School of Coaching Mastery

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Is "Coaching Program" an Oxymoron?

Posted by Julia Stewart

coaching program oxymoron

Confusion about coaching programs and coaching packages has been surfacing in conversations with clients, coaches, and coaching students all week.

Obviously, it's time to write about it.

These phrases were in existence at least eighteen years ago when I became a coach, but lately they seem to be confused with the very nature of coaching, itself.

What are coaching programs and packages?

  • A coaching program is a structured process of personal or professional development. It may or may not include any coaching. If not, don't call it a coaching program.
  • A coaching package is a way to sell services by offering tangible choices. You get these services for this price; you get more services for a higher price, etc. If your package doesn't include coaching, don't call it a coaching package.

So what is coaching and what's the confusion?

  • Coaching is a personal conversation that's customized in the moment so the client can reach their goals and desires. When done well, it's all about the client and they reach those goals and desires. This is such a rare experience that people who are ready to live their dreams will pay handsomely for it.
  • Yesterday, a student thanked me for a ten-minute coaching session I'd given them the night before. They had a big interview coming up and their coaching goal was to overcome a lack of confidence that they feared would prevent them from succeeding with the interview. By the end of ten minutes, we'd reframed their situation, they had the confidence they needed, and they aced their interview. Ten minutes. That's the power of real coaching. When you can do that, you don't need gimmicks to sell your coaching.

How can you tell you're not getting real coaching?

  • If the "coach" chooses the topic of conversation, it's not coaching.
  • If the "coach" tells you what to do, it's not coaching.
  • If you're one of many clients present in the conversation, it's not coaching.
  • If the coach follows a formula, it's not coaching.
  • If you, the client, listen more than talk, it's not coaching.
  • If the conversation is all about the "coach's" process, program, or package, or worse, about the "coach"; it's not coaching.
  • If the "coach" has more faith in their process than in you, it's not coaching.
  • If the "coach" tries to sell you anything during the conversation, it's not coaching.

If a coaching program or package includes the above and not the following, it is virtually the opposite of coaching.

What do you get from a real coach?

  • Someone who believes in you and elicits your best
  • Someone who is genuinely curious about your situation and helps you uncover strengths and assets to help you succeed
  • Someone who listens intently and hears beyond the obvious
  • Someone who cares more about you than about selling programs and packages
  • Someone who can improvise to create the coaching you need right now
  • Someone who helps you create an environment that supports your success
  • Someone who cuts through information overload and helps you learn what just you need to get there faster
  • Someone who helps you grow into who you need to be
  • Someone who helps your reach your goals more quickly

 

Real coaching works without gimmicks.

 

If you're serious about reaching your goals, find a real coach.

 

Find a Coach Here

 

Topics: coaching definition, FIND A COACH, Strengths

Should Life and Business Coaches Give Advice?

Posted by Julia Stewart

 Coaching_advice.jpg

Most people assume that life, business, and executive coaches give advice, because that's what most professionals do: give expert advice. For instance, if you hire an attorney, s/he gives you legal advice. If you hire a broker, s/he gives you financial advice. And if you go to a hair stylist, you expect some advice on your hair. But coaches really aren't advisors.

By the way, this answers the question posed to me years ago by one coach wannabe, "How do you charge for free advice?" Most new coaches ask some version of this question when they first set up their coaching businesses. The answer is, "You don't." Free advice is everywhere, but that's not what coaches do.

Huh? What do coaches do then, if they don't give advice?

Well, here's one of the most succinct definitions of coaching, from David Rock, who pioneered brain-based coaching. He says, "Coaches help people think better."

"Why would anyone pay hundreds of dollars per hour to have somebody help them thinking better?" you might ask.

That's certainly an understandable question. Because Rock's definition is so simple, it doesn't even hint at the power of coaching. In fact, most coaching definitions don't. Here are two coaching definitions I borrowed from the blog post, "What is Life Coaching?"

School of Coaching Mastery (SCM) definition of coaching: Coaching is a customized conversation that empowers the client to get what s/he wants by thinking and acting more resourcefully.

International Coach Federation (ICF) definition of coaching: Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.

These definitions get closer to what really happens in an effective coaching session, but if you've never been coached, it's still hard to imagine the value, so it's no wonder untrained coaches tend to give advice and then wonder why they don't have more paying coaching clients.

If your "coaching" is really about giving advice, you're not coaching; you're consulting. Sometimes the client needs consulting, so if you're qualified to consult within your specialty, go ahead and consult. But don't call it coaching, because your clients won't know what they're buying.

And don't ever call yourself a coach just to get around the fact that you don't have the credentials to do something else. Coaching is unregulated virtually everywhere, but If you're not qualified to be a counselor, psychotherapist, financial advisor, legal advisor, or health professional, etc.; it's unethical to advise people under the heading of "coach", because coaches don't advise and because calling your service one thing, when it's really something else, is false advertising. And finally, because these specialties are usually regulated.

What coaches really do is shift their clients' mind-states. This is pretty profound, requires skill, and it results in dramatically better outcomes. We don't heal our clients, but we do bring out their personal greatness, which has in common elements from Presence, Flow, Love 2.0, and more.

In short, coaching clients think better. Way better.

When clients think better, they see solutions to problems and pathways to reaching goals. They sometimes realize they don't even have problems (or maybe what they have are really good problems) and they even become grateful for what they already have. Sometimes, they find strengths they'd forgotten, or values they truly treasure that pull them forward. Sometimes they realize they already have the people and resources they need, or that they know where to find them.

And occasionally, they discover a gap that needs filling.

There may be a gap in knowledge, vision, plan, or relationships. In these rare cases, the coach may prompt clients with a few possibilities they didn't know about. The coach might say, "I've seen others try X, Y, or Z in this type of situation and it was effective for them. What do you think?" But a great coach will never say, "You should do X." The first is offering options; the second is giving advice.

Even offering options is ineffective unless it's really needed, which is pretty rare.

Do you know how to help people think better? Do you how to shift people's mind-states so they think and act more resourcefully? Do you know how to elicit people's personal greatness? And when and how to offer options?

If not, or if you're unsure, the upcoming Coaching Groundwork Advance course may be perfect for you. Find out more and download the face sheet, or even register, below.

Join Coaching Groundwork Advanced and Save

Topics: business coach, life coach, executive coach, Coaching Groundwork, consulting, Flow, coaching definition, personal greatness, coaching presence, love 2.0

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