School of Coaching Mastery

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4 Reasons It's Harder for Psychotherapists to Transition to Coaching

Posted by Julia Stewart

Therapist to Coach

Written by Julia Stewart

I've worked with thousands of coaches in the decade, or so, that I've been training coaches and most of them think they already know how to coach before they get training. That's true only in about 1% of cases.

That 1% applies to psychotherapists, counselors, social workers and other "helping professionals", too. People from these backgrounds can make terrific coaches, but usually they need to unlearn a few things and unlearning often takes longer than learning from scratch.

A story: One day, a member of our Certified Coach Training Program, a licensed psychotherapist, used a therapy technique to extract some info from a resistant client during a practice coaching session in class. He got the tidbit he was after, but the client was insulted and shut down the whole session. His classmates were likewise offended. I had a WTF moment, listening to this travesty, but the coach seemed to think he'd done something clever!

Lesson #1: You NEVER have permission to practice therapy on a coaching client. They are high-functioning and you'd better fully respect that. Use a therapy technique and you will destroy the trusted relationship you need to coach them well - and you'll be violating professional ethics, and possibly the law, as well.

Another story: I worked for years with a psychotherapist whose communication style was serious, cerebral, and analytical. It was perfectly suited to the type of therapy she did, but it hurt her coaching sessions and she had a real challenge learning an effective coaching style to qualify for IAC certification. When she finally achieved it, I literally had tears in my eyes!

Lesson #2: Coaching is light. A big part of what we do is validate the client. It sounds easier than it is for a lot of coaches, but the goal is for the client to be resourceful, so serious, cerebral, and analytical won't cut it.

A third story: I worked for a while with a counselor who had trouble transitioning to coaching. Whenever she got stuck, she asked the client how they felt: "How do you feel?...How do you feel, now?...How do you feel, now?" Argh! I'm pretty sure this wouldn't be great counseling, but I can tell you with authority that constantly focusing on the client's feelings is lousy coaching!

Lesson #3: Coaches don't heal people's feelings. We don't ignore them either, but they are an adjunct to the conversation, not the main topic. It's far better to ask a more specific question, such as, "You don't sound excited when you talk about that goal. What's up with that?"

Final story: I had a former child psychologist show up to a live certification event, but each time she coached, her clients (fellow participants, who were coaches and open to the process) got irritated and shut down. Hmmm, what's up with THAT? Answer: she communicated with her coaching clients in a voice that may have been appropriate for frightened children: soft, gentle and high pitched. In other words, she was talking baby talk to her clients. Ugh. No wonder they were irritated!

Lesson #4: You probably wouldn't use baby talk with your clients, but a communication style that worked for you, as a therapist, may still undermine your coaching. In fact, it may be a train wreck. And you might assume your clients are the problem, rather than your communication style, if you don't get feedback from a good coach trainer, because resistant coaching clients act a lot like therapy clients who have issues: mistrusting, closed mouthed, uncooperative, etc. 

Don't hobble your transition into coaching. Get training on coaching communication and make sure you get lots of in-class practice and feedback from experts. Otherwise, you'll repeat the problems above, or worse.

Better yet, if you want to coach and you're just getting started, you may want to skip the psychology degree and just get coach training, instead. You'll save a ton of money and time.

Get Certified Coach Training

Topics: professional coach, become a coach, Coach Training Programs, Certification Practicum, Certified Coach Training, psychotherapy, IAC, Certification Prep

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

Your Million-Dollar Coach Has Been Recalled By the Manufacturer

Posted by Julia Stewart

Million Dollar Coach

Yesteryday, Coach Maryam Webster shared some 'million dollar coaching for conscious business owners' on Facebook. Of course, what she really did, was warn the innocent away from a predatory type of 'coaching'. Her message included:

''Before buying into any six figure type training, ask to see the teacher's financials...Then run. Far away from cookie cutter trainings and teachers like this...Forget the 6 and 7 figure coach, author & speaker trainings. Those who make money their central theme are playing on your basic survival fears..."

Be sure to read the entire conversation on Maryam's Page (you may need to log in to Facebook, first) before you spend a dime on programs like these, because they are almost always scams...

As I said in my reply to Maryam, I've written on this topic a number of times. I shared several horror stories here. I wrote more recently on the meaninglessness of titles such as 'life coach', here. Do read these posts before working with a 'wealth coach', 'million-dollar coach', 'six-figure coach', 'seven-figure coach', or anybody who calls him/herself a 'coach'. You could save yourself thousands of dollars and years of heartache.

Some of these so-called 'coaches', gurus and teachers have been sued by the likes of the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Others have gone to prison. Their victims have been emotionally devastated, bankrupt, lost their homes, or even lost their lives.

It's a serious problem, but not an easy one to fix. Coaching has a reputation for being high-paid, but to my knowledge, it's still not regulated by any government in the world. Plus most people don't know what it is, except that it involves people talking to each other. That makes it the perfect get-rich-quick scheme for any sociopath who can talk. There are an awful lot of them out there.

Genuine coaches provide valuable services and are nearly always certified by reputable coaching schools and professional associations. They have testimonials from real people you can talk to. Their clients rave about them and you can find them online and research their reputations. Coaches who are certified by the ICF or IAC are usually a good bet. And I stand behind the coaches who are certified by School of Coaching Mastery.

So why's there a kitten in the picture, above? He's Josey, an abandoned formerly feral baby cat we found half-starved, terrified and awfully lonely. He was desperate enough to let some gigantic strange creatures take him in and feed him and now he's a delightful member of the household. Josey was lucky. Imagine what could have happened to him if a sociopath found him, instead of a family of animal lovers.

When you have a dream of building a 'conscious business', or of answering your calling, or even of becoming wealthy by sharing your brilliance with those who want or need it, you're as vulnerable, and often, as innocent as a kitten. You probably need help from someone who can help facilitate your dream, such as a good coach, but you and your dream can be destroyed by a greedy sociopath. Be careful who you share your dreams with!

Today, Gina Spadafori shared on Facebook that P&G has voluntarily recalled the type of kitten food I feed to Josey. It may be contaminated with salmonella. He was lucky again, because his chow was made in a different batch.

It got me thinking how great it would be if we could recall toxic 'coaches'. It would save a lot of innocent people from being preyed upon. And it would definitely improve the reputation of the coaching profession.

But fake coaches manufacture themselves. They remind me of Sturgeon's Law: 90% of anything is crap. That doesn't mean the top 10% isn't fantastic. In my opinion, million-dollar coaches occupy the bottom 10% of the crap pile.

There is no way to wipe them all out, but you can protect yourself. Stay out of free, or suspiciously low-fee, seminars and webinars. They are designed to get you to spend irrationally. Don't be swayed by money-back guarantees. They usually mean nothing.

Instead, work with certified coaches and get recommendations.

Maryam asked me online what we should do about this problem. I'd like to see a coordinated marketing campaign by coaches, coach-training schools and professional coaching associations that warns the public about unscrupulous coaching practices and how to hire a good coach. I'm not the person to organize this. Do you know someone who is?

If you care about people in general and the coaching profession specifically, please share this blog post or voice your own opinions online. You could save someone from making a horrible mistake.

Find a Coach Here

Topics: life coach, ICF, Business Coaches, certified coaches, coach training schools, Million Dollar Coach, teleclass, IAC, six-figure coaches, six-figure coaching business

IAC Master Coach Interview with Kristi Arndt and Julia Stewart

Posted by Julia Stewart

IAC International Association of Coaching

On June 20th, 2013, Kristi Arndt, MMC, former Vice President of the International Association of Coaching, interviewed me for the IAC's Master Coach Interview Series. You need to be a member of the IAC to access their copy of the interview, but you can listen via the online player here for free, to the resulting 49-minute audio. I've listed the topics covered in the time line below, so you can choose the parts you're curious about.

Or, join the IAC virtual chapter for free to get a copy of the interview download link and listen at your convenience. By the way, Kristi will co-host an upcoming IAC chapter meeting with me, in which you'll get a taste of the power of virtual triads to strengthen your coaching and pass IAC Coach Certification.

IAC Master Coach Interview Topics Time Line:

1:00 What I did before becoming a coach

2:00 The Oprah Connection

5:30 The IAC/School of Coaching Mastery Connection

7:15 What does "master coach" mean?

12:00 Coach 100

14:00 What "master coach" means to Kristi

16:30 Why you need to love your coaching clients

17:30 How to get into "master coaching mode"

19:00 How to integrate your shadow

21:00 Master coach certification, as a benchmark

22:30 Tony Robbins' coaching

25:00 ICF vs. IAC coaching

26:00 School of Coaching Mastery coach certification

29:00 How NOT to prepare for coach certification

30:00 What DOES work in passing coach certification

31:30 Live, in person, coach certification

33:30 Coaching pioneers

38:00 How SCM fosters coaching mastery

42:00 How the IAC Coaching Masteries(tm) show up in life

44:30 What's new and exciting

48:00 How to contact me

48:30 Best Coaching Blogs 2013

 

Listen to the full interview below, or use the slider to find the parts you most want to hear:

 More great coaching resources:

Join the IAC North American Virtual Chapter

Topics: School of Coaching Mastery, Coach 100, Become a Master Coach, ICF, Coach Certification, Kristi Arndt, Coaching Triads, Become a Certified Coach, OPRAH, Tony Robbins, Become a Masterful Coach, Certified Coach Training, certified life coach, IAC

Top Ten Benefits of Becoming a Master Coach

Posted by Julia Stewart

Master Coach

As our name suggests, at School of Coaching Mastery, we specialize in Master Coach Training. So we've developed quite a bit of expertise around master coaching. It's a whole different approach. One that's recognized and valued by both the ICF and the IAC.

Here are the Top Ten Benefits of Becoming a Master Coach:

  1. Coaching is simplified. Coaching can be dizzyingly complex and every client session is different. Templates and formulas don't work. The elegance of a simple, but accurate, model does work. As Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my whole life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity."
  2. Coaching is hyper-personalized. Your clients pay for a highly personal and customized experience, created just for them, because that's what fosters extraordinary results. Master coaching provides the tools to do exactly that.
  3. Coaching is inter-developmental. At the Master Certified Coach level, the ICF expects the coach to learn from the client. Brilliant clients are attracted to brilliant master coaches. Imagine what we learn from our clients.
  4. Coaching is uncanny. Master coaches unearth truths, within moments, that can elude other coaches for years - and could elude your clients for eternity.
  5. Coaching is thrilling. Clients are thrilled when someone gets them completely and is still fascinated by them. Coaches are thrilled by their clients' journeys to magnificent success.
  6. Coaching is catalytic. Brilliant people are usually surrounded by people who don't get them. That's awfully lonely and it undermines confidence. Just having us believe in them is a catalyst that launches coaching clients into greatness. And by the way, virtually everyone is brilliant under the right circumstances.
  7. Coaching is fun. When the coach knows what to focus on, pressure evaporates and fun ensues. To the uninitiated, it might sound like the coach and client are just laughing together. But within that fun energy, is the energy of greatness. Incredible work gets completed and projects get launched and out the door, quickly.
  8. Coaching is humbling. When your mind-state is in "master coaching mode", you can't help but notice how amazing your clients are and what an honor it is for them to share their brilliance with you.
  9. Coaching is fulfilling. Master coaches know they are answering their calling when they coach. They are changing lives and changing the world for the better. Talk about an honor! As George Bernard Shaw said, "This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one."
  10. Coaching is highly paid. You've heard how much coaches charge. Have you wondered why? Part of the answer is because master coaching is worth it. The bigger reason is because great clients need to make big investments in order to show up fully. Mediocre coaching may not be worth $200-300 per hour, but great coaching is worth far more.

I've dedicated my life to master coaching, yours and mine. Are you up for it? Because if you are, the next Master Coach Training, 32-hour program, including 20 hours of advanced practice, starts soon and special pricing is available for a limited time.

This is what I live for. Hope to see you there! 

Become a Master Coach Here

Topics: coaching clients, Become a Master Coach, ICF, Become a Masterful Coach, master coach, Master Certified Coach, Masterful Coaching, masterful coaches, mastery, Master Coach Training, IAC, Masteries

How to Ask Great Coaching Questions Infographic

Posted by Julia Stewart

One of our most popular blog posts is 101 Incredible Coaching Questions. The thing is, the best coaching questions won't do much unless you know when and how to ask them. Of course, we teach all the fine points of that at School of Coaching Mastery. And although a few tips won't make you a good coach, this infographic (my 1st-ever original infographic) will help you take that list of 101 coaching questions and start to turn them into some actual coaching. Be sure to check out the options below for next steps toward becoming a professional coach. Some of them are free.

How to ask great coaching questions 

Want to practice coaching? Join our Facebook Page to find coaching buddies. Or join a free study group.

 

Want to learn much more about asking incredible coaching questions?

 

Get this FREE eCourse. One email per week for 10 weeks on How to Ask Incredible Coaching Questions:

How to Ask Incredible Coaching Questions eCourse

Topics: coaching questions, How to, IAC, School of Coaching

Life Coach: Why It Doesn't Mean Anything Anymore

Posted by Julia Stewart

Certified Life Coach

It's almost impossible to the miss the story about the two 'life coaches' in Brooklyn who committed suicide this week. That story is everywhere, because it's so ironic. The two actually co-hosted a radio show called, The Pursuit of Happiness!

Apparently, they failed to find it.

This post isn't about them. They clearly were in a lot of pain and their passing is tragic.

This post is rather about the subtext of the media frenzy (okay, it's a small frenzy; let's just call it media attention) surrounding this story.

The subtext asks...

  1. How could these life coaches help anyone find happiness, when they were clearly miserable, themselves?
  2. Were these life coaches hypocrites?
  3. Would you want a life coach who is suicidal?
  4. Aren't there any requirements to calling yourself a life coach?
  5. How can you trust anyone who calls him/herself a life coach, when they might be depressed, mentally ill, suicidal, or who knows what?

In answer to number 4: No. There are no legal requirements to calling yourself a life coach. Yet.

That means my dog could be a life coach. She may be more qualified than some human life coaches.

And I'm not just singling out life coaches. Business coaches, executive coaches, career coaches, health coaches. None of these titles means anything. In today's world, everyone, including bill collectors, can and do call themselves coaches.

The guy selling vitamins at the health-food store is a nutrition coach. The woman who works  at the dress shop is a retail coach. The manager at a telemarketing company is a sales coach.

None of these phrases means anything, because they have come to mean whatever anyone wants.

Right now, there is maximum freedom in the coaching industry, because there are no real legal requirements. That allows massive creativity and growth and that's great for coaches. Although the situation appears to be changing and the suicide story may speed up that change.

The real problem these days is for the consumer who doesn't know whom to trust.

The answer, of course, is credentialing and industry oversight, but a lot of 'coaches' are fighting it.

  • They say it's an evil plot by established coaches to keep out the competition
  • They say a piece of paper won't help them coach any better
  • They say it's an effort to control coaches, or to sell them training and certifications

Really?

That first argument is just paranoid. The second is true. Although, I've seen hundreds of coaches learn to coach much better, while on the way to qualifying for a piece of paper. And the last may, or may not be true, but it's not a good enough reason to not get certified.

Life coaches get certified because they want to be the best they can be. Because they are committed to their profession. Because they feel it is the right thing to do. Because they are proud to be certified. They also get certified to distinguish themselves from the worst of the worst.

Consumers look for assurances that they can trust the life coaches they hire. And they deserve some assurance. That assurance often takes the form of a certification.

I got my first coach certification a decade ago and have qualified for several more, since. I've learned something new with each one. I'm not finished.

Although I believe more in learning than I do in credentials, I've noticed that the goal of credentialing is an effective way to stay focused on learning. It has worked for me and for thousands of other good coaches.

I sell training and certifications to coaches mostly because I want to help good coaches distinquish themselves from ineffective or dishonest coaches. It's an honor to work with people who are committed to being their best. Whether you get certified by my organization or some other, get certified.

Certified Life Coach means something. SCM, IAC or ICF Certified Life Coach really means something.

It's time to stop calling yourself just a life coach.

If you want to explore the path to our entry-level certification, click below:

Become a Certified Competent Coach

Topics: business coach, life coach, executive coaching, ICF, Life Coaches, Become a Certified Coach, life coach certification, certified life coach, sales and marketing coaches, Life Coaching, life coach training, IAC

ICF International Coaching Week: Top 10 Lessons from Thomas Leonard

Posted by Julia Stewart

 

Thomas LeonardIn honor of the ICF's International Coaching Week, I'm sharing the Top Ten Lessons I learned from Thomas Leonard, founder of the ICF (and IAC) and Father of Professional Coaching. Studying with Thomas in the years before his passing in 2003, changed my life in profound ways. Perhaps you'll share how Thomas shaped your life in the Comments section, below.

Top Ten Lessons Learned From Thomas Leonard:

1. When changing career paths, it's always nice to have a role model: Thomas, philosopher and entrepreneur, has been one of my favorites (I'll mention a few more in this post). One of my original realizations, upon joining his first coaching school and receiving the famous 16-pound-box-of written-materials, was: "This guy is a lot like me, only he's much better at it. I can really learn from him!" 

Today, Thomas is practically worshiped by his former clients and students, so I want to emphasize that he was a lot better at it than I, but in discovering his content creation strategies (finer points below), I was able to make the shift from, 'smart person with lots of potential', to massive content creator, myself.

Thomas, an incredibly prolific creative genius, was frequently asked, 'When do you sleep?'. No one believed him when he replied, 'Eight hours every night.' I knew I was hitting my stride when people started asking me when I slept and I replied, 'Eight hours every night,' and knew it was actually true.

2. How to handle 'Too Many Ideas' syndrome: Creative entrepreneurs commonly suffer from an overabundance of ideas. The classic advice on how to handle that is: finish one project before you start another. That's creative suicide for some of us. Thomas' advice? To paraphrase: If you have eleven ideas, start all eleven and see which ones people respond to. Then finish those. The result? You're there with the right idea at the right time for the right people. Instead of arbitrarily amputating your own creativity, you've collaborated with your clients to create what they really want. Magic!

3. To focus those 11 ideas even faster: crowdsource them. Ask your best customers what they most need from you now and how they'd like it delivered, even how much they want to pay for them (Remember t's R&D Team?). Result? You learn faster what your market wants and can develop those ideas beyond what everyone else is doing. Caveat: you need to be extremely good at asking the right questions to make full use of this one.

4. To get more done faster: do what you want, when you want to do it. Nobody believes this one, either...until they try it. The first time I experimented with it, I went back to a week-old to-do list after doing whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted to do it for several days. Funny thing: I discovered I'd finished most of the items on the list, without even thinking about it and I never felt 'busy'. How does that work? Instead of forcing myself to do stuff on schedule, I did it when the mood struck. Suddenly, TV time became business-building time (if I felt like it) and late-night downtime sometimes became creative inspiration sessions. So long as I got my 8 hours, I was able to crank out way more work without ever feeling overworked (See item #1 above).

5. To stop blaming people: Get that people are doing their very best even when they clearly aren't. This one hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. How could I have ever been unaware of this (paradoxical) fact? Once you get this, you're free of the the 'blame and be blamed' game. The challenge is to get it even when you're mad at someone. But that's the evolutionary part, as well as the secret to greatness.

6. To get that everything is perfect: Ask yourself, if everything is perfect, what's perfect about this? Spiritual teachers tell us it's all perfect. That's nice, but it sure doesn't seem that way sometimes. The trick is not to force yourself to believe this (or pretend that you do), but to stay curious. Okay. So what's perfect about this (crummy) situation? It's is not a Pollyanna exercise. If you look deeply enough, you'll find a perfection that heals the whole problem, if you allow it.

7. The ultimate coaching tool: is Values. Actually, Thomas never said this, that I know of, but he's the one who taught me about the value of Values. And it has become increasingly clear to me over the years. Tony Robbins has his Needs and Donald Clifton has his Strengths, but Values are what matter most to people and they are the key to what matters most in coaching. Apparently both the ICF and IAC agree, because their certifiers look for values-based coaching conversations in the coaches they certify.

8. The relationship between coaching clients and what they really want: is they've often never even met. That's why Thomas put so much emphasis on his Clarifiers, a list of 15 this-or-that questions that quickly uncover what matters most right now. Some coaches think the ICF violates this, because ICF certifiers look for evidence that the coach, not only asks what the client wants at the start of a coaching session, but that s/he checks in at least twice to see that they are on track, relying on the client to articulate what it. The IAC style is a bit different; they look for evidence that the coach is uncovering what the client really wants, even if that takes up most of the session. Contrary to popular belief, these two styles of coaching aren't mutually exclusive. When we take a both/and approach and integrate these two approaches, we upgrade coaching and enter the zone of master coaching.

9. What coaches really do during coaching: is design environments that empower success. It's not enough to foster insights in the client. It's also not enough to plan client actions. Our real job is to co-design the client's environment to evolve them into the person they need to be to reach their goals. That's a big difference.

10. What marketing is really for: helping people learn. No, it's not about squeezing your list through a funnel. When people learn from you, they become more. That's irresistably attractive. No more squeezing. Help your followers learn the next thing they need to know, or help them become the next iteration of themselves. People want to be more. Both your marketing and your sales should help them with that. Some of them will pay you for a highly personalized version of it.

BONUS: To write content that is easy, fast and fun: Write in Thomas' favorite format, the Top Ten List.

Got a favorite lesson learned from Thomas? I'd love to hear it.

Want to get to know Thomas better? Sign up for the FREE 28 Principles of Attraction ecourse, based on his own notes for his signature personal development program:

Get Thomas' 28 Principles of Attraction Free eCourse

 

Topics: Coach 100, coaching clients, ICF, Coach Certification, Thomas Leonard, Tony Robbins, ENVIRONMENT, curiosity, master coach, IAC

Life Coach Advice for Romney Before the Debate

Posted by Kristi Arndt

Guest post by Dr. Kristi Arndt, MCC
Dear Mr. Romney, Life Coach Advice

May I call you Mitt? It's more comfortable for me if we interact on a first name basis. I was pleased and honored to receive a request yesterday to coach you. Given that your final debate with Barack Obama is tonight, we do not have much time to build our relationship prior to the event. However, I would like our connection to deepen over time as that would allow us to work most effectively together.

As your coach also knowing you grew up around politics with your dad becoming Governor of Michigan, I think it is important for you to understand something. My mother was the political one, not me. Unlike you, I much prefer remaining on the sidelines. How proud your own father would have been to see you running this race!
If you didn't know "the late, great Mary Jo Arndt" as many friends now refer to her, then I encourage you to get acquainted by reading her obituary when you have a few moments. Interestingly, after my mother's sudden passing September 24, 2011, a family member realized she had died on Mary Jo Arndt Day proclaimed by the Village of Lombard President exactly one year earlier

Mitt, at this point the presidential race is way too close to call. Your campaign certainly has an eye on the latest polling data. As we've seen in recent elections, every single vote counts, and one can not take anything for granted. In today's world, information is available instantaneously around the globe. Given the dynamics of political systems, changing moment to moment under the influence of a multitude of complex, interacting factors, plenty of opportunity still exists that I believe can make a difference in your favor.

I'd like to ask you a couple of questions. After all, that is what coaches do best! What do you really think you most need as you prepare for tonight's debate? Whose vote might you gain by showing your true colors and saying what is in your heart instead of sticking to those talking points your advisers have given you? Remember, it's only me; what you say here remains strictly confidential. I really want to know who you are, what you value most, and what drives you to become the next President of the United States of America. Why do you deserve my vote on November 6?

I have an inkling. Would you like me to share it? The words GRACE under PRESSURE are coming to me. Given the fact that you have not yet effectively convinced women to elect you, perhaps a strong, independent-minded, intelligent female leader with her own set of political accomplishments could serve as a perfect role model for you. What do you think, Mitt? Are you willing to give it a try? By the way, the weekend Wall Street Journal summarized the gender gap nicely.

Why are you even with Obama among men in the "Monied 'Burbs" but lagging 10 points behind with women there? Given that you need some swing states to go your way, this seems like a really important gap, especially since I'm one of these women. What's possible while there's still time to influence suburban women who tend to be wealthier and more highly educated?

Perhaps my mother's example can provide some inspiration you might use to convince potential voters to trust you when they head to the polls on Election Day. Mary Jo instinctively knew when to speak up and when it was best to keep quiet even if it meant she had to bite her tongue because a larger issue really was more important. She also fought to win. While undergoing chemotherapy to keep an extremely aggressive cancer under control, she served as the Illinois Women for McCain Campaign Chairman as well as a member of the McCain National Hispanic Outreach Team. Throughout her life, she faced adversity head on and always remained victorious in spirit. She was adamant about bringing women of diverse backgrounds into the Republican Party, encouraging and preparing them to run for elected office. Many times she chose to rise above challenge to defeat the odds, even turning some adversaries into her biggest supporters.

If she did it, so can you. Let's go, Mitt!
Your coach,
Kristi

Mary Jo and Kristi Arndt resized 600A committed leader devoted to help steer the future direction of the coaching profession, Dr. Kristi Arndt is Vice President of the International Association of Coaching (IAC). Kristi integrates extensive knowledge of the Human Design System to guide her clients according to life strategies that are correct for them. A lifelong learner and agent of change, she has fifteen years of professional experience in secondary and higher education settings including roles as a university learning center director and faculty development coordinator at a veterinary school. Kristi is a Master Certified Coach with the IAC and a Board Certified Coach through the Center for Credentialing and Education who earned PhD, EdM, and DVM degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. To get better acquainted, please book an appointment with her at www.CoachWithKristi.com.

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Topics: life coach, Kristi Arndt, CCE, BCC, MCC, Barack Obama, IAC

What is Positive Psychology Coaching Anyway?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Positive Psychology resized 600

By Julia Stewart, MCC

You might wonder what the heck Positive Psychology Coaching is, especially now that positive thinking, the Law of Attraction and all things associated with The Secret seem soooo out of vogue.

What, you haven't noticed that positive thinking is on the outs? You haven't heard Law of Attraction practitioners refered to as 'Thought Police Nazis?' Oh you will. It's just that mostly it's leading-edge folks who are speaking up. Next year, it'll be everybody. The pendulum has started its return swing...

Just this week, one my favorite coaches, Mattison Grey, ranted on the problem of positive thinking. And one of my favorite coaching bloggers, Tim Bronson, wrote that gratitude sucks (By the way, Tim, when are you going to enter your blog in Best Coaching Blogs?) And the only Shrink for Entrepreneurs I've ever heard of, Peter Shallard, announced that optimism is ruining your business.

Is this just a crowd of Negative Nancy's who aren't enlightened enough to get how great it is to be positive? Nope. These are people who are perceptive enough to see both the truths and the untruths hiding behind the hype.

So emboldened am I in their company that I will say bluntly what I've thought for years: If you throw out all your Abraham books and stop watching Wayne Dyer specials on PBS you'll probably become a better coach.

Why? Because coaching is not about magical thinking. It's about stuff that actually works. And while you and your clients are busy trying to control all your thoughts and never be judgmental, life is passing you by, including all the tidbits that will help you get what you want. And because over-focusing on anything creates shadows that can run amok.

"No one should spend their time trying to think positive thoughts. We've all got better things to do." - Thomas Leonard

So should you embrace negativity instead? No. Relentlessly negative thinking leads to depression, anxiety and more problems and positivity does a fabulous job of canceling all that out - up to a point.

So what is Positive Psychology Coaching and how does it fit in here?

Positive Psychology takes the positive vs. negative question out of the realm of beliefs and opinions and actually identifies when, what types, how often and even why positivity helps people succeed, flourish and gain mastery; and even when, what types, how often and why negativity is helpful when we want to succeed, flourish, gain mastery and be happier.

What Positive Psychology offers to coaching is a precision instrument instead of vague generalities, facts instead of opinions, evidence instead of empty promises, and a body of knowledge instead of a hodge podge of proprietary models and programs. And it offers opportunities to measure results and rack up the evidence instead of telling folks, 'Just trust us, this stuff really works!' In other words, what Positive Psychology offers to coaching is professionalism.

So back to the controversy over positive thinking. How can Positive Psychology help with that? For one thing, Positive Psychology offers a simple measurement tool: The Positivity Ratio (based on the more complex Losada Ratio).

The Positivity Ratio has been thoroughly researched. It basically says that in order to flourish, you need, on a regular basis, to think and feel positively at least three times as much as you think/feel negatively. So the right ratio of positivity leads to flourishing.

3P (3 * Positivity) / N (1 * Negativity) = Flourishing

And there's an upper end to this. Too much positivity vs. negativity actually causes problems. Think of it as a Positivity Bubble, which is where many Law of Attraction practitioners live. I think that's what the contrarian writers above were all trying to say: 'Don't over do positive thinking, because complacency can hurt you.'

It gets even more interesting...

Contrary to popular belief, you don't necessarily have to reduce negative thoughts and feelings in order to flourish and not all negativity is toxic. Some of it is quite valuable. Positive Psychology has identified which is which and provides assessments and tools to identify what's needed: more/different positivity and/or less/different negativity?

That's where Positive Psychology Coaching comes in. When you've got the right tools, including the assessments you need and the ability to analyze them and provide questions and exercises to shift your clients' ratios, you can assist your clients to experience more happiness, wellbeing, and mastery. In other words they flourish.

But Positive Psychology Coaches focus on much more than just positivity. They also focus on Values, Strengths, resiliency and resourcefulness, again with a precision that pinpoints what's needed and applies it more quickly and accurately than can most other coaches, creating better results for their clients, more quickly.

That's what your clients want.

We've all found out that working hard for what we want, while thinking and feeling the worst is just plain - hard. We've also found out that just thinking and feeeeling what we want is pleasant, but may not brings us closer to our goals. Why not learn the right combination that leads to success?

If you want to delve much more deeply into the subject of Positive Psychology Coaching, there are a few more days to register for the Introduction to Positive Psychology for Coaches course that starts this coming Thursday.

You'll learn just enough about the scientific underpinnings of evidence-based coaching, get introduced to a wealth of supportive resources, including assessments for you and your clients, learn Positive Psychology interventions suitable for coaching, get a chance to practice in class and even take an online test and receive a Positive Psychology Certificate from School of Coaching Mastery. You may even be able to apply what you learn for continuing education credit from the IAC or ICF.

So don't throw out positive thinking just yet. Instead, learn to apply it with laser precision and get greater results.

Register for Positive Psychology for Coaches Here

Got an opinion about positive thinking? Please share it in the comments section, below.

Image by LiteWriting aka Loreen72

Topics: Coaching, coach training, Coaches, coaching clients, ICF, Thomas Leonard, Mattison Grey, Law of Attraction, judgment, Attraction Principles, IAC, Coaching Certificate, Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman

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