School of Coaching Mastery

Coaching Blog

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

What's the Difference Between a Professional Coach and an Entrepreneurial Coach?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Professional_vs_Entrepreneurial_Coach.jpg

What's the difference between a professional coach and an entrepreneurial coach and why does it matter?

I recently received a couple of emails from someone on my mailing list who asked questions such as these. He took issue with a lead-nurturing (a type of marketing) email he received from us in which I frankly advise new coaches to get good coach training and reputable coach certification.

The writer identified himself as an entrepreneur, who offers coaching as one of his services, so I answered him in language I thought he would understand:

I said we were very clear who our ideal student is and he probably wouldn't resonate with our messages, since they are targeted at people who want to become professional coaches, rather than entrepreneurial coaches. I wasn't interested in arguing the relative merits of professionals vs. entrepreneurs, so I neglected to add that I have a strong bias toward professional coaches, for whom training and certification are a must, as opposed to entrepreneurial coaches who generally rely their reputations, experience, and instincts, to coach. That, by the way, is why I started a coach training school that certified coaches.

A coach used to be considered half professional and half entrepreneur, 15-to-20 years ago, and the Founder of the Coaching Profession, Thomas Leonard, was a perfect example. He started multiple coaching schools and professional organizations, in his lifetime, but was a classic entrepreneur who embodied the creativity, drive, productivity, and ongoing dialogue with his customers, that entrepreneurs are known for. That said, his major contribution to coaching was the turn toward professionalism and he embodied a stellar reputation for integrity, ethics, quality, and service that went way beyond profits.

The two photos above show, on the left, a professional coach who displays an openness and willingness to serve clients. On the right, shows an entrepreneur who's burning with his vision for designing a successful business. Both may be useful to coach with depending on what you want to work on. Neither is automatically better, but the professional coach is more thoroughly defined and has qualities that can be more easily recognized and evaluated.

Since Thomas' death in 2003, a leadership vacuum opened up. Much of it was filled by entrepreneurs who were focused more on marketing and sales gimmicks that drive profitability, than on helping clients grow and reach their goals. There are still a few good entrepreneurial coaches, but unfortunately they are increasingly outnumbered by scam artists and well-meaning wannabe's who may give bad advice.

I've known quite a few people whose lives have been transformed for the better by working with professional coaches. I also have known a handful of people whose lives have been ruined by entrepreneurial coaches. That doesn't mean all professional coaches are great, or that all entrepreneurial coaches are bad. Sometimes the opposite is true. It just isn't that simple, but over the years, I've moved away from the "half-professional/half-entrepreneurial" approach to coaching in favor of primarily being a professional and I advise my students to do the same, because it appears increasingly that professional coaches tend to deliver better results for clients and professional coaching is also a better model for coaching success. 

I've been clarifying the distinction between professional coaches and entrepreneurs with my Coach 100 students for over a decade and realized that it could be helpful to many of our blog readers too, so here goes.

Pro_coach_vs_entre_coach_table.jpg

Whether you are a professional coach or entrepreneurial coach isn't really an either/or choice; it's both/and. Because coaching is still not regulated, so there is tremendous freedom for practitioners. But at the same time, it's the professional side of coaching that is driving much of coaching's positive reputation.

If you're looking for a coach, you may want to use the above table to determine how professional your potential coach is. You have a bit more knowledge and power, because professional organizations define what you can expect. Also, if your coach is a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF), you can file a complaint against a coach-member who fails to uphold the ICF's Code of Ethics.

Remember that lead-nurturing email from above, that advises good training and certification?

Recent research by the ICF found that coaches who get good training are more successful and less likely to quit the profession, while coaching clients say, all else being equal, they prefer to work with certified coaches. If you're new to coaching, my advice is that you get both coach training and certification to increase your confidence and success.

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Topics: professional coach, professional coaching, coach training, Coach 100, ICF, Coach Certification, Thomas Leonard, certified coaches, coaching ethics

Your Million-Dollar Coach Has Been Recalled By the Manufacturer

Posted by Julia Stewart

Million Dollar Coach

Yesteryday, Coach Maryam Webster shared some 'million dollar coaching for conscious business owners' on Facebook. Of course, what she really did, was warn the innocent away from a predatory type of 'coaching'. Her message included:

''Before buying into any six figure type training, ask to see the teacher's financials...Then run. Far away from cookie cutter trainings and teachers like this...Forget the 6 and 7 figure coach, author & speaker trainings. Those who make money their central theme are playing on your basic survival fears..."

Be sure to read the entire conversation on Maryam's Page (you may need to log in to Facebook, first) before you spend a dime on programs like these, because they are almost always scams...

As I said in my reply to Maryam, I've written on this topic a number of times. I shared several horror stories here. I wrote more recently on the meaninglessness of titles such as 'life coach', here. Do read these posts before working with a 'wealth coach', 'million-dollar coach', 'six-figure coach', 'seven-figure coach', or anybody who calls him/herself a 'coach'. You could save yourself thousands of dollars and years of heartache.

Some of these so-called 'coaches', gurus and teachers have been sued by the likes of the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Others have gone to prison. Their victims have been emotionally devastated, bankrupt, lost their homes, or even lost their lives.

It's a serious problem, but not an easy one to fix. Coaching has a reputation for being high-paid, but to my knowledge, it's still not regulated by any government in the world. Plus most people don't know what it is, except that it involves people talking to each other. That makes it the perfect get-rich-quick scheme for any sociopath who can talk. There are an awful lot of them out there.

Genuine coaches provide valuable services and are nearly always certified by reputable coaching schools and professional associations. They have testimonials from real people you can talk to. Their clients rave about them and you can find them online and research their reputations. Coaches who are certified by the ICF or IAC are usually a good bet. And I stand behind the coaches who are certified by School of Coaching Mastery.

So why's there a kitten in the picture, above? He's Josey, an abandoned formerly feral baby cat we found half-starved, terrified and awfully lonely. He was desperate enough to let some gigantic strange creatures take him in and feed him and now he's a delightful member of the household. Josey was lucky. Imagine what could have happened to him if a sociopath found him, instead of a family of animal lovers.

When you have a dream of building a 'conscious business', or of answering your calling, or even of becoming wealthy by sharing your brilliance with those who want or need it, you're as vulnerable, and often, as innocent as a kitten. You probably need help from someone who can help facilitate your dream, such as a good coach, but you and your dream can be destroyed by a greedy sociopath. Be careful who you share your dreams with!

Today, Gina Spadafori shared on Facebook that P&G has voluntarily recalled the type of kitten food I feed to Josey. It may be contaminated with salmonella. He was lucky again, because his chow was made in a different batch.

It got me thinking how great it would be if we could recall toxic 'coaches'. It would save a lot of innocent people from being preyed upon. And it would definitely improve the reputation of the coaching profession.

But fake coaches manufacture themselves. They remind me of Sturgeon's Law: 90% of anything is crap. That doesn't mean the top 10% isn't fantastic. In my opinion, million-dollar coaches occupy the bottom 10% of the crap pile.

There is no way to wipe them all out, but you can protect yourself. Stay out of free, or suspiciously low-fee, seminars and webinars. They are designed to get you to spend irrationally. Don't be swayed by money-back guarantees. They usually mean nothing.

Instead, work with certified coaches and get recommendations.

Maryam asked me online what we should do about this problem. I'd like to see a coordinated marketing campaign by coaches, coach-training schools and professional coaching associations that warns the public about unscrupulous coaching practices and how to hire a good coach. I'm not the person to organize this. Do you know someone who is?

If you care about people in general and the coaching profession specifically, please share this blog post or voice your own opinions online. You could save someone from making a horrible mistake.

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Topics: life coach, ICF, Business Coaches, IAC Certified Coach, certified coaches, coach training schools, Million Dollar Coach, teleclass, six-figure coaches, six-figure coaching business

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

The Truth About Coach Training

Posted by Donna Steinhorn

Coach TrainingIn 2008 Donna Steinhorn and Julia Stewart led a teleclass series on The Big Fat Lies That Coaches Cling To. The following article, written by Donna, is an adaptation from one of those teleclasses...

When Julia and I started out coaching, it was pretty easy to decide about coaching schools since there were only a few to choose from.  And for the most part, the handful of coach training schools were all ICF accredited and the only certification in town was the ICFs.  So basically the decision came down to live training or teleclass training. 
 
But times have changed.  Today there are over 100 coaching programs.  6 month programs and two year programs.  Accredited programs and programs without accreditation.  Certification programs through universities.  Live training, Teleclass training, hybrid versions, CD versions.  There are programs specifically for therapists transitioning to coaching, Christian Coaches.  Peer coaches.  Corporate coaching training, business coach training, life coaching training….and the list goes on.  The same is true for certifications.  There are the “independent” credentialing bodies of the IAC and the ICF.  The schools who credential their coaches…the certification courses.  
 
Lie: I need to have a coaching certification….Having letters of certification after my name assures potential clients of my expertise.


Truth: Clients have no idea what any of the letters after coaches' names are.  Unlike JD or MD, or PhD, there are hundreds of different designations and other than coaches, not many clients know what an ACC, PCC, MCC or IAC-CC are.  Nor for the most part do they care.  Now that is beginning to change as our profession matures, and a few universities have begun to create degreed curriculum in coaching.  But for now, most of the university programs are certificate programs, and even the Masters in Applied Positive Psychology at Penn State is not actually a university accredited program.
 
On the other hand, there are increasingly more corporations and companies that are looking for credentialed coaches.  Some don’t really care what kind of certification that is, while others do actually seek an ICF credentialed coach, so if you are a corporate coach, you will want a credential.  

And the truth is, as the coaching profession continues to mature, I believe credentials will become increasingly more important.  The question remains, which credential will that be?  Right now, the ICF has been around longer, but there are some who point to the fact that in order to become an ICF credentialed coach, you have to attend an ICF accredited school, and be mentored by an ICF credentialed coach.  They question how truly independent that makes the ICF.
 
The IAC is still in it’s infancy, but since they do not accredit schools, they have a greater degree of independence when it comes to their credentialing process.  And of course, as the universities build out their coaching curriculum, there is always the possibility that a uniform credential will come out of that, but only time will tell.
 
Next, let’s address a very popular lie... 

Lie: You need to finish your coach training and be certified before you can coach

Truth:  Not only do you not have to be certified before you begin coaching, but in the case of the ICF, you must verify hours coaching in order to achieve any of the certifications, and in the case of the IAC, you're more likely to pass if you have had a good deal of coaching experience.
 
Now I’m not saying that with no coach training you should hang out your shingle as a coach.  It’s best to have some core training under your belt, to have experienced coaching yourself with a qualified coach --not a buddy coach --(I’m always astonished at people who want to be coaches but don’t see the value of coaching for themselves??) and to have had some practicum experience, coaching and being coached while be observed by a credible mentor coach.
 
By way of illustration, I’ve taught and mentored hundreds of coaches, and talked with hundreds more.  I’ve conducted practicums, certified coaches, and listened to hundreds or hours of coaches coaching.  And I have to tell you, there’s good coaching, great coaching, and quite a bit of bad coaching out there.  And more often than not the bad coaching came from folks who have not taken any coach training nor experienced coaching themselves.
 
Lie: I don't need coach training to pass IAC certification.   

Truth: Although it's true that a tiny percentage of applicants have passed one or both steps for IAC certification with little or no training, the vast majority of IAC certified coaches have had extensive training or mentoring that enabled them to get certification.
 
The question of whether or not you need coach training also comes up in another way…

Lie: If I have an allied degree, in counseling or social work, or organization development, I don't need coach training.   

Truth: You may or you may not.  Coaching, while using some of the skills you may already have, is a different skill set, and taking specific coach training is the best way to ensure that you are providing coaching and not something else.  I have had several clients who were helping professionals who were transitioning into coaching. They could tell you that there was a definite distinction between coaching and therapy or counseling, and until they took coach training, they often strayed between the two.
 
Lie: All coach training is created equal.  

Truth: Of course, that's not the case.  It's important to check the reputation of the program you want to attend. To know what the curriculum will cover; who will be doing the teaching; whether the school focuses on skills, marketing, spirituality, business or more; how the coursework is delivered, and what is expected of you? Whether the school philosophy is aligned with your own.   

And while we are talking about schools, let’s address a lie that I’m often asked when people are looking at coach training, and particularly looking to find a cheaper alternative to a coaching school….

Lie: You can learn everything you need from recorded or written coach training materials.


Truth:  You can learn a great deal from recordings and written materials, but ultimately it's live coaching skills practice and classes where you interact with the teachers and students who can ask the questions you didn't know to ask, that will benefit you the most.

Coaching is a profession. The definition of a profession is:  "A paid occupation, esp. one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification."  If we are to continue to grow and become part of the mainstream of helping professionals, we must align ourselves with that definition.
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Topics: business coach, mentor coach, ICF, Coach Certification, IAC Certified Coach, IAC Certification, certified coaches, coaching schools, coaching skills, teleclass, Life Coaching, IAC

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

How to Get Life Coach Certification

Posted by Julia Stewart

Tested and Certified

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

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

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

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

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

Which life coach certifications are considered best?

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

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

Why you need to decide on life coach certification now:

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

  • Get a substantial amount of life coach training

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

  • Get a mentor coach for customized assistance

  • Coach a lot of clients

  • Understand and commit to professional coaching ethics

  • Practice, practice, practice

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

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

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

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

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

So how do you get life coach certification?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Coach Training Should NOT Be Free

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coach training investmentI read an article by Sean D'Souza recently on why free training programs are a disservice to customers.

He says free training is great - up to a point, but no matter how valuable the progam is and how much customers like FREE, the engagement of free customers is only 10%. In other words, 90% of the people who sign up don't really get value, no matter how much the trainer tries to give them.

And those numbers are born out by School of Coaching Mastery's Free Coach Training program. The courses are taken directly from our Ultimate Coach Training Program and I knocked myself out to make them great.

In the 10 months since we launched it, we've had 1,633 sign ups. I estimate that that number actually represents as few as 559 individuals, which is the number of sign-ups for the single most popular course. Of those, only 98 have signed up for all five courses, which is the requirement they must meet if they want to take the free Coaching Certificate Exam. Out of those 98, 57% pass. So far, that's 56 who passed the exam, exactly 10%!

Out of 559 people, only 56 are engaged enough in the program to pass a moderately challenging exam. [UPDATE: DECEMBER 2012 - The Coaching Certificate Exam is no longer available with Free Coach Training, but the training itself is still free.]

Have I done coaches a disservice by offering coach training for free?

As a coach, I know the majority of my pro bono clients have been less engaged than the clients who pay my regular $700 per month fee. Like it or not, humans work harder when they pay dearly. It was the same principle that made my New York City personal training business so successful. It's also why animal shelters don't give puppies and kittens away for free. People take better care of pets that they pay for.

Of course, the engagement level of our paying students is virtually the reverse of our free students. 90% come to class and do the work (play?) of becoming master coaches, getting certified and attracting clients. Their investment in the program pays both financial and emotional dividends for life. That's a lot better then putting money in a piggy bank!

So going forward, expect us to be very forthcoming about what it takes, in terms of training, to succeed as a coach. Free training might be helpful, especially if you're researching the coaching field or pursuing it as just a hobby. Ultimate training is for the coach who wants to succeed and commits to doing what it takes. Read A Tale of Two Life Coaches to get the picture.

In the meantime, here are some simple questions to help you determine which program is for you:

 

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Topics: coach training, become a coach, free coach training, coaching clients, Free, coaching success, Life Coaches, Become a Masterful Coach, certified coaches, advanced coach training

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: IAC-CC, IAC Certified Coach, IAC Coaching Masteries, IAC Certification, Become a Certified Coach, Certified Coach Training, certified coaches, coaching schools, IAC

Why We're Licensing Our Curriculum for Free to Our Certified Coaches

Posted by Julia Stewart

Certified CoachSchool of Coaching Mastery has been making lots of upgrades to its programs and this is one more in a series of blog posts so coaches know what we're all about going forward.

We started by announcing the Free Coach Training Program, then we announced why we aren't renewing our IAC License and that we're changing our coach certification.

Part of the whole package of change involves our 'ultimate' students and how they fit into the overall coaching picture. The focus here has always been on training the coach who is destined to become a coaching leader. It's a whole different process than training to just be 'good enough' to coach. 

That might sound a little snooty if you don't know us. Actually, great coaches are simultaneously both confident and pretty  humble.

Anyhow, the point isn't to be 'great' or 'masterful' or 'certified'. The whole point is for every coach and every coaching client to have the life and career they really want. A less idealistic way to say this is we help coaches build coaching businesses that aren't crappy. ;-)

Let's face it, traditionally coaching schools have done a lousy job of preparing new coaches for success in the coaching business. In my own research, I've found that 80% of coaches wish they were more successful. While dissatisfaction is a universal human condition, I think coaches who are prepared best, fare best. And I think coaching schools can prepare coaches better.

Mastering yourself, your skills and your business are the steps that breed coaching success. Then there is what you actually do with all of that mastery.

But I digress...

So why are we giving a license to teach our curriculum to our paid students who become certified by us?

  1. The market has been flooded with coaching schools in the past few years. Some of them are a bit dubious. By empowering Certified Coaches to go out and teach quality coach training to whomever they want, we hope to discourage those who are in it merely for profit. 
  2. Coaching skills aren't just for professional coaches, anymore. Everyone from parents to corporate CEO's are coaching their people and getting great results. Coaches who can teach coaching skills are in high demand.
  3. The days of big for-profit coach training schools are numbered. In the future, coach training will be highly niched or offered by universities and employers. Our Certified Coaches will be among those teaching it.
  4. I won't be teaching forever. I'm looking forward to my students picking up the coaching mantle and taking it places I've never dreamed of.

So there you have it. In addition to good coach training, our students are getting a free license to teach our curriculum, once they pass our certification. Those who need it and want it will also get the Certified Coach Trainer program, which we believe is the first of its kind in the world. And it's no extra cost for our 'ultimate' students.

Oh, by the way, we're also working out a way for coaches to join the Ultimate Coach Training Program without paying us thousands of dollars upfront or going into debt. And no, I'm not talking about 'work-study'.

Stay tuned for more announcements!

Topics: School of Coaching Mastery, coaching clients, certified coaches, certified life coach, certified business coach, coach training program, life coach training, certified coach, coach training instructors

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