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How to Create Coaching Flow for More Ease, Fun, and Success

Posted by Mattison Grey

Mattison Grey

The following post is by Mattison Grey, MMC, master coach, trainer, speaker, and author of The Motivation Myth.

I have a saying…”connection wins.” 

While that might seem understated, it has been shown to be the case over and over in my coaching practice.  Have you ever noticed that coaching is more fun and effective when you have a strong connection with the client?  And that a close connection often leads to flow?  I think we can all agree flow is an awesome place to be with a client! It’s quite magical, sometimes elusive and often fragile. 

Have you ever been trucking along in flow with someone and then BAM, it goes away? 

Yeah, me too. Oops.  What the heck just happened?  Well, there’s a good chance judgment happened.  You see, connection requires trust. While that does seem obvious, and almost as obvious as judgment breaks trust, what is not as clear is that judgment breaks trust…all judgment.  Stay with me…Yes, even judgment that is “good.” 

Yep, judgment good or judgment bad, breaks trust.  So, when you accidentally (or intentionally) add judgment into flow, that flow is interrupted.  Judgment breaks trust, therefore, connection, therefor flow.  This is where the tool of acknowledgment comes in.

Acknowledgment, as I define it, eliminates judgment from our language and provides the opportunity to communicate and maintain flow. You can also use acknowledgment to create flow.  It sounds too simple to work, but it does - almost every time.  Flow seems elusive, but it’s not.  It just requires the coach to get out of and stay out of the way.  Simple yes, easy no. 

So, what is acknowledgment?  It’s probably not what you think. 

 

“Acknowledgement is saying what a person did (completed actions) or the results that the person produced, without judgment or opinion, and it is delivered with a tone of appreciation, curiosity, or surprise.”

The tone implies appreciation. “Wow, you really did something.”

Acknowledgement: “You completed the project on time.”

 

I can hear you now,  “I don’t judge people when I am coaching...”  I’d encourage you to revisit that idea and stay curious. Positive judgment is still judgment and any sort of judgment breaks trust. That is what makes learning and implementing acknowledgment into our coaching so tricky.  The tricky part of acknowledgement is that what you say must be delivered without your opinion or judgment (whether that is positive or negative).  If there is any opinion or judgment in your words or in your tone, whatever you say is no longer an acknowledgement.

Another key component to acknowledgement is that it is not about you. This is amazingly hard for people to get at first.  It sort-of scrambles the brain.  Even when I teach this tool to high-level coaches and “people” people, they struggle at first to take themselves out of the equation and to really make it only about the other person.  If the communication is in any way about you, then it is not acknowledgement, it is something else.

An easy way to begin to understand this distinction is to understand what acknowledgement is not.  It is not complimenting, appreciation, validation, affirmation, thanking, recognition, praise, championing or cheerleading.  There is a time and a place for all of these, and they are not acknowledgement (those things are all about you rather than the other person).

Here is what each of these sounds like:

  • Compliment: “The project is wonderful. You are so smart.”
  • Appreciation: “I really appreciate your completing this project on time.”
  • Validation: “I see that you have given this project a lot of effort and thought.”
  • Affirmation: “I think you deserve all the credit for this successful project.”
  • Thanking: “Thank you for putting all your time and effort into this project.”
  • Recognition: “It is clear you are a very talented project manager.”
  • Praise: “Awesome job.”
  • Championing: “I told the CEO that you were the right person for this project.”
  • Cheerleading: “I knew you could do it.”

 

While these communications sound normal and nice, they are all a judgment of the persons’ actions and are all opinions.  In the course of a normal conversation these types of communications are just fine, and often considered good manners.  However, when trying to create a high-performance environment and achieve and maintain flow, acknowledgment is essential.  

Want to learn more about how to incorporate this tool into your coaching practice?  Specifically, how to use it in conjunction with Active Constructive Response?  Join us for a free Webinar on Monday, February 24th, 2020.

 

Attend this free one-time-only master class with Mattison Grey and Julia Stewart on how to use acknowledgment to create Flow in your coaching. Register now:

 

Attend this Free Master Class on Coaching Flow

 

Topics: free coach training, webinar, acknowledgment, Flow, IAPPC

9 Ways to Coach Brilliantly with Silence

Posted by Julia Stewart

evocative silence

Have you ever heard someone describe coaching as "magical"? Good chance they were amazed by the impacts of a coaching session enhanced by silence.

Most coaches lack confidence with this tool. Read this post to master the art of coaching with silence!

Here are 9 steps to mastering the art of coaching with silence:

  1. Shut up. Sorry, just wanted to get your attention. But seriously, one of the surest ways to use silence is to ask an attention-getting question and then shut up. We teach the finer points of this approach, including how not to be rude, in the Certified Competent Coach Course. Read on for other ways to use silence...
  2. Add a pause. People think faster than they talk which explains why coaching sessions that include pauses at just the right moments often result in more insights for clients. I heard one of my students do this in class the other day and his client had insights seemingly out of nowhere. Magic? Or silence?
  3. Slow down. Before you get to silence, experiment with just slowing down. Most coaches mirror their clients' pace, which is good, but sometimes a slower pace is more helpful. Pay close attention to you clients when you do this so you get it just right.
  4. Acknowledge first. An acknowledgment followed by a pause can be more effective than the most powerful question. Theoretically, a coach who's mastered acknowledgment and silence might never need to ask any questions!
  5. Appreciate. When your relationship with the client is really solid, moments of shared warmth can boost the "magic" quotient higher. You co-create an environment where it's safe for anything to be said or to happen. Take time to enjoy your client immensely.
  6. Ask once. Sometimes a question comes out wrong. Resist the temptation to improve it and let that embarrassing mess hang in midair. Editing yourself confuses your client. Let them hear it, process it, and answer it before you speak again. Better yet, practice the art of crafting beautiful questions that never need editing. It takes time. You get that time in Master Coach Training.
  7. Breathe. One of the best ways to connect and focus is to take one deep delicious breath together. No talking, just focus on that breath. Ah. It's all much clearer now. Learn to perfect this in Neuroscience Tools and Practices.
  8. Visualize. Invite your client to walk through a visualization with you. Make sure at some point that you fall silent so your client can just focus on what they are visualizing. Encourage them to stay silent too.
  9. Put your phone on mute! The late great Ginger Cockerham once yelled at me while I was coaching in class because I'd asked a great question and the client was reorienting but I kept on talking. She said if all else fails, put your hand over your mouth or your thumb on the mute button because you can't be great if you're still talking. Give your clients room to think!

These are nine great ways to add space to your coaching sessions and help your clients get to the gold. They are perfect examples of what the International Association of Positive Psychology Coaching calls, Clear Communication.

 

Learn more about the IAPPC's Positive Psychology Coaching Skills and earn your certification. Join while it's free and attend live meetings to learn all the IAPPC PPCS:

 

Join the IAPPC Now and Save on Certification

 

Topics: coaching questions, acknowledgment, positive psychology coaching, positive psychology coaches, IAPPC

How Much Does Life Coach Training Cost?

Posted by Julia Stewart

How much does life coach training costTo become a credible life coach requires training and certification. But how much will all that cost you?

It depends. Answer a few quick questions to get an accurate answer:

  • Is coaching just a hobby or do you want a successful career with it?
  • Do you want to work for yourself or for someone else?
  • How soon do you want to start your coaching career?
  • Are you willing to travel for your training or does it need to fit your current lifestyle?
  • Are you more interested in a degree or a career?
  • Do you want to get certified? (Hint: certification can help your coaching career)

Coach training costs depend on several factors:

  • You'll probably need more training if you want a successful career than if you're just coaching for a hobby.
  • Likewise, if you work for yourself, you may need more training than if you are employed by an organization.
  • Some trainings take years; others take a few weeks. Many encourage you to coach while you train.
  • Travel costs add up quickly. Online training is usually more convenient and cost effective. Consider travel, lodging, and meals if you need to travel for your training.
  • Coach training schools will help you start your career, while graduate programs will earn you a degree.
  • Certification is the preferred credential in coaching, and certification from an independent organization is preferred over certifications issued by your school. Look for schools that are accredited/approved by independent certifiers.

Here's what you can expect to pay for life coach training:

  • You can get short trainings for under $1000.
  • Professional coach training runs between $3000 and $10000, depending on how many hours are involved.
  • Accredited/approved training programs often cost more. If you want a particular certification, such as ICF, IAC, or IAPPC, be sure your training hours qualify. The above organizations each have three levels of certification and may require more training for higher certifications.
  • Graduate programs usually cost more than $10000, sometimes a lot more.

How can you pay for life coach training?

  • Many coach training programs have payment plans.
  • Some coaches apply for a credit card with zero interest for the first year and pay with that credit card.
  • Some coaches get a part-time job and pay with the income they earn.
  • Some coaches keep their full-time job while they train.
  • Some coaches dip into savings.
  • Some coaches pay off their training with their income from coaching.
  • Some coaches downsize their expenses until their coaching careers take off.
  • Some employers will pay for coach training.
  • Many coaches use a combination of strategies to pay for coach training.

 

Learn the secrets of becoming a coach, how to choose the right coach training for you, and getting certification with this free eBook:

 

Get Your Free 'Become a Coach' eBook Now

Topics: life coach, ICF, Coach Certification, life coach certification, life coach training, IAC, online coach training, questions, free ebook, IAPPC

Coaching Accountability Isn't What You Think It is

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching accountability with a bullhorn cropped

Managing Progress and Accountability is an ICF Core Coaching Competency that is frequently missed when coaches apply for certification, according to ICF certifiers.

I could be wrong, but I think the name, itself, confuses coaches. It sounds like the coach literally manages the client and holds them accountable to achieve their goals the way an employer might, but that's not what helps clients progress, and it's really not what ICF certifiers are looking for.

[UPDATE, October 10, 2019: The ICF just announced major changes in the Core Coaching Competencies to owners of ICF accredited coach training programs. As an owner of the ICF accredited Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program, I received a copy of the new Competency model but was asked to keep it confidential until they release the new model to all members. Accountability is still mentioned but is no longer as prominent. I'll write more when the full release occurs in November.]

It's time somebody told you the secret of motivation and it has nothing to do with holding your clients accountable...

Here's why: Have you ever caught yourself being stubborn with someone (your friend, sibling, spouse, perhaps) about something you really wanted to do but you were only willing to do it your way or not at all? Or has someone ever told you that you need to change something about yourself, and even if you agreed with them, you didn't do it? Or do you ever ask for advice and then don't follow it?

If yes to any of these, you're normal. People naturally resist doing what others tell them to do and unless that other has something important to hang over their head, like their job, they often won't do it even if they want to.

 

We all get a little negative in these situations and that negativity has power over us that most people underestimate.

 

Here's an example: An SCM graduate just posted a meme on Facebook that said she never shares memes that say, "I bet I won't get even one share," even if she otherwise likes the meme. I don't share them, either. In fact, I did an impromptu poll once on my Facebook feed to see if others shared them. Nobody did. They're annoying.

Subtle levels of negativity, defensiveness, resistance, anxiety, or irritation of any type trigger the fight, flight, or freeze response unconsciously, which in turn delivers a cocktail of stress hormones, like cortisol, which can stay in the blood stream for quite a while and hold the client back from taking action. Essentially, they freeze.

 

So if a coach presumes to manage a client in any way, especially by checking up on them, or requiring the client to check in with the coach, or in any way holding them accountable, there's a good chance that will backfire. Don't do it.

 

What does work? A recent article by researcher, Richard Boyatzis and colleagues, at TrainingIndustry.com, offered five possibilities that have been found to help people change. Boyatzis is well-known for his research and teachings on coaching, emotional intelligence, and leadership. His change theory of positive emotional attractors (PEAs) v negative emotional attractors (NEAs), which roughly translate to positivity v negativity in positive psychology terms, helps explain why some approaches to change don't work while others do.

 

In a nutshell, change is stressful and that releases stress hormones that trigger the fight, flight or freeze response.

 

Something or someone needs to continually bring the client back to positivity so negativity doesn't prevent them from proceeding. That someone is often the coach.

 

Forcing or requiring people to do things increase stress so pushy coaches often fail.

 

Goals, alone, aren't motivating unless they are aligned with what matters most to the client, such as their personal values, vision, mission, calling, dream, passion, or life purpose. Any goals, especially challenging goals, that aren't aligned with the client's bigger picture, are unlikely to provide sufficient positivity to carry the client forward.

 

Growth and Transformation aren't just a byproduct of great coaching. They are necessary ingredients that help our clients reach their goals. So, we need to help link their goals to what really inspires in order for them to succeed.

 

To learn more about the science of coaching and prepare yourself to become a Certified Positive Psychology Coach®, join the International Association of Positive Psychology Coaches and attend our series on the nine NEW  Positive Psychology Coaching Skills, from Optimum Positivity, to Goals & Achievement, and Growth & Transformation.

 

Become a Member of IAPPC for Free

 

Topics: ICF, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Positive Psychology, Science of Coaching, personal values, IAPPC

Making the Case for Positivity in Coaching

Posted by Julia Stewart

positivity in coaching

Positivity is so accepted in coaching that most coaches don't even think about it. But what would they discover if they did?

I'm asking because, after observing thousands of coaching sessions, I'm convinced many coaches aren't using positivity as effectively as they might. We've known positivity, which is often defined as positive affect or positive emotions, has a powerful effect on us, both in the moment and later on. It doesn't just feel good, it's correlated with greater emotional and physical health, more success, better relationships, and even longer life.

Plus, according to recent research, positivity is a powerful tool, by itself, for getting results in coaching and it can enhance other powerful coaching tools for even more effective results.*

There are several theories often cited that help make the case for positivity in coaching.

Barbara Fredrickson's "Broaden and Build" theory of positivity, or positive affect, which dates back over twenty years, is often cited as a pathway to flexible thinking, noticing possibilities, more creative thinking, action planning, building resources, and goal striving, all of which can positively influence coaching session outcomes.

Marciel Losada's research on working teams found that team conversations that were significantly more positive, which was defined as focusing on others vs focusing on oneself, asking questions vs defending points of view, and making positive vs negative statements, enjoyed significantly more success than those that did not, which suggests these approaches may support improved outcomes in coaching.

John Gottman's research on what makes successful marriages work, identifies specific responses from one partner to another when the second partner shares something positive, as a key to promoting strong relationships. Gottman sometimes calls this "turning toward" vs "turning away" and says this can be even more powerful in building strong relationships than showing empathy and compassion in times of trouble.

Four categories have emerged to describe levels of turning toward and only one, which is called, Active and Constructive Responding, helps build relationships. Coaching tends to be less effective when the relationship between coach and client is weak and although I have never heard a competent coach engage in the most destructive type of response, Active and Destructive Responding, which a coach might express in a coaching conversation as something like, "You'll never be able to do that because you aren't smart enough," I have heard even "good" coaches sink to the level of Passive and Destructive Responding and Passive and Constructive Responding, which despite its name, doesn't help improve relationships.

Mastering Active and Constructive Responding, without letting it get in the way of other important coaching tools, is a key to masterful coaching because it raises positivity and strengthens the relationship.

But is positivity enough by itself to improve coaching?

According to a recent article by coaching psychology researchers, Anthony Grant and Sean O'Connor, using questions designed to raise positive affect or positivity (an example of such a question might be, "What's  something great that happened this week?') improves coaching outcomes, by itself, but when combined with another important coaching tool, solution-focused questions, outcomes are even more improved.

Previous coaching psychology research has shown that problem-focused questions are less effective in coaching than solution-focused questions. To simplify, problem-focused questions are referred to as "Why" questions, such as, "Why do you have this problem?" They have been found to lower negative affect and raise confidence in the client's ability to solve (self-efficacy). While solution-focused questions, referred to as, "How?" questions, or, "How could you solve this?" have been shown to lower negative affect, raise self-efficacy, and raise positive affect, as well.

But research that studied three types of coaching questions, problem-focused, solution-focused, and positivity-focused, found that combining solution-focused questions with positivity-focused questions had the most positive outcomes, of all, suggesting this powerful combo may need to be adopted by coaches who want to be most effective.

Interestingly, the ICF Core Coaching Competencies don't mention positive-focused questions or positivity even in some of their most detailed descriptions, such as their Core Competencies Comparison Table.

That's not to suggest the ICF discourages positivity and positive-focused questions. The outcomes of positivity that one might expect in effective coaching are described, but the tools of positivity are not. The Competencies are among the most influential coaching technologies. What if the ICF encouraged these tools that have been found so effective?

[UPDATE, 10-10-2019: The ICF just announced to owners of ICF-accredited programs, such as the Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program, a new coaching competency model which they want to keep confidential until they announce it to their entire membership. There some mention of positivity tools now but limited.]

That's why the new International Association of Positive Psychology Coaching (IAPPC) is developing its own coaching technology and positivity, which we define broadly as including positive affect, positive-focused questions, positive conversations, turning toward and more, as important tools in effective coaching, making it  critical to great coaching.

In fact, "Optimum Positivity" is our first coaching skill.

The word, "optimum" is important because maximum positivity can damage. We're placing optimum positivity as a top-line coaching skill set which can enhance almost every other coaching skill.

I'll be introducing the Positive Psychology Coaching Skills in next month's meeting of the IAPPC and will highlight fascinating research, coaching "how-tos", and examples on leading with positivity during our 75-minute interactive webinar.

 

If you are already a member, watch for your invitation to this important meeting that may instantly upgrade your coaching.

 

If you aren't already a member, join while it is still free, below:

 

Become a Member of IAPPC for Free

 

* Shout out and thanks to the Institute of Coaching for sharing this research with its members.

Topics: ICF, coaching questions, Barbara L Fredrickson, coaching skills, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaches, positivity, IAPPC

We're Building a New Home for Positive Psychology Coaches

Posted by Julia Stewart

IAPPC logo 1 8-18

A small community of positive psychology coaches has recently incorporated as the International Association of Positive Psychology Coaches.

The original community was launched by David McQuarrie, CPPC, and me in 2016. We began meetings by identifying who were are by exploring our shared strengths, values, and needs. It soon became clear that we are an organization of peers who are passionate about learning and mastering the new field of positive psychology coaching and sharing what we learn to help create a better world for all.

At this point, we have over 400 members and haven't even launched our website, yet!

[UPDATE 8-27-19: We officially have over1000 members now and are 4 months ahead of schedule. Thanks so much for your support!]

We're not here to compete with other coaching and positive psychology organizations, but to fill the gaps that other organizations haven't met.

How can you learn more about the new IAPPC and get a limited-time free membership?

  • Attend the exciting upcoming meeting. This is where stuff really happens. Learn what's coming from IAPPC and share your thoughts on what will help you most. You need to be a member to get an invitation.
  • Join IAPPC now and enjoy free benefits for Founding Members. It won't all be free forever, but we intend to delight you so much that continuing membership will be a no-brainer. Join now and get your Founding Member badge.
  • Join us on Facebook here. Discover other members and share exciting news.
  • Invite your friends to join us. The more members, the more benefits we can provide for less cost. We'd love to attract 1,000 members by 2020! Use the social sharing buttons at the top of this post to share with others. Thanks so much!

What's the relationship between SCM and IAPPC?

Previous coaching organizations, such as the ICF and IAC, were launched by the owners of coaching schools. That makes sense because we have mailing lists of coaches, connections and know-how, and infrastructure that can support a fledgling organization until it's ready to fly. SCM has been there for this organization through its infancy and will continue to support it as it matures.

That said, IAPPC is for all positive psychology coaches, regardless where you trained. You can get involved now and you can qualify to apply for IAPPC's upcoming certifications when they are available. Our goal is to launch the International Association of Positive Psychology Coaches as a fully independent not-for-profit professional association with its own certification. Please join us!

 

Join now while it's still free and get your Founding Member badge:

 

Become a Member of IAPPC for Free

Topics: ICF, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, IAC, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching, positive psychology coaches, IAPPC

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