Coaching Blog

Best Life Coach Certifications

Posted by Julia Stewart

Best Life Coach CertificationsWritten by Julia Stewart

If you want to become a life coach (or business coach, executive coach, career coach, etc.), then you need one of the following best life coach certifications (See table, below). They are all "general" coach certifications, meaning they measure the knowledge and skills required for professional coaching, regardless whether you are a life coach, business coach, executive coach, or some other type of coach. Because, as we say in coaching, "All coaching is really life coaching, because everyone has a life." If you have expertise in business, for instance, you can combine that with your coaching skills to become a business coach.

There are hundreds of life coach certifications to choose from. I created the following table to compare and contrast some of the leading coach certifications, and their requirements, to help you avoid getting caught up with the wrong organizations. Watch out for organizations with similar-sounding names that may be disreputable. Some of them are scams. 

You need at least an entry-level (competent) certification, because surveys show that prospective coaching clients prefer coaches with credentials, when given the choice, even if they don't ask about certification. On average, most certified coaches achieve proficient-level certifications. Certified master coaches are relatively few and are considered the "elite". Yes, you can often attract more clients (those who are looking for the best) and charge more for your coaching when you have master-level certifications.

What makes these the best life coach certifications? All the following organizations are highly respected. Some basic differences include:

Best Life Coach Certifications Table resized 600

 

If the above table is too small for you to see, or if you just want to have a copy of it for future reference (recommended), click the button below:

Get the Best Life Coach Certifications PDF

Topics: become a life coach, become a coach, become a business coach, Become a Master Coach, becoming a certified coach, Become a Certified Coach, life coach certification, Become a Masterful Coach, Certified Coach Training, certified life coach, certified business coach

4 Reasons It's Harder for Psychotherapists to Transition to Coaching

Posted by Julia Stewart

Therapist to Coach

Written by Julia Stewart

I've worked with thousands of coaches in the decade, or so, that I've been training coaches and most of them think they already know how to coach before they get training. That's true only in about 1% of cases.

That 1% applies to psychotherapists, counselors, social workers and other "helping professionals", too. People from these backgrounds can make terrific coaches, but usually they need to unlearn a few things and unlearning often takes longer than learning from scratch.

A story: One day, a member of our Certified Coach Training Program, a licensed psychotherapist, used a therapy technique to extract some info from a resistant client during a practice coaching session in class. He got the tidbit he was after, but the client was insulted and shut down the whole session. His classmates were likewise offended. I had a WTF moment, listening to this travesty, but the coach seemed to think he'd done something clever!

Lesson #1: You NEVER have permission to practice therapy on a coaching client. They are high-functioning and you'd better fully respect that. Use a therapy technique and you will destroy the trusted relationship you need to coach them well - and you'll be violating professional ethics, and possibly the law, as well.

Another story: I worked for years with a psychotherapist whose communication style was serious, cerebral, and analytical. It was perfectly suited to the type of therapy she did, but it hurt her coaching sessions and she had a real challenge learning an effective coaching style to qualify for IAC certification. When she finally achieved it, I literally had tears in my eyes!

Lesson #2: Coaching is light. A big part of what we do is validate the client. It sounds easier than it is for a lot of coaches, but the goal is for the client to be resourceful, so serious, cerebral, and analytical won't cut it.

A third story: I worked for a while with a counselor who had trouble transitioning to coaching. Whenever she got stuck, she asked the client how they felt: "How do you feel?...How do you feel, now?...How do you feel, now?" Argh! I'm pretty sure this wouldn't be great counseling, but I can tell you with authority that constantly focusing on the client's feelings is lousy coaching!

Lesson #3: Coaches don't heal people's feelings. We don't ignore them either, but they are an adjunct to the conversation, not the main topic. It's far better to ask a more specific question, such as, "You don't sound excited when you talk about that goal. What's up with that?"

Final story: I had a former child psychologist show up to a live certification event, but each time she coached, her clients (fellow participants, who were coaches and open to the process) got irritated and shut down. Hmmm, what's up with THAT? Answer: she communicated with her coaching clients in a voice that may have been appropriate for frightened children: soft, gentle and high pitched. In other words, she was talking baby talk to her clients. Ugh. No wonder they were irritated!

Lesson #4: You probably wouldn't use baby talk with your clients, but a communication style that worked for you, as a therapist, may still undermine your coaching. In fact, it may be a train wreck. And you might assume your clients are the problem, rather than your communication style, if you don't get feedback from a good coach trainer, because resistant coaching clients act a lot like therapy clients who have issues: mistrusting, closed mouthed, uncooperative, etc. 

Don't hobble your transition into coaching. Get training on coaching communication and make sure you get lots of in-class practice and feedback from experts. Otherwise, you'll repeat the problems above, or worse.

Better yet, if you want to coach and you're just getting started, you may want to skip the psychology degree and just get coach training, instead. You'll save a ton of money and time.

Get Certified Coach Training

Topics: professional coach, become a coach, Coach Training Programs, Certification Practicum, Certified Coach Training, psychotherapy, IAC, Certification Prep

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

Coaching and Emotion: The Godfather Syndrome

Posted by Coach Training

Coach David PapiniGuest post by David Papini.

There is a famous scene in the first movie of The Godfather trilogy, when the four Corleone brothers meet right after their father has been shot and is struggling between life and death in a hospital. The topic they discuss is if and how they have to retaliate against Virgil “The Turk” Sollozzo who ordered the shooting. At a certain point in the discussion, Michael Corleone/Al Pacino, the youngest brother, the only brother not involved in his family mafia business, proposes himself as the avenger in a plan where he manages to shoot Sollozzo. The elder brothers explain to him that the issue at stake, retaliation, “it’s not personal, it’s just business”, meaning that it has nothing to do with emotion, family values, the need of justice, the father-son relationship: it’s only a tool to protect the business and send a message to the “business community”.


What struck me (apart the fact I am Italian and I know that business better than the Godfather’s screenwriters ;-), is that for these guys family is not affect, emotion, relationship; it’s “just business”: this is why Michael’s brothers do not consider appropriate (and even harmful) the intention of avenging his father following an emotional reaction (while of course the killing itself can be an appropriate tool, but without emotional involvement).


Last week a client, struggling with her career, was talking about having a “professional demeanor”. To her, this was synonymous with “professional mask”, as opposite to “personal authenticity”, which she was patently not allowed to show at her workplace. Further inquiry led us to discover that for personal authenticity she intended “expressing emotions”, that is, the mask was intended to hide her emotions from her colleagues, because expression of emotions in general was not very welcome at her workplace. Basically, she and her firm were adopting a variant of the Godfather philosophy: it’s business, no emotion or affect needed per-se.


The step from “not expressing emotion” to “believe that you can stop/ignore feeling emotion” seemed closely related for her, while I had in mind what Antonio Damasio (Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain, 2010) says: “The expression of emotions can doubtless be modulated voluntarily. But the degree of modulatory control of the emotions evidently cannot go beyond the external manifestations. Given that emotions include many other responses, several of which are internal and invisible to the naked eyes of others, the bulk of the emotional program is still executed, no matter how much willpower we apply to inhibit it. Most important, feelings of emotion, which result from the perception of the concert of emotional changes, still take place even when external emotional expressions are partially inhibited.”


That led me to think of how many times I challenged these limiting beliefs about emotions, all variants of the Godfather syndrome: when it comes to emotions and business, clients often found or put themselves in a mafia business, implicitly negating reality, unavoidability and the value of emotional states. Over time I collected a list of common misconception of emotions in the workplace (and, more in general, in organizations) that I call “storytelling about emotions”. Here is it, with the “false” part in bold:

  1. You are/I am too emotional (I credit this one to Jim and Michele McCarthy, in their book, Software for your Head)
  2. It’s wrong to feel like this
  3. There is no reason I/you feel like that
  4. You make me feel …
  5. Expressing emotion can be disturbing
  6. One must be rational
  7. One cannot think and feel at the same time
  8. Emotions are dangerous
  9. Emotions are not thoughts
  10. Emotions cannot be changed
  11. Emotions can be masked


Every belief in the list favors detaching between parts of the self in a person, which in turn prevents development, change for the best, growth and happiness. This is why I consider part of my job as a coach to help clients with mafia-like emotional approaches to explore how the world can be outside the Godfather mindset.

David was born in Florence in 1966 just a few months before the deluge, and that's a kind of destiny. As an executive is in charge for general management in a IT Firm, as a certified NLP counselor helps clients to explore their life experience, as a Coach helps clients getting what they really want , as a conflict mediator witnesses how tough and creative a relationship can be, as a trainer helps trainees in stretching their brain, growing and learning, as a public speaker enjoys co-creating experience on the fly, as a dad loves his two children. As a man he is grateful and worried that he’s got this wonderful life. And he’s fond of categorizing his professional roles :-). More about him at http://papini.typepad.com/lifehike/

David is a member of SCM's Certified Coach Training Program.

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Topics: Coaching, coaching clients, Certified Coach Training, coaching vs. therapy, Coaching Tip

Why We Decided to Become IAC Licensed AGAIN

Posted by Julia Stewart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coach Certification in a Weekend?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Certified CoachIf you're one of the many coaches who view coach certification as an critical goal in 2009, this will interest you.

We were planning one of our advanced coach certification weekends this October, but coaches told us they want something else. I invite you to tell us what you want, too, in the survey called, 'Certification in a Weekend?' The survey closes this Thursday. So far, over 50 coaches have told us what they want and how much they want to pay for it. We have every single bit of it, too!

We're offering a special preview recording of 'Master Coach Demos', a new product that we're producing, to everyone who participates in the survey. We'll also provide you with customized recommendations, so you get the certification support you need, not just a pre-packaged product that may not fit your unique requirements. 

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Take the quick 2-page Certification survey right now

Topics: becoming a certified coach, Coach Certification, Become a Certified Coach, Certified Coach Training, how to become a certified life coach, credentialed coaches, Master Coach Demos, IAC, certified coach

You're Coaching, But Are You Actually Open for Business?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Are you open for business?Most of the coaches I talk to fit the following description:

Coaching, But Not Actually Open for Business

They think they're in business, but they're not. Confusion is holding them back. Confusion turns away coaching clients, just like the business in this picture turns away customers. 

The reason I know this is that unlike most coaching schools, I (or someone else at SCM) actually talk to the coaches who visit our site. We listen to what they are up to and help them find the resources they need. It's a labor-intensive process that average coach training schools skip. But we're not average.

Our Enrollment Advisor, Donna Miller, commented on this to me the other day. Most coaches are either coaching, but have no business, or they've started a business, but they're not sure how to coach. Those are bad combinations. They send the same mixed message as the business pictured above. The open sign is on, but the security gate is closed.

If your coaching business is struggling, ask yourself if you're actually open for business.

Here's My Stand:

There is (or should be) an enormous difference between amateurs who coach and professional coaches. If you want a successful coaching business, you need to  be coaching a whole lot better than your client's best friend, next door neighbor and office mate, because those folks are all "coaching" too (and a most of them are coaching for free).

A good coaching school will give you clarity and clarity creates success. It's not magic, but it feels like magic. Mixed signals will keep you stuck. If you are stuck, get the clarity you need. 

One place you can get clarity is in our "How to Become..." free mini-course series. The next one is on How to Become a Certified Coach.

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Register for 'How to Become a Certified Coach' Here

Topics: coaching business, free coach training, becoming a certified coach, Coach Certification, Become a Certified Coach, How to Become a Certified Coach, Certified Coach Training, coach training schools, coaching career, IAC, certified coach

Masterful Coaching: Distinct and Succinct

Posted by Julia Stewart

Certified Coach Training

You know you're hearing great coaching in class when the both coach and client are so intrigued that they can't wait to set up another coaching call! It's happening a lot on the SCM Module calls. Each mastery is covered in four two-hour eClasses. Each class covers an one aspect of that Mastery with a Coaching Guide, discussion and demonstration by the instructor, followed by the coaches dividing up into triads for an hour of practice and observation, with the instructor dropping in to each triad for additional feedback. All of it is recorded for review and each Module gets its own web page with graphics for the students to follow in class.

After eight hours on a Module, they know that Mastery!

We've just finished Either/Or Questions, followed by Distinctions and the Ad Hoc Advisors are jumping in to help me create SCM's own "distinctionary" for future reference! Next we're onto Zeroing In On What's Really Going On, a path of inquiry that uncovers what's important, followed by Taking It Deeper, looking at trends, dynamics and patterns.

I think I throw them sometimes, because I expect them all to fully participate and some of them are used to taking sleepy teleclasses while they read their email! This is the School of Coaching Mastery, afterall, not just another school on coaching. Of course I expect more! That's why the classes are small and we have so much practice ~ So people actually know how to coach when they get done!


Copyright, Julia Stewart, 2007 

Topics: School of Coaching Mastery, SCM, Certified Coach Training

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