School of Coaching Mastery

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Should Life and Business Coaches Give Advice?

Posted by Julia Stewart


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 Certified Competent Coach course may be perfect for you. Find out more and download the face sheet, or even register, below.

Become a Certified Competent Coach Quickly

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

Coaching Tip: When Validation and Acknowledgment Backfire

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching Tip


Subtitle this post, 'Coaches Behaving Badly'!

One of the basic coaching skills, which collectively are called the Coaching Foundations, is Validate Everything. I define validation as any appropriate expression of support, whether positive ('That's great!'), or negative ('That sucks!'). There are lots of ways to validate in coaching and one of the most effective, is acknowledgment.

Except when it's not.

Mattison Grey wrote the book on acknowledgment and defines it as a statement about what someone did, or the results they got, shared with a tone of wonderment. She says acknowledgment works when other forms of validation, such as offering compliments, do not, because often, people feel judged when complimented.

I couldn't agree more and Mattison is awesome at acknowledgment, but I've had yucky experiences with compliments, validations, and even acknowledgments, because sometimes, no matter how skilled people are at delivering them, they muck it up, anyway.

They just can't help it!

Most of my yucky experiences occurred with newish coaches, who most likely were just making mistakes with a new skill set and that's understandable. But sometimes it came from veteran coaches and then it looks like a character issue. As in, poor personal development, or lack of integrity.

Here are a couple of examples:

I used to work for a coach training company that called validation, championing. All the coaches there went about championing each other, because that's what good coaches do, right?

One of my coaching colleagues there used to champion me so lavishly that, one day, I asked her to stop, because I felt increasingly uncomfortable. I really didn't need, nor want to hear, over and over, what a great coach I was, what a fantastic coach trainer, how impressive my success was, nor how amazing was my devotion and commitment to my coaching clients and students. Ugh.

The next day though, she made several remarks that called into question my honesty and integrity regarding the coaching profession. Hmm, really? The same person's saying these things? It communicated to me that although she usually said over-the-top positive things to me, underneath she was judging me negatively on some major stuff.

She later apologized, which is great, but I never felt I could trust her. She had shown that regardless how syrupy her validations were, she was really thinking something else. In fact, to me, she was a suck up. 

She left me feeling uncomfortable, insulted, and annoyed. That's how I still remember her.

You know, the IAC certification scorecard measures, among other things, whether the coach demonstrates consistency (a.k.a. integrity) between words and actions. If you validate, champion, acknowledge, or whatever you call it, and then demonstrate that you don't really believe what you said, you damage trust with the client.

Not validating enough during coaching is a mistake. Validating, but not meaning it, is an even more destructive mistake.

One of the problems with coach training is that sometimes we emphasize the 'how', instead of the 'who'. Thomas Leonard used to tell coaches to champion, because that's just who we are. If you do it for any other reason, you're manipulating. And the person you're manipulating will smell a rat.

I call dishonest validation, schmoozing. That's an Americanism, derived from Yiddish, that means to gossip or chat with someone, in an intimate manner, in order to manipulate, flatter, or impress them.

But you could just as well call it, INvalidation, because that's the effect it has.

Then there was the colleague from the past, who showed up in one of my classes at SCM. I was surprised she signed up, because I knew she had been coaching at least as long as I. The first day of class, she delivered some schmoozy validations of me, as a coach and coach trainer. Then she referenced her own great coaching skill and left a pause. I got the feeling I was supposed to reciprocate by acknowledging her prowess as a coach. Problem was, I had no memory of ever hearing her coach. Well, that was a little awkward!

There were any number of ways I could have navigated that awkward moment, but something blocked me. As my mind searched for any memory I had of her and her coaching, only one memory was vivid: She once called me up, offered me an interesting opportunity to teach coaching in a college, and said lots of nice, schmoozy things about how I was such a great coach and trainer and she knew I was the right person for the job, which basically involved coaching eight hours per day, at a college that was three hours away. The pay? $100 per day!! I don't consider myself to be thin skinned, but yes, I was insulted. It would have been better if she had asked me to volunteer for free.

Not surprisingly, she dropped the SCM course in a huff, before it was over. That's the kind of thing people do when they want you to acknowledge them and you don't do it. She also said some pretty nasty things about me and my training ability in an email.

And then, right on time, I opened an email from a coach I really admire. It began with a quote from Maya Angelou: 

“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time."

The takeaway? Schmoozers schmooze. They can't be trusted, much less deliver great coaching, because great isn't fake.

Of course, nobody has to be a schmoozer for life. I've caught myself being fake, and try to remember it when schmoozy folks cross my path. Like the time I got an email from a coach I didn't like and forwarded it to a friend with a snarky comment. Then I saw the disliked coach at a coaching function. He offered a hug, so I hugged him. The next day, he emailed me. I'd hit, 'reply' instead of 'forward', so he got the snarky comment, instead of my friend! How fake was that to criticize him in private, then hug him in public? That memory is an embarrassing reminder that I'm still a work in progress, like everybody else. I've used it to upgrade my own behavior.

But once again, Maya Angelou says it best:

“I've learned that people will forget what you said; people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

If you're going to validate, acknowledge, or champion, do it because that's who you are and it's what you really believe. Otherwise, you may succeed at making someone feel good at first, but your behavior will give you away, and the contrast will make your judgmental behavior even uglier to the other person. That feels yucky and that's how they'll always remember you.

How do you become someone who champions just because that's who you are, and not because you're manipulative? Like anything else, practice. Get a coach. And work tirelessly on your personal development. Learn to get your ego out of the way and trust the process. 

Otherwise, you may be remembered as a schmoozer.

Get coach training and personal development here:

Join the Ultimate Coach Training Program

Topics: Coaching, Coaching Groundwork, Thomas Leonard, Mattison Grey, Coaching Tip, acknowledgment

Why I Love Mentor Coaching My Coaching Students

Posted by Julia Stewart

Tailored coach training

Written by Julia Stewart

If you're a high achiever, then one of your main stumbling blocks to becoming a coach is taking the time you need to master your new profession. Your time is precious, because you're already successful at something else.

Degree programs and coach training schools really won't really work for you, because they're:

1. Time consuming.
2. One-size-fits-all.
3. Don't cover exactly what you need, when you need it.


What you want is learning that is tailored to what you need, when you need it, no more, no less. Someone who could curate the thousands of learning tools out there, so you don't waste time on the superfluous, would be awesome. There are plenty of mentor coaches who claim they can give that to you, but coaching and training are two different professions and coaching is a lot pricier. So what do you do?


What you probably need, but may not realize it, is someone who can get you unstuck when your fears, insecurities and the 'voice of reason', that vampire that stalks every entrepreneur who dares to chase a dream, start harrassing you, because they will.


You need two things:


  1. A systematic method for closing your knowledge gaps and getting the experience you need. That's what training is.
  2. A process for becoming who you need to be, day by day, despite your fears. That's what coaching does.
I started School of Coaching Mastery in 2007, because as a certified mentor coach, I was tired of working with people who wanted to become coaches, but had little or no training. They simply didn't know what they needed to know. But I also get frustrated by students who get training, but no coaching, because they're starting their businesses with an unnecessary handicap.


What I really love is mentoring my coaching students. They get exactly what they need and I enjoy hearing how much stinking fun they're having with their new coaching businesses. I've been mentoring coaches for over a decade, but I made it official when I launched Elite Mentor Coaching for High Achievers last year. It includes private mentor coaching and access to the SCM modules and programs you want, like Coaching Groundwork Advanced, Master Coach Training, Positive Psychology, Group Coaching, and more, when you want them, no more, no less. Maybe I should call it, Stewart's Tailored Coach Training!


Here are a couple of testimonials from recent clients:

"Results are what you’ll see what you take full advantage of the Elite Mentoring Program for High Achievers. Working with Master Coach Julia Stewart, I found the clarity I needed and the insights that inspired me to take action and keep working. Within weeks, I doubled the number of coaching clients I work with, expanded my professional speaking business by adding three new clients and launched my website. Within months, I designed and delivered a nationwide professional development program for a new client and launched a popular group coaching program. Trust Julia with your highest aspirations. Stay open to new possibilities. Do the work and you will create what you really want, and more." - Nancy McCabe, Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Founder of Results Business Coaching

"When I hired Julia as my mentor coach, I wasn't entirely sure I needed it. I had quite a bit of education and experience already and the industry does not require certified coaching credentials to be recognized as a coach. I wasn't sure it would be a good investment for the money. After coaching for 3 months with Julia and taking several classes at SCM, I can say that not only was this a great investment but possibly the best investment I have made in my career. I would recommend this to experienced coaches as well as inexperienced coaches. The value of the service far exceeds the cost, which makes this a savvy investment in YOU!" - Patrice Swenson, CCC, Life and Business Coach and Founder of Rainbow in the Puddle


I have an opening for one new client, right now. I may have one or two openings in early January. If you're ready to succeed at becoming a coach, or want to be added to my mailing list, click below to find out more and fill out the form, while you're there:



Topics: group coaching, become a coach, Coaching Groundwork, coaching success, Become a Masterful Coach, Mentor Coaching, coach training schools, Master Coach Training, Positive Psychology

Why the Best Life Coaches Don't Offer Money-Back Guarantees

Posted by Julia Stewart

Life Coach Money Back GuaranteeThis week, a new life coach asked me whether she should offer a money-back guarantee. Some life coaches (as well as other personal coaches, like business and executive coaches) offer money-back guarantees to make it easier to close sales. The thinking is that few people ever ask for their money back, so you'll increase your sales and make more money.

That approach makes sense if you're selling flashlights, but if you're pouring your heart and soul into a personalized relationship that leads to extraordinary results for your coaching clients, the unintended consequences may outweigh any extra sales you make.

Below are some of those consequences and a suggestion for what to offer, instead. But decide for yourself. No one approach is right for every coaching business.

As I said above, the plus side of offering a money-back guarantee is that it can make it easier to 'sell' your coaching, initially. The big minus is that your clients may be less invested, both financially and emotionally. Clients who are highly invested get the best results and stay month after month, which increases your income without the pressure to constantly make sales, and it increases your clients' satisfaction, too. I call this 'the sweet spot'.

Un-invested clients get poor results and tend to ask for their money back. I learned this the hard way when I was a new coach who offered a money-back guarantee. One of my new clients quit after a month and told me the only reason she signed up was because she knew she could get her money back. You'd better believe I felt burned.

Which would you rather have: Fewer sales or more clients, but no more money? Actually, getting burned is the least of the negative consequences that stem from offering money-back guarantees for professional coaching.

Here's a bigger one: Anyone who decides to go after a big goal will have at least one crisis of confidence along the way. And people who hire professional coaches are going after big goals.

A crisis of confidence sounds something like this: 'Oh my God, I'm making a huge mistake! I just spent thousands of dollars on a life coach so I can reach my dreams. Who am I to think I can do that? And all my coach does is ask questions!? My wife will kill me if I waste that money. My friends will laugh at me if I fail. I'll feel like a loser for the rest of my life...I'd better ask for my money back and forget the whole thing. (For a real-life example of a dream nearly derailed by this type of thinking, read how Olympic Gold-Medalist, Gabby Douglas almost quit qymnastics a few months before winning the all-round female gymnist title.)

When you offer a money-back guarantee you're promising to pay your client when s/he inevitably chickens out.

The irony of money-back guarantees is that they can communicate confidence from the coach. But the most confident coaches I know don't offer them - because they don't need to. Their clients sing their praises for them and that carries much more weight than a guarantee. If you don't have great testiminals, reviews, ratings, certifications, referrals or buzz yet, maybe a money-back guarantee will help you get started.

Instead, I use what I call a Value-Back guarantee. If a client isn't completely satisfied, they're encouraged to tell me asap and together we'll design a plan for them to get the value they paid for. Both coach and client win and this way. Not only does the coach make more money, but s/he learns how to serve more clients better and the great outcomes that clients get result in testimonials, buzz, and referrals that make sales much easier than will any guarantees. (I use this approach for School of Coaching Mastery, too.)

Does this mean it's always wrong to give back a client's money? No, sometimes you may find yourself trying to coach someone you just can't help. That could drain you and your business and make it harder to serve your other clients. If you wind up firing a client, giving their money back may makes sense. (Here are some tongue-in-cheek examples of coaching clients that might need to be fired.)

Here's my last word on life coach money-back guarantees: As attractive as they sound, the truth is, no serious client really wants their money back. What they want is to get what they paid for in the 1st place. If you give back their money, both of you failed. If you work together to give them what they paid for, you both succeed.

What are your thoughts on life coaches offering money-back guarantees? I welcome disagreements! If you offer a money-back guarantee, how is it working for you? If you don't, why not?

If you have questions about launching a successful coaching business, you're in luck! The next Coaching Groundwork Advanced course is about to start and it's designed to answer your questions, so you get off on the right foot:

Join Coach Launch Pro

Topics: professional coach, coaching business, executive coach, School of Coaching Mastery, Coaching Groundwork, coaching clients, coaching success, Business Coaches, Life Coaches, personal coaching

In-Person Coach Training for Only $25

Posted by Julia Stewart

Center for Spiritual LivingAs you may know, School of Coaching Mastery occasionally raises money for charities.

The inspiration for doing this came from the Center for Spiritual Living in St. Louis. I think it's time to raise funds for the Center!

So I'm offering our signature 8-hour coach training program at the Center, Aug. 6 - 27, 7 - 9 PM for a minimum $25 contribution to the Center ($30 at the door) for the whole 8-hour program (or join our Coaching Superheroes by contributing $100). 100% of the proceeds goes to CSL.

It's not for coaches only, although coaching professionals will love brushing up their coaching skills in this fun, live venue.

We're calling it Mastery of Relationships, because the skills you'll learn can transform your relationships (not to mention your life), even if you don't coach professionally.

On the other hand, coaching skills can enhance anything you do, so feel free to bring them into any profession you're in (or would like to be in - they can enhance your job interview skills, as well).

As Jack Welch, legendary General Electric CEO, said: "People who are coaches will be the norm. Other people won't get promoted."

Don't live close enough to St. Louis to attend? You probably know somebody who does, so please pass this post on via email, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn (all the links are above).

Want to register for this one-time-only event?


Go here to read more about this live coach training seminar and register for it.

Topics: Coaching, become a life coach, School of Coaching Mastery, become a coach, Coaching Groundwork, Coach Training Programs, In-person coach training

How to Get Coaching from the Universe in Three Steps

Posted by Julia Stewart

LabyrinthEach year, on Good Friday, The Center for Spiritual Living in St. Louis, spreads a huge canvas with a labyrinth printed on it (See photo at right, by Aperte at Flickr Commons) on the floor of their hall.

Last year, I walked it for the first time, and followed The Center's directions by setting an intention before I began. I didn't know I needed an intention before hand, so I hastily scribbled a quick intention on a slip of paper.

My intention was that my then, one-year old coaching school, would introduce coaching skills to at least 100 people within the year. That might not sound like a big goal, but we are not one of those giant coaching schools. In fact, I was still our only coaching instructor, at that time (now we have two more).

Walking the labyrinth has three distinct steps:

  1. Enter the sacred space with a question in mind.
  2. Open your mind to the infinite to receive instructions.
  3. Feel gratitude for the divine gift downloaded to you.

My question in that sacred space way, 'How could I introduce coaching to 100 more people this year?' The answer came immediately: Offer our new coach training course for free. No problem; I was ready to do it.

Then a more nuanced instruction came: "Why not ask each participant to make a contribution to a good charity?" I could immediately see the added value. "Free" is ubiquitous on the internet, but as attractive as free stuff is, the added fulfillment of giving was both unique and a huge upgrade. 

As a result of that inspiration, I've offered our signature coaching skills course, Coaching Groundwork three times, each for the different charity including,  The Campaign for Tibet, The Hunger Site, and Habitat for Humanity. I've also tithed back to the Center for Spiritual Living.

This year, I set a much larger and more detailed intention: 250 new students, 100 Certified Mastery Coaches, more instructors and a rather large amount of money earned by the school. 

As I drove away from the Center today, it occurred to me that I more than reached last year's goal, despite the economy. It didn't always show up the way I thought it should or when I thought it should, but it absolutely manifested. I'm equally certain that my intentions for this year are already coming true. 

The Universe is a wonderful coach. To find a labyrinth in your community, do an online search for New Thought Churches, such as Science of Mind and Unity.


Topics: Coaching, coaching school, coach training, Coaching Groundwork, coach, coaching schools

Should You Become a Coach In an Economic Downturn?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Is it or isn't it? A recession, I mean? How many thousands of hours of airtime have "pundits" used up analyzing our economy and still we don't know if it's the Big R or not?

All that professional fretting can sure make a new business person nervous! And those of us who've been at it for a while are concerned, too. On the other hand, any time there is a shake up of any sort, new opportunities pop up. The fun of being in business is watching the landscape change and noticing the next big windows of opportunity before everyone else does.

A freaky economy brings plenty of opportunity. So call me perverse, but I'm having fun ;-)

It's a little bit different for a friend of mine, who owns an upscale home-building and design company. His business has definitely been impacted by the real estate/mortgage/credit crisis, although, as any high-quality company can, his is doing nicely compared to his lower-quality competitors.

By comparison, my business seems hardly to have noticed that people apparently are no longer spending like there's no tomorrow. Why? It's international. The weak US Dollar actually makes my services and products a bit of a bargain for my clients in say, the UK. They're paying half what they might have paid a few years ago. (Yay for them!)

In the past year, the percentage of non-US clients and customers in my business (coaching clients, live event participants and buyers of products) has at least doubled. They are filling in spaces that would have been taken by Americans, so it's a wash.

Well that's nice, but what does it mean to you if you're new to coaching? Here's my advice, based on what I observed during the last recession:

Between 2001-2003 there was a well documented recession and the number of coaches seemed to double. Why? Thomas Leonard's "low cost" coach training drove some of it, but a big reason was that thousands of people got laid off from their jobs and interpreted that as a sign that it was time for them to quit the corporate grind and become a coach. They got sold on the myth that anybody can be a professional coach. By 2005, there was quite a bit of pain and misery amongst these coaches and a lot of them dropped out.

The reasons why they quit are diverse, but a lot of them ran out of money before they built up their coaching businesses to a sustainable level. Some of them just weren't cut out to be entrepreneurs and never really "got" the mind set needed to run a small professional service business. And some of them weren't cut out for coaching; it wasn't nearly as easy as they expected.

I suspect that some of the coach-training companies preyed on all those out-of-work hopefuls and painted an overly rosy picture of their prospects, but I really don't know that for a fact.

I'm lucky I wasn't one of those miserable coaches, because I started my training in 2001. Why did I make it when others didn't? One very big reason is that I got in just ahead of the big surge. That meant I had mastered the coaching skills I needed to get and keep paying clients before the number of new coaches pouring into the market doubled. All those late comers had to struggle to get their coaching skills, personal development, sales & marketing (might as well call it S&M, if you don't know how to do it), and business & finance skills up to a level where they could compete at a time when there were way more coaches, but NOT way more clients. Ouch!

The lesson there is that if you're thinking of becoming a coach and you suspect there is going to be a recession, then get into it before mass layoffs send thousands more into the coaching business. In fact, it's smart to get your training while you still have a job that will pay the bills. Coaching is a big learning curve. You can't learn quickly if your worried about money most of the time. And desperate coaches scare away potential clients. (Double ouch.)

One more thing, you remember my friend with the high-quality construction company that's doing okay even though the construction business is terrible? When only a few sales are still being made, it's Quality that still sells.

What does that mean to you? 

1. If you're going to be a coach, be the coach with the best skills, who offers the most service. Then you needn't worry about the hoards of new coaches who may or may not flood the industry in coming months. You'll be the coach that clients from around the world will seek out and happily pay. Quality sells itself.

2. Be sure you have a source of additional income for the first few years, just in case you need it. It's much easier to sign on new clients when you don't need the money. (In other words, don't wait 'til you get laid off to get training and start your business.)

3. Find out if you really want to be a coach. If coaching is for you, then you'll be glad you learned everything you could about it, whether you become a successful coach-preneur or you use it in another profession. (Currently, there are at least twice as many coaches who call themselves managers, business owners, teachers, etc., as there are professional coaches.) Coaching skills enhance every profession (and offer job security). Coaching Groundwork was designed for people like you.

4. Don't be the tail of the dog. It's a lot easier to succeed if you get in before everyone and his cousin joins up. If you're thinking about getting coach training, now is the time to do it. (School of Coaching Mastery isn't for everyone, but we'll be happy to help you find out if it's right for you.)

5. Don't quit. If you do these first 4 Rules on Getting Into Coaching When the Economy is Funky, you odds of succeeding are extremely high. And if you love it, you'll have the time of your life!

Copyright, Julia Stewart, 2008

Topics: School of Coaching Mastery, become a coach, Coaching Groundwork, economy, want to be a coach

School of Coaching Mastery

Posted by Julia Stewart

School of Coaching Mastery LogoOkay, there it is. The new School of Coaching Mastery logo. Putting it out here on my blog is an announcement of sorts. SCM has been a kind of brain child for several months. Maybe longer. I think it was gestating for a couple of years, while I was saying, "I don't want to start another coaching school, there are too many out there, already."

I didn't choose SCM though, it chose me.

For about a year now, people have been coming to me from all over the world saying, "I think I might want to become a coach. How can I find out? Where should I train? Can you help me?" I felt at a loss, because most of the schools I have direct knowledge of, where I trained and where I taught, I have reservations about and I can't recommend the ones I don't know about. I did have programs to offer, like the beginner-skills Coaching Groundwork and the client-attraction Experienced Coach Program, but these people were looking for more than just a program.

Other beginner coaches would ask to join the Seven Secrets of Certification, which is really for intermediate coaches who are preparing for IAC Certification via coaching mastery. That can work, but sometimes the coach really needs more tools, first.

I've got too many programs with too many gaps between them. That confuses people.

What if I shaped it all into one school? What if that school prepared coaches for IAC certification (and beyond) from the very beginning? Hmmm...

That's the certification that I believe in and that's the only approach to coach training that makes sense to me. Most coach training schools base their training on coaching models that were developed in the 90's. Coaching has already evolved way past that.

Other schools are a little too commercial for my taste and/or they're based on values that aren't that useful for solving 21st Century problems.

Maybe the world really does need another coaching school.

If I weave together the programs I already have and fill in the gaps, I can create that school fairly easily. That's inspiring ~ maybe I've really been designing this school all along.

What would the ideal coaching school look like to me? That question has become a fun toy to play with. Time to invite others to play, as well. Over the next four months, I will be meeting with advisers, colleagues, clients and students to get their input on what kind of coaching school the world really needs, as of 2007, and where this school may need to grow in the future.

What will it look like? I don't really know yet, but I'm thinking small classes and targeted training with a lot of practice coaching from the very beginning ~ a "boutique" approach. Gifted coaches learn fast, when given the opportunity and attention they need.

I'm also thinking the trainers should be genuine experts with a real gift for coaching and teaching. (Right now, that would just be me ~ sorry ~ but perhaps not for long.) So many coaching schools are staffed by students or recent graduates of their own programs. Sometimes the instructors aren't even paid. That's just not good enough. You need excellence to teach excellence. This ideal school will be staffed by a well-rounded assortment of expert coach/trainers.

I think the program needs to be flexible, so coaches can get what they need, without being tied down to unnecessary requirements. That just instills a culture of mediocrity and cynicism and isn't useful in a world that needs inspired leaders who can stay ahead of constant change.

Live training? Teleclasses? Webinars? Practicums? MP3's? Video? Probably all of these ~ and whatever else works best, as well.

In the meantime, I will continue offering the programs I do have, while I design what is next. And I'll get to work on the new website, while keeping an SCM web presence at

Topics: coach training, School of Coaching Mastery, Coaching Groundwork, coaching schools, IAC, coach training school

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    If you're a professional Business or Life Coach or you're interested in becoming one, the SCM Coaching Blog covers topics you may want to know about: How to Become a Business or Life Coach, Grow a Successful Coaching Business, Get Coach Training and/or Business and Life Coach Certification, Become a Coaching Master and Evolve Your Life and Business. 

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