by Ryan Niemiec, Education Director at the VIA Institute for Character.

5. Positive Psychology News

Written by several graduates of Masters in Applied Positive Psychology programs.

6. Authentic Happiness

Site for the Masters in Applied Positive Psychology program at UPenn, directed by the Father of Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman.

7. The Happiness Project: My experiments in pursuit of happiness and good habits.

Written by author, Gretchen Rubin.

8. The Psychology of Wellbeing: Musings on the science of holistic wellness.

Written by Jeremy McCarthy with a focus on using positive psychology in spa settings.

9. The Happiness Institute Blog

Written by professor, Tim Sharp, a.k.a., "Dr. Happy".

10. Dr. John Blog: Guide to self.

The latest positive psychology tools by John Shinnerer.

 

There you have the top ten best positive psychology blogs. Have fun reading, learning, and applying the latest info on how to live a flourishing life!

 

Curious about becoming a positive psychology professional? Get the free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook:

 

Free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook

Topics: Positive Psychology, positive psychology coach, positive psychology coaches, positive psychology coaching, free ebook, positive psychology blogs

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