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Positive Psychology Coaching: How Flow Appears In Coaching Sessions

Posted by Julia Stewart

Flow by VANCUSO

Have you ever participated, as a coach or client, in a coaching session when both the coach and client got on a wave length together that resulted in incredible insights and progress? After which, the client probably felt the coach did something amazing, while the coach may have felt s/he barely did anything, at all. If so, you may have experienced a "group flow" state.

Individuals go into flow states when they use their strengths in challenging situations, but groups of two or more people can also create group flow under specific circumstances. During flow, people are unusually creative, often feel that guidance is coming from without, and they may lose track of time. To learn more about flow, watch this TED video of positive psychology pioneer, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (rhymes with 'chick sent me high'), who coined the term, Flow.

Creativity researcher, R. Keith Sawyer, wrote a fascinating article on group flow for the Greater Good Science Center, based on his study of jazz ensembles and comedians. I've adapted his ideas here to describe the conditions that can foster group flow during a coaching session.

Conditions that promote flow during coaching:

1. A shared goal. In great coaching, both client and coach have a shared intention of moving the client towards achieving an important goal. To do this, the coach needs to let go of any personal goals s/he has to provide value, look smart, or get the client to do what s/he thinks is best. The coach also needs to create a safe, trusted environment for the client.

2. Engaged listening. Both coach and client need to listen deeply to themselves and to each other, putting aside preconceived notions about how the goal should be reached and checking in with each other frequently to make sure they are still on the same page. The coach takes the initiative here, modeling listening with intent, which can trigger the client to do the same. The coach also triggers deep engagement by asking awareness-building questions.

3. Forward motion. Acknowledgment, curiosity, and positivity all keep the session moving forward even when neither the coach nor the client knows exactly where they're headed. This means moving from "Yeah, but" thinking to "Yes, and" thinking, while remaining genuinely curious and avoiding judgments and closed-ended questions that can stop forward movement.

4. Undivided attention. Both coach and client need to be in private, non-distracting environments so they can attend fully to the shared present-moment conversation. Email, smart phones, other people and more can all derail a great coaching session.

5. Freedom and autonomy. Coach and client are equal partners who believe in each other, because the client needs the freedom to be exactly who he is while coaching. Flow emerges when they trust and respect one another enough for the client to find the answers that truly work best for him. 

6. Supportive egos. Sometimes it seems as though the coach and client think together with one mind for a few minutes. To do so, they both need their egos present, but not running the show. Trying to get rid of the ego leads to dysfunction, but too much ego just gets in the way. To move egos aside, trust must be strong enough for coach and client to experience moments of intimacy.

7. Equal partnership. Coaching is different from most professions in that it is an equal partnership between the professional and client. The coach doesn't fix or advise and the client doesn't need to be healed by the coach. This equality fosters full participation by the client, which leads to resourcefulness, resilience and greatness.

8. Unspoken understandings. Coach and client need to reveal just enough information about themselves that they feel sufficiently known by one another. This implicit knowing allows communication to jump ahead quickly, rather than consume time with polite posturings. Hours, weeks, or even months of processing can take place within minutes.

9. Spontaneous conversation. The coach needs to let go of the coaching models and structures s/he learned in coaching school and just coach from the hip, so to speak. While the client needs also to let go and allow flow to occur. That's one of the many reasons why practice and mastery are essential for the coach and why an excellent fit between coach and client makes such a big difference.

10. Risk. Both coach and client need to be willing to fail in order for flow to show up. If they play it safe, many of the above conditions will evaporate. The coach must be willing to explore the unknown even if it means asking cringe-worthy questions, while the client needs to be courageous enough to answer honestly. There is no other way to find the best outcomes. 

The above conditions don't happen automatically. The coach needs to know how to create trust and safety, while navigating the energy of the coaching conversation, in order to create this transpersonal experience. But when done well, coaching is often awe-inspiring.

Want to learn more about coaching and flow? Join the Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program or download the CPPC Fact Sheet below.

 

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Photo by VANKUSO

Topics: coaching clients, coaching questions, greatness, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow

Coaches: How to Look Like a Douche on Social Media

Posted by Julia Stewart

marketing a coaching business on social media

Okay, sorry for the strong language, but it had to be said: some nice coaches look like, well you know, on social media. Don't be that coach.

Example. A couple of years ago, I wanted to work with a new coach and was considering one who had a great reputation. I was about to call him when he posted about a big breakthrough he had with a client, only he made it sound like it was HIS success, rather then the client's. Yuk. I never called. I actually think he's probably a great guy and a great coach, but he keeps posting stuff like that and I can't bring myself to work with him. Here's the thing: his fans probably forgive him, because they KNOW he's great. The rest of us aren't so sure.

Do you know how many coaching clients you've lost because you posted something dumb on social media? Me either, but I hope it's a really small number. To save us all from ourselves, I've compiled a top ten list on how to look like a douche on social media.

Top Ten Ways to Look Like a Douche on Social Media:

 

  1. Always post about yourself and your business.
  2. Quote yourself on social media.
  3. Brag about how successful your business is.
  4. Brag about how good you are at what you do.
  5. Shoot down others when they're being brilliant.
  6. Brag about the great work you did with a client.
  7. Complain about your "bad" clients.
  8. Always one-up others in the brilliance department.
  9. Never admit your weaknesses.
  10. Aggressively hawk your business on social media.

I've probably committed a couple of these boo-boos myself. But I really try not to. You?

Oh and I considered writing a separate post on How to Be Irresistibly Attractive on Social Media, but anybody could write it, because all you need is to flip the foregoing over. So to save you the paperwork, here it is:

Top Ten Ways to Be Irresistibly Attractive on Social Media:

 

  1. Post or re-share more about others than yourself.
  2. Say smart things now and then, but save the honor of quotes for others.
  3. Talk about other businesses you love.
  4. Talk about how good others are at what they do.
  5. Like or Fav the brilliance of others.
  6. Talk about how brilliant your clients are.
  7. Acknowledge how fortunate you are to have great clients.
  8. Add your brilliance to conversations, but don't compete.
  9. Be a little self-deprecating now and then, preferably with humor.
  10. Share your business with those who are curious (and they will be).

See a pattern here? Although people love great content, everybody likes to be appreciated and nobody likes a pompous know-it-all. Social media marketing is for creating new relationships with people who aren't already your fans. Each item your post could be a future client's first experience of you. Make it stellar.

All that's needed is to put your ego aside for a moment.

If you're new or unsure about social media marketing for your coaching business, download the Essential Guide to Social Media Marketing.

If you'd like a lot more helpful information like this, join the Coach 100 Business Success Program, or even just play the Coach 100 Full Practice Game.

Free Social Media Marketing eBook

Topics: coaching business, Coaches, Coach 100, coaching clients, Coaching 100, coach, coach marketing, Social Media Marketing

Video: Top Ten Secrets to Making a Living as a Life Coach

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaches are asking to see the video of Top Ten Secrets to Making a Living as a Life Coach. Okay, here it is. Click the image below, register with your name and email and download the video to your device. It's a safe download. Have fun!

Top Ten Secrets to Making a Living as a Life Coach

The last post on this blog was, What Does it Take to Become a Top (Business or Life) Coach?

It sparked quite a stir and a lot has happened since.

  • The post inspired a Q&A class titled, Top Ten Secrets to Making a Living as a Life Coach, which sold out in minutes, so we had to get a bigger webinar platform to accomodate all the coaches who wanted to attend.
  • The class inspired a new Coach 100 Full Practice GAME, with both a free version for everybody and an elite version for members of Coach 100 Premium. Tagline: "Everybody wins when you coach more clients, because coaching is changing the world!"
  • The GAME inspired a new blog aptly named the Coach 100 Full Practice GAME Blog, where game players can keep up-to-date, share their experiences, and support each other's success. Plus the game is also broadcast on our Facebook Page for coaches who prefer to play there. This is a social game. It's about winning by supporting others - the best way to succeed as a coach.
  • The class and game inspired a new series of 10 monthly Q&A webinars that go into deep detail on the Top Ten Secrets to help players succeed more easily/quickly. These live classes will be included for Coach 100 members, at no extra charge, and non-member will be able to join for $20 per class.
  • Players are already diving into the game. Are you one of them? If you'd like to join the elite version, go here to learn about Coach 100 Premium. If you'd prefer to play the free version, subscribe to the Coach 100 Full Practice GAME Blog here.
You gotta be in it to win it. Get in the GAME:

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Topics: business coach, life coach, become a life coach, Coach 100, become a business coach, coaching clients, make a living as a life coach, make a living as a coach

What Does It Take to Become a Top (Business or Life) Coach?

Posted by Julia Stewart

How to Become a Top Coach

A new coach told me recently that she thought coaching is probably like most professions:  20% of coaches get 80% of the clients. And yes, she may be correct. According to my research, only about 20% of coaches are really thrilled with their businesses. Obviously, if you're going to become a business or life coach, you want to be one of the top 20%.

So what does it take to get to the top 20% of business and life coaches?

Some marketing and sales gurus will offer you "shortcuts" to coaching glory via fancy business models, affiliate programs, slick sales techniques, or complex technological solutions.

But you're a person of integrity. Don't you first want to have something of value to sell?

Because the most successful coaches I know are also the most effective coaches. They didn't get that way by marketing. They took consistent targeted action over time to become masterful coaches and developed their sales and marketing acumen along the way. Sales and marketing are most effective when you have a fabulous service offering, such as master coaching.

So what is master coaching? The ICF and IAC have defined what it takes to get master-level certification, but their requirements are different. And arguably the world's first coach,Tony Robbins, probably can't pass either the IAC's or ICF's certification. But no one argues with his success - or his mastery.

And then there's Thomas Leonard, who founded both the ICF and IAC. His definition of mastery has nothing to do with certification. He said mastery is when you innovate your profession, grow the boundaries, so to speak. 

Malcolm Gladwell made famous the 10,000 hours rule that says to master anything, you need to put in about 10,000 hours of practice. For many experts, this translates into ten years or more. Hours and years alone, though, aren't enough. You need to be actively learning throughout. That's the key.

Pablo Casals was once asked why he still practiced the cello in his nineties. He said, "I'm making progress."

So do you want to know what it takes to become a master business or life coach?

  • Learn the most effective coaching skills. This may sound obvious, but a surprising number of people skip this step and just announce they are coaches. Few, if any, succeed.
  • Learn what is not coaching. Confusing your service offerings makes each offering less effective for your client.
  • Practice. Then practice some more. Then keep practicing.
  • Get expert feedback on your coaching. Otherwise, you likely are practicing - and hardwiring - your mistakes.
  • Develop your personal awareness. Discover your most important values, needs, and strengths. Use them to create an amazing life. Step into your Greatness. That's so attractive.
  • Let your free or low-fee clients train you. Their success or lack of it will help prepare you for high-fee clients.
  • Ask your happiest clients to refer more clients. They'll be glad to help.
  • Hang out with successful coaches. You become who you hang out with.
  • Get your own coach(es). It's enlightening to be on the receiving end of coaching.
  • Have a vision for your coaching that focuses you and pulls you forward. If you feel overwhelmed or crazy-excited, you're not there yet.
  • Become a leader in your profession. The leaders tend to become the most successful, even if they didn't start that way.
  • Keep up-to-date with new research. Intuition offers awareness; science offers precision. At the top, the differences that make all the difference are tiny.
  • Become marketing and sales savvy. They're important, but great coaching ability is your foundation. It takes time to get all three up to speed.
  • Have an alternate income source until you make it. A part-time job takes way less time and energy than worrying about money.
  • Love yourself, your life, and your clients. Wherever you are is perfect, right now. With a good plan and consistent effort, you can improve on perfection.

Of course, everything we offer at School of Coaching Mastery is designed to help you step into the Top 20% of all coaches. But because practice is so critically important to mastery, we're upgrading our signature Master Coach Training to allow for more live practice and expert feedback.

This September, we're introducing the 'flipped classroom' a la Khan Academy for our Master Coach Training Program. We offer a wealth of MCT recorded classes on a multitude of effective coaching skills that coaches can listen to/watch prior to live classes. The live classes are then reserved for Q&A and live coaching demos, practice, feedback, and 'coach the coach'. This allows everyone more flexibility in scheduling, attendance, learning and PRACTICE. And yes, you can become certified by joining this program (Which is included in many of our longer coach-training programs).

 

We want you to become a master coach faster and step into the Top 20%.

 

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Topics: business coach, coach training, become a life coach, become a coach, become a business coach, coaching clients, Become a Master Coach, ICF, Thomas Leonard, Become a Certified Coach, Tony Robbins, Become a Masterful Coach, how to become a coach, IAC

New Coaches: Which of These Entrepreneur Types Should You Be?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaches are often confused when first designing their businesses - and sometimes they feel guilty too! Maybe they think they're spending too little time with the kids, or bringing in too little money. Or maybe the house isn't as clean as it used to be, or key members of family aren't fully on board.

Relax: you're normal!

This infographic from My Corporation will help you see how you compare with other small business owners:

What Kind of Entrepreneur Should You Be?

 

New to the business of coaching, but want to attract clients quickly? Coach 100 has been helping coaches fill their coaching practices for a decade:

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Topics: business coach, life coach, Coaching, become a coach, Coaches, Coach 100, coaching clients, coaching businesses, new coaches

Master Coaching Tip: How to Coach with Ease and Power

Posted by Julia Stewart

 

 

master coach training

 

Master coaches have learned many concepts and communication skills that make a dramatic difference to their coaching clients.

But as with many endeavors, the 80/20 rule applies in coaching. That is, about 80% of the value is created by approximately 20% of the effort. The secret is to learn which 20% makes the difference.

So here's part of that secret: connect your client's goals to what matters most to your client, i.e. their values, their calling, their life purpose, or the legacy they want to leave. A powerful "why" generates resourceful "hows".

The result? Coaching is much easier for the coach and much more powerful for the client.

Learn to coach masterfully:

Become a Master Coach Here

Topics: coach training, coaching clients, Become a Master Coach, master coach, Masterful Coaching, masterful coaches, Master Coach Training, Values

Great Coaching, Mindfulness, and Noticing the Keys to Success

Posted by Julia Stewart

Mindfulness is Ellen Langer resized 600

Positive Psychology researcher, Ellen Langer, reminds us that to notice - something that great coaches excel at - requires mindfulness. In coaching, we call that "presence". Without presence, you'll miss what matters most to your client. With it, the keys to their success are revealed.

Learn more about mindfulness and coaching presence:

 

Become a Certified Positive Psychology Coach

 

Gorgeous Photo by Elan Sun Star

Topics: Coaching, Coaches, coaching clients, Become a Certified Coach, greatness, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching, mindfulness

Marketing for Coaches: How to Lose Friends, Respect, and Clients

Posted by Julia Stewart

finding life coach clientsIf you're a relatively new business or life coach, then the question of where to find coaching clients is probably nearly an obsession for you.

 

And that's as it should be. You're in a huge learning curve and your future business depends on your ability to learn quickly and keep moving forward.

 

This blog post will help flatten your marketing and sales learning curve and save you from bumbling ineptitude. 

 

As you can imagine, my coaching clients and students frequently ask me how to find clients.

 

Most don't ask where. You need to know 'where' before the 'how' question can even begin to help you.

 

So here's a list of places 'where' you may find clients, preceded by a few places where you almost certainly won't.

 

Where you WON'T find clients, but you may lose respect, friends, or worse:
  • Friends and family: don't invite your best friend to coach with you for a fee. You're violating your relationship with her and will likely offend her and possibly lose her friendship. Do offer to coach her for free, if you like - and if she's interested. Mattison Grey calls this the Friends Channel. Don't talk business unless you're both on the Business Channel.
  • Other people's tribes: you may belong to communities of interest that are led by other thought leaders. Maybe all the members are on the Business Channel, but your fellow members may view you as just a peer. Don't presume they're open to becoming your clients, unless they've already expressed curiosity about how you can help them and even then, have the conversation in private. Otherwise, you'll be seen as inappropriate and tribal leaders may view you as an interloper. Better to start your own tribe.
  • Your coaching school: don't try to build a coaching business by coaching other coaches, especially your classmates. You may see yourself as more developed than they are, but it's unlikely they'll agree. If you SPAM them with invitations to coach, or worse, invite them to coach with you in class, you'll just look self-serving - not attractive. Do invite your classmates to trade peer coaching with you, gratis.
  • Social aquaintences: the folks you meet in church, at a homeowners meeting, or in line at a store may or may not be open to coaching with you. Let them ask about it. If they're just being social, just be social with them. If they seem curious, go ahead and share more - probably in private.

 

Places where you CAN find coaching clients:
  • Friends of friends of family: go ahead and offer some free coaching to your family and their friends. If they like it, ask them to refer friends to you for coaching. Sometimes it's as easy as that.
  • Friends of friends of friends: the closer someone is to your social circle, the more likely they are to be concerned about confidentiality, so ask friends to refer people for free coaching sessions. Ask those people for referrals. The third tier is a better bet.
  • People who join your tribes: start a Facebook Page, LinkedIn Group, or live networking organization. Serve your members. A lot. Invite them to complimentary sessions. The more they perceive you as a contributor to their lives and success, the more they will want your coaching.
  • People you meet at networking events: live networking is powerful when you know how to use it. Everyone there is 'selling' something, so the trick is to notice those who want what you have. Invite them to a free session.
  • People who read your blog: one of the easiest ways to build a tribe is to start a great blog. Easy, but time consuming. If you love to serve and love to write, your blog can become a powerful attractor. Use it to invite potential clients.
  • People who hear you speak: lead live workshops, online webinars, or teleclasses. Educate, entertain, and serve. Your listeners may fall in love with you. You can invite them to work with you, but don't be surprised if they ask YOU to coach them, first. When you're in the right place, doing the right things, sales practically take care of themselves.

 

So there you have some powerful DOs and DON'Ts for attracting coaching clients without offending people. As always, it boils down to Servant Entrepreneurship. If you want much more...

 

Get Paid to Coach. Join Coach 100.

Topics: business coach, blogging, coaching clients, make a living as a life coach, make a living as a coach, Facebook, Life Coaches, marketing and sales, LinkedIn, Social Media Marketing, Marketing for life coaches

How to Plan This Year's Coaching Success in Just Fifteen Minutes

Posted by Julia Stewart

coaching success

Written by Julia Stewart

Here's a nifty tool for your annual coaching business plan. It harnesses the power of the 'top ten list', works for any type of small business, and it only takes fifteen minutes to create an effective plan for coaching success.

Follow these steps to plan for this year's coaching success:

  1. Make a list of the Top Ten things Your Business Did Right, last year. These could include a new strategy for attracting clients, raising your fees, upgrading your skills and credentials, hiring an assistant, increasing your sales, etc. This list should take 5 minutes to complete, tops, but spend at least ten seconds appreciating yourself for doing these things right.
  2. Now make a list of the Top Ten Things Your Business Did Wrong. Be honest, but don't wallow. Did you spend too much time on Facebook? Did you focus too much time or energy on a business strategy that just isn't working out? Did you spend too much money on tools, memberships, or trainings that didn't enhance your business? Did you fail to hire a mentor coach, even though you knew you needed one? Did you let your self care slide? Did you network, but didn't follow up on leads? If you suspect something you did or did not do is costing your business, you're probably right, so write it down and then move on.
  3. Prioritize your lists by numbering them in the order of best things you did and worst. You've probably noticed a pattern or two by now. That's good; it'll help you with your next list.
  4. Now write a top ten list on what you'll do this year for more success. With your last two numbered lists, this'll be pretty easy. And this is the list that'll help you succeed this year.
  5. Of course, lists like this one are useless unless you find a way to remind yourself to follow through on them. In this case, you need to follow through for 12 full months. You could post your Top Ten Things to Do This Year list on your wall or make it into a screen saver, but over time, it'll become invisible to your eyes. So here's what I do: I schedule it to be emailed to me once per month. I use a free service called, Yesware, to send this list in a reminder every 30 days, so I can check to see if I'm following through. It's already helping me prioritize what gets done.
There you have it: 15 minutes spent to create 365 days of coaching success.

 

Want more coaching clients in 2014? Try Coach 100 Business Success:

 

Get Paid to Coach. Join Coach 100.

Topics: coaching business, mentor coach, Coach 100, coaching clients, coaching success

Coaching the Curse of the High Achiever

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching for high achievers

Written by Julia Stewart

Have you ever wondered why someone as smart and talented as you hasn't already achieved everything you want?

You're not alone.

Let's face it, you could be twice as smart as Gromit, but still be playing the part of the dog, instead of the master. 

Even if you're a natural-born high achiever, your life may not look it, even though it 'should'.

I coach high achievers, so I'll share some clues about this counter-intuitive curse with some help from the Harvard Business Review.

Harvard knows a thing or two about high achievers.

In The Curse of Being a High Achiever, Harvard Business Review shares common characteristics: 

  • Highly motivated 
  • A doer
  • Driven to get results
  • Competitive
  • Craving positive feedback
  • A safe risk taker
  • Passionate about work
  • Guilt ridden

Mostly great stuff, so what makes high achievers so cursed?

HBR says High Achievers get so used to success that they stop taking risks and then their careers plateau. I'd agree that fear of making mistakes is a chief reason for low achievement, but there are a number of more subtle reasons that high achievers don't succeed.

  • You may be surrounded by people (possibly since birth) who are so self-absorbed that they never acknowledge you. When you don't feel seen and validated, you naturally accomplish less.
  • You may get acknowledged only when you do things that help others achieve their dreams.
  • Others may become so dependent upon you that you expend considerable energy just keeping them afloat, let alone achieving. This is somewhat similar to Gromit's problem. Wallace gets into hot water with his Walter Mitty inventions and Gromit saves the day.
I call these relationship habitats. Once I had a very smart coaching client who never reached her dream of becoming a physician, because no one else believed in her or her dream. I had another client who became a physician only because his parents wanted it. Which leads to another big reason you may not be reaching your goals.

 

  • You don't know what you really want, so you end up achieving something else.

What's the secret to overcoming the curse of the high achiever? If high achieving is holding you back, HBR says, "Then you must adopt counterintuitive practices that give you the courage to step out of your comfort zone." 

In The Curse of the Were Rabbit, Gromit saves they day by looking well past the obvious to see that (spoiler alert) Wallace is the actual Were Rabbit. Gromit then takes steps to change Wallace back into himself and thus salvages both Wallace and the town's vegetable patches.

But Wallace and Gromit still maintain their same relationship, with Wallace the master and Gromit the dog. We, the audience, know better and that's what makes the film amusing.

It's possible (quite likely, actually) that Gromit loves Wallace so much he wouldn't have it any other way, but it's equally likely that he isn't really aware of what he is doing.

We never know whether people will support us in our dreams until we make a stand. Only then will we know which matters most to us. And before we can do that, we need to know what our true dreams are and, most likely, we need someone who genuinely believes in us and acknowledges us and our dreams.

It's a 'catch 22'. We can't find out who will believe in us until we make a stand, and we can't make a stand unless someone believes in us.

This is why people hire coaches.

Never underestimate the power of your relationship habitat, because it will make or break you.

If you want to make major upgrades to your life, career, or business, hire a coach who honestly believes in you. It's not magic, but it'll feel like magic to you.

 

Learn About Elite Coaching for High Achievers

 

Image: Theatrical Release Poster from Wikipedia

Topics: Coaching, mentor coach, coaching clients, coach, Mentor Coaching

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