School of Coaching Mastery

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Is It Narcissistic to Hire a Life Coach?

Posted by Julia Stewart

narcissitic life coach client

Life coaching clients are sometimes accused of being selfish or self-absorbed. Does that make them narcissistic?

To find out, let's look at what narcissism really is. It's also helpful to understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy selfishness and being self-aware vs. self-absorbed.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is an unhealthy pattern of behavior that requires someone to think and act as if they're superior to others. They need excessive praise and admiration, lack empathy, and can be abusive in relationships. NPD is a serious disorder, but like any personality disorder, NPD is marked by a lack of self-awareness. If someone has it, they may be unaware how they come across, are unlikely to delve deep into their drives and vulnerabilities, to see their weaknesses, or to work to improve their relationships. In fact, they tend to think others are at fault, not them.

NPD is not the same as being self-absorbed or selfish, although NPD can include those qualities, which could be a reason why people use the term "narcissistic" to name-call people who make themselves a priority by working with a coach.

In fact, criticism is one way people with NPD abuse others, so it's possible those who criticize coaching clients are the ones suffering from NPD.

Healthy selfishness is an acknowledgment that, like everyone else, you have needs that must be met for you to function at your best and you have more to offer others when you are at your best. That's also self-awareness. Healthy people express their selfishness in ways that are flexible and avoid either rigidity or chaos. They have strong boundaries but may sometimes soften them for the benefit of people and things they love.

To an unhealthy person, self-awareness may look more like self-absorption. The former requires depth and a willingness to go beyond one's comfort zone to grow. The second is superficial and obsesses over a carefully-crafted exterior self-image.

Becoming a coaching client requires a willingness to deepen self-awareness. It's about personal growth and responsibility. NPDs tend to think they are superior even without a coach, are uninterested in self-awareness, and think others need to grow, not them.

Modern culture encourages self-absorption, but most of us don't have NPD. Our willingness to grow can be our gift to the world and coaches can help us do that.

 

Want to develop your self-awareness and grow? A coach can help you. Find a coach here:

 

Find a Coach Here Directory

Topics: coaching clients, Boundaries, FIND A COACH

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: Strengths, FIND A COACH, coaching definition

How to Live Resiliently Despite the Climate Crisis

Posted by Julia Stewart

Mother Nature Always Wins

The title of the image above is, "Mother Nature Always Wins."

Yes, she does. But you don't have to lose, just because she's rapidly changing the climate. You've probably heard the UN recently delivered a stark warning that we have until 2030, just a bit over 11 years as of this writing, to make drastic changes, or the climate crisis will get so bad millions of people will die. For the first time, I'm hopeful people are ready to heed the warning, because...

Last year, I became one of Al Gore's Climate Reality Leaders. I took his free training because it seemed every time I taught one of my international coach-training webinars, someone would be absent because of a wildfire, flood, or hurricane. It was happening to my students all over the world, simultaneously.

Wait, what?

What I learned was that it was too late to prevent Climate Change, but it was not too late to prevent the collapse of civilization (whoa) and that resilience has become an ever more important focus, meaning how to survive and thrive despite the coming catastrophes. As Al summed up, though, "We could lose everything we hold dear."

Sounds like science fiction, right?

Last week, Donald Trump finally stopped claiming Climate Change is a hoax. Now he claims it's real, but it's too late to do anything about it.

Who are you going to believe: the people getting paid to lie about it or the people who've been warning you for years and have now been proven right? That last group says there's still time to make the changes we need, but we all need to mobilize, fast.

Governments, corporations, and individuals can all make a huge difference. Start by voting for politicians who will get to work right away on it.

Humanity has a long history of pulling off massive victories at the last minute. The US, for example, waited to be attacked before it transformed its economy to help win World War 2 in just a few years. Later, when we were losing the "space race", we mobilized to put a man on the Moon in just eight years. That was a long time ago and this is way bigger but we can do it again.

Humans are good at succeeding at the impossible. But before we can succeed, we must survive and flourish. That takes resilience. I usually write about positive psychology and coaching, but resilience is where climate activism and positive psychology meet and embrace. Here are six steps to resilience even in these dangerous times.

Six ways to live resiliently despite the worsening climate crisis:

  1. Thomas Leonard always advocated what he called, Super Reserves, so you'd be ready for anything. Well, anything and everything is coming soon in the form of worsening weather. You can still live well, but it may take some planning. Or you can do nothing now and struggle later. Your choice. If you want to live resiliently and flourish no matter what, here are some suggestions. Stock up now on water (one gallon per person per day for a minimum of three days; don't forget the pets) in case your local water supply is knocked out for a while. Bonus points for installing your own water filtration system, especially one that can run without electricity. You may also need cash after big storms, since other types of transactions require electricity. Also, non-perishable food and clothes in water-proof bags. Don't forget your meds. Put it all where you can reach it when you need it.
  2. Always have a reserve of power: Get a gas generator or a large-capacity battery that can be attached to one or more solar panels, so after a big storm you won't ever have to go long without power. You can also get a small solar panel that's big enough to charge just your phone. Bonus points: Install solar on your roof or geo-thermal and keep your lights and heat on even when the grid is off. See number 5, below, too.
  3. Beat depression before it even has a chance. I've coached a lot of people who've been through disasters. After the fear subsides, overwhelm, confusion, frustration, discouragement, and eventually depression almost always follow. Bounce back faster by working with a positive psychology coach now to build up your resilience. When you know your values and purpose, you're more likely to experience Post Traumatic Growth instead of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Working afterward with a coach or therapist can also help.
  4. Stay physically fit. I lived in NYC during and after 9/11 when I was a personal trainer. One of my clients, an executive in her 60's, who worked next to the World Trade Center, had to walk down forty flights of stairs and twenty blocks home to her apartment, because elevators and transportation stopped that day. She told me later that she never could have done it if she hadn't been working out with me.
  5. Get reserves of transportation and even housing. What if there's a gasoline shortage after a disaster? Or little or no electricity? Owning cars with only one power source could be a problem. If you have two or more cars, make sure one is electric and one is gas powered. If you have only one car, a plug-in hybrid gives you extra options. Mine also has wifi, an essential for anyone working from home, which is the best way to save time, stress, and pollution by skipping the daily commute. Now that storms and pollution are becoming huge problems, staying home makes more sense than ever. And just in case, consider getting a second home if you can afford it, or talk to friends and family about hosting each other if the worst happens. Right now, I have a friend in Canada who is living in a hotel while her home is repaired after a terrible tornado. Personally, I'd be more comfortable at my weekend place.
  6. Look for the opportunities. Chaos and opportunity go hand in hand. You're about to see more of both in greater quantities than have ever before existed. There will be big winners and big losers. Look for new problems and how you can help. Find solutions for our new reality, either to help solve the climate crisis or help people and nature survive and thrive despite what's coming. Always look for the opportunities and you'll always do well. A coach can help.

Get a positive psychology coach to help you build reserves of resilience:

 

Find a Positive Psychology Coach Here

 

Topics: Thomas Leonard, Values, FIND A COACH, Climate Change, positive psychology coach

Tony Robbins, #MeToo, Apologies, and the Future of Everything

Posted by Julia Stewart

Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins (above in a screenshot from his site) got into hot water last month for his comments about the #MeToo Movement, victimhood, and women being addicted to safety and significance.

Now it's all over social media via a NowThis video and even made it to the New York Times. Robbins has apologized and explained. And explained and apologized. But what's missing from his apology is awareness of where he went wrong. The clue was in the story he told to make his point which revealed culturally patterned unconscious choices on his part that probably keep him, and his wallet, safe in a significant-feeling little bubble. Oh dear.

So where did Tony Robbins go wrong?

  • Was it because he said victimhood was about being addicted to getting needs like safety and significance met? No. Victimhood is a dangerous place to get stuck, but #MeToo isn't about victimhood. What I mean is owning that you've been victimized is empowering, but it can and does keep you painfully stuck if you over-identify with it or try to stay there. He's not wrong about that, but talking about victimhood within the context of #MeToo was dumb.
  • Was it because he said that people can get addicted to their needs? Robbins' Six Human Needs are at the center of his philosophy. They're based loosely on Abraham Maslow's brilliant Needs Theory. We use a variation of Needs Theory at School of Coaching Mastery. It's powerful and chasing needs does look a lot like addiction, but the mechanism is different. #MeToo isn't about addiction.
  • Was it because Tony Robbins is always the biggest alpha male in any room? Probably. He's 6'7", powerfully built, has a ridiculously deep voice, and is rich and famous, so it's unsurprising he has no idea what it's like to be physically intimidated by big powerful men. When the video shows Nanine McCool, the tiny but courageous woman who challenges his characterization of #MeToo, being backed up by Robbins without her permission, while his big hulking body advances with that big friendly puppy dog smile on his face, he looks like every creepy guy who's backed a woman into a difficult situation while she tries awkwardly to smile and/or reason her way out of it. Massive fail. And I know the tool he was trying to demonstrate, that when we're pushed, we instinctively push back, but usually it works better to cooperate. Except when you're about to be raped. (My favorite rape story - if there such a thing - is about a woman who cooperated until the man had his pants off, then she kicked him in the groin so hard she flipped him over her head and she ran away screaming, so maybe Robbins has a point.)
  • Was it the story he used for proof of his point about the famous and powerful male client who was too stressed to hire a qualified beautiful woman? YES. Are you kidding me? The guy hired a less-qualified man because the woman was so attractive she posed "a risk". I'm no ACLU attorney, but I'm pretty sure that's a civil rights violation. Does Robbins acknowledge that? Nope. He adds for emphasis that he's heard dozens of stories like that as if that proves #MeToo is hurting both women and men. The man in the story should be removed from his position and replaced by someone more qualified who can control their own bad behavior instead of making it somebody else's problem. Robbins' unconscious cultural pattern stopped him from questioning whether his famous and powerful male clients were being victimized by a trending movement or whether it was time for them to grow and change.
  • [UPDATE: 5-24-19] As of this writing, Tony Robbins has been accused of sexual harassment and/or abuse by nine women. That makes his ignorant comments and public bullying of women, under the guise of teaching them some higher wisdom that he thinks he possesses, duplicitous without an equally public disclosure, as in, "Full disclosure, I'm currently being sued for sexual harassment.", self-serving in the sense that he is exonerating himself without even admitting he has multiple accusers, and at the very least, fatally biased behavior. An honest coach will admit their biases. Without that admission, they lose all credibility with the people they serve. This also brings to question who the "client" is in the above story about the powerful man who won't hire a beautiful woman because she would be too tempting and therefore would pose a "risk". At least one of Robbins' accusers fits that description.
  • As a result of the above development, I've changed my conclusion about the blog post, "Why Tony Robbins Can't Pass ICF Coach Certification", which has been read by over 100,000 people. I formerly concluded that I would certify him (meaning my school would), but his self-serving comments, lack of full disclosure, and unaddressed bias violates every code of ethics I've seen in the coaching profession (ICF, IAC, CCE), including ours. He has massive skill, but lacks integrity. That's unfortunate because he influences thousands.

 

Maybe he should ask more and tell less like most good coaches.

 

During the 2016 election cycle, a colleague of mine (a woman) who is masterful in the theory of Spiral Dynamics, predicted that Donald Trump (another famous and powerful man who gets himself in trouble around women) would be a catalyst that will propel the world into a new age. I totally agree. Trump is a backlash, or throwback, depending on your point of view, of a way of being that is still clinging to power, but is damaging too much of the world too survive. Robbins coaches those titans. Maybe he should coach them to deal with the world that exists today, rather then the one they wish existed.

 

Or is Robbins too addicted to safety and significance to take that risk?

I hope not, because the future itself is deeply at risk and a man like Robbins, who has devoted himself to personal development, could make a huge difference. It's not too late for for him to grow and change.

 

Mr. Robbins, STEP UP OR STEP DOWN.

 

Then again, maybe famous and powerful titans should be coached by women who can already see the future.

 

Don't make big stupid mistakes. Get a coach with integrity who asks more than tells:

 

Find a Coach Here Directory

 

Topics: Tony Robbins, Spiral Dynamics, FIND A COACH

5 Rookie Mistakes New Life Coaches Should Never Make [Are YOU Making These?]

Posted by Julia Stewart

New Life Coach

In my career as a coach trainer and mentor coach, I've known some amazing coaches who changed many lives, but I've also seen some embarrassing rookie mistakes and made a few, myself.

Some mistakes keep popping up on my radar, so here's the blog post i think about writing whenever I see one. I hope it helps!

5 Rookie Mistake New Life Coaches Should Never Make:

1. Using a personal email address as a business address. The address you use with family and friends, such as FredWilmaAndPebbles@aol.com,  may fail to address the bedrock issue in business credibility: your professionalism. Don't communicate that you're an amateur by using a family address. And MissFancyPants1986@hotmail.com may be your flirty way of expressing yourself on eHarmony, but it's TMI for business. Use your name and no one else's, or use your business name. Alternatively, tell people what you do with your address. One of my first was, ICoach121@optimum.net. Of course, having your own web address is a bit more impressive. Another early address I used was coach@YourLifePart2.com.

2. Getting a website before you're ready. A professional-looking email address is a must. A website probably can wait. In the meantime, a robust profile on one or more coach directories will do and/or social media profiles or pages. In fact, these  provide feedback on what people respond to, so it's an awesome way to learn what will work for your website. Otherwise, you're likely to have a site that doesn't really represent you or your business. I knew a new coach who lived on Maui, whose coaching was about building thriving relationships, but the main image on her website was a single leafless tree in a frigid winter landscape. What? Most successful coaches take between a year and three years to get their first website. Get to know your business self, your clients, and what communicates what you do, effectively. No rush.

3. Quitting your job at the wrong time. I've had coaching students who quit their jobs the week after they joined my school. I love their confidence and commitment, but they tend to struggle. Coaches take between 3 months and 5 years to fill their coaching practices. With Coach 100, it takes between 6 months and a year. That's a long time to go without a full-time income. On the flip side, I've known coaches who hung on to their jobs too long. One excellent coach had a quarter of a million dollars in financial reserves, but still too nervous to make the leap. A big part of what coaches do is help clients get over the fears that prevent success, so get your own coach, if you're feeling stuck. On the other hand, if you're ultra-risk-adverse, consider coaching within a large organization, if that helps you feel more stable.

4. Not getting your own coach. How can you call yourself a coach, if you've never been coached? More to the point, how will you know to make smart rookie choices, if the only coaches you talk to are other rookies? You need your own coach, period. Think of it as a business deduction. Find your coach here.

5. Not getting training. There are still a couple of old timers who tell rookie coaches that they don't need training, but that's not fair to rookies. 20-30 years ago, there was no training, but a few talented people invented coaching, anyway. The rest of us have Thomas Leonard to thank for putting coaching on the map and starting the first coach training school and international coaching association. Like having your own coach, getting coach training flattens your learning curve, helps you make smarter choices, and contributes to your success. Coaches with training become successful quicker and are less likely to quit the profession. Don't take my word for it. Ask your coach.

Don't make rookie mistakes. Get the free Become a Coach eBook:

Don't Make Rookie Mistakes. Get This Free eBook.

 

 

Topics: coach training, become a coach, Free, Coach Training Programs, Life Coaches, Thomas Leonard, Mentor Coaching, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, coach training program, FIND A COACH

Coaching Tip: The Last Motivational Tool You'll Ever Need

Posted by Julia Stewart

ofpush.jpg

Ah January, the beginning of a new year. It's the month to make resolutions and the busiest time of the year for the fitness industry. This is when you're most likely to be bombarded by motivational tips, tools, pep talks, speakers, posters, efficiency hacks, apps, books, coaching programs, etc., ad nauseum.

When I went to Flickr just now to find an image for this post under the keyword, "motivation", all I got were a zillion motivational posters like the one above. Have you ever wondered why there's so much motivational junk out there?

Because it doesn't work.

For instance, one the motivational posters I just saw has a formula on it: Sweat + Sacrifice = Success. Oh. Didn't that just solve everything for you?

No, me either.

If 99% of existing motivational junk was worth anything, the issue would be solved by now and you and your friends wouldn't be searching for better ways to accomplish what you need to do.

Up until now, if you truly wanted motivation, you had to get another person involved, like a personal trainer. I used to be a personal trainer in Manhattan and one of my clients dubbed me, "Motivation for Hire", because I showed up at her door every night whether she wanted to exercise or not (usually not). I got her healthy again and she felt virtuous when I left, but she paid me about $20,000 per year for that motivation.

I'm going to clue you in for free.

I'm going to share with you a tool that upgrades motivation so much, that people literally can do what they want, when they want, and still get more accomplished than they can with any other approach.

Yes, really.

I learned about this tool from the Father of the Coaching Profession, Thomas Leonard, who was one of the most prolific people I've ever known and he did whatever he wanted when he wanted. When I first tried doing whatever I wanted when I wanted, I had a blast and accomplished more on my To-Do list than ever. In fact, I mentioned that to the client above and she said, "If I tried that, I'd never get anything done."

Back then, I couldn't explain how it worked, but now I can.

The difference is to orient your life around what is uniquely you. Another way to say it is to build your life around what matters most to you. Most people think this will be difficult, or that they will fail, but the opposite is usually true. It certainly was for me.

Thomas called this TrueValues, but I call it your unique values, because it only works when you focus on what matters uniquely to you. Building your life around your unique values is transformative, joyful, meaningful, growth-oriented, and one of the great secrets of success.

It's not just motivating; it's inspiring.

If you have the integrity to identify and live what is uniquely important to you, you will never need another motivational tool, because you literally will be able to do what you want for the rest of your life. In fact, I suspect the reason you have trouble motivating yourself to do what does not matter to you, is because deep down, your heart is telling you your life is passing and you're not doing what you were designed for.

How to discover what's uniquely you?

Look at what you're driven to do now and ask yourself if it's a harmonious passion or an obsessive passion. If it's a harmonious passion, ask yourself what's most important about it to you? Keep asking until you have 10-20 answers. Then look at those answers and notice which ones resonate with you. Cross the others off the list.

Decide which of those harmonious reasons are the most important. You should end up with 3-5 of them. Now start making choices based on what fits those 3-5. Your life will begin to improve. When your entire life is oriented around your top unique values, you'll be able to do what ever you want when you want.

If you'd like some help with this, find a coach, below.

Find a Coach Here Directory

 

 

 

 

Topics: Thomas Leonard, Values, FIND A COACH, personal values

Top 12 Secrets: How to Write a Coaching Bio that Sells Your Coaching

Posted by Julia Stewart

coaching bio

For a new executive, business or life coach, writing your first coaching bio can be pretty scary, because you don't have tons of experience or credentials yet, so you don't feel powerful when talking about what you do. Even for experienced coaches, writing a coaching bio can be daunting and you may be looking for help with it. My friend and colleague, Barbra Sundquist, MMC, wrote a great post for this blog on How to Write a Coaching Bio in Twenty Minutes and it has become one of our most popular posts, because who wouldn't like to get this uncomfortable job over and done, quickly?

But what if your coaching bio could actually sell your coaching for you?

Bios are a powerful form of marketing and as you grow your business, you want to get even more power out of everything you do. In fact, it's ideal if you marketing brings you plenty of potential clients, especially if those clients are sales-ready. In other words, you don't want emails, texts, and/or phone calls from everybody on the planet, just they ones who are dying to hire you, right?

The following secrets, employed by search engine optimizers, copywriters, sales people and savvy coaches can help you attract potential coaching clients who may be ready to buy even before they talk to you – or who are ready to buy after a short conversation. You don’t need to use every secret in every bio, but great bios usually contain 3 or more of these secrets…

SECRET 1: Use the right words and phrases. The world’s greatest bio is worthless if nobody finds it, so your first job is to write for search engines, like Google, Yahoo and Bing, because people find coaches with search engines. Search engines change their search algorithms periodically and don’t share exactly what they are, but marketers have found that certain basic SEO (search engine optimization) practices can help you get found online. For example: Use keywords (words and phrases that people search for), especially long-tail keywords (very specific phrases), in your title, first and last sentences, as well as any highlighted lines (titles and bold text) and in hyperlinked text (text that you click to get to another page). An example of a long-tail keyword might be: “Life Coach, Jane Smith, White Plains, NY”. While you wouldn’t use exactly this phrase throughout your bio, with some creativity, you can use variations on it enough to get a search engine to send a searcher who just typed, “Life Coach White Plains NY” into the search box. People tend to search for coaches in their hometowns, so you can stand out quickly by including yours. (Bonus tip: People hire coaches, not companies, so list yourself by your name, not your business name.)

SECRET 2: Tell them what they want to know. Stop thinking of your bio as a biography of you and your experience/credentials and understand the only thing potential clients really want to know about you: "Can you help me?" Mostly share details about you that they want to know, i.e. Do you understand people like me? Have you been in my shoes? Have you helped someone like me? If your bio has lots of room, or if it has a second ‘details’ page, add more details about you further down. But for a short bio, just tell people what they most want to know: “I can help you reach your goal”.

SECRET 3: Write for your ideal client. Stop writing for everybody and write for just one person, instead. How? The simplest way is to pick an existing ideal client and write just for them. Before you do, ask that client what they most wanted to know before they hired you. Then show them your bio and ask them to critique it, so it says exactly what they would want to know. Does that sounds pushy? It's not, because your best clients are grateful to you. They are also high-functioners who love to give back. Don’t hesitate to give them that opportunity. And don’t worry that you’ll be excluding potential clients who are different. Most bios fail to grab attention from anyone because they are simply too vague.

SECRET 4: Use the magic word. While we’re talking about grabbing attention, here’s the simplest way to grab your reader’s attention: Use the word, YOU. Because our brains are wired to focus attention on what is most pertinent to us, personally. When a reader sees the word, "you", in a line of text, their brain naturally pays more attention. Think about it: the word, "you", probably grabbed your attention, just now.

SECRET 5: Customize it. One bio probably isn’t enough, so think of your website as more of a hub than a store front. I’ve had clients hire me without even a phone conversation, because they found me on specialty websites and memberships that mattered to them. The fact that I was interested in what interested them was enough to for them to say, “She’s the coach for me.” Use social networks, coach directories, and special-interest memberships as an opportunity to send potential clients to a landing page on your website to sign up for your coaching – but do give them a chance to talk to you, because usually they’ll want to do that before hiring you.

SECRET 6: Create curiosity. Great copywriters say that each sentence you write has but one purpose: to make readers want to read the next sentence. There are many ways to do this: Ask questions that your potential clients need to ask themselves. Use visual imagery. Use emotional words, or high-intensity words.

SECRET 7: Create trust. Multiple bios at several locations help your clients to research you. Create a consistent image, while tailoring your bios to each site. This also helps people to find you. Add your most important credentials, if credentials would matter to your potential clients. Graduation, certification and memberships from well-known coaching schools, or associations, can give you an edge. Someone who’s reading your bio on a coach directory, for instance, probably is getting to know you for the 1st time, so share what a stranger, who is searching for a coach, would want to know. On the other hand, someone visiting your website, probably already knows a little about you, so share a bit more. (Critical tip: Lying about your qualifications and credentials creates mistrust that can destroy your business, so don't claim credentials you don't have.)

SECRET 8: Let others do the selling for you. Most of us loathe bragging about ourselves, but hiding what’s great about us is a disservice to your potential clients. So let others do the persuading. This is what today’s consumers are already comfortable with anyway: reviews, ratings and testimonials. If you have the space, include some of your best testimonials in your bio. Even if your bio has to be short, try adding a short comment from a happy client. Coach certification can also help do some of the selling for you, because it's a stamp of approval from a trusted source.

SECRET 9: Be easy to find. Not only do you want your bios to be easy to find, you want your clients to be able to find YOU. Always add your webpage and contact information to your bios. Because a link to your website is SEO gold. This is reason enough to join every directory you can. It helps search engines find you and your website, which in turn, helps potential clients find and hire you. Coaches who work from home are often conflicted about how much contact information to share online. If this is a concern, here are some possibilities: Rent a post office box for your physical address. Get a business phone number or even a toll-free number. They’re inexpensive. In addition to your web address and email, share your city, business number and PO address, but never your home address.

SECRET 10: Be easy to see. Definitely add a photo of you, if you can. Don’t use your logo, except as a secondary image. Because people hire people, not logos. The best photo is a headshot of you, smiling. You don’t have to be young and beautiful, but in most cases, looking professional works best. It’s worth getting your photo professionally done.

SECRET 11: Let them know how easy it is to work with you. Most people have never hired a coach, before. They naturally feel a little confused about how to do that. Confused people don’t buy. Spell out a couple of easy steps, such as, “If you think you’d like to coach with me, contact me by email to set up a phone conversation. In your session, we’ll talk about your goals and how you can reach them. Usually, it’s a lot of fun. If I can help you further, I’ll tell you how, but there’s no pressure.”

SECRET 12: Tell them what to do next. This is critical. Tell people specifically what to do next to get started with you. In marketing, this is called a ‘call to action’. If that feels too directive, think of it as an invitation. Depending on where your bio is located, your call to action might be to visit your website. Or it might be to fill out a short form and email you, or simply telephone or text you. Decide what mode of contact would appeal to your ideal client and don’t be afraid to make a prominent call to action. You might even want to offer something of value to them, just for getting in touch. Examples: “Email me to receive a copy of my ‘Top Ten Easy Ways to Instantly Stop Procrastinating and Get Everything Done On Time’”. Or “Call me at this number to schedule a complimentary coaching consultation and, if you decide to continue, I’ll discount $50 from your first paid session.”

Want to see this approach in action? View a few listings on our new coach directory and notice which coaches grab your attention and make it easy for you to hire them. 

Join the Find a Coach Here Directory Today

Topics: Coaching, Life Coaches, social networking, Google, Coaching Bio, SEO, FIND A COACH

Positive Psychology Coaching: Strengths and Flow

Posted by Julia Stewart

Strengths

Positive psychology coaches often work with strengths and the experience of "flow", a term coined by positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

A sense of flow occurs when we use our strengths in challenging situations. Within flow, we experience engagement, enjoyment and afterward we wonder, "Where did the time go?" That old saying, "Time flies when you're having fun." is about flow. Read how flow shows up in a coaching session here.

So what are strengths? Well, if you grew up in the 20th Century, you probably are well aware of your weakness, because people back then assumed that was the road to success. For instance, I have ADD, so one of my weaknesses is distractibility. My teachers used to scold me for not paying attention. However, ADD has a few advantages that are genuine strengths. They include flexibility, openness, and the ability to notice things that others miss. The 21st Century shift toward strengths is opening up whole new worlds for people. It certainly did for me!

Our strengths are our innate abilities. They are things that we do so easily that we take them for granted and may even assume everyone possesses the same talents we have. But they don't. We each are endowed with a unique set of strengths and weaknesses that require a individual path to success.

It's long been assumed that working on our weaknesses is the road to success. That can work, but it's hard, slow going, and often unsatisfying. When we focus more on our strengths, improvement tends to be quick, feels easy, is ever so much more fun, and is uniquely ours.

Positive psychology coaches focus on helping clients become aware of their strengths and leverage them for great results. We don't necessarily ignore weaknesses, because sometimes improvement in those areas can be helpful, but strengths get center-stage attention. Much more empowering!

Would you like to discover your strengths? UPenn has several assessments you can take for free. Learn more about strengths and find a link to their web page by clicking the button below. 

Would you like to transform your life or career by leveraging your strengths for more fun and success? Find credentialed positive psychology coaches here.

Visit Positive Psychology Coaching: Strengths

 

Topics: Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, FIND A COACH

Positive Psychology Coaching: Three Good Things

Posted by Julia Stewart

3_Good_Things

There are tons of good things about positive psychology coaching, including a huge variety of interventions that have been tested and proven effective. One of those is the classic, Three Good Things exercise that's been studied by the Father of Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman.

Three Good Things is a great exercise to give your coaching clients for homework. It raises positivity, which leads to thriving and success in a vast number of areas, and it has been found to increase happiness and diminish depression and anxiety. 

In one study by Seligman with 411 subjects, 92% became happier in 15 days. In addition, the positive effects of the exercise lasted for 6 months or longer! Not bad for an exercise that takes a few minutes, once a day, for seven days. And it's quite pleasant.

When I first tried it a few years ago, I immediately noticed that it shifted my attention away from events that I thought I should have handled better (too late now!) and focused me on what was going well, leading to less stress and better sleep.

Want to try it? Make a commitment for the next seven days, to write down, or even just think about, three good things that happened in the last 24 hours. That's it! Best to think about it during your evening meditation, or evening journal, or while you're lying in bed at night.

Positive psychology coaches, who have taken the Introduction to Positive Psychology for Coaches course, have additional tools to help you get more out of the exercise and/or to apply it to teams and organizations.

To learn more about Three Good Things, or find a positive psychology coach click below:

Visit Positive Psychology Coaching: 3 Good Things

Topics: Become a Certified Coach, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching, Martin Seligman, FIND A COACH

Should Life, Business, or Executive Coaching Be Government Regulated?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Is coaching regulated?
Written by Julia Stewart

 

People often wonder if the coaching profession is regulated. And professional life, business, and executive coaches often wonder, with trepidation, if coaching should be regulated. This article will help answer those questions, but the conversation about coaching regulation will likely go on for years.

 

To be clear, these questions have different meanings depending on whether you're thinking of hiring a coach, or you're thinking of becoming a coach, or you're already a professional coach:

 

  • If you're thinking about hiring a coach, then you want to know who will be the best coach for you, whether they should be licensed or certified, and whether there are training requirements for professional coaches. If you've been given a great recommendation for a coach from a trusted friend, these issues may matter less to you, but they still matter.
  • If you're thinking about becoming a coach, then you want to know what requirements you have to meet before you can accept paying clients and whether jumping through those hoops will be worth it for you.
  • However, if you're already making a living as a coach, you may regard these questions as threatening, because any changes in regulations or requirements where you live could impact your ability to keep making a living doing what you love. That's frightening. And if you're in the US (or anywhere else), witnessing the current Federal government shutdown, then the idea of getting government involved in your livelihood probably makes you apoplectic!

 

To professional coaches: relax. Your government isn't coming for you.To my knowledge, and I keep my ear to the ground on this, no government is currently regulating professional life, business or executive coaches (If you have knowledge to the contrary, please share it in the comments section, below). There have been attempts to regulate coaching in countries where it is widespread, but so far, coaching has established itself as a profession that doesn't target vulnerable populations, nor those who are in crisis, nor do coaches give advice on health, mental illness, or finance; three areas that usually require credentials. If you're a new coach, you can begin charging clients whenever you like. There are no legal hoops for you to clear.

 

To potential coaching clients: the onus is on you. Caveat emptor: let the buyer beware, is the rule of law that governs coaching. There's a huge variance in the effectiveness of professional coaches, so be sure you hire a good one.

 

By the way, some professional coaches are dead set against government regulation, while others are hoping for it. I put myself in the middle. Responsible coaches owe it to our clients to help them understand what to look for in a good coach. I think the ICF and IAC are in the best position to do this, but all of us need to pitch in, including coach training schools.

 

New professions can best prevent government interference by taking responsibility for their own standards. This Coaching Blog is widely read, so here are a few standards I believe you should look for when hiring a coach. Usually, the more of these you find in a coach, the better. 

 

1. Get recommendations from people you know well and trust. Did your best friend have a great experience with a coach? Then begin there. But ask your friend if the coach paid them for the referral. That's a common practice. A reputable coach will always tell you, up front, if they paid for your referral.

 

But what if you don't know anyone who has worked with a coach?

 

2. Look for coaches who are certified by the IAC or ICF. Yes, there are good coaches who aren't certified by these organizations, but increasingly, better coaches are getting these certifications, because they are a stamp of approval from a trusted source.

 

3. Look for coaches who have joined a professional organization, such as the IAC or ICF, that requires members to sign a code of ethics. Of course, unethical coaches can sign codes, but if the coach is upfront about the ethical code they are bound by, then you at least have something with which to measure their behavior. The good news is that these organizations have online coach directories of their members.

 

4. Only work with coaches who use written coaching agreements. Your agreement should give you an idea of what to expect and will likely reflect the code of ethics followed by that coach.

 

5. Work with coaches who have a substantial amount of coach-specific training. Most genuine coaches have had coach training, including the ones who've been practicing for decades. The ICF only allows coaches with at least 60 hours of coach-specific training to join their organization, so that's a good threshold to consider, but their entry-level certification requires 100 hours. If your coach is in training, but shy of that number of hours, most likely they will charge you less. Generally, you can expect to pay more to coaches who are trained, certified, and experienced.

 

6. Be especially careful of 'coaches' who offer get-rich-quick schemes. Most complaints about coaching involve non-coaches, who leverage the public's ignorance about coaching to sell snake-oil. They often focus on wealth, money, or that euphamism for money, abundance.

 

I'm sure some professional coaches will disagree with the above standards. You're welcome to your opinion, as I am to mine. Perhaps you'll help educate consumers by writing about it on your own blog.

 

Here are some places to find coaches:

 

Find a Coach Here

 

Photo by Mr Mo Fo

Topics: life coach, executive coaching, become a coach, ICF, Business Coaches, coach training schools, Million Dollar Coach, IAC, FIND A COACH, coaching ethics

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