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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

Top Ten Reasons You Need a Coach

Posted by Julia Stewart

Do I need a coach?

 

Have you ever wondered, "Do I need a coach?" If so, this post is for you...

 

I've put together 10 of the best reasons to find a coach. And when I say, "coach" I mean a certified life coach, business coach, executive coach, career coach, relationship coach, wellness coach, etc. Make sure your coach has a reputable certification and some excellent recommendations. Most good coaches do.

 

Here are the Top Ten Reasons You Need a Coach:

 

  1. Your life, business, career, relationship, etc., is already good, but you want it to be much, much better. Coaching isn't a crisis intervention. Nor is it a substitute for psychotherapy, or advice from a professional such as an attorney, accountant, physician, etc. If things are basically good, but you know they could be a lot better and you're ready for that to happen, that's a great time for you to hire a coach.
  2. You want YOU to be much, much better. Just because most things are going well, doesn't mean you don't want to improve them and that includes yourself. Many people hire a coach because they know they are built for more and they want to reach their full potential sooner, rather than later. This is different from being insecure. People derive considerable joy from stepping into their personal greatness. In fact, some people believe this is the single biggest source of happiness. Great coaches are experts at eliciting their clients' personal greatness.
  3. You're going through a big transition. Change can be difficult, even when it's what you want. Anytime you go through a big transition such as starting a new business or career, getting divorced, moving to a new city, going back to school, etc.; it's a great time to have someone who believes in you and who can help you make the most crucial choices as smoothly as possible. A good coach won't take you on unless they truly believe in you.
  4. You're a high achiever. This is the type of client I prefer to work with. High achievers tend to be driven and good at success, but they don't always create the success they really want. If you're ever wondered, "Is this all there is?", or "How did I get myself into this and how do I get out?", you could really benefit from working with a great coach. Everybody has a few blind spots. In fact, neuroscientists say we are unconscious of 95% of what goes on in our brains. Think about that! A good coach can see you as you are, without judgment, and help you be your best and achieve what you're built to do. Just ask Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, Who needs a coach?
  5. You want more meaning in your life. "Meaning" is what makes your heart sing. It generally comes from doing what matters most to you. This gets much easier when you understand what you most value and find cool  ways to express it. If life feels a little shallow, or you don't know why you do what you do anymore, you could really benefit from working with a great coach.
  6. You want to take better care of yourself. Most of us were taught to take pretty good care of ourselves. That's fine if you want an average life. But people who accomplish great things often need to upgrade their lives tremendously before that's even possible. They need clearer boundaries, a physical environment that's supportive, more organization (or an organized assistant), enough rest, great stress management, and/or people who "get" them and who are actively supportive. Otherwise, "death by a thousand cuts" will slice their dreams to shreds. Good coaches know how to assist their clients to get the wonderful self care they truly need, to step into the lives they were built to live.
  7. You want to upgrade the people in your life. I don'tknow about you, but I used to choose my friends according to who I had the most fun with. They weren't always the nicest or most evolved people. Eventually, I realized I wanted to upgrade my friendships. Then I realized (gulp), I needed to upgrade myself in order to attract the people I wanted to spend more time with. It wasn't that hard, because my coaches helped me do it. I set higher standards for myself and started living up to them. I found others who lived up to similar standards and we were naturally attracted to each other. Now when I choose friends, I find people who are supportive, really supportive. And they've got a friend for life.
  8. You want to make more money. It might seem crass to bring up money right after talking about meaning, values, high standards and good friends, but let's face it, a great life or career usually includes enough money, sometimes lots of it. Many people hire coaches when they want to upgrade their careers or launch a new business. The funny thing is that values, high standards, good relationships, etc., tend to make people more successful in many areas, including finances. One thing a great coach can do is help you get over any internal blocks (we're back to that unconscious 95%) you may have about making plenty of money. In fact, eliminating all sorts of internal blocks is one of the ways good coaches help their clients enjoy success of all kinds. 
  9. You're willing to invest in yourself. This is about so much more than money. Are you prepared to take the time, effort, risk and yes, money, in order to have the life or business of your dreams? Or are you satisfied playing small? Are you ready to stop talking about your dreams and start living them? If you had the right coach in your corner, would you have the courage to step into your greatness? Only you can answer that.
  10. You're a coach. If there's one profession where you really do need a coach most, it's coaching, itself. Although coaching is still one of the fastest growing careers, success with coaching is definitely not a slam dunk. Every successful coach I've ever known has had his/her own coaches, usually several. It helps us keep growing and stay out ahead of our clients. And it's an integrity issue for us; we can't expect people to hire us, when we're not willing to hire our own coaches. That's one reason I offer a coach training, plus mentor coaching package for coaches who are high achievers.

 

 

This is a recent testimonial from one of my clients:

 

"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, Winona, MN

 

I have a couple of spots open for new coaching clients. If you'd like to discuss how Elite Coaching for High Achievers might help you, click below:

 

Learn About Elite Coaching for High Achievers

Topics: business coach, life coach, executive coach, coach training, coaching clients, Coach Certification, Great Self Coaching, certified coach, FIND A COACH

Find a Coach 2.0

Posted by Julia Stewart

Mastery Coach Exchange

 Mastery Coach Exchange (MCX) is School of Coaching Mastery's own find-a-coach/social networking site.

MCX is designed to give professional coaches and the people who want to hire them, a chance to interact before money exchanges hands. It's also a great place for people who are thinking about becoming coaches to interact with coaches who are already doing it. In other words, MCX is an interactive coach directory. 

Many of my first clients came to me through coach directories that I participated in. The process was frustrating though, because directories are/were completely passive. All you could do was list yourself and then pray that potential clients would see your listing and call you.

Web 2.0 rewards coaches for doing what they do best: communicating and relating. Trouble is, most folks on Facebook and elsewhere are there to socialize, so you need to market delicately, if at all. Otherwise, your marketing message will be about as well received as that FBI warning on your favorite DVD. Market poorly online and you risk turning off the very people you'd like to attract.

MCX is clearly designed for professional coaches and those who want to hire them and/or learn more about them. Potential clients want to hear your marketing message. In fact, they want to get to know you. What better place than in a safe online community?

Best of all, you can add your profile to MCX for free. However, to be approved for membership, you must add a head shot of yourself, your first and last name, and at least one website or blog  address and/or social networking profile, so we can determine if you are who you say you are.

MCX is undergoing some upgrades right now to make it even more effective. Adding social share app's will help to spread your message across the web. We're also adding a monthly newsletter, to keep you updated on what's happening and you'll receive cool opportunities and discounts on School of Coaching Mastery programs.

Join

 

Join MCX Here. 

Topics: Coaching, Coaches, Free, coach, social networking, clients, web 2.0, FIND A COACH

Career Coaching Spikes Says CNN Money

Posted by Julia Stewart

CNN Money LogoOn September 29th, CNNMoney wrote, "Should You Hire a Career Coach?"

In it, Christopher Metzler, associate dean for human resources studies at Georgetown University, says, "Any time there's an economic downturn, career coaching spikes,"

With job searches now averaging 25 weeks, it's no surprise that the out-of-work are looking for every competitive advantage they can find. And while career coaching is not cheap,  one session averages $161, it more than pays for itself, if you land a great job a few months earlier than you would have otherwise.

There are pitfalls, however. As the article points out, not everyone who calls him/herself a career coach is skilled or qualified to help you reach your goals. And the quality of coach certifications varies widely. Some coach certification training programs take only a weekend to complete, with every participant guaranteed a certificate just for showing up. (I recently spoke to a coach who completed one such program. She confirmed that it was "pretty much a joke.")

Two places you can find career coaches who have pledged their professionalism, are the coaching trade organizations, IAC and ICF. Each has a Find-a-Coach feature. You can also find career coaches at Mastery Coach Exchange, where you can easily connect with and find out about your coach, before trying them out.

Other coaching specialties that do especially well in economic downturns are business and corporate coaching, executive coaching, and money coaching, but even fields like life coaching do surprisingly well, especially now that there are lower-cost options.

Here's the full CNNMoney article on career coaching. Check out their sidebar for more interesting information about it.

Read the Coaching Commons article on the same subject here.

Topics: business coach, corporate coaching, executive coaching, Career, ICF, Coach Certification, Life Coaching, IAC, certified coach, economy, FIND A COACH

New Coaching Niche/Specialties for 2009

Posted by Julia Stewart

professional coachIt's that time of year again: When bloggers make predictions for the coming year.Seth Godin trumped us all by whipping out a fake list of prediction for 2008. Guess what? He was right about everything!

That's why I'm not predicting. I'm just asking (and suggesting). So here goes. Please post your suggestions, questions and yes, even your predictions in the comments area below.

1. Personal Branding Coach. This is career coaching for anyone who has a job or a business, from Millennials on up (but especially for folks under 30 - or maybe I should say especially for folks over 30). Resume writing and interview skills are still nice, important even, but if you want to land the job of your dreams without working your way up the ladder for oh, 50 years or so, then you've got to cultivate your Personal Brand by blogging and participating in social media, etc. 
 
Coaching issues: Integrity: When are you working for the company vs. when are you working for you, Public vs. Private, Adding Value vs. Fooling Around. 
 
Resource: Me 2.0 by Dan Schawbel. Sorry, it's not released yet, but I predict it'll be ready for shipping from Amazon in April. ;-)

2. Simplified Life Coach. This has always been attractive to Yuppies and other affluent folks who are just plain tired of all the stuff they have and now that we're officially in a recession, it's becoming really trendy (just as it always does during a recession), only now that the Polar Ice Caps are melting at break-neck speed, there's an urgency to it, as well. 
 
Coaching Issues: Thrive vs. Survive, Being Enough vs. Having It All. 
 
Resource: January 2009 issue of O Magazine. See: Back to Basics: Living with "Voluntary Simplicity"

3. Smart Tech Coach. When I tried to describe the smart house/appliance/grid of the future to my older sister, who is a retired teacher, living in a small Midwestern town, she got that deer-in-the-headlights look, cuz there is no way that she's ready for today's technology, much less tomorrow's! I got a premonition of her 9-year-old brainiac grandson having to help her turn on her coffee maker every morning. Not pretty! Boomers and older folks are going to need a lot of help adjusting to the changes that are coming to virtually everything they use. There will be consultants for this - A whole new profession is forming AND we all know how effective consulting can be without coaching skills. There's an opportunity here for techy coaches. 
 
Coaching Issues: Resistance vs. Incompetence, Overwhelm vs. Off the Grid. 
 
Resources: Hot Flat and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman, and the Oprah Winfrey Show 12-26-08

4. Green Business Coach. Sustainability has been a buzz word for a few years, but not everthing called Green is making a difference, either to the environment or the economy. If it was, people wouldn't be so nervous right now. However, there has been a genuine sea change in 2008 and all predictions point to a totally new way of doing business in the future. What about the business that wants to survive the downturn and thrive in the new economy (That would be every business)? A coach who has an eye on what's happening now and what is coming in the near and distant future, can add incredible value to the business client (from solo-preneur to Fortune 500) of 2009.
 
Coaching Issues: The Bottom Line vs. The Triple Bottom Line, Leading vs. Following. 
 
Resources: See the three specialties above, since all three are relevant to the needs of the Green Business.

Well there you have four possible hot new specialties for coaching. What have I left out?

Oh! And on a related note, it seems appropriate to mention new delivery systems for coaches here, as well:

  • What about the Texting Coach? Seems like that would be pretty hot for the Gen X client, or younger and more laser than Laser Coaching. Is anyone doing it? Please share your comments.
  • Then there's Video Coaching. Now that we can video IM with Skype and Macs, etc., this seems like a natural fit. Or is it? Will the old-fashioned telephone continue to the professional coach's favorite tool?
  • And what about Webinar Coaching? With desktop sharing, doc sharing, video sharing and more, isn't coaching via webinar a bit of a must, especially for groups?

What are your thoughts? Favorite tools, trends, and more? Feel free to comment, below. Alternatively, there's already a great conversation going on this at our Find a Coach website.

Copyright, Julia Stewart, 2009

Topics: Coaching, Seth Godin, ENVIRONMENT, FIND A COACH

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