School of Coaching Mastery

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Your Post-Pandemic Future is Here. How Will You Elevate It?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Post-Covid Future and You

 

Quick! What's that outside your window?

 

Is that your future peeking in at you? Would you even recognize it? Is it just a wisp of a shadow of a dream? Or do you know what it looks like, already?

That last could be awesome or terrible.

Your future is yours to create. Do you have the energy? The focus? The care? The know-how?

Because if you leave it to chance, chances are it won't serve you. Read on...

Around the world, a species that was feared in danger of extinction just one year ago is reappearing: folks with gray hair and wrinkles who are now fully vaccinated. Sightings of this once rare breed have been made at stores, gyms, resorts, restaurants, and even hair salons. No longer forced to spend all their money on Instacart, they are once again venturing out their homes and the economy is returning to normal.

Soon, you may be vaccinated yourself. It'll then be your turn to start living life on your own terms.

Who will you be when you can be who you want to be?

Right now, you may be too exhausted, stressed, or burned out to think about your future. That's okay. If you can begin to take care of yourself even a bit, you can get back to normal soon. But don't force yourself to focus on the future if it drains you.

May I suggest that you start with the basics if you are worn out?

Begin with one deep delicious breath. Breathe in through your nose for a count of five and exhale for five-to-eight counts. Do this anytime, anywhere, when you need to relax and refocus. Watch calmly for improvements to your mind-state, because this type of breathing triggers censors in your body that tell your brain you are safe and can relax. This is tremendously healing. Return when you are ready. This blog post will still be here.

Next, take a moment to process any grief you're still carrying.

Whether loved ones lost, family not seen, jobs that ended, or even vacations interrupted. Each loss deserves at least a moment of acknowledgment. Heavy emotions are just information. Get the message and they will move on.

Now here's a crazy question: What did you gain from the pandemic?

Did you learn a new skill set? Make new friends online? Realize what really matters to you? Write down at least three valuable things you gained from the pandemic and why they matter to you now.

What happened that you never want to do again? How will you prepare yourself so you never go through that worst thing? Train for a new career? Move to a community of like-minded people? Stock up on toilet paper?

What did you swear you would change?

How can you keep that promise to yourself? Because promises unkept tend to weigh us down.

What habits served you during the lock-down that you want to keep?

Many of us will keep our 20-second handwashing habits! And what about those Zoom happy hours?

What habits served you during the lock-down that you can begin to let go?

Will you still wear a double mask when you become immune? Will you check Covid stats every morning?

Now, what would you do if there was nothing in your way?

What dream has been knocking at your window unanswered? How can you take a step toward it? Even a small one? Commit to taking that step. Then tell a supportive friend or loved one about it. Better yet, work with a coach. Then celebrate it. The first step is usually the biggest.

 

Keep taking steps to elevate the dawn of your new future.

 

I hope this was useful for you. If helping people is part of your dream. I invite you to try out our coach trainings.

 

Visit Life Coach Training Online Here.

 

Topics: make a living as a coach, Coach Training Programs, coaching questions, future of coaching, acknowledgment, video, Covid, pandemic

The Future of Coaching: 4 Huge Trends

Posted by Julia Stewart

Future of Coaching Trends

It's often referred to life coaching or executive coaching, but truth is, all forms of coaching have a lot in common and all forms are evolving quickly.

If you are a coach, you need to stay ahead of the trends, so here goes...

Four Major Trends Impacting the Future of Coaching:

1. CLIMATE: 99% of scientists now agree our climate is changing dramatically and we are the cause of it. Woe to those who ignore what is the biggest mega-trend in human history because they will be left behind.

In 2017, Vice President Al Gore, at his Pittsburgh Climate Reality Leadership Training, said it's too late to stop the climate from changing. It's going to get worse and it won't return to "normal" in our lifetimes. Although there is still much we can do to slow it and eventually reverse it, we need to focus on resilience in the meantime. In other words, we need to make changes so we, and all life, can survive and thrive.

Resilience is the focus of positive psychology and coaches are uniquely skilled to help people of all types experience resilience despite challenges and to flourish under difficult conditions, but we only have about ten years before things get crazy worldwide.

It is said opportunity arises from chaos. Therefore more opportunity will arise within the next decade than ever before in human history, for both coaches and their clients.

What opportunities? Here are a couple of forms of coaching needed to mitigate the effects of the coming  catastrophes:

Pre-Traumatic Growth Coaching is really about inoculating people against PTSD before they experience trauma by shifting the stories they tell themselves. Can it really be that simple? Based on the research of positive psychology founding father, Martin Seligman, apparently it can. And there is value in it even if they never experience a trauma.

Then there is Post-Disaster Coaching, something I've specialized in. When a major disaster hits a community, whether it is a natural disaster, terrorism, war, or something else, the most insidious after-effects for those who were spared from direct impacts of the disaster are overwhelm, despair, and depression. These feelings steal people's optimism and motivation and cause some to give up on their most cherished dreams, which amplifies the disaster. Most people will bounce back if they are already resilient, but if they get coached within a few days of the disaster, before depression sets in, they may skip it altogether and quickly see through the chaos to the opportunities. Then they can be a positive force to those around them. (For those who are already traumatized or depressed, though, therapy is often the best choice.)

Does this sound awful? It's not. I lived in New York City during the 9/11 disaster and all my clients were directly or indirectly impacted. It was a gift and a joy to coach them through what could have been a lasting nightmare and help them find their way back to flourishing, instead.

Don't want to coach around trauma and disaster? No problem. But do be a leader in the field of resilience, both emotional and practical. On the emotional side, practice self care, personal development, and spiritual awareness, so your potential clients see a model they can emulate. These bolster inner-resilience. Do prepare yourself, your home, and your business to withstand anything. Install back-up systems for your back-up systems. Intelligent design combined with redundant systems are keys. And of course, changing your habits and energy sources matters. Get started now. For example, air travel is, by far, one of the worst things you can do to the climate. Whenever possible, opt for meetings via the web rather than constantly flying. We're all connected so there is no self care without caring for everyone.

Live, work, shop, and vote like everyone's life depends on it.

2. The End of Work: You've been hearing that artificial intelligence and robotics will eliminate most of today's jobs within the next couple of decades. The good news for coaches is that the skills of coaching appear harder to automate than those of medicine or law, which makes coaching relatively immune to this trend. However, your clients likely won't be immune.

The so-called, gig economy, has already arisen in response to the disappearance of jobs but many are discovering that working for others part-time just doesn't pay and they are starting their own businesses, instead. In a way, this is a return to an earlier time when most people didn't work for large corporations, but for themselves, often as farmers or shop owners. The real difference today is technology and what we sell: often services rather than goods.

What makes this trend scary, though, is that people have spent decades, and even generations, working for paychecks. The need for people to transition from "employee mentalities" to "self-employed mentalities" can be scary and confusing and that creates a big need for business coaching. Currently, in-house coaches who coach within large organizations, often corporations, is strong. With the end of work, coaching may shift away from corporate coaching toward more small-business coaching.

What if universal income catches on? Some say governments will have to pay people not to work. What will they do instead? That's a question for life coaches. What will happen to career coaches? The definition of "career" will change from vocation to avocation. Living one's values will become easier and more desired than ever.

Coaching has always tended to focus on clients who are going through transitions. Between the climate crisis and the end of work, everyone will be going through transitions, sometimes major ones, all of the time.

The end of work is really the rise of working for oneself and for what matters most.

3. Coaching Research: Research on coaching goes back decades but has increased to where it is fine-tuned enough to genuinely describe great coaching. And top researchers do seem to understand what great coaching is. Some of their findings simply confirm what coaches have been observing for decades. Some add surprising twists to what coaches have always done and help us target interventions more effectively. Some research contradicts what many coaches previously thought.

More research = more research-based coaching. Evidence-based coaching is booming. Whether your background is in positive psychology, emotional intelligence, neuroscience, or some other approach, you needed to point to your training and certifications and keep those up-to-date. At the same time, heightened intuition and advanced communication skills will be as important as ever.  To paraphrase Dan Siegel:

Coaching must be informed by science, but not constrained by it.

4. Personal and Cultural Evolution: The world is changing faster than ever before and that requires people to change themselves and the way their communities work.  Old values such as "short-term profits" are being replaced by newer values, such as "people, planet, and profits". More people expect to live their values but there's a need underlying rapid evolution: Because before we can thrive, we must survive.

Rapid change is hard but not changing will be much harder. That creates another need for coaches and perhaps a specialty in helping others evolve. Educate yourself on what is needed and stay ahead of the curve.

 

There is great pain in the world and there will be even more to come. Coaches can be a vital force for good. Please consider joining this profession.

 

School of Coaching Mastery is a climate-aware coaching school. We have only distance-learning classes because they are convenient and effective, but also because they reduce the amount of air travel our coaches engage in and prepare them for long-distance coaching. We also have an emphasis on preparing coaches to have their own successful business. All our trainings are evidence-based and include awareness of the ways humans are evolving and how coaches can assist them.

 

Want to learn more about evidence-based coaching? Download the free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook.

 

Get the Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Topics: executive coaching, future of coaching, Life Coaching, free ebook, Climate Change, positive psychology coach, resilience

The Role of Positive Psychology in Planetary Consciousness

Posted by Julia Stewart

Planetary Consciousness

At the International Positive Psychology Association's 6th World Congress this year, positive psychology pioneer, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi*, gave a talk called, Towards a Planetary Consciousness.

He asked, "What is the contribution Positive Psychology can make to the global society evolving on this planet--which could result either in an unprecedented flowering of life, or in its total extinction?

That's a heavy question for what is often referred to as, "the science of happiness", but it's similar to questions being asked worldwide by thought leaders as the Climate Crisis heats up and critical resources run out. Currently, large percentages of the world's populations are without reliable food and water, while natural disasters are on the rise, and the resulting conflicts, migrations, political turmoil, economic instability, and wars have left many feeling anxious about the future while also mourning what's already been lost.

By the way, this is a massive coaching opportunity: helping people develop the resilience they need so they can flourish in an increasingly difficult future.

Csikszentmihalyi is neither a marketer nor politician. Nor is he a spiritual teacher who promises to help you evolve your consciousness, so there was no soaring rhetoric nor sweeping promises in his talk. He's a scientist who is opening up a conversation on where positive psychology might help help in developing universal values that may help people thrive, without forcing one culture's values upon others. It's unusual even to hear a scientist use the word, "consciousness" because it is so difficult to define.

"Unless we find good solutions, the future will be a pretty bad place to live for our children and grandchildren."

Positive psychology deviates from previous psychological study by looking at what constitutes "the good life", a question usually asked by philosophers. Csikszentmihalyi said scientists need to explore the teachings of spiritual leaders such as Zoroaster and the Buddha to find what works best in today's world and share their findings with the leaders of the future.

Clearly this is an important issue for leadership coaches, who will want to pay close attention to the research that results from this focus. We all will.

 

Thinking about becoming a positive psychology coach? Download the FREE eBook:

 

Free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook

 

* If you're not quite sure how to pronounce "Csikszentmihalyi", here's a useful mnemonic: "Chick sent me high."

Topics: future of coaching, Positive Psychology, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Values, Climate Change, become a positive psychology coach, IPPA

How Does Artificial Intelligence Impact You if You Become a Coach?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Robot and human

You've heard that artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the future of work but how does it affect coaching?

AI is eliminating many job positions but coaching is surprisingly immune to this disruption. That said, you still need to know how to leverage massive changes caused by AI that may already be impacting how you coach...

Why is coaching resilient in the job market that's disrupted by AI when so many other professions, such as law and medicine, are turned upside down?

There are three reasons coaching is is one of the professions that have been hard to replace by artificial intelligence:

  1. It turns out that the human mind is harder to crack than neuroscientists and computer engineers previously thought. They've been successful at mimicking the so-called linear processing associated with your brain's left hemisphere, which includes math, language, and knowledge; but engineering artificial relationships that are trusting, empathic, intuitive, and characterized by non-linear insights has been much more elusive. So professions such as coaching, psychotherapy, and the creative arts are, so far, more difficult to recreate. Our massive human brain isn't big because we can process so much information, but because we are an extremely social species and social relationships require far more complex processing. That said, companies such as Care.coach are already convincing people that cartoon kittens care about them, but that may work only because actual humans are behind the cartoons.
  2. Coaching didn't become a profession until the internet, robotics, mobile phones, and artificial intelligence were already in the works and pioneers of coaching, notably Thomas Leonard, saw what was coming and designed the profession of coaching around the future instead of the past. For example, today's world of business works best when you have a mix of ways people can work with you. Be generous with free information on your website. Write a book that virtually anyone can afford. Join a coaching company that charges a modest price for coaching with a particular method. But your personal, customized one-to-one attention is today considered a luxury good. It needs to be priced accordingly. Coaching is for everybody but personal coaching is only for clients who see its massive value and eagerly pay for it.
  3. Quality coaching is phenomenally effective. Most people have no idea how to do it, which is why ICF accredited coach training is preferable to a degree in psychology. Coaching is new technology for human development. It has been designed to thrive as a profession despite the many disruptions of this century. It's sustainable.

The coaching profession was designed to withstand the onslaught of artificial intelligence and robotics in the job market. In a world of hypercomplex disruption, coaching thrives.

Be resilient in tomorrow's job market. Become a coach. Download this free eBook to learn more:

Get Your Free 'Become a Coach' eBook Now

 

Topics: coaching business, coach training, become a coach, ICF, Thomas Leonard, future of coaching, new clients

The Future of Coaching: Participate in this Groundbreaking Research

Posted by Julia Stewart

Research coaching psychology

The future of coaching is research-based and now you can be part of it!

You're invited to participate in groundbreaking research by renowned coaching researcher, Dr. Richard Boyatzis (See bio below), and his research team at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) on the competencies of effective coaching.

Research into coaching has skyrocketed in recent years, but as of yet, there is scant research into the effectiveness of coaching competencies on which coach certifications are based. Isn't it about time that changed?

Learn more about how you can get involved and participate in this important study at the next International Association of Positive Psychology Coaches (IAPPC) meeting, August 15, Noon - 1 PM Eastern/NY Time (UTC 1600).

We'll discuss other exciting developments in positive psychology coaching at the August 15th meeting, as well.

If you're already a member of the IAPPC, watch your inbox for an invitation to this meeting. If you haven't joined yet, there's still time to join for free. Go here to join and watch your inbox for an invitation to this meeting.

About Dr. Richard Boyatzis:

Dr. Boyatzis is a professor in the department of organizational behavior, psychology, and cognitive science at Case Western Reserve University, as well as the H.R. Horvitz Chair in Family Business. He is also an adjunct professor at the international ESADE Business School. Boyatzis has received awards at Case Western Reserve for research, teaching, and service, and he was named a distinguished university professor. He received his master’s and doctorate degrees from Harvard University.

IAPPC members will receive full instructions for joining in this research study at the August 15th meeting.

Join the IAPPC Now and Save on Certification

 

Topics: future of coaching, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, positive psychology coaching, certified competent coach, coaching research, IAPPC

Professional Coaching Today: World's Largest Coaching Survey (Video)

Posted by Julia Stewart

Last week , I posted an article about The Future of Coaching: How the Internet is Causing the Rise of Coaching.

It shows how changes in technology are driving the demand of professional Coaching. So I thought you might be interested in where coaching is, right now, according to the 2016 Global Coaching Survey by the International Coach Federation (ICF). It's the largest coaching survey to date.

Watch this awesome 4-minute video on Professional Coaching Today from the ICF:

Professional Coaching Today from ICF Headquarters.

 

Interested in becoming a coach? Get the free eBook Now:

Get a free Become a Coach eBook here.

Topics: professional coaching, become a coach, ICF, future of coaching, video, free ebook, international coach federation

Future of Coaching: How the Internet is Causing the Rise of Coaching

Posted by Julia Stewart

Future of Coaching

Have you ever wondered why coaching has exploded worldwide over the past 20 years?

There are plenty of theories about the rise of coaching. For instance, I often point out to my students that coaching emerged just as positive psychology research skyrocketed and discoveries about neuroplasticity became known, because great coaching used ideas from both, particularly ideas about human potential.

Others have suggested that a century of psychotherapy got people healthy enough to want to, and be able to, continue growing so coaching emerged to help with that. Still others draw wisdom from the great Twentieth Century psychologist, Abraham Maslow, among others, and point out that people are evolving, which is different from healing, and they are  ready  to self-actualize, because their survival needs have been met.

These theories have merit, but I offer a radically different perspective that may matter most in coaching's origins and even more so in its future.

You see, coaching began developing into a profession during yet another explosion, that of personal computers, software, and the World Wide Web. We all know those technological advances changed our lives by making jobs that previously were tedious, time-consuming, expensive, difficult, or even impossible, easy. Plus, they connected us to other people, worldwide. But just as every solution unveils new problems, computers, software, the internet, a.k.a. technology, are releasing an overwhelming number of problems and pressures.

One such problem/opportunity is the constant acceleration of technological innovation, a.k.a. hypercomplexity.

The pace of expansion is overwhelming. Some of us are taking it in stride, but many are struggling. Let me give an example of positive adjustment:

  1. In the 1970s, I was exposed to computers, software, and eventually the internet, via school and work.
  2. But as a self-described techno-phobe, it wasn't until 1999 that I decided to buy an internet-ready laptop for home use and began surfing and emailing, like everybody else.
  3. Within two years, in 2001, I joined a web-based coach training school and became a coach.
  4. By 2002, I had a listing in an online coach directory. I'd gone from consuming the online economy to participating.
  5. In 2003, I launched my first web site.
  6. In 2004, I began launching additional web sites.
  7. In 2005, I launched my first blog and began learning to make online graphics. I also moved my business from one part of the country to another, but kept all my coaching clients, because we were already connecting and coaching via technology.
  8. In 2006, I spent months running my business, while traveling, with just a cell phone and a laptop, as my office. This is also when I started using social media in earnest.
  9. In 2007, I launched an online coach-training school. I also learned the meaning of the phrase, "cloud computing" and realized I'd been doing it for years.
  10. In 2008, I switched from coach training via teleclasses, to teaching via live interactive webinars, because the technology was finally better than telephone conferencing.
  11. In 2009, I decided to stop dabbling and master online content marketing and my school started taking off.

In one decade, starting with the purchase of that first laptop and joining AOL, I completely changed my life and work. Today, SchoolofCoachingMastery.com is one of the most competitive coaching web sites, worldwide, and the blog you're reading gets more than 20,000 views every month. All this, from a self-described techno-phobe.

It was possible, because technology simplified what was formerly difficult. Granted, to fully adapt and thrive in this rapidly-progressing technological environment, one must be open to the new, but as someone who did not adjust easily to technology, I needed more than just internet access in order to succeed.

Something else made it possible.

Best-selling author, Tom Friedman, says software makes complexity invisible by designing algorithms that take hundreds of  complex and difficult steps, while you make a few taps or swipes. By making complexity invisible, we're able to do far more than imaginable in 1999. But technology is also helping us create a world that is too complex for us to comprehend and that world transforms again and again before we can adjust to it. That is awesome, but it can be unbearably hard for us.

That's where coaching comes in. Coaching does for your life what software, apps, and other techno devices do for your productivity, only it turns "making complexity invisible" upside down.

Coaching reveals simplicity.

Remember, hypercomplexity means we're living in an incomprehensively intricate world that is ever accelerating. Anything that simplifies that in a meaningful way, without detracting from what matters, is a Godsend. Hence, the rise of coaching.

Coaching exists, in large part, because the internet created a new need.

Humans have an inborn need for simplicity. Or at least, they need complexity to be simplified enough that they can adjust to it. Previous generations lived in a slower world and may have experienced massive change once per generation. Our nervous systems can handle that rate. Now massive change comes about once a decade and it's starting to accelerate ever faster. Soon it'll be once a year, then once a month, once a week, once a day...But coaching reveals simplicity.

Yes, positive psychology and neuroplasticity provide us with amazing new tools. And yes, people with good mental health are poised to take best advantage of coaching. And yes definitely, people are evolving, especially those whose survival needs are well met and who have access to education, diversity, affluence, and of course, technology.

But even evolved people are having trouble keeping up.

And less evolved people, who may be poorer, more isolated, less educated, and have fewer opportunities; are falling behind the fastest. Many are virtually locked out of the job market. There's a big coaching opportunity there.

We used to say people needed coaching most when they were in transition, meaning transitioning from school to job, changing jobs, training for new jobs, starting businesses, living in new places, getting married, having kids, getting divorced, retiring. We now know that people will be changing professions every few years, that the one career constant will always be training for the next opportunity, that economies will take turns booming and many workers will travel around the world to stay employed. Meanwhile, changes in climate will increase social upheaval, spark wars, create famines, and will cause massive human migrations.

In the future, everyone will be transitioning all the time.

Being coached helped me make several transitions within one decade. In the future, people may need coaching constantly, because most humans can't handle that rate of change, but coaching can put people into the flow where learning becomes second nature, where wealth is less about what they have than what they can produce, where mental algorithms, like unique values, can help them think faster and make wise choices faster. That sense of flow is something our ancient ancestors had, but which we've lost during our "modern" period. What's needed for the future is a level of evolution that knits the ancient with the modern and post-modern. It used to only be available to elites, but now is available to anyone open enough to learn.

Coaching facilitates fast learning and smooth adjustment.

In the hypercomplex world of the future, demand for great coaching will be higher than ever. And though artificial intelligence can ask the questions, nothing but a human can bond with and believe in a coaching client. Two critical elements of effective coaching.

Simplicity in a hypercomplex world and someone who cares about and believes in us. That's what everyone needs, always.

Would you like to learn more about becoming a coach? Take a course and get certified:

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Topics: Coaching, coaching school, future of coaching, internet, Positive Psychology, Neuroplasticity

Future of Coaching: Evidence-based or Intuitive?

Posted by Julia Stewart

evidence-based coachingI just watched a lecture by positive psychologist, Tal Ben-Shahar, PhD, on positive psychology coaching. In it he referenced his ICF International Conference talk, in 2009, on the future of coaching. Tal makes a strong case for the future of coaching being evidenced-based.

What are his arguments? That some of the tools of coaching, such as visualization, positive reinforcement, and positive self-talk have already been debunked by research. That is, they can hurt more than help, unless applied under particular circumstances. Plus, as he points out, without strong evidence to back them up, most human development fads just die out. Remember EST?

I'm inclined to agree with Tal, that evidence is where the greatest growth exists now for coaching. But that doesn't mean coaching hasn't been effective, just that it can become even more effective. Actually, it's the incredible success of coaching that seems to pique the curiosity of scientists. 

To point out the obvious: if people waited to do new things before scientists completed relevant research, we might still be sitting in caves waiting for the okay to use fire. 

As another positive psychologist who teaches coaching, Robert Biswas-Diener, PhD, has said, research doesn't just inform coaching, coaches themselves, often suggest what scientists should study next. It's a collaboration, not a top-down relationship.

In fact, the Harvard-affiliated Institute of Coaching, was founded by coaches to encourage research into coaching and positive psychology. And the Harnisch Foundation, headed by Ruth Ann Harnisch, herself an IAC certified coach, makes $100,000 available every year for coaching research and coaches are even taught and encouraged to do their own scientific research.

By the way, research has also confirmed that most of what masterful coaches do with their clients really does work quite effectively. That includes acknowledging what their clients do instead of who they are, which leads to growth instead of stuckness.  So far, the research has affirmed most of what coaches have been saying all along.

Research is good, very good. But it's not the only thing that matters in coaching...

So then there's this thing called intuition.

Tal doesn't mention intuition in his lecture, but positive psychology researcher, Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, considers intuition to be a knee-jerk reaction to things based on what "they say". In other words, it represents people at their dumbest. Scientific findings are therefore almost always more accurate than "intuition".

In coaching, intuition is something else altogether. It's what emerges when coach and client scrape the gobbledygook of life off their brains and get into a highly-connected conversation that the ICF describes this way: 

• Coach is connected to complete trust in new and mutual state of awareness that can only arise in the moment and out of joint conversation.
• Coach is comfortable not knowing as one of the best states to expand awareness in.
• Coach is willing to be vulnerable with client and have client be vulnerable with coach.
• Coach confident in self, process, and the client as a full partner in the relationship.
• Sense of complete ease and naturalness in conversation; coach does not have to “work” to coach.

In coaching, the emergence of this intuition, or insight, is what makes the coaching conversation pivotal to the client's growth. It's often simple; however it's anything but dumb. This type of intuition is related to Czikszentmihalyi's Flow and to Barbara Fredrickson's Positivity and Love 2.0, but the research into Coaching Presence or Personal Greatness, as it is variously called by coaches, is so far is pretty thin.

The distinction here is explicit vs. implicit knowledge. Explicit knowledge is what we can talk about. Implicit knowledge is that semi-conscious processing we do in the moment when we are completely present. The human mind is still the most powerful computer known. For instance, neuroscientists have discovered that babies learn language through a process of sophisticated statistical analysis. Since the babies studied are pre-verbal, by definition they are processing implicitly. That's what I call intuition. 

Coaches cannot afford to throw out this type of intuition in favor of evidence. We don't have time to check academic papers in the middle of a coaching session. Fortunately for us, the human mind is spectacular at processing information, that is if we stay curious and don't succumb to fears, ego and petty issues. But coaches also can't afford to ignore evidence that points the direction for growth in professional coaching, not when the research is so excitingly positive. Neither intuition nor evidence is perfect, but when we integrate the two, we get something even more powerful.

"The genius of the AND", is a phrase that Tal loves to use. And this is a good place to use it. I believe the future of coaching will be evidence-based AND intuitive. Scientists will eventually discover what coaching intuition is and why it's so powerful and then maybe we'll all be on the same page.

Until then, gather the evidence, but don't be afraid to use your intuition during coaching. Because remember, fire was cooking our dinner long before science was invented.

Oh and the guy in the picture? That's Flash Gordon, my favorite astronaut from the 1930's. I included his pic (love his friend's little hat) to remind myself how silly it can be to predict the future. Doesn't seem to stop me, though.

Learn more about coaching that is evidence-based AND intuitive:


Become a Certified Positive Psychology Coach

Topics: ICF, Barbara L Fredrickson, future of coaching, Institute of Coaching, masterful coaches, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching, intuition, Tal Ben-Shahar

The Future of Coaching: 2013 Trends in Business and Life Coaching

Posted by Julia Stewart

If you think you understand trends in business andfuture of life coaching life coaching, you're probably dead wrong.

Why? Because the future of humanity is about to change at even more breathtaking rates. That means the future of coaching is not what you think. Not even close.

How's that? We're about to reach a technological 'tipping point' across several technologies and this runaway world we live in is about get a million times faster. 

You've heard of Moore's Law? It's the well-established prediction that computing power will double every 18 months, while prices plummit. In other words, exponential growth. Moore's Law has held true for decades. The current result is an iPhone processor that's more powerful than the 1970's Apollo rockets that travelled to the Moon. (which makes Apple's recent map app blunder seem especially silly)

If you were to graph exponential growth, you'd get what's known as a 'hockey stick' curve. At first you get a relatively long period of slow growth, with a slight incline, but at some point the numbers that are doubling become so huge that the curve goes virtually vertical. That's the tipping point or 'escape velocity' that we've just about reached with computing power.

Moore's Law is what futurists call a hard trend. It's a prediction that you can count on. Some futurists say that Moore's Law can be applied to other technologies as well, such as nanotech and artificial intelligence, and that when you combine these technologies, as they are doing at Singularity University, you get even more explosive growth and more escape velocity.

What does all this tech mean to coaches, other than the possibility that someday, Skype will stop bumping us off our free international video calls? Well if you consider Adizes' Change Constant (Change leads to problems, which lead to solutions, which lead to more change, etc.), our potential clients are about to have a lot more problems. They're mostly the kind of problems you want to have, as we say, but they still will feel like big problems to them. And that's when they hire coaches. But wait, before you cheer...

What kinds or problems are caused by explosive growth in the tech fields? Well first there are new jobs created, like IT professionals, website designers and virtual assistants; jobs most people couldn't conceive of 50 years ago. And then there is the elimination of jobs that are replaced by technology, like librarians, sign painters and secretaries. Painful! Except, every time technology replaces some jobs, it creates new ones, such as international tech support, robot repair, and home-based manufacturing. That's a cycle you can count on. New high-paid jobs are always on the horizon, only most people can't even conceive of them, much less get ready. That's scary.

Let's face it, our ancestors evolved back when exponential change equaled the invention of the wheel, the bow and arrow and roasted mastadon instead of raw. Those changes occured at the slow-sloping left side of the hockey stick curve and that's what your nervous system today is wired for, not change at the rate of a new job every year. Jeez.

People are going to need assistance in making constant life-changing transitions, the kinds our grandparents only made once or twice in a lifetime. Maybe we'll need more psychotherapists to talk us down off the ledge, but in this month's Wired magazine, Founding Editor, Kevin Kelly says robots will soon replace therapists. I don't know about that, but he also says nurses, teachers, personal trainers, waiters and surgeons will soon be robotic. The jobs will go to the people who manage the bots.

The best-paying jobs will go to those who can leverage the added value that technology is constantly creating. Beyond that, we can spend our time doing what we want.

So what's the one job Kevin Kelly says robots can't replace? The job of deciding what people really want to do. 

Coaches help people decide what they really want to do.

Coaching is not a tech job, but technology creates the need for coaches. And it's creating more of that need all the time for coaches who are ready.

Can coaches be replaced by artificial intelligence? We're a long way from that, because coaching relies at least as much on 'right brain' intuitive skills, which have been a challenge to the computing field so far, as it does on linear processing skills. But they'll probably crack intuition, eventually.

However, no amount of AI will ever make robots human. You could program 3CPO to say, 'I believe in you', but those words ring hollow unless you hear them from someone whose opinion matters to you.

Coaching will likely be with us for several more decades, or at least until Siri gets programed to ask more than she tells.

What else is about to change? Everything from the demise of our current too-slow, too-expensive, too-ineffective system of higher education (watch this video of new Google University for what might be next); to the rise of the 'bottom billion' as a result of cheap smart phones that now connect impoverished people to unlimited information, to vertical farming that can scale up to feed 10 billion of us. To get a more complete picture, I highly recommend you read Abundance by venture capitalist and X Prize founder Peter Diamandis.

How can you get ready to coach in the coming decades? 

Surprisingly, you don't need to chase every trend. And you don't need to coach huge numbers of people for less. Because the rise of technologies means there is also a trend at the other side of the spectrum. It's the one that leverages Kevin Kelly's 1000 True Fans concept and focuses on hyper-customization and hyper-personalization.

Chris Brogan calls this the 'bespoke business'. This is the type of business most successful coaches have. It includes just a few clients who each pay a hefty fee. It usually also includes some lower-priced options and free content in order to build relationships and true fans. This type of business is on the rise and looks like it's here to stay.

More people will need and want coaching in the coming future. Less expensive goods and services provided by automation will free up money. And with the coming need to prepare for new professions every year, the savvy will use that money to hire tutors, mentors and coaches to help them get where they need to go faster.

What's a good strategy for a coach moving forward into the super-high-tech world of the future? Become the best - perhaps the only - in your specialty. Get just the training you need, be nimble and ready to pivot when things change dramatically, have your own coach and take super great care of yourself - you'll need it.

And have fun. Technology is designed to free us from drudgery. Coaching is the perfect profession for enjoying that freedom.

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Topics: business coach, Coaching, coach training, iPhone, future of coaching, successful business, Life Coaching, life coach training, Kevin Kelly

7 Concerns About the New Board Certified Coach (BCC) Credential

Posted by Julia Stewart

BCC - Board Certified CoachYesterday, I received a letter in the mail congratulating me on my new BCC (Board Certified Coach) credential from CCE (Center for Credentialing and Education).

 

It was nice to get, but no surprise.

CCE, a non-profit which has been certifying a variety of counselors for years, recently stepped into the realm of business, executive and life coach certification, with this very impressive-sounding new credential. But any executive, business or life coach who was previously certified by the ICF or IAC and who could demonstrate that they already have coach-specific training, got grandfathered into the BCC for $100. The only catch was that we had to take a norming exam to help CCE establish appropriate exam questions for future coaches who test for the BCC.

Even though I have reservations about the new BCC life coach certification, I decided to take the plunge and get it for the following reasons:

  • Life coach certifications from independant not-for-profit certifiers are generally the most respected in coaching, because with no regulation, coach training schools (at least the ones that are disreputable) sometimes have very low coach certification requirements (or no requirements other than a fee). 
  • I think competition between not-for-profit certifiers is good for coaches, their clients and the coaching industry, because it forces the certifiers to listen to us and upgrade their services in order to stay relevant. So a new not-for-profit coach certifier may be positive for the profession.
  • At this stage of the game, no single life coach certification organization is the recognized leader, worldwide. The ICF claims this distinction, but most coaches do not agree, especially in fast-growth markets, like Asia. So it may be a good idea to be certified by more than one not-for-profit life-coach certification organization.

That said, I have plenty of reservations about the new Board Certified Coach credential and don't plan to use 'BCC' after my name in most situations - at least not yet. Here's why:

  1. As one of my colleagues, who is certified by both the IAC and ICF, recently commented, a certification from an organization that mainly certifies counselors may further confuse the public about the difference between coaching, therapy and counseling. Appearances to the contrary, business and life coaching are completely different from either counseling or psychotherapy. Coaching is based on different paradigms and does not target clients who are mentally ill or in crisis. A decade or so ago, when I became a coach, the profession of coaching was under attack by psychology professionals, who claimed we were practicing therapy without a license. Then a landmark lawsuit in the state of Colorado established life coaching as a separate profession from psychotherapy.  Furthermore, the reason coaching is still not legally regulated anywhere is because coaches don't work with vulnerable populations. Since that landmark case, therapists and counselors have jumped on the coaching bandwagon in large numbers, because they aren't hamstrung by regulations, they've seen how effective coaching can be and because they can charge more for it. As another coaching colleague commented: The confusion between coaching and therapy isn't because coaches are practicing bad therapy; it's because too many therapists are practicing bad coaching. One of the reasons I decided to get the BCC anyway, is so I can watch from the inside how CCE's influence plays out and can speak up as needed. If CCE does its job well, it could actually cut down on the confusion and erroneous assumptions that counselors and therapists sometimes make when they hang out their Life Coach shingles.
  2. CCE bases the BCC credential solely on college degrees, coach-specific training and passage of a multiple-choice test. Reputable life coach certifications always require demonstration of coaching skills. Why? Because unlike virtually any other profession, including counseling and psychotherapy, efficacy in business and life coaching is not based on expert knowledge, but on the skill of assisting coaching clients to leverage their own knowledge, thoughts, actions, gifts, etc. In other words, coaching is a skill set, not a knowledge base. A degree has little or nothing to do with competency in coaching. Coach training is a very good thing, but doesn't automatically ensure a skilled coach.  And multiple-choice tests measure knowledge, not coaching skills. To get my stamp of approval, CCE needs to add an oral test to their certification requirements.
  3. CCE claims its multiple-choice test is the first scientifically-based measurement of coaching knowledge, but is it really? The 'science' is based on the answers to test questions that coaches who are certified by the 'less scientific' IAC and ICF gave on BCC norming tests. In other words, it's piggy-backing on knowledge collected by thousands of non-science-based coaches and calling that scientific. In any case, one of the reasons coaching has rocketed to the forefront of human development is because coaches have been free to mix findings from neuroscience and positive psychology with ancient wisdom traditions, plus their own insights and intuition, to create new approaches to human growth. Science is good, but results are what matter.
  4. CCE claims to be the first certifier of coaches that is itself 'accredited'. That's good, but it may not mean what you think. Usually, when we talk of accreditation in education, what we're referring to is the 'gold standard' in accreditation, which in the United States (which influences education around the world), means that your educational institution is accredited by a not-for-profit regional accrediting agency that is in turn, approved by the U.S. Department of Education. CCE is not accredited by such an agency. I tried to trace its accreditation back to the USDE, but only got as far back as an agency that accredits engineers (not exactly related to coaching). To my knowledge, no not-for-profit coach certifier, nor educator of coaches, possesses the gold standard in accreditation. That doesn't mean they aren't good, it just means they don't have the ultimate stamp of approval in education. (Beware though, of phony 'associations' that are invented by un-scrupulous 'coaching schools' or more-aptly, certification mills, just so they can claim to be 'accredited' by somebody.) CCE's accreditation doesn't make it a better source of life coach certification. In fact, they may not understand the profession of coaching as well as either the ICF or IAC.
  5. There has been some suggestion (unconfirmed) that the CCE may require its Board Certified Coaches to administer a psychological profile that measures the mental health of new coaching clients, in order to refer them out to psychotherapists. This would be no more appropriate than requiring Certified Financial Planners to test the mental health of their clients (after all, behavioral economics is the latest hot specialty for therapists), or requiring bartenders to test their customers for alcoholism (shouldn't some of those barflies be in rehab?). I know many psychologists believe 90 - 100% of all people are at least neurotic and could benefit from therapy, but coaches aren't in the mental health business, are untrained in the area of diagnosis and in many locations it would actually be illegal for an untrained professional to try to diagnose a mental illness. What coaches are responsible for is helping their clients reach the clients' desired results. If coaching isn't effective in reaching those results and the coach suspects psychotherapy could help, they can best serve their clients by sharing that observation and declining to waste the clients' money by continuing the coaching. But coaches testing for psychopathology? That won't serve coaching clients (but might serve counselors and therapists), because the real test of whether coaching will 'work' for a client is not the client's diagnosis, but whether or not the client is ready to take full responsibility for his/her own life. If it comes between keeping my BCC or succumbing to a requirement to administer  psychological tests, I may give up the credential and I'm sure I'm not alone. But I am so far taking a 'wait and see' attitude towards this.
  6. CCE's ethical standards for BCCs are more appropriate for counselors and therapists than for life coaches. That's not automatically bad, but suggests that CCE itself, is confused about the differences between counseling and coaching. For well-written and appropriate ethical standards for coaches, view the ICF's ethical standards.
  7. The BCC hasn't yet stood the test of time. Thus far, the Board Certified Coach credential is not widely recognized, nor is it the the gold standard in coaching. At this writing, Master Certified Coach credentials from the ICF and IAC share that distinction. For the time being, I would recommend the BCC only as a provisional certification, on the level of the ICF's ACC (Associate Credentialed Coach), that a new coach might want, while they work toward a more recognized coach certification.

What do you think? Share your comments and concerns about the new Board Certified Coach credential in the comments area below.

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Topics: Coaching, executive coaching, certification requirements, Coaches, coaching clients, coach, Become a Certified Coach, CCE, life coach certification, certified life coach, certified business coach, future of coaching, coach training schools, coaching vs. therapy, Master Certified Coach, BCC

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