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Here are the Brand New ICF Core Coaching Competencies

Posted by Julia Stewart

New ICF Core Coaching Competencies

 

After over twenty years, the International Coach Federation (ICF) has released a brand-new version of its famous eleven Core Coaching Competencies and now there are only eight!

What did they leave out? Nothing. They actually added! Read on...

Today, the ICF publicly released it's new Core Coaching Competencies after two years of research, from an industrial psychology perspective, into what 1,300 coaches actually do with their clients.

The Competencies, on which the world's most recognized certifications are based (ICF ACC, PCC, and MCC) have guided the coaching of thousands of professional coaches for two decades. Now they have been streamlined and integrated with new material resulting in a shorter list that's packed with information.

When will the ICF begin certifying with the new Competencies?

Not before 2021 when ICF accredited coaching schools are required to include the new Competencies in their curricula instead of the old.

What do the ICF's new Competencies mean for coaches who want to get certified?

  • If you expect to apply for ICF certification by the end of 2020, you may want to stick with the old Competencies, although you may learn some useful nuances from the new Competencies that may assist you in passing ICF's rigorous certification process.
  • If you're planning to apply for ICF certification in 2021 or later, begin learning about the new ICF Competencies now. When you join an ICF accredited training program, be sure to ask whether they are teaching the new or old Competencies. This coach training program will begin translating the old Competencies into the new starting today for our current students and will begin training exclusively with the new Competencies in 2020.

Here's a handy table that will help you start translating the old Competencies into the new.

New ICF Core Coaching Competencies Old ICF Core Coaching Competencies
1.Demonstrates Ethical Practice - Understands and consistently applies coaching ethics and standards of coaching 1. Ethics and Standards
2. Embodies a Coaching Mindset - Develops and maintains a mindset that is open, curious, flexible and client-centered BRAND NEW
3. Establishes and Maintains Agreements - Partners with the client and relevant stakeholders to create clear agreements about the coaching relationship, process, plans and goals. Establishes agreements for the overall coaching
engagement as well as those for each coaching session
2. Establishes the Coaching Agreement
4. Cultivates Trust and Safety - Partners with the client to create a safe, supportive environment that allows the client to share freely. Maintains a relationship of mutual respect and trust 3. Establishing Trust and Intimacy with the Client
5. Maintains Presence - Is fully conscious and present with the client, employing a style that is open, flexible, grounded
and confident
4. Coaching Presence
6. Listens Actively - Focuses on what the client is and is not saying to fully understand what is being
communicated in the context of the client systems and to support client self-expression
5. Active Listening
7. Evokes Awareness - Facilitates client insight and learning by using tools and techniques such as powerful
questioning, silence, metaphor or analogy

6. Powerful Questioning

7. Direct Communication

8. Creating Awareness

8. Facilitates Client Growth - Partners with the client to transform learning and insight into action. Promotes client autonomy in the coaching process.

9. Designing Actions

10. Planning and Goal Setting

11. Managing Progress and Accountability

 

Download this competency table for free here.

 

Learn much more about the new Competencies...

 

Get instant access to the FREE webinar video here:

 

Watch this ICF Coaching Competency Webinar Video

Topics: ICF, Coach Certification, Competencies

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

How to Manage Progress and Accountability Like a Pro

Posted by Julia Stewart

Managing Progress and Accountability

Managing Progress and Accountability is often the most important ICF Competency but many coaches struggle to do it well.

What makes Competency #11 so important is that, for your client, reaching their goal is what matters most. You may occasionally have coaching sessions in which your client has such profound insights that new awareness is the chief deliverable for those sessions. Coaches love insights but for many of our clients, insights are just a means to an end and that end is what your client hired you for: reaching their goal.

What exactly is Managing Progress and Accountability?

You're forgiven if you're a bit confused because the ICF's materials talk about this one differently in different places, or at least they seem to. The word that confuses most coaches is, "Accountability". Many assume that means the coach holds the client accountable for what they plan to get done, but that is the weakest way to do it. A stronger way is to have the client determine their own forms of accountability. Stronger still, is to help the client set goals that are closely related to their most important personal values so their own passion helps them follow through.

Here's what I mean about confusing text (from the ICF's comparison levels):

        "Ability to hold attention on what is important for the client, and to leave responsibility with the client to take action.
         Staying focused on what is important for the client and holding them accountable."

         So is the client responsible for their actions or does the coach hold them accountable?

What makes Managing Progress and Accountability difficult?

The same issue that makes Establishing the Coaching Agreement challenging, namely keeping track of a linear process while maintaining holistic presence, also makes Managing Progress and Accountability a challenge, because most people don't do both at the same time except during activities they've mastered that use their personal strengths. In other words, this will probably take quite a bit of practice to master even for highly talented coaches.

What happens when you Manage Progress and Accountability like a pro?

  • First, you focus on what's most important to your client rather than getting hung up on the idea of holding them accountable. The more important the goal, the less accountability they will need.
  • That focus on importance begins at the beginning of the session, not the end, even though this is the last Competency.
  • Identify both small and large goals and align smaller goals with bigger (most important) goals.
  • Let the client lead in choosing what, who, when, where, etc.
  • Within the framework of importance, a.k.a. values, passion, inspiration, fulfillment, legacy; help the client apply their strengths and get assistance as needed from other people, tools, systems, and structures.
  • Get a commitment for a date and time when they will act, usually the sooner the better.
  • Both you and your client must fully believe that the plan is both sufficient and sustainable, that they will follow through, and reach their goals.
  • Just before the session ends, ask the client what they are taking away from it.

 

Start practicing Managing Progress and Accountability as a framework for your entire coaching session and you will master it.

[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.]

Learn more about ICF coaching with the Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program, now accredited for 200+ ICF hours, enough to meet the training requirement for the ICF Master Certified Coach (MCC).

 

Explore the Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program

 

 

 

Topics: ICF, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, MCC

15 Self-Care Must-Do's If You're a Highly Sensitive Coach

Posted by Julia Stewart

highly sensitve coach

There is an inherited trait known as Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), or Empath, that is common amongst coaches, especially master coaches.

According to research, 15-20% of all humans are born HSPs, as are 15-20% of all "higher" animals, such as monkeys. This suggests a survival value for the overall population. In other words, HSPs are needed by others. What's different about HSPs? We notice more and sense subtleties that others miss, process information deeply, are more empathic and emotional, and all of this can cause over-stimulation, overwhelm, and exhaustion. It's a blessing and a curse! However, if you're an HSP coach, it is a gift for you and your clients as long as you're aware of it and take especially great care of yourself and your sensitivity. To find out if you're a highly sensitive coach and how to optimize your sensitivity, read on...

Highly Sensitive Persons are impacted more intensely by both positive and negative environmental stimuli.

 

This means your self care, and who and what you surround yourself with, will have a more dramatic impact on you than on someone who is not an HSP. So to be a great coach, you need to take your well-being seriously. No wonder coaches love positive psychology!

Many of the qualities the ICF requires in their Master Certified Coaches (MCC), come naturally to HSPs.  These include conscientiousness, deep connection and awareness, vulnerability, presence, curiosity, empathy, ability to notice more, intuition, deep listening, quick learning, ability to stay in the background while eliciting the client's greatness, allowing the client to lead, and regarding the client with Love 2.0.

 

BUT. Even if you are an HSP, these qualities are unlikely to show up if you don't practice wonderful self care and personal growth, because over-stimulation causes you to shut down and become irritable. Not conducive to great coaching!

 

Here are Self-Care Musts for the Highly Sensitive Coach:

  1. Rest and quiet are your biggest self-care priorities if you're a highly sensitive coach. This includes eight or more hours of sleep every night. Seriously.
  2. Get significant alone time. Especially if you're also an introvert, you need at least an hour per day to yourself to be your best.
  3. Learn to set boundaries. If you haven't mastered this yet, put it at the top of your to-do list.
  4. Keep your client load relatively small. Don't coach more than 10 - 20 hours per week. Less is more!
  5. Work with a functional medicine physician to optimize your health because the affects of illness, fatigue, and pain will negatively impact you more than others.
  6. Work with your own coach, especially an HSP coach, to be your very best.
  7. Develop a meaningful spiritual practice that helps you stay centered and open.
  8. Consider working with a psychotherapist if you had a difficult childhood. HSPs who grow up in negative environments are often prone to depression and anxiety which can harm your coaching and your quality of life.
  9. Screen potential coaching clients to avoid working with difficult people who will drain your energy.
  10. Do consider working with clients who are HSPs and need coaches who understand them.
  11. Avoid "energy vampires", especially narcissists. According to Dr. Judith Orloff, Empaths (HSPs) do particularly badly with narcissists because they don't understand how someone can thoroughly lack empathy. If you can't avoid them, at least learn how to handle them.
  12. Consider working from home. You'll avoid difficult commutes, large crowds, and noxious environments.
  13. Set up your office so it is ideal for you and your sensitivities. The more you put up with, the harder it is to coach brilliantly. And your clients deserve nothing less!
  14. Find a sales and marketing process that leverages your sensitivity rather than forcing you to be who you are not. HSP marketing and sales is an advantage in coaching, but only if you rely on your strengths. Don't let anyone tell you differently!
  15. Embrace your sensitivity along with its downsides and rejoice that you've found the perfect profession for you. Self-compassion for your extra-care needs helps you love and appreciate your self and your clients.

 

Want to take a quick test to confirm whether you're an HSP? Go here.

 

References for this post include research scientist and psychotherapist, Dr. Elaine N. Aron's updated book, The Highly Sensitive Person, and psychiatrist, Dr. Judith Orloff's book, The Empath's Survival Guide, The former will appeal to you if you want to know the research into HSP. The latter is more spiritual in nature and offers many practices to protect your energy.

 

Are you an HSP coach who wants to benefit from the power of positive psychology so you can flourish?

 

Get the Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook

Topics: ICF, master coach, MCC, Positive Psychology, personal growth, highly sensitive, self care

Establishing the Coaching Agreement: Here's How to Do It Well

Posted by Julia Stewart

Establishing the Coaching Agreement - two men

According to the ICF, one of the most important, if not THE most important Coaching Competency is #2: Establishing the Coaching Agreement.

The ICF is very particular about how to coach with this one perhaps because it sets the structure for the entire session. Most coaches can do it well at the ACC level, but stumble over PCC requirements, which are multifaceted and quite explicit. At the MCC level, it is far deeper and more subtle. Why is this hard? Most coaches just don't know how to do it.

[UPDATE, 10-10-19: The ICF just announced a new coaching competency model to owners of ICF-accredited coach training programs like the Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program. They have asked us not to share the new module until they have released it to their entire membership in November. It appears the following skills will still be appropriate under the new model. If I discover otherwise, I will update this again.]

What follows are Do's and Don't's on how to Establish the Coaching Agreement at the ACC, PPC, and MCC levels.

ACC: At the ACC level, Establishing the Coaching Agreement is easy and straightforward, but you might be surprised how many coaches miss it. Do: Ask the client, at the beginning of the session, what they want to achieve with the session. Don't: Choose the goal for the client, or neglect to ask the client what their goal is, or ask but coach on something else.

PCC: At the PCC level, you need to go considerably further with Establishing the Coaching Agreement. Do: At the start of the session, ask what the goal for the session is, then explore a bit what makes that goal important to the client. Also ask how they will know they have achieved the goal. This is sometimes referred to as the "measure of success", which can be a feeling, such as confidence, a mind state, such as clarity, or something tangible, like a ten-point plan. Then begin coaching the client to reach that goal. Later in the session, check to make sure you're on track to reach the goal, or if you notice the conversation is heading in a new direction, ask if the goal has changed. If it has changed, fully establish the new goal. Finally, near the end of your coaching session, ask the client if they've reached their measure of success. If they reply strongly in the affirmative, the coaching was successful. Don't: Forget to ask how the client will know they've succeeded or fail to explore the importance of the goal, or fail to check that the session is reaching or has reached the goal; nor should you make any mistakes from the ACC level, above.

MCC: Do: The MCC level coach does everything the PCC level coach does, and then some, but may do it in a far more subtle fashion, knowing that competency #3: Establishing Trust and Intimacy with the Client, #4: Coaching Presence, as well as every other competency, will enhance Establishing the Coaching Agreement, by creating trust, easing the client, and providing an environment in which the client shares honestly and completely. Without that level of openness and receptivity, the client is unlikely to share information that feels vulnerable (sharing our most cherished dreams tends to bring up vulnerabilities) and therefore they may not receive full value from the coaching. In addition, the master coach will help the client expand their thinking about the goal by helping the client connect it with their larger goals and/or integrate their understanding of it within the context of their entire life and even beyond, as needed (#8: Creating Awareness). What makes this difficult is, in addition to having mastered all the competencies, having heightened perceptiveness, and knowing how to communicate a lot with few words, the master coach must also be able to hold a holistic and intuitive mind state simultaneously with linear step-wise consciousness. This is easy if they have an advanced contemplative practice. Otherwise, it tends to take years of coaching to develop. Don't: Make assumptions, or lead, direct, or teach the client in any way. Without a fully connected partnership that honors the client's expertise in their own life, coach and client are unlikely to achieve the client's most desired dreams.

So now you know how, at all three levels, to coach with one of the most important ICF Coaching Competencies. This understanding. especially at the PCC and MCC levels, can help you become a far more effective coach. You still need to learn how this tool applies uniquely to each coaching session. Plus you need hours of practice and expert feedback to learn to do it well. Our Master Coach Training series of modules will help you develop masterful coaching skills, and get you ready to apply for ICF certification, if that is your goal. These modules are all included in our Certified Positive Psychology Coach program and our Certified Neuroscience Coach program. Plus, two more modules, included in the Certified Neuroscience Coach program, will help: NP1: The Science of Goals and Achievement and NP2: Neuroscience Tools and Practices.

 

Download the Certified Neuroscience Coach program Fact Sheet:

Visit the Certified Neuroscience Coach Page Here

Topics: ICF, Coach Certification, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, MCC, coach credential, certified neuroscience coach, PCC

Top Ten Myths About Life Coaching

Posted by Julia Stewart

dragons and castle

Myths are stories we tell that help us understand our world.

That's why we love them so much. Epic stories like Game or Thrones and Lord of the Ring capture our minds during our adolescence but never quite let us go. At their best, myths can for instance, make sense of the destructive behavior of a  leader who feels betrayed and alone (I'm thinking of you, Daenerys) and they may also help us understand real-life situations.

But there is another type of myth that makes us feel like we understand something new when we really don't and those myths spread like viruses to others who also don't get it. They become "truth-y" even when they truly are false. This is particularly true as our culture evolves because some folks evolve faster than others. Myths can keep those others stuck on the outside of something truly great, believing cynically that it's just a sham, or a fad, or the same old thing wearing a fancy new dress.

There are plenty of myths about life coaching because honestly, if you haven't experienced truly great coaching, you won't get it. You just won't. See below for examples. 

 

Here are Top Ten Life Coaching Myths:

 

  1. Coaching is a new form of therapy or counseling. When I first became a coach about a billion years ago, one of my relatives, who was studying to become a psychotherapist, told me I was practicing therapy without a license. Um, no. In fact, a landmark case was won at about that time which established coaching as a separate profession from therapy. After that, therapists seemed to take an, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em," attitude toward coaching and today, many coaches are former therapists who love helping clients go from good to great and are thrilled to not have to deal with insurance companies to get paid. Even my relative eventually commended me on getting into coaching after it became the fastest growing job description worldwide. Good thing I didn't listen to her earlier criticisms!
  2. Coaching isn't a real profession. This was probably true thirty years ago, just as it was of every profession in its earliest days. Remember when your doctor used to "bleed" you with leeches? No? Probably that's because they stopped doing that more than a century ago. Thank God! My point is that all professions develop over time. They begin with a few talented practitioners. Then someone defines what they do and begins teaching it to others. Eventually professional organizations standardize ethical practices and identify credentials. Researchers begin studying the field's efficacy (that finally doomed the use of leeches by physicians). Then universities start developing educational programs. All of this has occurred within the field of coaching. It is now a profession.
  3. Coaching is New Age mumbo-jumbo. As coaching progresses as a profession, research is establishing many coaching practices (some of which were originally dismissed by "experts") as valid. In fact, the practice of focusing mostly on the positive (not 100% positive, just 75 - 95% positive), as well as focusing mostly on the present and desired future, have been well-established as important tools for transforming problems into opportunities and suffering into wisdom. Many therapists have also adopted these tools. Meanwhile, whatever may have been mumbo-jumbo (the coaching equivalent of bloodletting with leeches) is quietly being jettisoned.
  4. Anything goes in coaching. Coaching is a profession that is not regulated by governments. This confuses some people. They think they can do anything and call it coaching. Fortunately, there are reputable organizations that have established ethical guidelines and best practices in coaching. Work with coaches who are aligned with one of these organizations to avoid getting schnookered by people who call themselves coaches but whose practices may not always be effective, fair, or ethical.
  5. You don't need training to become a coach. This depends on whether you want to succeed as a coach. The ICF has been surveying thousands of coaches for years. Their findings are that coaches who've had coach-specific training are more successful more quickly and are less likely to drop out of the profession. So while you could call yourself a coach, even if you have no training, if you want to be a successful coach, get quality training early. It's an excellent investment.
  6. If you have a degree in psychology you're qualified to coach. Oh would that this were true! I know your university degree cost you a fortune so it must be good for something, right? I was like you once. I had two degrees in dance, of all things, from two of the most expensive universities in America. That got me a career as an adjunct professor at a variety of colleges until my back gave out. Luckily, I discovered my true calling was coaching. There were no degrees in coaching, at the time, so I spent a few thousand dollars at a good coach-training school (two, actually) and I've been using what I learned there ever since. Best investment I ever made. If you have a degree from an ICF-accredited coach-training university program, you may not need further training, but most degrees in psychology or social work won't qualify.
  7. Clients don't care if you're certified. Mine do! And apparently most other clients do, too. The ICF surveyed actual coaching clients and asked, all else being equal, would they prefer to work with a certified coach? 84% of coaching clients replied that they care very much if their coach is certified.
  8. All coaches are slimy. Well some people who call themselves coaches may be. Perhaps they aren't trained, or aren't certified, or aren't ethical. Because coaching isn't regulated, you do need to be choosy about who you work with. If you're working with a real coach, they probably are anything but slimy.
  9. Coaches have all the answers. Some folks think coaches have perfect lives and know everything. News flash: nobody fits that description. Coaches are skilled at asking important questions clients usually don't ask themselves. They are experts at change and customize every conversation. Coaches are just super-good at bringing valuable answers to light. That's transformative.
  10. Coaching is only for rich people. Coaching caught on first with high-level executive clients, movie stars, and billionaires. But as the profession grows, there are great coaches who specialize in clients from every walk of life. If you're interested in hiring a coach, shop around to find one who is right for you. Coaching is for everyone (and that's no myth)!

Myths spread in the ancient and medieval worlds because often too little information was available. Today, we have the same problem for the opposite reason: There is too much information and we cannot tell which is true.

As a coach, it's part of your job to spread the truth about coaching. Because coaching is an evolved technology that can help people successfully navigate hypercomplexity despite climate disasters. We live in a scary world but fear makes us think small and small thinking is destructive instead of resourceful. Effective coaching can be the difference between success and disaster.

 

What if Daenerys had a good coach?

 

Need a good coach? Find yours here:

 

Find Your Coach Here

 

Topics: ICF, Coach Certification, coaching vs. therapy, Life Coaching, coach training school, coaching ethics

Coaching Businesses: A Simple System for Identifying Which to Trust

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching Businesses and Trust

Coaching companies can transform your life or business for the better, but like any profession, coaching has a few charlatans.

The wrong coach or coaching company can actually harm your life and business so you need to know how to identify who to work with. It's as easy as Stop, Wait, and Go.

I learned how to read red, yellow, and green traffic signal lights one day, long ago, as I sat on my tricycle in kindergarten. Probably I remember it because it was the only day I got to bring my trike to school but it was a valuable safety lesson that I have used everyday since. I hope this blog post will prove valuable for you and keep you safe in the world of business and coaching.

If you're a coach, you probably use positivity and intuition to make choices and that is awesome. But as readers of this blog know, using your whole being is even more awesome. Let intuition guide you but also explore your doubts, do your due diligence, bounce ideas off friendly skeptics. Be 90% positive but also explore the wisdom of waiting when it's warranted.

Avoid making big decisions with just half your brain.

To be clear, there are wonderful coaches and coaching companies that just aren't right for you, but that's not what this post is about. I'm talking about the small percentage of coaching companies that are probably not right for anyone. They can hurt you or your business. Even though they aren't the majority, you will encounter them.

Some coaching companies are well-meaning but just don't know what they are doing. A few are actual scams. They claim they will help you succeed by providing clients, or marketing training, or a back office, a website, or whatever. They over-promise, under-deliver, and then disappear. Coaches who do business with them lose their money and often feel shocked, embarrassed, and discouraged when they realize what happened. They may quit coaching as a result. Some have been financially ruined. Some lost friends who tried to warn them.

Below is a list of potential signals that indicate when to STOP because the signs spell trouble, WAIT until you learn more, or GO ahead and take the next step. They are based on actual experiences of real coaches.

Compare these signals to a company you're interested in. No one signal will be enough to decide whether to work with them so add up all the signs and then check in with your intuition, your emotions, your coach, trusted friends,  favorite skeptics, and most of all, dig deep into GOOGLE.

In the end, you're responsible for all your own choices, so choose with wisdom. Think of a company you've considered joining and grade them on each of the following with STOP, WAIT, or GO. Use your own grades to decide. Here goes...

How did you find out about this coaching company?

  • If you find a company on a job-listing website but the "job" turns out to be one where you pay the company rather than them paying you, be careful. This is known in retail as "bait and switch". You're initially offered one attractive option, but when you inquire about it, a salesperson talks you into something else. It may not break any laws but it is misleading and signals that the company isn't as honest as it should be. Trust is incredibly important in coaching because clients share their most cherished dreams with us. Think twice about doing business with a company that has already betrayed yours. Would you Stop, Wait, or Go with this?
  • If a trusted friend invites you to join a great new company they've joined, find out how long they've been with the company and what their own results are. If they just joined or haven't seen definitive results, hesitate. Don't rely on your friend's enthusiasm or the company's own promises to make up your mind. If your friend has been with the company long enough to see positive results, maybe this really is a good opportunity. How would you grade it?
  • If you receive a great-sounding offer in an email from a coaching company you never heard of, it's probably SPAM. No reputable company will ever SPAM you. How would you score SPAM?
  • Did you find the company through a profile on social media or in a directory? If so, is the profile complete and informative? If not, check for other complete profiles for them on the web. If you see a pattern of incomplete profiles, that says, "fly by night". What's your verdict?
  • Did you find the company through online reviews or ratings? If there are a lot of high ratings and reviews, that's great. If there are only a few good ratings or if the reviews sound like they were all written by the same person, the company may have hired someone to write good reviews for them. What's score would you give them?

What is the company's website like?

  • Can you easily find the name of the company and its physical address and telephone number on the website? In some countries this is required by law. Usually that information is located at the bottom of each page, or on pages titled, "About Us" or "Contact Us". Don't spend money with a company if you don't know exactly who and where they are. Stop, Wait, or Go?
  • Is the website only one page long or is the site unfinished? That says, "fly by night." Careful!
  • Does the site have visible trust marks such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or accreditation marks from reputable organizations like the International Coach Federation (ICF)? These third-party organizations have requirements that the company must adhere to and may help you if the company fails to uphold them. If there are marks from fake organizations, that's a really bad sign. What score did your company earn here?
  • Does the company tell you what it will do with your personal information if you fill out a form? This is required by law in the European Union and most reputable companies worldwide honor it. The site should promise to keep your information private, not sell it to anyone, and explain what you will get in exchange for sharing it with them. What do you think?

What happens after you join?

  • Are they mainly interested in attracting more coaches/customers rather than in helping you succeed? Stop, Wait, or Go?
  • Do they expect you to do their marketing for them? Or worse, do they expect you to get your friends to do their marketing for them? This rarely works well and it's not what you paid for. How would you score it?
  • Do the tools and processes work as they should? If not, communicate with their support team. They should promptly make it right for you. How's your company doing?
  • If you complain, do they take responsibility, make excuses, or place the blame on you? You know the score.
  • Do they tell you to buy their more-expensive "next level" program where they'll tell you what you really need to know to succeed, even though they already promised that when you bought the program you have? Do they do this in a "coaching session"? Totally unethical in my book. How would you score this?
  • If you tell them you have no more money when they try to sell you more, do they reply that you're thinking too negatively and if you really wanted to succeed you'd open another credit card, take out a second mortgage, borrow from relatives, sell your valuables, or raid your child's tuition account? Some companies are shameless. You get to score them.
  • If you ask for a refund or stop paying your bill, do they ignore you or make an appointment for you with a "coach" who turns out to be a high-pressure bill collector? If you've joined an unethical company you're unlikely to ever get a refund. How would you score that?
  • Did your company dissolve before you got the services you thought you bought? You may have no legal recourse. What's the score?

 

If a company you're interested in scores a lot of STOPs, probably you should forget them.

 

If you want to learn more about how to attract coaching clients, register for this free eCourse based on Thomas Leonard's Principles of Attraction. If you want to understand small-business marketing in general, download this free Bootstrapper's Bible by Seth Godin. Mattison Grey can teach you the subtleties of marketing and sales with trust and integrity, and some coaches swear by C.J. Hayden.

 

Students at this school fill their practices with coaching clients based on Thomas Leonard's Coach 100 idea. It works.

 

Download Your Free Coach 100 eBook

Topics: Coaching Companies, Coach 100, ICF, marketing and sales, Thomas Leonard, Mattison Grey, Attraction Principles, coaching businesses

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