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Why Tony Robbins Can't Pass ICF Coaching Certification

Posted by Julia Stewart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'd certify Anthony Robbins.

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

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

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

ICF Credential vs. IAC Life Coach Certification

Posted by Julia Stewart

certified_coach_goldribbon.jpgI interviewed my friend and colleague, Donna Steinhorn, IAC MMC, ICF PCC, on the difference between ICF and IAC life coach certification. Unfortunately, the recording was no good, which is one of the of the many reasons that attending live is always the best policy.

The feedback from coaches who attended the interview has been awesome. So I'm going to add a few highlights here, in case you missed it.

The two organizations, themselves, are of course, the ultimate authorities on what they do and they change their policies from time to time. So if you're looking for highly detailed info, visit their respective web sites. The ICF's is coachfederation.org and the IAC's is certifiedcoach.org.

Donna has been deeply involved in coach training and certification for many years and is one of only a handful of coaches who have both ICF and IAC coach certifications, which is why I chose her for this interview ~ that, and the fact that Donna is fun to talk with.

Both Donna and I have been on the coach training and certification bandwagon for eternity (Donna is a member of SCM's Board of Advisers) - and we're both rebels, so we have a shared skepticism, as well as support of these two leading professional organizations and their respective credentialing processes.

We began our conversation by noting that there are limitations to both ICF and IAC coach certifications. Each has its own coaching competencies (or masteries, as the IAC calls theirs). Each definitely has its own coaching style, which you need to be able to demonstrate. Neither style encompasses every possible way to coach brilliantly; they're just doing the best they can.

So why are there two professional coaching organizations and certifications? Actually, there are zillions of them - some completely bogus - but these currently are the most respected. Oddly, the same man, Thomas J. Leonard, the 'Father of Professional Coaching', founded both the IAC and ICF. Thomas founded the ICF in 1995 and later, the IAC in 2003, just before he passed away.

ICF credentialing, as it's called, emphasizes coach training, mentoring and experience, as well as an online test and demonstration of coaching skill. Thomas sought to streamline the process of certification with the IAC, which emphasizes the results of coach training, mentoring and experience, rather than the documentation of it. This makes the IAC certification process a bit simpler, but it's by no means easier, because coaches need to demonstrate masterful coaching skills. Only about 25% of coaches who apply for IAC Coach Certification pass on the first try.

The ICF has three levels of coaching credentials: The Associate Credentialed Coach (ACC), The Professional Credentialed Coach (PCC), and the Master Credentialed Coach (MCC). The IAC currently has only one certification, the Certified Coach (IAC-CC), but from what I've observed, the level of coaching skill required by the IAC is roughly comparable to the ICF MCC. (UPDATE: the IAC added another 'intermediate' level of certification, as well.)

Finally, the ICF has two pathways for credentialing: The portfolio route allows you to get your coach training anywhere and the accreditation path requires you to study at an ICF accredited coach training school. The IAC doesn't require demonstration of coach training, just the results of it: masterful coaching skills. I know most IAC Certified Coaches and I believe all of them have had substantial coach training and/or mentor coaching. Donna says there may have been one coach who passed without being trained.

I asked Donna if there were any hidden costs to getting certified by either organization. She mentioned the mentor coaching requirement by the ICF, which would cost you about $350 - 400 per month, but Donna doesn't consider that a hidden cost, since all coaches need to have their own coaches at all times. Personally, I don't think anyone needs a coach every minute of their life, but coaches are foolish if they don't work with successful coaches of their own. I worked with two excellent mentor coaches while I prepared for IAC Coach Certification.

What, in Donna's opinion, is the best benefit of getting certified? She considers the coach directory on the ICF website, which only lists ICF credentialed coaches, to be by far the best benefit, because it brings her a steady stream of potential clients. We agreed that the IAC would do well to offer such a benefit to its own membership.

Finally, which coaches need certification most? Donna says corporate coaches and perhaps executive coaches, since companies usually want to see credentials. She doesn't believe life coaches need to be certified, but I've seen anecdotal evidence that clients are screening life coaches more carefully than they used to. Even new life coaches are telling me that potential clients ask about training and certification.

School of Coaching Mastery's Certified Positive Psychology Coach® program prepares coaches for ICF credentialing.

So there you have the Readers Digest version of the ICF Credentialing vs. IAC Life Coach Certification interview.

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Topics: certification requirements, coach training, coaching clients, ICF, Coach Certification, Thomas Leonard, IAC Certified Coach, certified coaches, Donna Steinhorn, IAC, certified coach, coach credential

ICF Master Certified Coach: Join Me on the Journey

Posted by Julia Stewart

Master Certified Coach

The ICF's Master Certified Coach (MCC) is generally considered the ultimate in coach certifications. And since I run School of Coaching Mastery, it seems fitting that I have that credential. For the nearly fifteen years that I've been coaching, though, I really didn't need it. Here's a short history of coach certifications and why the ICF's is more important than ever.

Way back in the beginning, when Thomas Leonard started the IAC (called the International Association of Certified Coaches, or IACC, back then), I was only interested in getting that credential. Despite Thomas' passing in 2003, the IAC did certify coaches and I got to be among the first certifiers (via CoachVille) and was eventually given the title of Lead Certifier for the Thomas Leonard Coaching School, where we certified most IAC-CCs from 2003 through 2005, until the IAC split from CoachVille. But after that split, IAC certification gradually slowed to a trickle. Without Thomas in the lead, the IAC just didn't have the visibility it needed to fulfill its promise.

Of course, the ICF was founded by the same Thomas Leonard years earlier (1995, making it a ripe old 20 years, now). Its certifications (ACC, PCC, and MCC) required way more hoops to jump through, including training hours, mentor coaching, coaching hours, etc., but it already had a powerful toe-hold by the time the upstart IAC came around and the IAC never slowed it down.

I think the competition actually has been good for everyone; the ICF has now made some important improvements to their certification process, so it's more respectable than ever. And although other not-for-profit coach certifiers have come around, such as the Center for Credentialing and Education, with its Board Certified Coach credential, the ICF is still the leader in coaching certifications.

In the meantime, the IAC seems to be licensing schools more than it's certifying coaches. Just today, their newsletter, the IAC Voice, mentioned three new school applications and one new certified coach. That's been par for the course for several years now and it's an unworkable business model. If the IAC licenses more schools to teach its Masteries each year than it certifies coaches, that means, on average, each of those schools has a chance to graduate one fraction of a certified coach per year. See what I mean? Why bother?

School of Coaching Mastery was the first school to be licensed by the IAC worldwide, but with so few coaches interested in IAC certification and even fewer succeeding at getting certified by the IAC, it has started to feel a little like false advertising to call ourselves IAC Licensees, because our students just aren't getting certified by the IAC, anymore (so I'm thinking about dropping our IAC license next year).

Our students are getting certified by the ICF, however.

That brings me back to my MCC journey. Although I've had the IAC's master-level certification for years, now that I have an ICF-approved coach training program, the ICF wants me to get certified by them.

More importantly, after all these years, I feel like I really want this credential. So I'm on my way and using my love of learning to dive deep into the ICF approach to masterful coaching.

Curious what it takes to get the MCC? I have on good authority that they only pass 7% of coaches who apply for the MCC, so statistically, I have a 93% chance of failing the first time. That's okay, because there's a 100% chance I'll keep sending them coaching sessions until they pass me, so that MCC pin is nearly mine (at least in my head).

To keep myself honest and on track (accountability, anyone?), I'm writing about my experiences and discoveries in this blog. I'll keep you posted.

Want to learn more about becoming a coach and getting certified? Get the "Become a Coach!" eBook, below.

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Topics: ICF, Coach Certification, master coach, BCC, MCC, IAC, certified coach

2014 Executive Coaching Survey: Neuroscience Soars

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching with Neuroscience

Interest in neuroscience as a part of business, executive, and life coaching is soaring. Sherpa Coaching just released the results of their 2014 annual executive coaching survey, and noticing a trend toward neuroscience in coaching, they for the first time, asked questions about neuroscience and coaching in their survey:

  • Should neuroscience have a role in coaching? 

  • How much should executive coaches know about neuroscience? 

  • How much should clients know about neuroscience?

  • Does a working knowledge of neuroscience alter coaches' credibility?

Sherpa defines neuroscience as "a combination of medicine, applied science and research that explains human behavior and the way it changes."

I'd define it differently: Neuroscience studies what goes on in the brain during thoughts, behaviors and emotions, often using technology, such as EEGs, PET scans, or fMRIs. It discovers the physical correlates that underly human psychology. 

In any case, here are some of the survey responses from coaches on the topic of neuroscience and coaching, beginning with a quote from one respondent:

"Justin Kennedy, professor of neuroscience at South Africa‟s University of Pretoria, says: 'With the proper knowledge and training, you can use your conscious mind to change your physical brain. Really change it, so the way you think, the way you act, the way you feel can all be made better.' He tells us about neuroplasticity, which refers to the brain‟s ability to change and adapt. 'You really are in control, and you really do have choices. When you think new thoughts, you are actually changing the geography of your brain, changing the electric patterns that create and carry thoughts, changing the chemicals that control moods and energy levels.'

  • 76% of executive coaches say that neuroscience should have a role in executive coaching. 
  • 62% of executive coaches believe they and their peers should have a full understanding or at least a working knowledge of neuroscience. Both internal and external coaches agree. Female coaches support this notion more often than male coaches do, by about a 10% margin. 
  • 34% say their clients should have a full understanding or at least a working knowledge of neuroscience. Internal coaches favor this at a slightly higher rate than external coaches do. 
  • 49% say a background in neuroscience improves a coaches‟ credibility. Less than 10% feel it is a negative.

School of Coaching Mastery recently launched its new Introduction to Coaching with Neuroscience course in response to the rise in coaching with neuroscience. It's part of the new Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program. We explore the thrilling possibilities of coach-assisted neuroplasiticity and the underlying reasons why positive psychology has the power to help people be happier and more successful - often in very surprising ways.

Learn more about coaching with neuroscience and positive psychology:


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Topics: business coach, executive coaching, Coach Training Programs, Life Coaching, certified coach, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching, coaching with neuroscience

5 Important Reasons Your Coaching Business Needs Science Now

Posted by Julia Stewart

Science of Coaching

Coaches are advanced communicators. We're positive, spiritual, creative, and empathic. So what do we need science for?

Everything. 

Professional coaching has changed dramatically over the 20 years of its existance. Early coaches and their clients were pioneers and early adopters. Those are very special people. They got an intuitive sense that coaching was "right" and they had the courage to dive in and act on their intuition.

But like every profession before it, coaching has grown up. This brings good news, and depending on your point of view, maybe some bad.

Here are five important reasons your coaching business needs science, now:

  1. Coaching has gone mainstream and the Wild West is over - this means there are many more potential coaching clients, but what they want has changed. The days of dreaming up an awesome-sounding coaching program - without first testing to see if it actually works - are over.
  2. Potential clients are skeptical of the hype and unproven claims of entrepreneurial coaches. Coaching is still unregulated, which makes the barrier of entry quite low compared to other professions, such as medicine, yet coaching fees are quite high. Unfortunately, this means there are more ineffective coaches than effective ones. Stories of clients who've been burned by bad coaches are everywhere. It is imperative that you distinguish yourself from "coaches" who don't know how to coach.
  3. Potential clients are less likely to be attracted to New Age or Consciousness messages. Also known as the LOHAS market (Lifestyles Of Health and Sustainability), and sometimes derided as the "Unicorns and Rainbows Folks", these were the early adopters of coaching in days gone by. Yes, those movements are growing, but they're still a tiny segment of society. Their members often have limited disposable cash. In other words, they may want coaching, but can't always pay for it. If your ideal clients are yoga teachers, massage therapists, Reiki masters, vegetarians, organic farmers, etc.; you know what I'm talking about. However, as the coaching profession penetrates deeply into the mainstream, we find huge numbers of different potential client who are interested in being happier and more successful and can afford to hire coaches - but they're looking for very different marketing messages than the LOHAS folks. There are simply too many life coaches today for them all to be tarketing LOHAS.
  4. Today's potential coaching clients want evidence and proof that the service you offer can truly help them. You don't need to be a research scientist to gather evidence that this stuff works, but a little science goes a long way in today's competitive coaching market.
  5. The science of coaching offers the evidence and proof you need to attract today's coaching clients. What worked ten years ago has changed. What will work in the next decade will be dramatically different.

No, you don't have to become something you're not in order to add science to your coaching. If you're like me and the big-picture, creative, communicative, empathic world of coaching comes naturally, (but the detailed, linear, siloed, objective world of science? Not so much), then becoming a researcher will never be for you.

Good. There are lots of researchers in the world. What we need now are more effective coaches.

That's why I created a series of science-based coaching courses that are designed for coaches, not scientists. They translate the research you need to know on what really helps people be, do, and have what they really want; and present it in easy-to-digest formats specifically for people who think like coaches. Now you can learn what you need to know rather quickly, without wading through mountains of information that doen't pertain to your coaching.

These science-based coaching courses are now woven together into our Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program, which gives you the info and tools you need to start coaching your clients with science, plus the data and credentials to communicate your authenticity as a positive psychology coach

Science of CoachingApparently, the International Coach Federation (ICF) agrees with me that science is
the next big thing in coaching, because its next ICF Advance conference in May is called, The Science of Coaching.

It's a perfect fit for the Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program, so School of Coaching Mastery is sponsoring one of the free introductory webinars that will precede the conference. By the way, we're applying for ICF approval for the Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program, so coaches who complete it will automatically become ICF ACCs.

Then there's the Institute of Coaching, affiliated with Harvard. They're devoted to research into coaching and positive psychology. Science is where the most exciting developments are occurring in the coaching profession. 

If you'd like to learn more about Why Your Coaching Business Must Have Science, watch the webinar video by that name. It's free.

Want to know more about becoming a Certified Positive Psychology Coach? Click the button below and fill out the form to get the latest on this brand-new coach-training program: 

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Topics: professional coach, coaching business, professional coaching, ICF, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Institute of Coaching, certified coach, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching, Science of Coaching

Do You Need to Be Certified to Become a Coach?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Get Certified 4 resized 600

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 several large surveys of the coaching industry 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.

#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 flies in the face of 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. 

Competitive resized 600

#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 1,239 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 some coaches persist in telling new coaches they don't need it. Do they secretly want new coaches to fail, so there will be less competition? Are they terrified that the march toward professionalism will leave them in the dust? I don't know. But whenever I write about certification, some disgruntled coach leaves an angry, jeering, or paranoid comment on this blog, or on Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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

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

Ready to become a certified coach? Explore certification options here. Or check out our entry-level training and certification:

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

Top Ten Reasons You Need a Coach

Posted by Julia Stewart

Do I need a coach?

 

Have you ever wondered, "Do I need a coach?" If so, this post is for you...

 

I've put together 10 of the best reasons to find a coach. And when I say, "coach" I mean a certified life coach, business coach, executive coach, career coach, relationship coach, wellness coach, etc. Make sure your coach has a reputable certification and some excellent recommendations. Most good coaches do.

 

Here are the Top Ten Reasons You Need a Coach:

 

  1. Your life, business, career, relationship, etc., is already good, but you want it to be much, much better. Coaching isn't a crisis intervention. Nor is it a substitute for psychotherapy, or advice from a professional such as an attorney, accountant, physician, etc. If things are basically good, but you know they could be a lot better and you're ready for that to happen, that's a great time for you to hire a coach.
  2. You want YOU to be much, much better. Just because most things are going well, doesn't mean you don't want to improve them and that includes yourself. Many people hire a coach because they know they are built for more and they want to reach their full potential sooner, rather than later. This is different from being insecure. People derive considerable joy from stepping into their personal greatness. In fact, some people believe this is the single biggest source of happiness. Great coaches are experts at eliciting their clients' personal greatness.
  3. You're going through a big transition. Change can be difficult, even when it's what you want. Anytime you go through a big transition such as starting a new business or career, getting divorced, moving to a new city, going back to school, etc.; it's a great time to have someone who believes in you and who can help you make the most crucial choices as smoothly as possible. A good coach won't take you on unless they truly believe in you.
  4. You're a high achiever. This is the type of client I prefer to work with. High achievers tend to be driven and good at success, but they don't always create the success they really want. If you're ever wondered, "Is this all there is?", or "How did I get myself into this and how do I get out?", you could really benefit from working with a great coach. Everybody has a few blind spots. In fact, neuroscientists say we are unconscious of 95% of what goes on in our brains. Think about that! A good coach can see you as you are, without judgment, and help you be your best and achieve what you're built to do. Just ask Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, Who needs a coach?
  5. You want more meaning in your life. "Meaning" is what makes your heart sing. It generally comes from doing what matters most to you. This gets much easier when you understand what you most value and find cool  ways to express it. If life feels a little shallow, or you don't know why you do what you do anymore, you could really benefit from working with a great coach.
  6. You want to take better care of yourself. Most of us were taught to take pretty good care of ourselves. That's fine if you want an average life. But people who accomplish great things often need to upgrade their lives tremendously before that's even possible. They need clearer boundaries, a physical environment that's supportive, more organization (or an organized assistant), enough rest, great stress management, and/or people who "get" them and who are actively supportive. Otherwise, "death by a thousand cuts" will slice their dreams to shreds. Good coaches know how to assist their clients to get the wonderful self care they truly need, to step into the lives they were built to live.
  7. You want to upgrade the people in your life. I don'tknow about you, but I used to choose my friends according to who I had the most fun with. They weren't always the nicest or most evolved people. Eventually, I realized I wanted to upgrade my friendships. Then I realized (gulp), I needed to upgrade myself in order to attract the people I wanted to spend more time with. It wasn't that hard, because my coaches helped me do it. I set higher standards for myself and started living up to them. I found others who lived up to similar standards and we were naturally attracted to each other. Now when I choose friends, I find people who are supportive, really supportive. And they've got a friend for life.
  8. You want to make more money. It might seem crass to bring up money right after talking about meaning, values, high standards and good friends, but let's face it, a great life or career usually includes enough money, sometimes lots of it. Many people hire coaches when they want to upgrade their careers or launch a new business. The funny thing is that values, high standards, good relationships, etc., tend to make people more successful in many areas, including finances. One thing a great coach can do is help you get over any internal blocks (we're back to that unconscious 95%) you may have about making plenty of money. In fact, eliminating all sorts of internal blocks is one of the ways good coaches help their clients enjoy success of all kinds. 
  9. You're willing to invest in yourself. This is about so much more than money. Are you prepared to take the time, effort, risk and yes, money, in order to have the life or business of your dreams? Or are you satisfied playing small? Are you ready to stop talking about your dreams and start living them? If you had the right coach in your corner, would you have the courage to step into your greatness? Only you can answer that.
  10. You're a coach. If there's one profession where you really do need a coach most, it's coaching, itself. Although coaching is still one of the fastest growing careers, success with coaching is definitely not a slam dunk. Every successful coach I've ever known has had his/her own coaches, usually several. It helps us keep growing and stay out ahead of our clients. And it's an integrity issue for us; we can't expect people to hire us, when we're not willing to hire our own coaches. That's one reason I offer a coach training, plus mentor coaching package for coaches who are high achievers.

 

 

This is a recent testimonial from one of my clients:

 

"When I hired Julia as my mentor coach, I wasn't entirely sure I needed it. I had quite a bit of education and experience already and the industry does not require certified coaching credentials to be recognized as a coach. I wasn't sure it would be a good investment for the money. After coaching for 3 months with Julia and taking several classes at SCM, I can say that not only was this a great investment but possibly the best investment I have made in my career. I would recommend this to experienced coaches as well as inexperienced coaches. The value of the service far exceeds the cost, which makes this a savvy investment in YOU!" - Patrice Swenson, CCC, Winona, MN

 

I have a couple of spots open for new coaching clients. If you'd like to discuss how Elite Coaching for High Achievers might help you, click below:

 

Learn About Elite Coaching for High Achievers

Topics: business coach, life coach, executive coach, coach training, coaching clients, Coach Certification, Great Self Coaching, certified coach, FIND A COACH

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, IAC Certified Coach, Become a Certified Coach, life coach certification, certified life coach, certified business coach, IAC, Coaching Certificate, certified coach

IAC Announces New Master Certified Coach Designation

Posted by Julia Stewart

Certified CoachI received an email yesterday about my coach certification from the IAC. It said in part...

 

"We have some exciting news to share with you!

It’s no secret that achieving the IAC certification designation requires a very high level of coaching skill. We’ve heard it referred to as the “gold standard” in coaching and we have to agree. After much deliberation, the IAC has decided to honor those who have previously met these standards by calling IAC coaches what they truly are: Master Certified Coaches. Effective immediately, IAC-CC’s are now considered MCC’s, or Master Certified Coaches..."

The email goes on to say that based on an internal review, plus input from members and licensees, they've decided to create a new level of certification that recognizes a deep understanding of, and a skilled use of, the IAC Coaching Masteries(tm). Evidently this will become the new IAC Certified Coach designation.

That's good news. I've raised concerns before that the current certification seemed to be getting harder to pass. And while I'm all for high standards, I was concerned that too few coaches pass it. Most either get too busy with their businesses and forget about certification, or give up before they reach it, or get impatient and turn in their coaching recordings too soon and fail. Only 25% of applicants pass.

The truth is, you can be a very good coach and still not pass this extremely difficult certification (now called the MCC). So why not have another certification that recognizes that your skill level is higher than most other coaches (the new CC)?

I made a similar change to School of Coaching Mastery's coach certification a while back. Coaches who possess superior skills deserve to be recognized for that level of achievement.

There's a huge gap between competent coaching and masterful coaching. And that intermediate level of coaching, which I call the proficient level, deserves its own coach designation. Also, potential coaching clients deserve to know if they're working with a high-quality coach. The ICF has had three levels of coach certification for years.

If I understood an email from the new IAC President, Susan Meyer, the IAC may be  reviewing previous coaching submissions to see if they pass requirements for the new designation. If so, that could put smiles on the faces of some deserving coaches.

I'm glad the IAC is making this move and as my friend, Mattison Grey, said about getting the new MCC designation (on Twitter): "Instant upgrade. I'll take it!"

Want to learn more about the IAC and its coach certifications?

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Topics: ICF, Coach Certification, IAC-CC, IAC Certified Coach, IAC Coaching Masteries, certified coaches, master coach, Master Certified Coach, IAC, certified coach

How to Keep Your Life Coach Certification

Posted by Julia Stewart

Life Coach CertificationYesterday my IAC Chapter hosted a call on how to keep IAC Life Coach Certification.

Some coaches are dismayed to find that their life coach certification isn't a 'set it and forget it' deal. But if you read last week's How to Get Life Coach Certification, you know that the two respected certifying organizations are the ICF and the IAC. Both have requirements that you must fulfill in order to keep your credential.

This is typical in any profession and like it or not, life coaching is on the path to professionalism. Major research initiatives are under way to establish a body of knowledge behind the considerable anecdotal evidence that coaching really works.

Professionalism happens in every service offering that succeeds, from medicine, to psychotherapy, to personal training and it's inevitable in coaching.

You can resist, or you can be more curious. The latter is more fun.

Here are the basic requirements by the ICF and IAC in order to keep keep your life coach credentials.

1. Both organizations require you to maintain your memberships. For the ICF, annual membership is $195USD. For the IAC it is $129USD. A professional life coach can easily earn their annual membership fee with one hour of coaching.

2. The ICF requires 40 Continuing Coach Education Units (CCEUs) every three years. A CCEU is defined as 1 hour of direct coach-specific training. Go here to see how you can earn CCEUs.

3. The IAC requires a Learning Agreement (LA) every five years. The LA is flexible. You simply plan your own learning path around the 9 IAC Coaching Masteries(tm). Examples of acceptable LAs:

In short, you can expect to pay fees and do some extra work in order to be perceived as a professional, but you can also attract more clients and higher fees as a credentialed coach.

With some creativity, you can leverage either IAC or ICF requirements to boost your effectiveness and profitability as a coach, while maintaining your life coach certification.

Get free tools that will help you get life coach certification from the IAC:

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Topics: certification requirements, ICF, life coach certification, Certified Coach Training, certified coaches, certified life coach, certified business coach, IAC, certified coach

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