School of Coaching Mastery

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Why We're Changing Our Certified Coach Process

Posted by Julia Stewart

Certified CoachSchool of Coaching Mastery is undergoing several exciting changes at once, including our Coach Certification process.

It's all to streamline our coach training and certification options, so they are as meaningful and valuable as possible to the coaches we serve.  

One of our biggest concerns is our Coach Certification. It's a dauntingly high hurdle that potentially shuts out thousands of great coaches. That doesn't serve coaches or their clients.


This came to my attention when I was considering whether to renew our IAC Coaching Masteries(tm) license this December. One of the many reasons I'm choosing to not renew our IAC license is that fewer coaches than ever are seeking IAC Coach Certification. Even most of my own students aren't applying for it when we offer to reimburse their fees! SCM's old certification is at approximately the same level as IAC Certification.

Does this mean we're going to lower our standards? No. I think high coaching standards are more important than ever. What School of Coaching Mastery is going to do is offer a 2-step process that recognizes the outstanding value of proficient coaches who get results, while actually raising the bar for master coaches.

Let's bring the fun back into coach certification!

I think there are two main reasons why more coaches aren't pursuing IAC Certification. One is that Thomas Leonard is no longer out there evangelizing it. Thousands of coaches were already fired up to get certified when Thomas passed away. Without him, the excitment has just melted.

The other reason is that IAC certification is harder to achieve. Over the years, especially after the advent of the Coaching Masteries, I noticed that coaching sessions that I would have passed back in 2004-2005, weren't passing any more.

Harder can be better, except when it's not.

Back when we were using the proficiencies, we passed about half of the coaches who applied. Now only 1/4 of all coaches pass IAC Certification on the first try, which suggests that it is now twice as hard to pass. (SCM students pass at the rate of 2/3.)  

As any great coach knows, the perfect goal is one that is difficult, but doable. If we set the bar too high, the client gets overwhelmed and gives up.

It take courage to let other coaches grade your coaching ability. When there is a only pass out of every 4 applications, it's just easier for coaches not to bother - or to opt for rubber-stamp certifications. That doesn't encourage growth in coaching. On the contrary, it discourages it.

I'm not blaming the IAC. I took their lead, but I'm the one who set up the Certified Mastery Coach designation as one huge leap, with no intermediate steps along the way.

Thomas had it right: Inspire coaches with a certification that recognizes great coaching, but don't make it so hard that they don't even apply for it. Otherwise, there's just no point.

I do, however think there's a place for a more advanced certification, because as the coaching profession continues to mature, it's becoming more competitive. As Thomas used to say, the best way to be successful is to master your craft.

 In addition, I think coaching skills, alone, are really not enough of a basis for certification, any more than coach training and coaching hours guarantee effective coaching. We need evidence of great coaching results. That's what clients want and deserve for the high fees that they pay us.

So going forward, SCM will have two certifications available. First, the SCM Certified Coach, who has demonstrated a proficient level of coaching, along with recommendations that speak to the coach's effectiveness. SCM-CC level coaching is  significantly more effective than most coaching and deserves recognition.

And we'll have the Certified Master Coach who has demonstrated masterful skills and results. Our old Certified Mastery Coach designation will be phased out by December, when we drop the IAC license, but coaches who are currently working on it will be able to achieve it by then.

What excited me about the old proficiency-level certification is that it inspired coaches to reach their full potential, rather than settle for what they previously thought was possible.

That's what coaching is all about, right? Helping clients be, do and have much more? Why not a certification process that does that for coaches? That's my intention for our 2 new levels of certification.

As for IAC Certification, I believe our student/coaches will continue to pass it at a reletively high rate even after we stop teaching the IAC Masteries. At least if they apply for it. [UPDATE: SCM DID renew its license to teach the IAC Masteries, afterall. Then we decided to also go for ICF accreditation.]


Applications for the two new SCM Coach Certifications will be available in September. In the meantime, if you're curious, you can

see the basic requirements here.

 

" target="_self">see the requirements for our new certifications here.

Certified Coach

 

If you'd like to be kept updated about upcoming opportunities to get certified by us, go here. And scroll down to the right to fill out a short form.

Topics: certification requirements, certified coaches, certified life coach, certified business coach, IAC, certified coach

Is the International Association of Coaching Headed the Wrong Way?

Posted by Julia Stewart

International Association of Certified Coaches

Yesterday, I got an odd email from the International Association of Coaching (IAC) President, Bob Tschannen-Moran.

Maybe I misunderstood, but it seemed to me that Bob was trying to tell me that a recording that I made with Natalie Tucker Miller and Elizabeth Nofziger, who are both IAC & SCM Certifiers, and using systems that belong to my company, actually belongs to the IAC to do as it sees fit, regardless of my wishes. Hmm...I think U.S. Copyright and Freedom of Speech laws would differ with that.

[Update: I just received a note from Bob, saying of course the recording is mine. I did indeed misunderstand. This post isn't an attack on Bob or the IAC Boards. I just disagree - or misunderstand. You're invited to add your thoughts in the comments section, below.]

If you know me well, you're probably chuckling, because I'm somewhat famous for my temper. It’s my worst weakness. On the up side, I always learn something valuable when I get mad. Here's what I'm learning from my latest tempest:

My loyalty actually lies more with Thomas Leonard's International Association of Certified Coaches (See the original logo above) than it does with the current IAC.  Today's IAC is the organization that evolved from that over the past seven years and of course, it is different. The problem for me is that I'm not okay with all of the differences.

If you’re curious, check out Thomas Leonard's original announcement about the IACC here. Is it better or worse? That's a matter of opinion, but here are some of my thoughts:

Thomas' vision for improving the quality of coaching worldwide was huge. He saw a skills-based coach certification as the vehicle to bring about this worldwide upgrade to coaching excellence and the IACC was the organization to oversee it.  It could only be accomplished if large numbers (most?) of coaches got on board. With a big mailing list of devoted followers and a willingness to put up $25,000 seed money, Thomas had the tools to make it work.

Given Thomas' tragic death less than five months after he announced the IACC, it is a triumph that it survived at all. His estate was tied up for over a year. His company changed hands and took a different path. However, the IACC already had thousands of passionate supporters. Many of whom, like me, were donating their time to make it happen. Still, it was a disturbing sign that his vision was already being watered down, when not long after Thomas' passing, the International Association of Certified Coaches' name was changed. It's now the International Association of Coaching.

What about the commitment to Certified Coaches? Read on.  

The IAC retained the Certified Coach brand. Although it no longer uses the Proficiencies, it still certifies coaches using a process similar to the one Thomas and the original IACC President, Michael 'Coop' Cooper, laid out. It is a very rigorous certification process that only about 25% of coaches pass on the first try. It does indeed raise the quality of coaching for many who attempt it.

However, the IACC's sister organization, the Coaching School Accreditation Council, announced at the same time by Thomas, doesn't exist. This organization would decide if a school could teach the intellectual property on which the Certified Coach designation is based and thereby prepare coaches to get certified. 

Is there an IAC coaching school accreditation process? No. Rather than a coaching school accreditation as rigorous its coach certification, the IAC has chosen instead to make its IAC Coaching Masteries(TM) available to anyone via a commercial license. It doesn't matter if you're a coach, a dentist, a plumber or a marine biologist, if you want to be an IAC Licensee and teach the Masteries, all you have to do is pay the IAC some money. What?

The IAC doesn't even require its licensees to be IAC Certified Coaches. Funny, they have one of the world's most rigorous coach certifications, but apparently anybody with a credit card is qualified to train coaches to prepare for it. Where is the consistency of purpose?

Worse, the IAC website doesn't clearly communicate this to visitors. Most people (in the U.S. anyway) assume that a license means some kind of test has been taken. If you want a license to practice medicine, you have to pass a test. If you want a license to drive, you have to pass a test, etc., etc. But if you want a license to teach the IAC Coaching Masteries(TM) all you need is some money. Good for the IAC, not so good for coaching.

A commercial license is the type you agree to if you want to use software by Microsoft or Apple. It's a bunch of legalese you must accept in order to use their intellectual property. It doesn't imply approval, it simply protects the organization that does the licensing.

The IAC license protects the IAC from risk, but it offers no leadership to the coaching world, not the sort that the IACC was founded upon. An organization can't lead without taking risks. 

Although I'm really not okay with the IAC's commercial license, I was the first to buy one. Why? I still believe in this certification. I'm just disappointed that so little attention has been paid to HOW coaches will upgrade their coaching by seeking IAC Coach Certification. The IAC says it is not in their mandate to teach or accredit. But this is an important need and leaving it unaddressed leaves a big crack in the process. The result is that only a fraction of Certified Coaches exist compared to the original intent. 

Numerous coaches have told me privately that they think the commercial license is a big mistake. However, the membership has virtually no way to fight it. Because although the original IACC granted voting rights to all Certified Coaches, the current Board of Governors (BOG) and Board of Certifying Examiners choose their own replacements, not the members. This means they can change the rules without even notifying us.

Don't get me wrong, many Board members are my close friends and colleagues. There are some dedicated people there working hard on the IAC and I think their intentions are good. But if you want to get on the BOG, you have to be recommended by a current BOG member and then voted on by the other BOG members. That can block certain people from ever being able to serve.

The current voting structure leaves the BOG unaccountable to anyone. It's easy for a comfortable 'group think' to set in and for board members to agree on rules that work for them, but not for the whole membership. If the IAC were to become the huge worldwide organization that Thomas envisioned, a small group of people and their friends would have too much power over this fast-growing billion-dollar industry.

Even though I've been invited to join both Boards, I'm not comfortable with the current process. I think IAC members should be making these choices, themselves. Give them the vote! Members of an organization who have voting rights tend to be more engaged and invested in it. Because there’s a disconnect between the board, the members and the mission, many of the original supporters have fallen away.

Is it fair for me to expect today's IAC to act like the original IACC? Probably not. But some elements that I think are critical to its mission, the mission that I still care about, have been lost over the years and that makes a big difference, at least to me.

That leaves me wondering whether School of Coaching Mastery's IAC license is still a fit for us. Without it, I'd have greater freedom in developing my own intellectual property and there wouldn't be disagreements over who owns my recordings.

Don't worry, if you're an SCM student, we're not going to make any changes right away and regardless, we'll keep our agreements. Even if we drop the license, we can still help you get certified. I've been helping coaches pass IAC Coach Certification since 2003 and the past two years since we first bought the IAC license (It wasn't available until then) haven't helped us do that any better.

What do you think? Should the IAC's Board be voted on by the IAC Membership? Should the IAC continue to license any and all comers? Is there any reason to stay faithful to the original IACC mission? Should members have more power? Or should we just quietly go on paying our dues?

By the way, if you're curious about the recording in question, it's available for free to members of the IAC North American Virtual Chapter, a free service for all coaches that we offer and that is aligned with the IAC.

Join the coaching chapter

 

Join the IAC North American Virtual Chapter for free here. 

Topics: Coaching, School of Coaching Mastery, SCM, Thomas Leonard, certified coaches, IAC

Master Coach Demos

Posted by Julia Stewart

Master Coach DemosWe've been working on a new digital product for coaches called, Master Coach Demos.

The idea is to let you listen in on coaching sessions with various certified coaches (probably all IAC Certified Coaches) and hear how they demonstrate masterful coaching skills. It could be priceless value for coaches who want to be the very best and have limited time or money to spend.

Here's my conundrum. The more I think about it, the more I want to do with this project. It started out as a CD or MP3 download product, but I'm not sure that would do it justice. I want it to be valuable to coaches and also  come in the format/s they need. It can't be all things to all people, but it can be optimal for most people.

I have a sample recording below that you can listen to, right now. It's uncut. As you listen, notice what you learn - and what you need to learn more from it.  Ask for what you need in the comments area, below. I'll be happy to answer your questions, so other coaches can learn from it, too.

Here are some potential ideas for Master Coach Demos:

  • Include full-length masterful coaching sessions with commentary on what's working and why
  • Include short coaching snippets of coaching that zero in on specific coaching skills and situations for fast, targeted learning
  • Verbal and/or written explanation of what's working (and maybe what isn't)
  • Interviews with the coaches, themselves, and maybe even with the clients, to hear what they experienced in the session, or as a result of it
  • Monthly or weekly updates/installments
  • Perhaps a membership site
  • Video?
  • Podcasts?
  • Hmmm...

I could use your help...

Would this product be helpful to you? What would you use it for? (Prep for certification; use it to help you with specific client situations; 'on the fly' learning when you're at the gym or driving your car; etc...)

What format would you prefer? (Monthly membership; one-payment digital product; interactive membership for questions and support; etc...)

As a Thank-you, I'm including this one-hour coaching session for you to listen to right here. It's me coaching a celebrity client. Yes, I hesitate to call my own coaching session a 'Master Coach Demo', because it could always be improved. As I tell my students, 'Even if I screw up, it's a great learning opportunity for you to catch it and learn why something worked or didn't work.'

This recording is uncut. And I'm not offering commentary right here - yet. I'd love for you to listen and ask what you want/need to know in the 'Comments' section. That'll help me understand the precise way to deliver a session like this to you for faster/deeper learning.

Listen now:

Topics: Coaching, School of Coaching Mastery, coach, certified coaches, Master Coach Demos, Masterful Coaching, masterful coaches, coaching skills, IAC

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