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Coaching Tip: Why Your Clients Don't Change and How You Can Help

Posted by Julia Stewart

Stages of Change Image

Last week, I posted an image similar to the one above, with a physician telling a patient to make too many changes in too short a time, on our Facebook Page.

I commented on that post that effective coaches would know why the patient pictured was unlikely to do any of it. A page member asked for details, so here you go.

Virtually everything a coach does during a coaching session is designed to help the client gain awareness and then take action toward a goal the client wants to reach.

Everything. We don't always talk about it that way, but that's what it all boils down to. So if you want to help someone make changes, learn to use the tools below. They are effective in coaching and can be effective in other situations, as well.

A short list of tools coaches use to get clients into action...

  1. Acknowledge where they are, right now. In positive psychology coaching, this falls under the banner of Active and Constructive Responding. This strengthens relationships, reduces resistance, and causes people to feel more receptive to ideas and suggestions.
  2. Raise the positivity level sufficiently. People are more open, creative, and resourceful when there is sufficient, but not excessive, positivity in the conversation. They tend to feel more confident about trying new things and making changes.
  3. Ask instead of tell. Find out more about where the client is, right now, and what they want to change. People are always more likely to act on their ideas than on yours.
  4. Focus on assets. No need to ignore problems; just don't make the problems bigger or more important that the client and their  assets. These include the client's strengths, their support system, having enough time and money, etc.
  5. Let the client lead. This is big. We sometimes think we know what the client needs to change, but that's less helpful than you might imagine. The client is always the expert when it comes to their own life, so let them take the lead.
  6. Create a brand new habitat. The client's old world supports their old way of being. To really change, they need their world to change with them. Create a habitat that evolves them in the direction they want to go.
  7. Don't expect action right away. Sometimes a client isn't even close to being ready. According to James Prochaska, people go through "stages of change" and there are three stages before they even get to action. Those stages include Precontemplation, which is probably where the patient above is, when they haven't even been thinking about changing, or they may feel resistant because somebody is pushing them to change (Their doctor? Spouse? Friends?), or they feel discouraged because they've tried to change and weren't successful. Then there's Contemplation, where they're thinking about changes, maybe even researching them, but aren't ready to act, yet. You may hear a lot of "shoulds" at this stage. Finally there's Preparation, when they're making necessary plans to set themselves up for success, such as changing their schedule, notifying other stake holders of the change, learning new techniques, or gathering equipment. Only after all that is someone able to actively change and, even then, they probably can't change everything at once. Getting a client ready to change is part of coaching them to change.

So jumping in with "good" advice, and expecting that to do the trick, could do more harm than good.

If you're curious about coaching or contemplating becoming one, download the free Become a Coach eBook. If you want to learn more, or are ready to take action, consider joining the Certified Competent Coach Course:

Become a Certified Competent Coach

Topics: Coaching Tip, positive psychology coaching, Positive Psychology, become a coach, certified competent coach, acknowledgment, free ebook

Coach Training Schools vs Graduate Schools That Teach Coaching

Posted by Julia Stewart

coach training schools by papanooms.jpg

If you want to become a coach, your next question is: How?


There are thousands of ways to do it, but getting some coach training will help. Depending on the type of training and the source, it may help a lot.

You could get your training on the cheap via YouTube, Podcasts, MOOCs, and other free coach training. This is usually the path chosen by coaching tourists and coaching tourists don't get coaching clients. If you want to coach as a hobby, that's fine. But if you're like most coaches,you need a well-designed program that gives you the skills, knowledge, and professional experience you need to step into professional coaching quickly and attract plenty of clients.

This leaves you with a choice between joining a professional coach training school or a graduate school that teaches some coaching. A prospective coach asked me about this choice the other day and here's a comparison chart. Some coaches actually choose to do both.

PROFESSIONAL COACH TRAINING SCHOOL   
GRADUATE SCHOOL COACHING PROGRAM   

Usually costs under $10,000

Usually costs over $10,000

Prepares coaches for professional coaching quickly

Educates students and gives some professional preparation

Usually offers coach certification

Usually offers a degree or certificate

Usually takes a year or so of part-time work

Usually takes a year or so of full-time work.

You can build your business or career while training

You may not have time for a business or career

Should be approved for at least 100 hours by the ICF

Should be approved for at least 100 hours by the ICF

Here are important questions to ask yourself:

  • How much money do I want to invest in my career?
  • How soon do I want to be coaching professionally?
  • What's the school's track record for graduating coaches with successful careers?
  • If certification is the preferred credential in coaching, do I still need/want a degree?
  • Can I afford to take time off from work to study coaching?
  • How much will it cost me to delay my coaching career?
  • Is my training program approved by the leading accreditor of coach training schools (ICF) for at least 100 hours?
  • Are there any travel expenses I need to consider in order to graduate from this coach training program?
  • If I want both professional training and grad school, which will give me what I want right now?

To get more questions answered, download the free Become a Coach eBook.

It offers tips on choosing the best coach training school for you:

Get a free Become a Coach eBook here.

Topics: coach training schools, coaching school, become a coach, coaching business

Life Coaching and Post-Healing Society

Posted by Julia Stewart

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There is a broad assumption in our society that many, if not most people need to heal, as in restore health or be made whole. And while healing is a phenomenal process that can restore life to millions of people, and for which I am most grateful, I believe we are increasingly moving into a "post-healing society" and I'm not alone.

Post-healing is itself an extraordinary milestone in human evolution, which deserves to be talked about and clarified, so we all know when we are experiencing it and so we can have more of it.

I'm sometimes surprised by people who are unaware of even the possibility of a post-healing society.

So what am I talking about when I say, "post-healing society?" I'm calling it "post-healing", because at the start of something that is this complex and revolutionary, it's helpful to make a distinction between newly emerging conditions and that which went before, gave rise to the new, and is now distinct from it. Over time, I believe a different name will emerge that describes more fully what "post-healing" really is, but for now, let's look at how it is different from healing society.

Post-healing society and healing society currently overlap and will do so for the foreseeable future.

I'm talking largely about psychological healing here, but body, mind, heart, and spirit are so entwined that that distinction may not be altogether important. In fact, appreciating the inherent wholeness and interconnectedness of body, mind, heart, and spirit is a feature of post-healing.

From a psychological perspective, healing society arose and reached its zenith in the second half of the 20th Century when defining mental illnesses, cataloging their symptoms, and finding effective treatments for them became the primary focus of the fields of psychology, psychoanalysis, and psychiatry. As treatments became more effective, the impact on society was seismic. People started to understand their own differences and difficulties, as well as those of others, learned to ask for what they needed, began to experience wellness, spoke up for their rights to be treated equally and with respect, and for many, to a large degree, suffering was diminished.

When there is less suffering, new possibilities emerge.

But by the end of the 20th Century, many professionals seemed to believe there was something psychologically wrong with us all. I heard one psychologist say that everyone had something, either a neurosis, personality disorder, or psychosis; or else they had addictions, brain damage, or other neurological disorders. Another told me that in therapy, neurotic is what you want to be, because everything else is worse.

So what is healthy if everyone is ill, including apparently (since everyone has something), the therapists, themselves?

I wasn't the only one wondering about this, because positive psychology officially emerged in the 1990's as a sub-specialty of psychological research. Positive psychology is specifically concerned with studying people who are doing well, who enjoy well-being and are flourishing, so that others can learn from them and enjoy greater well-being, also.

The pioneers of positive psychology, notably Martin Seligman, went so far as to declare that the goal of positive psychology was to render itself obsolete. In other words, that the larger field of psychology would return to its original intent and cover the entire range of human behavior, rather than just focusing on what was wrong.

Here's a real-world example of post-healing. Seligman was asked by the United States Armed Services to help returning servicemen and women who have developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a debilitating illness that is particularly difficult to heal. After surveying a large number of soldiers, Seligman's team found that a small percentage, who had been exposed to many of the same horrors of war as those who developed PTSD, actually seemed to grow through the experience.

The key to growth rather than illness? It was the story they told themselves about it, in other words, the meaning they attached to the event. If a soldier told him or herself that they were at fault for the deaths of their buddies, or that they should have been able to save a friend, they were more likely to develop PTSD. If on the other hand, they told themselves that they must have been spared for a reason and that now they had an important purpose to serve with their lives, they were more likely to experience what Seligman calls, Post Traumatic Growth.

Now there is training for soldiers that can help them grow through trauma, instead of being damaged by it.

We could call this pre-healing, since it precedes the need for healing. I call it a post-healing intervention, because it comes from a mindset that sees the limitations of healing and, instead of allowing a problem to continue and then waiting to heal people from it, it has found a solution that eliminates the need for healing (An even more advanced post-healing society would eliminate the need for war.)

As an aside, I want to mention that 20th Century psychology has focused, from a scientific and medical standpoint, on many of the same issues that were once thought to belong to the realm of spirit, spirituality, and religion. Afterall, its name is derived from the Greek, "psykhe", meaning soul, spirit, or mind.

Today's "spiritual-but-not-religious" movement focuses on healing almost as much as the psychological field.

But modern spirituality also focuses on the transcendent, trans-personal, upon enlightenment, and other lofty states. Like the field of psychology that is envisioned by Seligman, spirituality focuses on the full range of human behaviors and experiences.

An example of post-healing spirituality is Zen Master, Genpo Roshi's, brilliant integration of voice dialogue therapy with modern Zen, called Big Mind. The goal of Big Mind isn't healing, but Buddhist enlightenment. It begins with the assumption that the student is already whole, complete, and perfect; including the parts s/he would like to eliminate!

An example is what Roshi calls a "disowned voice", a part of us that we judge negatively and may want to eliminate and that can become a problematic shadow. One such voice is what he calls, "The Damage". Most of us who seek out healing would love to eliminate what we consider damaged in ourselves. Some of us go from therapist to therapist, spiritual healer to spiritual healer, for years hoping to finally be healed.

Don't go to Roshi for healing, though. Instead, he completely reframes the role of The Damage. He will tell you that you are already whole, complete, and perfect, including The Damage, which is perfectly damaged. It's perfect, because it has accepted all the slings and arrows of your life, so the rest of you can remain undamaged. No more, no less.

What would you call someone who took a bullet for you? Your hero?

The Damage is a hero who accepts all the damage we would otherwise endure, allowing the rest of our selves to remain whole, complete, and perfect. It deserves to be honored and embraced. Instead, we cause suffering for ourselves by framing it as imperfect, not good enough, broken, or sick. When we go through life believing we need to heal, we sometimes keep old wounds open, we feel less than, we sometimes give away our power to healers, or we may use our condition to be less than fully responsible for ourselves.

Once you embrace that you're whole, complete, and perfect, there are no more excuses.

I'm not suggesting that these two examples of what I call, post-healing, are what everyone needs. Remember, both the healing society and post-healing society will exist side-by-side for quite a while, if not forever. I am suggesting that healing has opened the door to post-healing.

I'll use myself as another example. As someone who grew up in the proverbial dysfunctional family, I worked with a number of therapists over the years, believing there was something wrong with me. They made a big difference. But one of the most dramatic shifts that I made with any therapist was with the last, who at one point said, "Read my lips, you're healthy." Accepting that there was nothing seriously wrong with me was like waking from a dream. Suddenly, so much more was possible. I felt confident and believed in myself.

Of course, I wouldn't have gotten there without the help of some wonderful healers. And that's my point. Therapy got me ready for post-healing. And it got me ready for coaching, too.

Life coaching is, as far as I know, the first and perhaps only profession that is completely post-healing.

Life coaching and its siblings, including business coaching, executive coaching, and more, don't focus on healing clients, but rather assist clients to shift into more resourceful, and some would say, transformative mind-states that help them see solutions to problems and pathways to goals, while inspiring them to take action and create the outcomes that are best for themselves and others.

We see our clients as whole, complete, and perfect. We believe in them from the very start. We help them reframe limiting beliefs, integrate disowned voices, and experience their interconnectedness with others. As a result, they become more confident, believe in themselves, evolve into who they want to be, and create valuable changes for themselves and others. It's both an honor and an interdevelopmental experience to work with people who are discovering their true selves for the very first time.

They step into their greatness and go on to change the world for the better.

Imagine a world where all people not only heal, but reach their full potential and are inspired to transform the world. It's not a dream. Because of the good work done by healers, clients are becoming ready for post-healing and coaches go on to make transformative possibilities real everyday.

Would you like to join the post-healing society?

Find a coach here. Or become a coach. Your first step toward professional coaching might be to download the  FREE Become a Coach eBook.

Get a free Become a Coach eBook here.

Topics: Genpo Roshi, Big Mind Big Heart, Life Coaching, Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman, post-healing, become a coach, free ebook, business coach, executive coach

COACH: Step Away From That Webinar!

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching webinarFree webinars (also tele-summits, teleclasses, teleseminars, teleconferences) are an incredible way to learn amazing new stuff from top-notch leaders.

Most new coaches and a lot of not-so-new coaches love to spend time on fantastic webinars. The reasons are 5-fold:

1. Webinars are a cheap, easy, and convenient way to connect with like-minded people from around the world to talk about stuff your family and neighbors may not give a hoot about.

2. As a new coach, you have a lot to learn. What better way to learn it than to listen to the experts tell you how they did it and how you should do it.

3. Practically everyday, another not-to-be-missed webinar series is launched that you simply must attend. Often, these webinars are free, so how can you say, 'No'?

4. You can sit in your bedroom, wear your underwear, pet the cat, drink coffee, and answer email; all while you learn from the world's greatest thought leaders!

5. (Biggest reason) As long as you're taking webinars, you're moving forward on your path to becoming a successful coach, because you're learning and growing, right?

If you're like thousands of other coaches, probably not.

Free webinars are the heroin of coach training: Cheap, available everywhere, trendy (for a while), and incredibly easy to get addicted to. That last point explains why they are so available: Because people get addicted to them, they make  perfect marketing vehicles.

The reason I say you are not moving forward with your business when you are watching webinars, is for one simple reason: You can't build your business that way. You just can't.

And if you're like many of the newbie coaches that I know, the real reason you spend so much time hanging out on webinars is that taking steps to build your coaching business is scary, uncertain, and you are afraid of making mistakes.

Webinars are the coach's favorite excuse for procrastination.

Sorry. The truth isn't always pretty. What can you do about your webinar addiction? Well, until they come with Surgeon General's Warnings or alarms, red flags and flashing lights, you need a plan. And you must stick to your plan. Here are a few points that might help:

  • Figure out how many client hours you want to be coaching each week.
  • Double that number and you have the number of hours each week you need to spend on building your coaching business.
  • Mark those hours off on your calendar and use them to actively build your business. Daily.
  • None of those business-building hours should be spent in webinars.
  • Consider time spent on webinars as entertainment time. Make that time a reward for genuine business-building.
  • Limit your hours in webinars, just as you would limit a child's time watching television.
  • Don't worry if you miss a webinar program. If one coach/guru/marketer is doing something cool this month, you can bet another will do it next month. You'll never miss a thing. Seriously.
Some webinars will benefit you more than others. Prioritize those that are part a progressive (usually paid) program that actively teaches you how to do something you need to know, gets you into action, and gives you feedback on how you're progressing. Also prioritize those programs that you lead, yourself, those that you actively participate in, and those that teach you something you need to know this week, because you are applying the lessons right away. 

Have a big vision for your coaching business and actively create it in reality.

Unless your big coaching vision is of you sitting in your bedroom, wearing your underwear, while you pet the cat, drink coffee, and answer email, step away from the webinars!

If you truly love to coach and have the courage to build a business, but need a plan that doesn't require endless webinars, consider Coach 100 Business Success. It comes with some webinars that will teach you how to fill your coaching business with clients, but you'll spend most of your time coaching and getting clients. 87% who complete the program have full coaching practices! Download the Coach 100 free eBook here.

Fill Your Coaching Business with Coach 100

 

Photo by jerine at flickr creative commons.

Topics: become a coach, Coach 100, coaching clients, make a living as a life coach, Free, Coach Training Programs, coach, teleclass, how to become a coach, coaching businesses

Should a Highly Sensitive Person Become a Coach?

Posted by Julia Stewart

highly sensitive person photo by erwan hesry

Are you a highly sensitive person? Have you wondered if you should become a coach? If so, then here are some things to consider...

According to Elaine N. Aron, who wrote the book, The Highly Sensitive Person, traits might include:

  • Being easily overwhelmed by loud noises, bright lights, etc.
  • Being attracted to subtle flavors, sounds, sights, and more.
  • Needing to protect your energy from angry people, violence, coarse language.
  • Preferring solitude, quiet, natural settings, comfort.
  • Being introverted or shy.
  • Being overwhelmed or stressed by too much busy-ness, pressure, or complexity.
  • Being self-reflective with a rich inner world.

Looking beyond Aron's writing, multiple qualities or states might correlate with being highly sensitive, such as:

  • High intelligence.
  • A high level of empathy.
  • Highly creative.
  • Highly intuitive.
  • ADHD.
  • Depression or anxiety.
  • A tendency to develop chronic illnesses, such as auto-immune disorders, and allergies.

According to the journal, Intelligence, highly intelligent people take in more information, which enables them to do well in life, but may also lead to more physical and mental disorders. In other words, it's a gift as well as a curse, which may allow you to notice far more, but may also lead to mood disorders or chronic health problems.

If this is you, even if you don't possess all the above features, this probably feels familiar.

So should you, as a highly sensitive person, become a coach? In the past, highly sensitive people sometimes joined cloistered religious orders, or became hermits, to avoid the onslaughts of life. Or they might have buried themselves in rewarding work, or became artists, or psychotherapists.

In today's world, coaching is an ideal profession for the highly sensitive person. Intelligence, empathy, and intuition are vital tools for the coach. Treating clients with respect and sensitivity is necessary to developing trust. Being curious and simply noticing more are wonderful tools for coaching. Working from home allows highly sensitive and introverted coaches to shelter themselves from unnecessary intrusion, while still being able to use our sensitive gifts to help others.

Plus, coaching is one of the few professions that requires you to take great care of yourself, because you can't be a great coach when your own needs aren't well met.

So if you are a highly sensitive person, you may want to think seriously about becoming a coach. It could be perfect for you. To find out more, download the free Become a Coach eBook, below. It will help you understand the opportunities and challenges of becoming a coach. School of Coaching Mastery can help you become a coach with this course.

Get a free Become a Coach eBook here.

 

 

Topics: become a coach, highly sensitive, intuition, curiosity

Do You Need Life Coach Certification? What 2572 Coaches Have to Say

Posted by Julia Stewart

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If you're thinking about becoming a business, executive, or life coach, then you natually have some questions, such as:

Here are some useful statisitics gathered from 2,572 coaches who visited our coach training website and participated in an online survey.

  • 86.26% say coaching is their career.
  • 43.89% are life or business coaches. 56.11% are divided between other types of coaching.
  • 92.36% want to work for themselves.
  • 75.94% want to be the best they can be, 17.71% just want to be good enough, and 6.35% don't care.
  • 79.95% say becoming a certified coach would help them feel more confident.
  • 75.42% say that confidence would help them sign on more clients.
  • 72.49% say they want to be certified coaches.

If you're like most coaches, you want to make coaching your career; you want to work for yourself; you want to be the best you can be; you'll feel more confident when you are certified; that will help you attract more clients; and last, you want to be a certified coach.

The good news is yes, you can get coach certification online. The best coach certifications are approved by the ICF, and the best way to get certified is to get coach training.

Get life coach certification online in just 8 weeks. Join the ICF Approved Certified Competent Coach Course:

Become a Certified Competent Coach Quickly

 

Topics: life coach certification, Become a Certified Coach, become a coach, ICF, business coach, become a life coach

Get a Coach if You Want to Do Something Great [Video]

Posted by Julia Stewart

Watch this fascinating TED Talk called, "Want to get great at something? Get a coach".

How one physician became much better at what he does and how his research proved that coaching improves outcomes. By Atul Gawande, this is moving, inspiring, and informative:

 

Want to get great at something? Find a Coach Here.

Want to become a coach? Get the FREE Become a Coach eBook or join our upcoming course for beginners.

Get a free Become a Coach eBook here.

Topics: get a coach, become a coach, coaching research, TED, video

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

Posted by Julia Stewart

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

Here are answers...

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

It might mean:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get a free Become a Coach eBook here.

 

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

Do You Need to Be Certified to Become a Coach?

Posted by Julia Stewart

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

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

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

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

#1 Reason you need to become a certified coach:

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

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

Do I need to be certified to become a coach

#2 Reason you need to become a certified coach:

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

#3 Reason you need to become a certified coach:

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

#4 Reason you need to become a certified coach:

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

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#5 Reason you need to become a certified coach:


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

Do you need coach certification

#6 Reason you need to become a certified coach:

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

#7 Reason you need to become a certified coach:

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

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

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

Given all the good reasons why coaches, especially new coaches, benefit from coach certification, I sometimes wonder why a few coaches persist in telling new coaches they don't need it. Do they secretly want new coaches to fail, so there will be less competition? Are they terrified that the march toward professionalism will leave them in the dust? I don't know. But whenever I write about certification, some disgruntled coach leaves an angry, jeering, or paranoid comment on this blog, or on Facebook, or LinkedIn. UPDATE: See examples of this type of response, below, in comments #5, 6, & 10.

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

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

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

Become a Certified Competent Coach

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

How to Become a Life Coach

Posted by Julia Stewart

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

I call it: A Tale of Two Life Coaches.


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


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


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


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


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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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