School of Coaching Mastery

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IAC Master Coach Interview with Kristi Arndt and Julia Stewart

Posted by Julia Stewart

IAC International Association of Coaching

On June 20th, 2013, Kristi Arndt, MMC, former Vice President of the International Association of Coaching, interviewed me for the IAC's Master Coach Interview Series. You need to be a member of the IAC to access their copy of the interview, but you can listen via the online player here for free, to the resulting 49-minute audio. I've listed the topics covered in the time line below, so you can choose the parts you're curious about.

Or, join the IAC virtual chapter for free to get a copy of the interview download link and listen at your convenience. By the way, Kristi will co-host an upcoming IAC chapter meeting with me, in which you'll get a taste of the power of virtual triads to strengthen your coaching and pass IAC Coach Certification.

IAC Master Coach Interview Topics Time Line:

1:00 What I did before becoming a coach

2:00 The Oprah Connection

5:30 The IAC/School of Coaching Mastery Connection

7:15 What does "master coach" mean?

12:00 Coach 100

14:00 What "master coach" means to Kristi

16:30 Why you need to love your coaching clients

17:30 How to get into "master coaching mode"

19:00 How to integrate your shadow

21:00 Master coach certification, as a benchmark

22:30 Tony Robbins' coaching

25:00 ICF vs. IAC coaching

26:00 School of Coaching Mastery coach certification

29:00 How NOT to prepare for coach certification

30:00 What DOES work in passing coach certification

31:30 Live, in person, coach certification

33:30 Coaching pioneers

38:00 How SCM fosters coaching mastery

42:00 How the IAC Coaching Masteries(tm) show up in life

44:30 What's new and exciting

48:00 How to contact me

48:30 Best Coaching Blogs 2013

 

Listen to the full interview below, or use the slider to find the parts you most want to hear:

 More great coaching resources:

Join the IAC North American Virtual Chapter

Topics: School of Coaching Mastery, Coach 100, Become a Master Coach, ICF, Coach Certification, Kristi Arndt, Coaching Triads, Become a Certified Coach, OPRAH, Tony Robbins, Become a Masterful Coach, Certified Coach Training, certified life coach, IAC

Life Coach: Why It Doesn't Mean Anything Anymore

Posted by Julia Stewart

Certified Life Coach

It's almost impossible to the miss the story about the two 'life coaches' in Brooklyn who committed suicide this week. That story is everywhere, because it's so ironic. The two actually co-hosted a radio show called, The Pursuit of Happiness!

Apparently, they failed to find it.

This post isn't about them. They clearly were in a lot of pain and their passing is tragic.

This post is rather about the subtext of the media frenzy (okay, it's a small frenzy; let's just call it media attention) surrounding this story.

The subtext asks...

  1. How could these life coaches help anyone find happiness, when they were clearly miserable, themselves?
  2. Were these life coaches hypocrites?
  3. Would you want a life coach who is suicidal?
  4. Aren't there any requirements to calling yourself a life coach?
  5. How can you trust anyone who calls him/herself a life coach, when they might be depressed, mentally ill, suicidal, or who knows what?

In answer to number 4: No. There are no legal requirements to calling yourself a life coach. Yet.

That means my dog could be a life coach. She may be more qualified than some human life coaches.

And I'm not just singling out life coaches. Business coaches, executive coaches, career coaches, health coaches. None of these titles means anything. In today's world, everyone, including bill collectors, can and do call themselves coaches.

The guy selling vitamins at the health-food store is a nutrition coach. The woman who works  at the dress shop is a retail coach. The manager at a telemarketing company is a sales coach.

None of these phrases means anything, because they have come to mean whatever anyone wants.

Right now, there is maximum freedom in the coaching industry, because there are no real legal requirements. That allows massive creativity and growth and that's great for coaches. Although the situation appears to be changing and the suicide story may speed up that change.

The real problem these days is for the consumer who doesn't know whom to trust.

The answer, of course, is credentialing and industry oversight, but a lot of 'coaches' are fighting it.

  • They say it's an evil plot by established coaches to keep out the competition
  • They say a piece of paper won't help them coach any better
  • They say it's an effort to control coaches, or to sell them training and certifications

Really?

That first argument is just paranoid. The second is true. Although, I've seen hundreds of coaches learn to coach much better, while on the way to qualifying for a piece of paper. And the last may, or may not be true, but it's not a good enough reason to not get certified.

Life coaches get certified because they want to be the best they can be. Because they are committed to their profession. Because they feel it is the right thing to do. Because they are proud to be certified. They also get certified to distinguish themselves from the worst of the worst.

Consumers look for assurances that they can trust the life coaches they hire. And they deserve some assurance. That assurance often takes the form of a certification.

I got my first coach certification a decade ago and have qualified for several more, since. I've learned something new with each one. I'm not finished.

Although I believe more in learning than I do in credentials, I've noticed that the goal of credentialing is an effective way to stay focused on learning. It has worked for me and for thousands of other good coaches.

I sell training and certifications to coaches mostly because I want to help good coaches distinquish themselves from ineffective or dishonest coaches. It's an honor to work with people who are committed to being their best. Whether you get certified by my organization or some other, get certified.

Certified Life Coach means something. SCM, IAC or ICF Certified Life Coach really means something.

It's time to stop calling yourself just a life coach.

If you want to explore the path to our entry-level certification, click below:

Become a Certified Competent Coach

Topics: business coach, life coach, executive coaching, ICF, Life Coaches, Become a Certified Coach, life coach certification, certified life coach, sales and marketing coaches, Life Coaching, life coach training, IAC

Positive Psychology: 25 Fun Facts About Love 2.0

Posted by Julia Stewart

Love 2.0

Since today is Valentine's Day, I thought you might enjoy some fun facts about love and positive psychology researcher, Barbara L. Fredrickson's new book,Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become , is loaded with never-before-heard-of facts about love, romance, health and success. So pull up a chair, grab a loved one and have fun!

Okay first, this is science, so we need to define our terms. But rest assured, these are fun terms!

Barbara is the researcher most associated with the Positivity Ratio (Quick: go measure yours here. Then come right back for more cool stuff.) Basically, the Positivity Ratio says if your positive thoughts and feelings (a.k.a. positivity) out number your negative thoughts and feelings (a.k.a. negativity) by a ratio of at least 3 to 1, you'll likely flourish, rather than languish. The upward limit is around 11 to 1. Poliannas don't flourish.

Why do folks with strong Positivity Ratios thrive? Because, according to Fredrickson's research, positivity broadens your perspective so you notice more opportunities (Funny,  Thomas Leonard said 15 years ago that's how Attraction works! I'd like to suggest that positivity is highly attractive). Positivity also helps you build resources such as, values, strengths and skills, that assist you even in tough times, which creates longer-term resiliency. That's her "Broaden and Build" theory.

Barbara has recently shifted her research to shared positivity, which she terms, "Positivity Resonance" or "Love 2.0". Love in the English language is an extremely broad term. To measure it, she had to define love very narrowly. Keep that in mind, while reading the fun facts about Love 2.0, below. Her definition for positivity resonance is limited to positivity that is shared by people face-to-face or in physical contact.

 

"Love is our supreme emotion that makes us come fully alive." - Barbara L. Fredrickson

 

Here are twenty-five fun facts about Love 2.0:

  1. "...love, and its absence, fundamentally alters the biochemicals in which your body is steeped."
  2. Love is a momentary state that can pass between strangers who share a mutually positive experience together.
  3. Love is a skill that can be learned which impacts the expression of your genes.
  4. "The sheer complexity of love's biology is reason enough for awe."
  5. When you learn to prioritize love, you actually get more value from it and become resilient faster.
  6. Love literally changes your mind and enables you to see others wholeheartedly, helping you transcend your usual ego perspective.
  7. Love is the arising of three events: shared positive emotions, sychrony between you and another's biochemistry and behavior, motive to invest in each other's well-being.
  8. Other positivity emotions are not mirrored back in this way.
  9. Love reverberates between people and belongs to all parties involved.
  10. Safety is a precondition for love.
  11. People who suffer from anxiety, depression, loneliness and low self-esteem; have a limited ability to experience love 2.0.
  12. Eye contact is a potent trigger for positivity resonance.
  13. You can experience some of the positive effects of love 2.0 while alone, when thinking about a loved one for instance, but the effects are diminished.
  14. Love impacts your body on the cellular, even molecular level.
  15. Love physically impacts your brain's development, causing you to experience more positivity and less anxiety.
  16. Love 2.0 triggers cascades or oxytocin, sometimes called, "the love hormone".
  17. Oxytocin is the lead chemical in the "calm and connect" function; it literally reduces stress.
  18. Oxytocin appears to make people more intuitive about others.
  19. Love increases "vagal tone", which your doctor can measure to predict the likelihood of your having a heart attack.
  20. People with higher vagal tone regulate glucose levels and inflammation, as common denominator in many diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
  21. Vagal tone can be improved with training with positivity resonance. Got Love
  22. "In the very moment that you experience positivity resonance, your brain syncs up with the other person's brain."
  23. The effects of love can be carried to you by a person's voice.
  24. "Brain coupling" occurs between people who are experiencing positivity resonance and in some cases, you begin to anticipate the other person's thoughts, feelings and words, rather than just react to them.
  25. The causal arrow runs in both directions at once and drives self-sustaining trajectories of growth.
Well that's just 25 fun facts. I highly recommend you read the whole book, maybe with a loved one! Or just put some of these 25 facts to work in your life to enjoy greater health, resilience, flourishing, and love.

 

Want to learn more about Love 2.0 and other positive psychology tools? Take the Introduction to Positive Psychology for Coaches course. You can even earn a coaching certificate and get ICF CCEs:

 

Become a Certified Positive Psychology Coach

Topics: Coaches, Thomas Leonard, Become a Certified Coach, CCE, Barbara L Fredrickson, Attraction Principles, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching

7 Concerns About the New Board Certified Coach (BCC) Credential

Posted by Julia Stewart

BCC - Board Certified CoachYesterday, I received a letter in the mail congratulating me on my new BCC (Board Certified Coach) credential from CCE (Center for Credentialing and Education).

 

It was nice to get, but no surprise.

CCE, a non-profit which has been certifying a variety of counselors for years, recently stepped into the realm of business, executive and life coach certification, with this very impressive-sounding new credential. But any executive, business or life coach who was previously certified by the ICF or IAC and who could demonstrate that they already have coach-specific training, got grandfathered into the BCC for $100. The only catch was that we had to take a norming exam to help CCE establish appropriate exam questions for future coaches who test for the BCC.

Even though I have reservations about the new BCC life coach certification, I decided to take the plunge and get it for the following reasons:

  • Life coach certifications from independant not-for-profit certifiers are generally the most respected in coaching, because with no regulation, coach training schools (at least the ones that are disreputable) sometimes have very low coach certification requirements (or no requirements other than a fee). 
  • I think competition between not-for-profit certifiers is good for coaches, their clients and the coaching industry, because it forces the certifiers to listen to us and upgrade their services in order to stay relevant. So a new not-for-profit coach certifier may be positive for the profession.
  • At this stage of the game, no single life coach certification organization is the recognized leader, worldwide. The ICF claims this distinction, but most coaches do not agree, especially in fast-growth markets, like Asia. So it may be a good idea to be certified by more than one not-for-profit life-coach certification organization.

That said, I have plenty of reservations about the new Board Certified Coach credential and don't plan to use 'BCC' after my name in most situations - at least not yet. Here's why:

  1. As one of my colleagues, who is certified by both the IAC and ICF, recently commented, a certification from an organization that mainly certifies counselors may further confuse the public about the difference between coaching, therapy and counseling. Appearances to the contrary, business and life coaching are completely different from either counseling or psychotherapy. Coaching is based on different paradigms and does not target clients who are mentally ill or in crisis. A decade or so ago, when I became a coach, the profession of coaching was under attack by psychology professionals, who claimed we were practicing therapy without a license. Then a landmark lawsuit in the state of Colorado established life coaching as a separate profession from psychotherapy.  Furthermore, the reason coaching is still not legally regulated anywhere is because coaches don't work with vulnerable populations. Since that landmark case, therapists and counselors have jumped on the coaching bandwagon in large numbers, because they aren't hamstrung by regulations, they've seen how effective coaching can be and because they can charge more for it. As another coaching colleague commented: The confusion between coaching and therapy isn't because coaches are practicing bad therapy; it's because too many therapists are practicing bad coaching. One of the reasons I decided to get the BCC anyway, is so I can watch from the inside how CCE's influence plays out and can speak up as needed. If CCE does its job well, it could actually cut down on the confusion and erroneous assumptions that counselors and therapists sometimes make when they hang out their Life Coach shingles.
  2. CCE bases the BCC credential solely on college degrees, coach-specific training and passage of a multiple-choice test. Reputable life coach certifications always require demonstration of coaching skills. Why? Because unlike virtually any other profession, including counseling and psychotherapy, efficacy in business and life coaching is not based on expert knowledge, but on the skill of assisting coaching clients to leverage their own knowledge, thoughts, actions, gifts, etc. In other words, coaching is a skill set, not a knowledge base. A degree has little or nothing to do with competency in coaching. Coach training is a very good thing, but doesn't automatically ensure a skilled coach.  And multiple-choice tests measure knowledge, not coaching skills. To get my stamp of approval, CCE needs to add an oral test to their certification requirements.
  3. CCE claims its multiple-choice test is the first scientifically-based measurement of coaching knowledge, but is it really? The 'science' is based on the answers to test questions that coaches who are certified by the 'less scientific' IAC and ICF gave on BCC norming tests. In other words, it's piggy-backing on knowledge collected by thousands of non-science-based coaches and calling that scientific. In any case, one of the reasons coaching has rocketed to the forefront of human development is because coaches have been free to mix findings from neuroscience and positive psychology with ancient wisdom traditions, plus their own insights and intuition, to create new approaches to human growth. Science is good, but results are what matter.
  4. CCE claims to be the first certifier of coaches that is itself 'accredited'. That's good, but it may not mean what you think. Usually, when we talk of accreditation in education, what we're referring to is the 'gold standard' in accreditation, which in the United States (which influences education around the world), means that your educational institution is accredited by a not-for-profit regional accrediting agency that is in turn, approved by the U.S. Department of Education. CCE is not accredited by such an agency. I tried to trace its accreditation back to the USDE, but only got as far back as an agency that accredits engineers (not exactly related to coaching). To my knowledge, no not-for-profit coach certifier, nor educator of coaches, possesses the gold standard in accreditation. That doesn't mean they aren't good, it just means they don't have the ultimate stamp of approval in education. (Beware though, of phony 'associations' that are invented by un-scrupulous 'coaching schools' or more-aptly, certification mills, just so they can claim to be 'accredited' by somebody.) CCE's accreditation doesn't make it a better source of life coach certification. In fact, they may not understand the profession of coaching as well as either the ICF or IAC.
  5. There has been some suggestion (unconfirmed) that the CCE may require its Board Certified Coaches to administer a psychological profile that measures the mental health of new coaching clients, in order to refer them out to psychotherapists. This would be no more appropriate than requiring Certified Financial Planners to test the mental health of their clients (after all, behavioral economics is the latest hot specialty for therapists), or requiring bartenders to test their customers for alcoholism (shouldn't some of those barflies be in rehab?). I know many psychologists believe 90 - 100% of all people are at least neurotic and could benefit from therapy, but coaches aren't in the mental health business, are untrained in the area of diagnosis and in many locations it would actually be illegal for an untrained professional to try to diagnose a mental illness. What coaches are responsible for is helping their clients reach the clients' desired results. If coaching isn't effective in reaching those results and the coach suspects psychotherapy could help, they can best serve their clients by sharing that observation and declining to waste the clients' money by continuing the coaching. But coaches testing for psychopathology? That won't serve coaching clients (but might serve counselors and therapists), because the real test of whether coaching will 'work' for a client is not the client's diagnosis, but whether or not the client is ready to take full responsibility for his/her own life. If it comes between keeping my BCC or succumbing to a requirement to administer  psychological tests, I may give up the credential and I'm sure I'm not alone. But I am so far taking a 'wait and see' attitude towards this.
  6. CCE's ethical standards for BCCs are more appropriate for counselors and therapists than for life coaches. That's not automatically bad, but suggests that CCE itself, is confused about the differences between counseling and coaching. For well-written and appropriate ethical standards for coaches, view the ICF's ethical standards.
  7. The BCC hasn't yet stood the test of time. Thus far, the Board Certified Coach credential is not widely recognized, nor is it the the gold standard in coaching. At this writing, Master Certified Coach credentials from the ICF and IAC share that distinction. For the time being, I would recommend the BCC only as a provisional certification, on the level of the ICF's ACC (Associate Credentialed Coach), that a new coach might want, while they work toward a more recognized coach certification.

What do you think? Share your comments and concerns about the new Board Certified Coach credential in the comments area below.

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Topics: Coaching, executive coaching, certification requirements, Coaches, coaching clients, ICF, coach, Become a Certified Coach, CCE, life coach certification, certified life coach, certified business coach, future of coaching, coach training schools, coaching vs. therapy, Master Certified Coach, BCC, IAC

Life Coach Certification vs. Coaching Certificate: The Difference

Posted by Julia Stewart

Life Coach Certification

[UPDATE 2012: The Free Coach Training program no longer includes a Coaching Certificate.]Coaches often ask me if SCM's Free Coach Training program comes with a life coach certification or if they can use letters after their names when they qualify for the free Coaching Certificate.

The short answer to both questions is: No.

The Free Coach Training program comes with a free exam and if you pass it, we'll award you with a free Coaching Certificate. I'm pretty certain we're the only coaching school that does that, but it's not the same as getting a business or life coach certification from us.

What's the difference between life coach certification and a coaching certificate? Here's a side-by-side comparison:

Life Coach Certification

Coaching Certificate

A stamp of approval of you as a coach, by the organization that certified you

Think of it as an automatic recommendation of you and your coaching skills from a trusted source

You can add appropriate letters after your name

In coaching, certification is THE credential to have; not graduation, not a degree, not a diploma, not a certificate

Respectable life coach certifications all require evidence of coaching skill, not just knowledge

Often difficult to get - that's why they mean so much

You'll received a frameable certificate, plus a mini-certificate for your website to prove your credential to the world

Evidence that you completed some training or passed a test

It's not a recommendation, since the organization doesn't really know you

No letters after your name

Evidence that you're not just self-taught

Evidence that you're working toward becoming a skilled coach

Challenging, but not difficult to get

You'll receive a frameable certificate, plus a generic badge for your website to prove your accomplishment

 

I based the above specifically on School of Coaching Mastery's policies concerning business and life coach certification and coaching certificates.

By the way, today we awarded eight coaches with our new Certified Competent Coach credential. They received it either by passing the requirements of Coaching Groundwork Advanced (Next session starts Tuesday, March 6) or by demonstrating competence in one of our Master Coach Training Levels (Next Master Coach Training startes Wednesday, March 7).

School of Coaching Mastery now has three levels of skill-based business and life coach certification, which are the Certified Competent Coach (CCC), Certified Proficient Coach (CPC) and Certified Master Coach (CMC). They are roughly analogous to the ICF's Associate Credentialed Coach (ACC), Professional Credentialed Coach (PCC) and Master Certified Coach (MCC).

Just so you know, 'credentialed' and 'certified' mean the same thing. 'Credential' is used more in Europe, where 'certification' is used in the USA. 'Certificate', however is different. I know, these words all sound alike.

Coincidentally, today the IAC announced in their members-only blog that they will be retroactively awarding  their new Certified Coach (CC) credential to coaches who previously did not pass their old certification, which is now called the Master Certified Coach (MCC), but who did demonstrate a skilled level of coaching (66% or higher score). The new IAC CC credential will be approximately analogous to our CCC and PCC, while the IAC's MCC is roughly analogous to our CMC.

No wonder coaches are confused about life coach certifications with all of these different letters and similar-sounding names! The important thing to remember is that coaching is becoming more professional and that it's a good idea to have a credible life coach certification. A Coaching Certificate is a good start, but keep going.

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Topics: certification requirements, School of Coaching Mastery, ICF, becoming a certified coach, Coach Certification, Become a Certified Coach, life coach certification, certified life coach, certified business coach, IAC, Coaching Certificate, certified coach

Top Ten Reasons to Become a Certified Group Coach

Posted by Julia Stewart

Become a Certified Group CoachYou've probably heard that group coaching is a must-have for your coaching business, but you may never have thought about becoming a Certified Group Coach.

In my opinion, you don't have to offer group coaching, but if you're ready to branch out from just one-to-one coaching clients, group coaching is the next logical place to go. Yes, information products are great, but dollar for dollar and hour for hour, you'll make more from group coaching, especially if you don't already have a mailing list of thousands.

There are probably hundreds of good reasons to add group coaching to your business, but I've highlighted ten from my own experience below, just to give you an idea.

Group coaching is an advanced skill set, combining many of the skills of one-to-one coaching with group facilitation and more. I thought it would be easy for me, because I was a very good one-to-one coach with 15 years of experience as a college professor. In the beginning, it was a lot harder than I thought! But if you think group coaching is something you want to learn more about and if you'd like to become a Certified Group Coach, skip to the bottom of this blog post and check out an upcoming opportunity.

Top Ten Reasons to Become a Certified Group Coach:

1. Make more money

In 2003, my first coaching groups were focused on a hot new certification from the IAC, which used Thomas Leonard's Proficiencies. I was teaching the Proficiencies at the time, so offering a mentor group to help coaches master them, was a natural for me. I filled my first group up with 10 people and had to open a second one quickly, because even more people wanted to join. It kicked up my income very nicely, even though the groups themselves were a bargain to join.

2. Charge less to your clients

As I said, I charged bargain fees to my clients for those first groups, only $75 per month, per person. But with 20 new clients, that was $1,500 more income per month and about $250 per contact hour. Nice pay ~ and very affordable for my clients! Actually, you can charge much more for group coaching, depending on your market. Generally, groups meet for three to six hours per month, with group sizes ranging from 3 to 10 clients. And most coaching groups cost $150 to $350 per month, per person. Do the math. Group coaching saves money for the client and makes more money for you.

3. Grow your fan base faster

I mentioned your email marketing list earlier, because your True Fans are a vitally important element in your coaching success. Building that list with just one-to-one clients can be murder. Coaching groups with 3 to 10 members each, will help you build that list 3 to 10 times faster.

It's an incredible amount of work to design ebooks, white papers and other information products to attract new people to your list, but coaching is customized in the moment, so there is far less upfront work, while far more value is delivered - and at a higher price that clients gladly pay. People simply view in-person, customized service as more valuable than pre-designed, canned content - because it's far more effective.

Contrary to what you may have heard, coaching clients don't need to buy cheap products from you before they hire you to be their coach. For most of them, you being a credible coach who is in the right place at the right time, with an appealing specialty or niche, is all it takes.

4. Give more value to your clients

Here's where it gets interesting: your group clients will actually get a lot more value from each other than they would from you alone, so a group of ten will multiply value by ten. Why? Groups are organized around commonalities between the members of the group and their mutual goals. So guess what? They have experiences, know-how and resources that you don't have and they tend to share them generously - so long as you know how to set up a bonded  synchronous group, which is one of those advanced skill sets I mentioned.

5. Upsell to one-to-one coaching

It's natural to balance group coaching with one-to-one coaching, because sometimes your clients need you to drill down deeper with an issue than you have time for during the group meeting. This is an important value add for your clients, which gives them the benefits of one-to-one coaching plus group coaching. You can easily add an option for each group member to have one or two individual coaching sessions per month with you and of course, you can charge extra for that.

6. Increase your credibility

As you become known for certain specialties or niches in your coaching groups, you'll become known for those specialties and niches in all your coaching. Once I offered the Get Certified Coaching Groups, which I mentioned above, I became known as a mentor coach who helps coaches get certified. This became an important part of my one-to-one coaching practice for several years, as well - until I leveraged my reputation and what I had learned to start School of Coaching Mastery. You see, over the years, I became an expert on this type of coaching and potential clients saw me as someone they wanted to work with on this. In other words, I developed the credibility to do well with this niche and specialty.

Back then, there was very little training in group coaching, so I had to teach myself and it took years of trial and error. There were no group coaching certifications, but if there had been, I'd have gotten one. Credibility is everything when you're in business for yourself.

7. Decrease your work hours

You can work day and night on a membership site, on information products and live events - or you can just coach. Group coaching pays you even more per hour than one-to-one coaching, so if a short work week is a goal for you, then group coaching needs to be a specialty of yours.

8. Add additional income streams

As you organize your coaching groups, you'll find yourself writing more, because it'll be an easy way to communicate with groups. The nice thing about that is that once you've written something, it can be re-purposed.

Remember how I mentioned that it's a lot of work creating information products? If you've already created something for a high-paying coaching group, you've been well-paid for your time. If you take that written piece and sell it as a free-standing product at a lower price, whatever you make from it will be profit. That's the easier, more profitable way to do it.

Also, working with groups of people will give you a good idea what kinds of solutions they're looking for. That may spark great ideas when you're ready to do live events or create products.

9. Upsell from information products

Remember how I said that clients don't have to try inexpensive products from you in order to be willing to hire you to coach them? Well that's true. And sometimes you'll attract people who were just looking for that inexpensive ebook that tells them how to do something, but upon reading it they'll realize what they really want is a coach. If you have both group coaching and one-to-one coaching options, you'll be able to reach more people in exactly the format they want.

10. Learn where your next opportunities are

Just as I mentioned in #8 above, working intensively with clients will give you ideas about what they really want and need next - even when they, themselves, can't tell you what that is. So group coaching is perhaps the most valuable form of R&D possible, because you get to know your coaching clients inside and out. For me, that took me from coach, to mentor coach, to founding my own coaching school. I knew what my clients wanted and needed because I had gotten to know them so well.

Where will group coaching take you and your business? Where ever it is, you'll get there much faster if you don't have to learn it all from the ground up. That's why we're offering the 8-hour Master Group Coaching Success module, which ends with a Group Coaching Certificate. You'll learn how to organize, market and facilitate successful coaching groups in these live tele-webinars, which come with written materials and more.

Want to become a Certified Group Coach? Take Master Group Coaching Success, described above, and then join the upcoming Certified Group Coach Mentor Group. I'll personally mentor you as you learn to lead your own groups and get started with your very first group. You must attend both the learning module and the mentor group in order to become a Certified Group Coach.

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Topics: group coaching, coaching clients, Become a Master Coach, becoming a certified coach, Coach Certification, Thomas Leonard, Become a Certified Coach, coaching skills, IAC, Coaching Certificate, True Fans

How to Get Life Coach Certification

Posted by Julia Stewart

Tested and Certified

If you’re like most new life coaches, you’ve researched the life coach profession wondering what training and life coach certification you need. You’re smart to wonder about both from the start, to make choices and take action, for critical reasons.

The choices you make at the beginning of your coaching career are analogous to the windup and follow-through of a baseball pitcher. Everything the pitcher does in those short moments determines the direction and velocity of the ball - and whether or not s/he strikes out her opponents.

Professional ball players get extensive training, coaching and practice, since childhood, before they make it to the majors. Life coaching isn’t nearly that structured. As a result, most coaches are inadequately prepared when they try to enter the ‘big leagues’.

Many life coaches think they’ve been coaching for years, but it’s extremely rare for an amateur coach to coach at a professional level. How do I know? I’ve been listening to amateurs and professionals coach for over a decade. The difference is huge. Moreover, it takes time to develop genuine professional skills, usually years.

But there are choices you can make early on that will help you coach like a pro much sooner. The simplest choice, one that will pull you towards success for years, as opposed to getting stuck by trying to figure it all out as you go along, is to decide to get a major life coach certification.

Which life coach certifications are considered best?

The most widely recognized life coach certifications, or credentials, are offered by the International Coach Federation (ICF). Sixteen years after being founded by Thomas Leonard, the ICF claims, on their LinkedIn Group, nearly 7,000 credentialed coaches in over 70 nations. There are three ICF credentials, ACC, PCC and MCC. All are based on coach-specific training at approved or accredited schools, the number of professional coaching hours, an ethics pledge and perhaps a test; or something called the ‘Portfolio’ approach, for coaches who don’t have coach training.

Another highly-respected life coach certification, which is the one that I have, is the International Association of Coaching’s (IAC) Certified Coach credential. Eight years after being founded by Thomas Leonard (yes, the same man founded both), the IAC lists less than 50 Certified Coaches (correct me, if I’m wrong) on their site. I belief this number was at least double a few years ago. The IAC-CC life coach certification is based on an online test, an ethics pledge and demonstration of what the IAC calls ‘Coaching Mastery’. I’m not sure whether the lack of IAC-CC’s represents the degree of difficulty, a lack of popularity, both, or something else, but this is a highly credible life coach certification.

Why you need to decide on life coach certification now:

Kids who decide they want to be Big League pitchers devote way more of their time to training and practice than those who are just playing for fun. Preparing for a major life coach certification works the same way. It compels you to:

  • Get a substantial amount of life coach training

  • Study what you’re learning and pass all the tests

  • Get a mentor coach for customized assistance

  • Coach a lot of clients

  • Understand and commit to professional coaching ethics

  • Practice, practice, practice

In other words, choosing to become a certified life coach now, puts you on a path similar to the kid who dreams of becoming a professional ball player - and succeeds. It demands much more from you and also offers far more.
Just as baseball players who play in the majors make many times what players in the minors are paid, so too, successful professional coaches make ten times or more what their competitors make.

Several years ago, the ICF published the results of a world-wide coaching study which showed that 10% of coaches who responded to the study reportedly made $100,000 per year or more, while 50% of respondents reported that they made $10,000 or less. In other words, the top 10% made 10 times more than the bottom 50%. In my opinion, that’s like the difference between the majors and the minors.

Why do you need to decide on life coach certification early?

You don’t have to, but it can help you save time and make more money. Most master coaches that I’ve talked to say that the decision to be a high-quality coach put them head and shoulders above the competition early and helped them stay there. Virtually all of them have ICF or IAC coach certification, or both. Working toward a major certification is a framework that simplifies choices and accelerates your progress.

Additionally, demands on your time increase as you establish your business, so trying to go for life coach certification later means you’ll have to take time away from your business, which could cost you clients and money. You may make more money after you’re certified, but you could make less until then.

So how do you get life coach certification?

Visit both the ICF and IAC web sites and read the steps to becoming certified. Choose which coach certification you want and put yourself on the path to getting there. This will include a coaching school that prepares you for the certification of your choice and you’ll probably want a mentor coach who holds that certification, as well.

Can I get a life coach certification from my coaching school?

Yes, but it won’t carry as much weight. Certifications from schools vary widely. Some have rigorous standards; others have no standards at all. Life coach certifications from the ICF and IAC are the industry standard.

What’s the difference between life coach certification or business coach certification?

Neither the ICF nor IAC makes a distinctions between life coach certification and business coach certification. The skills are basically the same. It’s often said that ‘All coaching is life coaching.’ It’s your experience with business that sets you apart as a business coach. Any niche or specialty you choose will likely be based on experience.

To increase School of Coaching Mastery’s students’ options and pathways to the majors, we’re currently working toward ICF accreditation, in addition to our IAC License. We’re already using both the ICF’s Core Coaching Competencies and IAC Coaching Masteries within our Master Coach Training Program. We believe we are the first coaching training school to actively use both.

Click the button below to find out more about life coach certification at School of Coaching Mastery:

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Topics: certification requirements, ICF, becoming a certified coach, Thomas Leonard, Become a Certified Coach, life coach certification, Certified Coach Training, certified coaches, certified life coach, certified business coach, IAC, certified coach

Why We Decided to Become IAC Licensed AGAIN

Posted by Julia Stewart

IAC Coaching Masteries Authorized LicenseeIf you follow this blog, you know I had a beef last summer with the IAC over a number of changes that they made with the organization. It was looking less and less like the organization that I’ve enthusiastically supported since it was nothing more than a gleam in Thomas Leonard’s eye, nearly ten years ago.

I concluded that IAC Licensing just didn’t offer enough value for my school or my students, for us to associate with it exclusively. And there are so many other organizations doing great work, why align ourselves with just one?

Since there are pros and cons with each organization, I want to give our students clarity and a choice. I’ve been carefully reviewing many organizations that approve or accredit schools and I want to be sure that whatever we offer, will clearly give coaches an edge and not just overwhelm them with conflicting information.

In the meantime, we have an awesome track record helping coaches get certified by the IAC. 100% of our students pass the IAC Step 1 Online Exam. It’s tough, but we’ve cracked the code.

The IAC says they only pass 25% of all applicants for Step 2 of IAC Certification. That’s makes it a killer test. So far, 75% of our students are passing Step 2 on the first try. That means our coaching students have a three times greater chance of passing than others. I’m proud of that and I bet we can do even better.

So why not continue to make our IAC curriculum available? So we’ve signed up for a limited license to teach our IAC curriculum to not more than 20 coaches each year. Coaches have to ‘declare’ their intention to be certified in a given year by the IAC, if they want access to our IAC training.

Another thing that softened my attitude toward the IAC is that they are making changes to their licensing contracts. They will begin screening new schools that apply for licensing. Schools that don’t have IAC-CC’s on staff will only be licensed to train ‘IAC Practitioners’ and the new IAC website will make it clear which schools are qualified to train Certified Coaches.

The profession of coaching is evolving. Credible coaches and coaching organizations have to become even more credible just to distinguish themselves from the scammers. Expect more growing pains as coaching moves from the purely entrepreneurial side of the slate to the more professional side.

By the way, in honor of our renewed alliance with the IAC, we’re adding considerably more to our Certified Coach Training Program, including our new Master Coach Training, plus Certification Bootcamp courses and Master What the Certifiers Are Looking For courses. I want to see 100% of our students who apply for IAC Certified, pass Step 2 and become Certified Coaches.

The bad news is that we will also be raising the CCTP tuition to $3995.00 at the end of February.

IAC Certified CoachGo here to check out our IAC Certified Coach resources.

Topics: Become a Certified Coach, Certified Coach Training, certified coaches, coaching schools, IAC

Professional Coaches: Stop Going Naked

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coach Certification Bootcamp

I've talked to hundreds of coaches and nearly all of them say the same thing:

They see themselves equally as entrepreneurs and professionals. I'm not surprised.

DEFINITION:

Entrepreneur: Someone who starts businesses for fun. May or may not be successful.

Professional: Someone with professional training & credentials who offers professional services for a fee. May or may not be successful.

Coaches don't just wear two hats. You could say we have two brains, when it comes to running our businesses. One for the entrepreneur (Fun & profit!) and one for the professional (I'll learn everything I can to give the best results and I have credentials that confirm that.)

I love being an entrepreneur. It's loads of fun. I bet you do too. And I bet your inner professional held you back until he/she was convinced you'd done what it takes to be the best you can be. Not always fun - but worth it, if you want to be a professional with integrity. And necessary, if you want to be a professional who succeeds.

You see, to your inner professional, practicing your profession without the appropriate credentials is as terrifying as walking down the red carpet stark naked!

  • Or performing brain surgery without being a doctor.
  • Or flying a plane without a pilot's license.

There's no getting around this, if you see yourself as a professional. So, if you're a coach who wants more clients and you're trying to do it without training and certification (the coaching profession's recognized credentials), then your inner professional is just trying to save you from disaster and humiliation.

You can thank it for that.

Your inner entrepreneur doesn't get this. It's busy running a cool business and it doesn't have time & money to spend on more training. And anyway, coaches don't really need certification, right?

Actually, according to a number of studies (See Coaching Sherpa), professional coaches without training & certification earn less, become successful more slowly, and/or drop out of the profession after a couple of years.

No surprise, eh?

You've got to get your inner professional and inner entrepreneur talking to each other. They need to work together so you can have the fun, ease and profits you planned on and the integrity you require.

Fortunately for you, there's something that will make both your inner professional and inner entrepreneur very, very happy.

It's called Certification Bootcamp. It's for practicing coaches, only, and it's short on both time and money, long on fun, and high on quality, value and results (Listen, I'm a professional, too).

The premiere edition of CERTIFICATION BOOTCAMP is coming up in a few weeks.

IT INCLUDES:

  • 10 TELE-WEBINAR CLASSES
  • 4 TELECONFERENCES
  • 1 LIVE EVENT

You can customize it and take only what you need.

It's fast and fun and priced so low, even your inner entrepreneur will love it. If you jump in quickly, you inner professional will breathe a sigh of relief and will finally, FINALLY, let you succeed like you know you are meant to.

NO MORE GOING NAKED.

This program is only open to a few good coaches and it's already filling, so if you're at all curious, check it out right now. Your inner professional will thank you.

If you have more questions, call us at +1-877-224-2780

Coach Certification Bootcamp


Check out Coach Certification Bootcamp here.

 

Topics: professional coach, Coach Certification, Become a Certified Coach, certified life coach, certified business coach, IAC, certified coach, advanced coach training

Can Coaching Be Wrecked By Cheap Coach Training Schools?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coach Training

 If you're reading this article then, obviously, you spend time online reading about coaching.

And if that's the case, then you must have noticed all those ads  that promise that you'll be a master certified coach in two days or 16 hours, or whatever. Sometimes, they also advertise their tuition, which is cheap, cheap, cheap.

You can imagine how those schools are regarded by real professional coaches. Mark Joyella (@CoachReporter), who writes for the Coaching Commons, tweeted about them (I'm paraphrasing), 'Sure and next weekend you can become a brain surgeon!'

I'm thinking those ads mainly appeal three types of people. Those who:

1. Think they already know how to coach (a.k.a. arrogant)

2. Are only interested in coaching for the money (a.k.a. greedy)

3. Are clueless (a.k.a. gullible)

Those who're attracted to us don't fit those descriptions, so I never considered weekend coach training schools our competition. 

But I reconsidered that when I heard that one of my most respected competitors, Barbra Sundquist, is closing her 'Become a Certified Coach' school at the end of this year [12-11-09 Update: Barbra isn't going out of business, but simply closing the doors of this particular program. See Barbra's comments in the comments section, below.]. Barbra cited a number of reasons, including rising competition from cheap, highly advertised, schools. That got me thinking...

What if the proliferation of bogus coach training schools drives out most or all of the legitimate schools?  Where does that leave the profession of coaching? Will the majority of coaches then be unskilled or disreputable? Will the reputation of coaching drop to the point that real professional coaches quit?

I'm not trying to be an alarmist here. You can't prevent a potential problem if you're not willing to look at it. Coaching has enjoyed incredible freedom in the past 20 years. But the success and freedom of coaching has sometimes attracted people with the wrong motivations.

I admit, 2009 has been a challenging year for School of Coaching Mastery, as well. Several of our students didn't pay their bills. But that forced me to consider just how committed I am to coach training and I realized that if it came down to choosing between my home or my school, I'd give up the house!

So I'm in it for the long haul. But what about you? If you're committed to coaching, then you're probably just as disturbed as I am about the proliferation of schools and coaches who don't cast a good light on this profession.

What do you think needs to be done about it? Do coaching organizations like the IAC and ICF have a responsibility to do anything? Do they even have the authority to do anything? Or do coaches themselves need to take more responsibility for the image of the profession?

There's lots of hang-wringing going on in private forums, but coaching is about action. Do you need to take action?

Please post your views on this in the area below and if coaching is a really important issue for you, please also share this article with the social sharing tools, above. 

Topics: coach training, School of Coaching Mastery, become a coach, Coach Training Programs, coach, Become a Certified Coach, coach training schools, Barbra Sundquist, IAC

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