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Master Coach Tip: Leverage the Audience Effect

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching Tip   Audience Effect by Boston Public Library

 

Would you like to be a better coach, immediately? Then here's a tip on how to make full use of what researchers call, "the audience effect".

 

One of our main jobs, as coaches, is to help our clients think better and be more resourceful. One of the biggest mistakes we can make, then, is to try to think FOR the client. That is never a coach's job.

 

When you think for your clients, a.k.a. solve their problems or tell them what to do, you're acting like the star of the show.

 

You're never the star, your client is. Your job is to be a member of the audience.

 

Let me explain: most of the time, when a client hires a professional, such as a trial lawyer, or brain surgeon, they want the most brilliant professional they can afford, because the professional provides the outcome. But the purpose of hiring a coach is to BE brilliant, because the client provides the outcome. Big difference.

 

Here's where the audience effect comes in. Researchers have found that people learn faster when they have to explain to someone else what's going on, or what their thinking, or process, is. This is called, "the audience effect". If you want someone to be more resourceful, give them an audience.

 

Of course, some audiences are distracting, or worse. And for some coaches, being an audience of one is a lot harder than putting on a show (or sham) for the client.

 

You've probably heard the saying, "If you want to learn something, teach it." Well, your clients learn faster and, in effect, get smarter, when they have to explain, or even teach you.

 

In fact, at the Master Certified Coach level, the ICF expects the coach to be open to being taught by the client. Not at the beginner level, but at the master level. 

 

If you want to be a great coach, you need to get comfortable with being a member of the audience, like that crowd, above. At most, you're the audience member who stands up at the mike and asks a question. The client, or star, is the one who gets to be brilliant. You just listen and occasionally provide the coaching equivalent of applause, a.k.a.validation.

 

Of course, some coaches combine consulting with coaching and if that's what your client hired you for, then sometimes you share your experience or opinion with them. But be sure you know the difference, because, in the end, leveraging the audience effect will provide greater results for your client. 

 

And if you have the personal development to get your ego out of the way, this is an effortless (not to mention, masterful) approach to provide amazing outcomes for your coaching clients.

 

 

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Photo: Boston Library

Topics: Become a Master Coach, ICF, Become a Certified Coach, Become a Masterful Coach, master coach, Master Certified Coach, Coaching Tip, Masterful Coaching, Master Coach Training, consulting

Top Ten Benefits of Becoming a Master Coach

Posted by Julia Stewart

Master Coach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Julia Stewart

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

 

It was nice to get, but no surprise.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IAC Announces New Master Certified Coach Designation

Posted by Julia Stewart

Certified CoachI received an email yesterday about my coach certification from the IAC. It said in part...

 

"We have some exciting news to share with you!

It’s no secret that achieving the IAC certification designation requires a very high level of coaching skill. We’ve heard it referred to as the “gold standard” in coaching and we have to agree. After much deliberation, the IAC has decided to honor those who have previously met these standards by calling IAC coaches what they truly are: Master Certified Coaches. Effective immediately, IAC-CC’s are now considered MCC’s, or Master Certified Coaches..."

The email goes on to say that based on an internal review, plus input from members and licensees, they've decided to create a new level of certification that recognizes a deep understanding of, and a skilled use of, the IAC Coaching Masteries(tm). Evidently this will become the new IAC Certified Coach designation.

That's good news. I've raised concerns before that the current certification seemed to be getting harder to pass. And while I'm all for high standards, I was concerned that too few coaches pass it. Most either get too busy with their businesses and forget about certification, or give up before they reach it, or get impatient and turn in their coaching recordings too soon and fail. Only 25% of applicants pass.

The truth is, you can be a very good coach and still not pass this extremely difficult certification (now called the MCC). So why not have another certification that recognizes that your skill level is higher than most other coaches (the new CC)?

I made a similar change to School of Coaching Mastery's coach certification a while back. Coaches who possess superior skills deserve to be recognized for that level of achievement.

There's a huge gap between competent coaching and masterful coaching. And that intermediate level of coaching, which I call the proficient level, deserves its own coach designation. Also, potential coaching clients deserve to know if they're working with a high-quality coach. The ICF has had three levels of coach certification for years.

If I understood an email from the new IAC President, Susan Meyer, the IAC may be  reviewing previous coaching submissions to see if they pass requirements for the new designation. If so, that could put smiles on the faces of some deserving coaches.

I'm glad the IAC is making this move and as my friend, Mattison Grey, said about getting the new MCC designation (on Twitter): "Instant upgrade. I'll take it!"

Want to learn more about the IAC and its coach certifications?

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Topics: ICF, Coach Certification, IAC-CC, IAC Certified Coach, IAC Coaching Masteries, certified coaches, master coach, Master Certified Coach, IAC, certified coach

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