School of Coaching Mastery

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Why Tony Robbins Can't Pass ICF Coaching Certification

Posted by Julia Stewart

Tony Robbins Life Coach CertificationThe other day I had a conversation with one of my coaching students about why Anthony Robbins wouldn't pass IAC life coach certification.

On further reflection I realized that he wouldn't pass ICF coach credentialing, either. Why is that? Because he engages in some huge life coaching no-no's. I'll explain in a moment...

Maybe it isn't fair to measure what Tony Robbins does by standardized life-coaching models. After all, he calls himself a 'Strategic Interventionist', not a life coach.

Then again, he does have a coaching page on his website that claims he is the "Father of the Coaching Industry". Hmm, that flies in the face of what tens of thousands of coaches say, that Thomas Leonard is the 'Founder of Professional Coaching'.

For instance, Thomas Leonard founded both the ICF and the IAC. But...

And I'm just guessing here, but this is a really big "BUT": There are quite a few overlaps between Thomas Leonard's approach to coaching (I studied at both his schools, where I received several coach certifications and I was Lead Certifier for the Thomas Leonard Coaching School) and Tony Robbins' approach, which I've studied informally.

I'm a huge Thomas Leonard fan, BUT...it times out that Leonard may have stolen (ahem, borrowed) many of his ideas from Robbins. I'm just speculating, but Tony Robbins' most popular book, Awaken the Giant Within, in which Robbins calls himself a coach, was based on his work with thousands of people over twenty years and was published in 1991. Thomas Leonard founded his first coaching school (the first life coaching school in the world), Coach University, in 1992, with an awful lot of the very same ideas (though there are some key differences).

Not that I think Tony Robbins invented all of his own ideas. Like many entrepreneurs, he seems to have repackaged, renamed and reorganized ideas that were already out there; some new; some ancient.

A few folks trace these ideas back to Jim Rohn, EST, or Landmark. Others trace their early development to the 19th Century American Transcendentalists. But you can find their roots in the words of Jesus Christ and the Buddha, and in even earlier writings and oral traditions from around the world. (This is one of the many reasons why a degree in psychology or social work, even a PhD, won't make you a life coach.)

But back to Tony Robbins and why he can't pass life coach certification...

REASON #1: Robbins often coaches people who are suicidal. One of the biggest no-no's in coaching is that coaches don't coach people who are mentally ill. And suicidal thoughts are a symptom of some mental illnesses.

Both the IAC and ICF warn against using coaching as a therapeutic tool. The main reason for this rule is that an unskilled coach could actually harm the client. An additional reason is that the coach may expose him/herself to a lawsuit for practicing psychotherapy without a license.

I would not encourage a coach to coach anyone who is in tremendous psychic pain, but I personally have coached clients who had some big issues. In many cases I required them to see a therapist while they worked with me. But they often told me that coaching helped them more than therapy. For some clients, those who are willing to take responsibility for their issues, the tools of coaching are far more empowering than psychotherapy.

Robbins claims he's never lost anyone. If that's true then maybe his strategic interventions aren't as foolhardy as they would be for some coaches. And maybe he's actually saved thousands of lives. In that case, what he does is courageous and extremely valuable.

REASON #2: Sometimes Robbins does most of the talking. This is one of the basic rules of life coaching: Let the client do most of the talking. But Robbins frequently doesn't follow this rule.

I've seen him coach people when he did almost all of the talking. And it appears to work. Why? He reads body language extraordinarily well and he has a keen understanding of human nature. Isn't that true of other coaches, as well? I think it is, but Robbins has decades more experience than most coaches and he's worked with thousands of people. Most coaches can't scratch the surface of what Robbins has already accomplished and their skill levels reflect that.

Still, talk too much in a coaching session and both the IAC and ICF will fail you. In most coaching sessions, I think they are right. But there may be exceptions...

REASON #3: Robbins makes rude jokes about his clients, often when they are deeply suffering. As one of my colleagues said, 'I just thought he did that because he was an a**hole!' Apparently he does it because it jolts the client out of a stuck brain state just long enough for him to shift them into a more empowering thought pattern. And it seems to work!

The IAC and ICF both recognize that shifting the client's thinking is an important part of good coaching, but using a sledge hammer to do it? That's a great way to lose the client's trust. In most cases, it's better to respect and empathize with the client, especially when they're struggling. Then again, if you have only a short time to coach someone who is in deep trouble, maybe the gloves need to come off...

REASON #4: Robbins doesn't have any coach-specific training. Actually, this is only a problem for the ICF. The IAC recognizes that there are good coaches who, like Robbins, have thousands of hours of experience and have been learning for decades everything they can about how to facilitate enormous personal growth and development in others, but who may not have attended an ICF-approved coach training program.

The ICF on the other hand, recognizes that quality coach training speeds up the coach's development, so s/he can coach competently within a year or so, instead of within ten years, which is what it often takes, for the self-taught. The ICF believes so strongly in coach-specific training that they recently announced that they won't even accept untrained coaches for membership in their organization.

Robbins started his journey as a coach while he was still in high school - long before coach training existed. He not only coached his classmates, he claims he read 750 books and attended every seminar on personal growth that he could afford (sometimes attending the best ones several times, so he could master the material). Then he went on to coach thousands of people for decades.

Tony Robbins exemplifies what Malcolm Gladwell says in his book, Outliers: That extreme mastery is the result of about 10,000 hours of experience, rather than the result of extreme talent. Talent is nice, but an obsessive commitment to 'take massive action', as Robbins would say, matters more. 

Let's face it, Anthony Robbins really doesn't need life coach certification.

He is famous and his results speak for themselves. He gets away with an awful lot, because his clients already know his reputation and trust him, immensely.

So does life coach certification even matter, when it doesn't recognize the skills that such a well-known master coach uses so successfully? It does, but maybe not for the reasons you would think...

Both IAC and ICF certification processes are more rigorous to achieve than most coaches realize. They virtually force coaches to get thousands of hours of coach training and practice in order to pass. They won't turn you into Tony Robbins, but they will make you a much better coach.

Think of life coach certification as a supportive structure that helps you become the kind of professional coach you'd want to work with.

But take everything certifiers say about coaching with a touch of humor. Because both of these highly-respected certifying organizations miss a wide range of possible master coaching techniques, regardless of what they say about inter-rater reliability. That just means the certifiers agree with each other; it doesn't mean that their criteria include every form of master coaching.

If they fail you, remember, they'd fail Tony, too.

Don't use either passing or failing life coach certification as an excuse to quit your coaching development. Use it as a challenge to keep going and become the kind of coach who can turn around a client's life in minutes.

By the way, Tony Robbins probably is the Father of the Coaching Industry. But Thomas Leonard is the coach who began turning coaching into a profession. Both have made enormously important contributions.

Thomas started the IAC because he was frustrated that ICF life coach certification was leaving out some great coaches. I later started School of Coaching Mastery's coach certification, because I became frustrated that IAC life coach certification is also leaving out some great coaches.

I'd certify Anthony Robbins.

I've definitely learned some new things from him. And I've seen evidence that what he does is highly effective. I've even learned how to use techniques that Thomas Leonard cautioned against.

What do you think? Do you agree that Tony Robbins wouldn't pass ICF or IAC life coach certification? Or am I totally full of cr*p?

Want to learn more about becoming a coach?

Get a free Become a Coach eBook here.

 

Topics: ICF, Coach Certification, Thomas Leonard, Tony Robbins, life coach certification, certified life coach, Life coaching school accreditation, IAC, certified coach, Coach Certification Bootcamp

Coach Training Schools: How to Identify a Fake Coaching School

Posted by Julia Stewart

icf_tpss.jpg

After fifteen years in the  business of coaching and coach-training, I've seen my share of fake online schools. So when I stumbled across a "new" online school with a few tell-tale signs, I intuitively knew it was bogus. Just to be sure though (like any good coach), I checked to be certain. Yup, I was right the first time.

Unfortunately, there is seemingly no limit to the number of people who will spot something popular on the web and will try to scam the unsuspecting into sending money. Don't be fooled!

If you're wondering if a coach-training website, or any educational website, is legit, here's what to look for...

7 Clues a Coach-Training Website is Fake:

1. The site doesn't clearly indicate who owns it or runs it. This new site that I found just states, in the "About Us" section, that it's a membership site for people interested in positive psychology. Pretty sketchy.

2. It claims to be a university or graduate school, but the web address doesn't end with .edu or .org. Read number 4 for more about this. In the United States, there are specific laws about who can claim to be a university. Generally, a university offers many topics and awards degrees based an specific requirements. This one claimed to be a US organization, but didn't seem to fit the definition.

3. It claims to be a college or university in the United States, but it gives out diplomas. In the US, you get a diploma when you graduate from high school. If you go on to post-secondary school, such as a college or university, you earn a degree, certification, or certificate of completion, not a diploma.

4. It claims to be accredited by an official-sounding not-for-profit organization that is approved by the United States Department of Education, but the web address doesn't end with .edu (only educational institutions with this type of accreditation can use .edu addresses). This one made such a claim, but the address ended with .us. Curious whether there was any validity to the claim, I went to the Department of Ed. website and searched their list of approved agencies. Nope, not there.

A hallmark of fake schools is the claim of being accredited by official-sounding organizations that don't exist.

By the way, Department of Ed. approval is the gold-standard in university accreditation. However, legitimate coaching schools that claim accreditation are generally accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF), which is not approved by the Department of Ed. ICF is a good organization. In fact, it is the oldest and largest such organization in the world. This type of approval or accreditation is the gold standard in coaching. You can trust coaching schools that are approved or accredited by the ICF. Just check the ICF's site to be sure.

5. Information about the courses and topics taught is scarce. This new site shares basic information that anyone can find with a quick web search on positive psychology and copy & paste it onto a fake site.

6. There are no trust marks or confirmation links on the site. Trust marks come from third-party organizations, such as the Department of Ed, or the International Coach Federation, or the Better Business Bureau. They usually include links to the accrediting site that confirm the school's claims and may even rate the school on trust and best practices.

7. Here's the scariest red flag: to join this new "organization" that I discovered, you're instructed to copy & paste their payment form into an EMAIL with your name, address, credit-card number, security code, and expiration date! No legitimate organization will EVER ask you to put sensitive payment information into an email.  Email is just not secure. My conclusion is that this site is designed to steal identities from people who are interested in positive psychology and that if you are foolish enough to "join", you will soon discover that your credit card has been maxed out. And because of the tell-tale "diplomas" mentioned on the site (#3 above), it is likely outside the United States, even though it claims to be "American". It's difficult, if not impossible, to catch international scammers, such as these.

So How Can You Find Trustworthy Coaching Schools?

There are many good coach training schools, but Google isn't the best way to find them. Use the ICF's Training Program Search Service (TPSS). They have a huge number of approved and accredited coaching schools to choose from that they have already vetted for you.

Looking for an ICF Approved Coach Training Program?

The Certified Positive Psychology Coach® program approved for 125 ICF hours. Check us out at the ICF TPSS under the following name:


Julia Stewart Coaching & Training LLC, DBA: School of Coaching Mastery
.

ICF Approved 125 hours

Or go here:

Become a Certified Positive Psychology Coach

Topics: coach training, ICF, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Life coaching school accreditation, coach training school, Positive Psychology

How to Become a Certified Coach Free Course

Posted by Julia Stewart

Certified CoachIf you're a professional business or life coach who is considering coach certification, you're not alone.

One of the biggest trends in coaching, in 2009, is that veteran coaches are finding for the first time that they need coach certification. For years, prospective clients and employers didn't even ask about it, but that has changed. However, if you've been coaching professionally for a while, you don't want to go back to the very beginning and start your coach training at an accredited coaching school.

And you really don't want one of those embarrassing fly-by-night certifications

So what are your options? That's what our free 4-hour mini-course on how to become a certified coach is all about. It's led by SCM President, Julia Stewart, IAC-CC. It'll cover some of the pros and cons of various certifications, plus it'll hook you up with some valuable resources that can help you get there faster. 

The 'How to Become a Certified Coach' course is taught live via webinar (or you can just access it by phone) on two separate days. Each class is a total of 2-hours long, broken down into 90 minutes of instruction, followed by 30 minutes of Q&A.

You'll come away with clarity, tools and a path to success. It may not take you as long as you might think to qualify for a respected coach certification.

Click here to register for the next free, "How to Become a Certified Coach" mini-course

Topics: ICF, becoming a certified coach, IAC Certified Coach, Become a Certified Coach, How to Become a Certified Coach, Life coaching school accreditation, coaching schools, get certified, IAC, certified coach

Truth About Life Coaching School Accreditation

Posted by Julia Stewart

Pros and ConsWhile researching keywords for School of Coaching Mastery, I came across the following article, written by a coaching student who researched coaching schools and coaching school accreditations and arrived at pretty much the same conclusions that I did about accreditation, only she writes from the student's perspective and my conclusion is based on an insider's view ~ and that's why we're not seeking accreditation for School of Coaching Mastery.

 
I originally studied at an accredited coaching school and found that although there was plenty of good material, the certification requirements left me stuck in boring, repetitive classes, in order to graduate and get a plaque to hang on my wall. 
 
Meanwhile, I also studied at a brilliant new school that wasn't accredited, and found it far more engaging and inspiring. Later, after the school changed hands and names, I taught for it both while it was un-accredited and later when it was applying for accreditation. As a result of accreditation, the already laser-sharp curriculum became bloated with extra classes that added little to students' learning and instead of consistently inspired coaching students, I noticed some coaches seemed to simply be waiting for the end of class to come, so they could get a password to prove they attended.
 
Ugh.
 
We chose IAC Coach Certification, because it's based on the quality of the coach's coaching, not on whether they attended an accredited school. IAC doesn't accredit coaching schools, because they want to avoid the conflicts of interest that other organizations have been accused of. IAC does license schools to use the IAC Coaching Masteries(tm).
 
Here's a link to the "Truth About Life Coaching School Accreditation". I don't know the writer, 
nor am I familiar with the coaching school that the writer chose.
 
By the way, writing articles like this one and submiting them to sites, like ezinearticles.com is a great way to become known as a coach.
 
Copyright, Julia Stewart, 2008 - 2009



Topics: School of Coaching Mastery, IAC Certification, Life coaching school accreditation

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