School of Coaching Mastery

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Find a Coach 2.0

Posted by Julia Stewart

Mastery Coach Exchange

 Mastery Coach Exchange (MCX) is School of Coaching Mastery's own find-a-coach/social networking site.

MCX is designed to give professional coaches and the people who want to hire them, a chance to interact before money exchanges hands. It's also a great place for people who are thinking about becoming coaches to interact with coaches who are already doing it. In other words, MCX is an interactive coach directory. 

Many of my first clients came to me through coach directories that I participated in. The process was frustrating though, because directories are/were completely passive. All you could do was list yourself and then pray that potential clients would see your listing and call you.

Web 2.0 rewards coaches for doing what they do best: communicating and relating. Trouble is, most folks on Facebook and elsewhere are there to socialize, so you need to market delicately, if at all. Otherwise, your marketing message will be about as well received as that FBI warning on your favorite DVD. Market poorly online and you risk turning off the very people you'd like to attract.

MCX is clearly designed for professional coaches and those who want to hire them and/or learn more about them. Potential clients want to hear your marketing message. In fact, they want to get to know you. What better place than in a safe online community?

Best of all, you can add your profile to MCX for free. However, to be approved for membership, you must add a head shot of yourself, your first and last name, and at least one website or blog  address and/or social networking profile, so we can determine if you are who you say you are.

MCX is undergoing some upgrades right now to make it even more effective. Adding social share app's will help to spread your message across the web. We're also adding a monthly newsletter, to keep you updated on what's happening and you'll receive cool opportunities and discounts on School of Coaching Mastery programs.

Join

 

Join MCX Here. 

Topics: Coaching, Coaches, Free, coach, social networking, Mastery Coach Exchange, clients, web 2.0, FIND A COACH

Fifteen Favorite Free Tools for Coaches

Posted by Julia Stewart

Free HugsIf you're a smart coach, you've learned that 'free' can be priceless.

Free is an attraction magnet and one of the smartest ways to market. That's why savvy coaches give away free sessions and other attractive stuff. 'Free' leads to relationships and relationships lead to clients.

Coaches didn't invent 'free', of course. We are also the happy beneficiaries of many free tools that make starting a coaching business one of the least expensive businesses you can get into.

Another lovely development is that online tools are getting easier to use.

Here without further ado are a few of my favs (plus a nice freebie from us).

1. Gmail. Every online business owner answers email pretty much all day. What a delight to have email that is virtually SPAM free without ticking off your potential clients by forcing them fill out a SpamArrest Captcha box before they can even contact you (really bad for business, by the way). Gmail is free and comes with loads of storage. It's online, so you're computer never slows down while it's downloading your (spam) email into Outlook. [UPDATE 10-21-09: You can also upgrade to Google Apps Standard for free and use your website address as your email domain.)

2. Google Reader. While we're in Google land, here are a couple more items that are helpful. Other people's blogs are among the most valuable free resources you'll find on the web, but most folks haven't figured out the whole RSS subscription thing. That's a pity, but good news! Google Reader is to blogs what AOL was to email ten years ago. Suddenly those of us who are clueless can join the party, too. Better yet, Google Reader is free.

Question: when you click one of those little orange RSS buttons RSS button that you see on blogs, do you know what to do with all that code that comes up? Me either. RSS stands for 'really simple syndication', but in my opinion, that was a misnomer until Google invented Reader. Now you can copy a blog's website address and paste that into your little Reader subscription box and all the articles will show up there automatically. If you can read email, you can subscribe to blogs with RSS in Reader.

3. Flickr Creative Commons. Let's say you've gotten so comfortable with blogs that you are now blogging regularly yourself (good idea, by the way). Blog posts are more likely to get read when they include engaging pictures. You can download digital photos from many paid sites (I like Dreamstime*), but if you're blogging every other day or so (good idea, by the way) even a dollar per picture adds up.

Flickr Creative Commons allows you to download thousands of pictures freely. The 'Free Hugs' photo above is an example. Just do the right thing and credit the photographer in your post. (Free Hugs Photo by Kalandrakas)

4. Social Networking sites. A blog is a great way to communicate with your fans, but how do you attract fans, in the first place? One way is via social networking. The most popular sites for coaches are Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. And they are free. Or you can go for a much more targeted site like, Mastery Coach Exchange. Free again. Add badges from your favorite social networking sites to your blog, as we've done here, and keep the flow of traffic moving to your site.

5. Bit.ly. To invite people to your site, you need to post links. But links can be pretty cumbersome, especially if there is a limit to how long posts can be (as they are on Twitter). You need a link shortening service. There are many out there to choose from. I used to be loyal to Tinyurl and it's still great, but Bit.ly has some extra bells and whistles that are especially nice. My favorites include the ability to post directly to Twitter from Bit.ly and the ability to track how many people clicked a particular link. Makes it easy to gage which projects are most attractive to my fans.

6. Topify. Another tool that I like to use with Twitter is Topify. Once you set up and account with Topify, you'll receive an email each time someone follows you on Twitter. Topify with share enough info about your new followers that you can decide whether you want to follow them back, block them from following you, and/or report them as spammers.

Most people think that having lots of people follow you is the name of the game on Twitter. Actually, the quality of your followers is far more important. If you're not paying attention to who's following you, you'll likely get a lot of porno-spammers and some very weird tweets. (By the way, I learned about both Bit.ly and Topify from @DannyBrown, who is a heck of a nice guy to follow on Twitter. If you like, you can also follow me at @MasteryCoach.)

7.MailChimp*. Now that you have some quality followers, you want to invite them to something. Make that something wonderful and you may develop some raving fans. Fans become clients. MailChimp is an email marketing and list manager that offers a free account for email lists up to 500. Use a bit.ly link to invite your social networking followers to sign up for your free newsletter (or whatever) and manage that in MailChimp for free until your list gets really big and then you start to pay something. (By then, your client's fees will more than pay for the service.)

8. SurveyMonkey. Good marketing is about listening even more than expressing (just like good coaching). And you don't stop listening just because your list grows. You just need more efficient ways to listen to your fans. Surveys are a great way to do this. SurveyMonkey is well-designed and unless you're using it constantly, like we do (Our Coach 100 Feedback Forms are on the SurveyMonkey platform, for instance) the free SurveyMonkey account will be plenty.

9. Teleconferencing. Another great way to communicate with your fans (and have something to invite them to) is by doing teleconference calls. There are a plethora of free teleconference services out there that have an impressive array of features.

Two that we like are FreeConferencCalling, which lets you record in MP3 for free (great for preparing your coaching sessions for IAC Certification) and even has a nice button player for your website; and then there is FreeConferenceCall, which has an 'audiopodium' feature, if you just want your participants to be able to use a telephone to call into the recording. (If you're ready to get serious about creating digital products out of your conference calls, you may want to step up to AudioAcrobat* for your recording needs. It is not a free service, but it does have a free trial. And if you want a teleconference line with more bells and whistles, MaestroConference* has a free trial, too.)

10. DimDim*.  Webinars have many advantages over teleconferencing. A recorded webinar makes a attractive movie, for instance, that you can embed on your site, blog or even YouTube. I've tried all the webinar services out there, including WebEx, InstantTeleseminar, and GoToWebinar. I think none compare to DimDim and the free version may be all you'll ever need. It even comes with a free teleconference line, if you want to do tele-webinars.

11. BaseCamp*. You can use Dimdim to collaborate with a group of people from around the world, but if you do a lot of collaborative projects, you may want BaseCamp, an awesome suite of tools from the folks at 37Signals. Very simple, clean neat tools for getting projects done efficiently. Who couldn't use more of that? And the free version is very robust.

12. Pulse. Hate Quicken and QuickBooks? Me too. But you still need to track your finances. A simple tool that tracks your cash flow, Pulse creates graphs and multiple views of your financial picture, so you can see where you are today, make projections into the future and sleep better at night. The free version is very nice and it works with BaseCamp, too.

13. PayPal*. Paypal used to be seen as a tool for amateurs, but boy, has it grown up. Setting up a basic Paypal account is still free. Note however, that when people pay you, Paypal will take a small percentage. All merchant gateways will do this, but most will charge some hefty fees upfront, as well.

The thing that's great about Paypal is that it can grow with you. Over time, when you need invoices, website buttons, subscription services, take payments over the phone, accept all major credit cards, plus debit cards and checks, Paypal can do all that and create reports for your accountant, too. You can learn as you go and if you want an alternative payment service, you can always add one, but some people like to pay directly from their Paypal accounts, so you may want to keep it. (At some point, you may need an online shopping cart to automate most of your business transactions. We use 1ShoppingCart* for this and it has a free trial. It integrates with Paypal and other merchant gateways.)

14. BigMind. So far, I've focused on business solutions that you can try out for free, but of course, every great coach has also done their personal development work. It's part of the job description. That could be another whole blog post, but today I'm highlighting my favorite free personal development resource. All this week, you can watch live streaming video of Genpo Roshi taking a group of retreat members through the Big Mind/Big Heart Process for free. Live participants paid hundreds of dollars to be there (I'll be there in November), but you can be 'there' for free. 

The difference between this Genpo Roshi free program and the free teleclass programs that I warned you about in a previous post, is that this is an advanced, in-depth program that is not designed to manipulate you into buying something, but is focused simply on providing value. Big distinction.

15. And of course, the School of Coaching Mastery has tons of free resources for you, too. Videos, audios, eBooks, free webinars, study groups and even our own social networking site. Just explore the site and blog and you'll find them. One resource that is particularly powerful is the 'Become a Coach!' eBook, which contains an 8-hour free coach training program. Again, this is not just a free informercial teleclass, but a real training program, for free.

Become a Coach eBook

 

Download the free Become a Coach! eBook and eCourse here.

Don't expect everything to be free of course. When it comes to your business, learn to pay for the stuff that helps you make more money. But try it for free, first.

 

* Disclosure: I'm an affiliate of this company. And I would recommend it, anyway.

Free Hugs Photo by Kalandrakas

Topics: blogging, School of Coaching Mastery, webinar, coach, IAC Certification, twitter, Mastery Coach Exchange, Genpo Roshi, Big Mind Big Heart, teleclass

Career Coaching Spikes Says CNN Money

Posted by Julia Stewart

CNN Money LogoOn September 29th, CNNMoney wrote, "Should You Hire a Career Coach?"

In it, Christopher Metzler, associate dean for human resources studies at Georgetown University, says, "Any time there's an economic downturn, career coaching spikes,"

With job searches now averaging 25 weeks, it's no surprise that the out-of-work are looking for every competitive advantage they can find. And while career coaching is not cheap,  one session averages $161, it more than pays for itself, if you land a great job a few months earlier than you would have otherwise.

There are pitfalls, however. As the article points out, not everyone who calls him/herself a career coach is skilled or qualified to help you reach your goals. And the quality of coach certifications varies widely. Some coach certification training programs take only a weekend to complete, with every participant guaranteed a certificate just for showing up. (I recently spoke to a coach who completed one such program. She confirmed that it was "pretty much a joke.")

Two places you can find career coaches who have pledged their professionalism, are the coaching trade organizations, IAC and ICF. Each has a Find-a-Coach feature. You can also find career coaches at Mastery Coach Exchange, where you can easily connect with and find out about your coach, before trying them out.

Other coaching specialties that do especially well in economic downturns are business and corporate coaching, executive coaching, and money coaching, but even fields like life coaching do surprisingly well, especially now that there are lower-cost options.

Here's the full CNNMoney article on career coaching. Check out their sidebar for more interesting information about it.

Read the Coaching Commons article on the same subject here.

Topics: business coach, corporate coaching, executive coaching, Career, ICF, Coach Certification, Mastery Coach Exchange, Life Coaching, IAC, certified coach, economic downturn, FIND A COACH

Winning Blogs Get Picked Up by 100 Best Coaching Blogs List

Posted by Julia Stewart

And the winner is...Great fallout from the Best Coaching Blogs Contest continues to roll in.

 

The contest had a few bumps, but in the end, there seem to be a lot of pleased coaches. Of course, a few people were disappointed that they didn't win, but most were philosophical, since their blogs picked up new readers and subscribers. They should have! The contest page received over 30,000 hits in two months.

Coach Marian Kerr, of New Zealand, shared this lovely comment,

‘Thanks for all your work on this Julia. Despite some glitches, it was still an amazing experience. I'll be following some of the blogs from the contest and have had new people subscribe to my blog and newsletter. It's great to share with those of like mind and receive inspiration and support along the way.'

Marian also mentioned that quite a few of the contestants' blogs were included in a list of 100 Best Life and Career Coach Blogs, right along side of Tony Robbins and Martha Beck. Not too shabby!

I was please that Mastery Coach Exchange, SCM's own social networking site for coaches, was included in the category called, 'Best Communities for Coaches', along with the IAC, the ICF and a few others.

As the list says,

"Coaches or someone just looking for a coach will enjoy visiting this Facebook like site. In addition to the groups, forums, and blogs, there is also a special section for becoming a coach."

One of the cool things about the web is that it catches us doing good things and creates a ripple effect that can keep expanding for years. I hope this contest continues to expand success for all of the contestants.

Thanks Marian, for passing this on!

photo by notsogoodphotography at flickr creative commons

Topics: Coaching, Best Coaching Blogs, blog, coaching blogs, ICF, coach, Tony Robbins, Mastery Coach Exchange, IAC, Martha Beck

Do Your Coaching Clients Find You Via Google or Facebook?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Find us on FacebookFor several years now, anyone who knows anything about doing business online has known that you need good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in order for your website to get found.

This is changing. Online networking sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook have become an excellent source of new traffic for any web site and especially for coaching websites. In fact, some internet marketing gurus have predicted that Facebook or YouTube could even overtake Google as the world's favorite search engine. (Wow!)

How can this be? Well sheer popularity for one thing. Facebook claims over 200,000,000 members (That's approximately equal to two thirds the population of the US and Facebook is grow a lot faster America!)

[2013 Update: Facebook now has over one billion members, approxiately 1/6 the total human population of Planet Earth.]

Popularity can be measured in more ways than just members. Last I heard, YouTube video viewings of Susan Boyle, the Britain's Got Talent sensation, are over 100,000,000. Imagine one tenth that kind of traffic to your coaching site!

But numbers aren't the whole story. Relationships are the real reason that social sites are a perfect fit for coaches. Any smart marketing guru will tell you that real value or web 2.0 means you can now listen to your potential clients instead of just shouting at them.

In other words, you can have conversations and ask questions before someone even thinks about wanting a coach. Do you know anyone who is good at asking questions and listening?

This is not to say that SEO isn't important anymore. It's simply slipped from the "end all and be all" of internet marketing to simply "extremely important". 

Here's one more important online trend in social networking. Social "micro-sites" are picking up where the gargantuan sites leave off. Micro-sites are perfect for "niche networking" and building a small fan base. That's where most coaches will find their ideal clients.

So in 2008, School of Coaching Mastery added Mastery Coach Exchange to its collections of websites. MCX, as we call it, is a social networking "micro-site" where coaching clients can find business and life coaches and communicate with them before they request a complimentary session. It's designed to help you learn the ropes, when it comes to social networking and building relationships with people who may become your clients.

MCX is not just for SCM students. If you're a professional coach or thinking about becoming one, you can join for free.

[May 3, 2013: In the end, Facebook won out. SCM took down its MCX site and now has a Facebook Page, instead. Join us on Facebook for inspiration, freebies and discounts on coach training.]

Topics: coaching clients, Google, Mastery Coach Exchange, LinkedIn, SEO, web 2.0

Coaching Blogs: Why You Need to Be Both Reading and Writing Them

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching BlogThe internet is a wonderful tool for helping coaches and clients connect.

And although professional coaches spend part of every work day online, most aren't using the net efficiently.

Gone are the days when having an online brochure (a.k.a. website) was enough. The internet is built for interconnectivity and if you're using it for one-way communication only, you're misusing it. 

Internet = Interactive = interconnectivity = Intercommunication

Having a coaching blog can increase your online attractiveness exponentially, but most coaches blunder into the blogosphere with no plan or strategy and frequently, no clue! If you're a coach who has a blog, but isn't sure how it can attract clients to you, here is a major step that you may have missed:

Success in  the blogosphere begins with other people's blogs, not your own. 

broadcast advertisingIf you were born before the year 2000, then you grew up in an age where business success was built on advertising and promotion that was one-way. To get the word out, you broadcast your message by interrupting people who were pretty much your captive audience. Think: TV commercials and subway ads. 

Rarely is that the case, anymore. Today, people record TV and fast forward through the ads and they read blog posts on their iPhones, while taking mass transit.

If you're still trying to broadcast your message, nobody is listening.

Maybe it's just me, but I think business and life coaches break this rule almost more than anyone else on the net. Are you one of those coaches? If you are using your blog or Twitter or Facebook or Mastery Coach Exchange as a broadcast-only tool, you're missing both the point and the value.

Every good blogging strategy starts with reading a lot of blogs and subscribing to the ones that really speak to you. This not only keeps you well informed, it gives you a change to absorb what really works in blogging.

You may want to comment on some posts. This is your first step toward "intercommunication".

Once you're a bono fide member of the blogosphere, you're ready to start blogging and attracting, yourself. We teach this topic in far more depth in the new Coach 100 Business Success Program at SCM, but if you're not ready to jump right into coaching success, then at least take a baby step toward it by subscribing to this blog.

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Topics: blogs, blogging, blogosphere, coaching blog, Facebook, twitter, Attraction Principles, Mastery Coach Exchange, clients, internet

What Does Masterful Coaching Look Like on TV?

Posted by Julia Stewart


I heard from a number of coaches after they viewed thePenn & Teller Life Coaching videos below, who reported feeling mildly traumatized ("skeeved" is probably a better word) by how crummy the featured coaches appeared.

I think after all the "How Not to Coach" videos that I've run in the Mastery Coach Exchange, it's time I showed you one that displays true masterful coaching and how it changes lives, both in an instant and for all time.

Here's the perfect video to show that. It's a recent segment of the KHOU Great Day Houston show featuring virtuoso professional coach, Mattison Grey, IAC-CC (member of SCM's Board of Advisors). We briefly meet a couple of Mattison's clients, including the one who ditched her successful IT exec job to do what she really wants: own and run a gorgeous resort in Bali.

Then we watch a mini-session (4 minutes!) where Mattison coaches a member of the audience and helps her find what she really wants to do with the rest of her life. Mattison nails it with lightening speed. See if you can catch what she does (If you're a member of SCM, I bet you notice it). It goes by so fast, you may have to watch twice. There are instructions at the end of the video on how to get a work sheet that will help you find what you really want, too.

Also notice people's reactions when Mattison says "pros & cons" don't work and later points out that high performers are really good at getting what they don't want ~ Do you think she's speaking the truth for anyone?

Not too long ago, I had a conversation with Mattison in which we both agreed (half joking) that all those untrained, uncertified coaches out there who think they're so great ought to have to prove it by becoming IAC Certified! (Oops! There, I said it in public!) That may never happen, but it would sure prevent any more Penn & Tellers.

And ~ I have a request. If you like the way this video displays coaching; if you think it casts a favorable light on the coaching industry; please email Mattison here and beg her to have one of her tech people post this video on YouTube for the whole world to see. Mattison tends to ignore me when I suggest ways to leverage technology for more fame, but I bet if enough of you asked her to: Please, do coaches, coaching, and the whole world a big favor and show them what great coaching really looks like, then we'd all feel much better about those silly videos that show bad coaching - and Mattison will be world famous! (Hmm, maybe then I'll pull a Stephen Colbert and claim I gave her the "Stewart Bump"!)

Watch Mattison coach on Great Day Houston here: Fast connection or Slow connection.

Topics: School of Coaching Mastery, Mattison Grey, Masterful Coaching, Mastery Coach Exchange

In the Flow

Posted by Julia Stewart

Mastery Coach Exchange

Subscribe to Coaching Mastery News Here

It's interesting what happens when you choose the right goal. Since I decided to do this project a few months ago, I've gradually shared it with more an more people. Virtually everyone has been supportive, even the majority of "low energy" supporters, you know, those people who say nice things, but aren't really engaged ~ Even most of them are excited about SCM!

And we're moving forward. Today, the site went "Live". Not polished yet, by a long stretch, but we have our web presence and that makes it all "real". Today Diana will get the banner and link to this site up on my main coaching site: YourLifePart2.com so visitors will be able to find us. YourLifePart2.com gets a fair amount of traffic. One day, SCM will get even more traffic. Pretty exciting!!

Join Ad Hoc Advisors here

Email questions or comments here


Copyright, Julia Stewart, 2007

Topics: School of Coaching Mastery, Mastery Coach Exchange

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