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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.

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:

Download Certified Neuroscience Coach Facts Here

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

Which Coach Certification Will Make You Successful?

Posted by Julia Stewart

coach certification stamp

Which coaches are most successful?

In a recent article, Seth Godin, the guru of marketing, pointed out that the top 5% of businesses do very well. He also mentioned that everyone would like to be number one, but mathematically, not everyone will be number one, which is okay because the top 5% is where you need to be. This applies to coaching, too.

How do you get into the top 5% of coaches?

There are many pathways to success in coaching. One is to increase the quality of you customer service. Another is to increase the quality of your coaching. Both will help you become "remarkable". In other words, your happy clients will rave about you and that brings more happy clients. Experience, training, education, and certification will also help you do well. Of these, certification tends to be most important in coaching.

Do you need to be certified to succeed as a coach?

No one certification, by itself, will be enough for you succeed to as a coach. And there are still some coaches who claim you don't need any certification, at all. This used to be true back when few working coaches were certified and it may still be true depending on who your clients are. If you coach mostly entrepreneurs, they may not care if you're certified. But if you want to qualify for lucrative coaching contracts in large organizations, you will most certainly need a recognized certification.

What certification will help you succeed as a coach?

By far, the most recognized coach certifications are those of the ICF. They have three levels and the highest, their MCC, is only held by 4% of the coaches they have credentialed. This might suggest that you need the MCC to succeed, but that's not true. Many coaches are still uncertified and we have to count them, too. Still fewer coaches are certified by the ICF, only about 25,000, as of this writing, out of the 50,000-60,000 professional coaches, worldwide. We can estimate that 2,500-3,000 coaches are in the top 5%, many more than are MCCs. So I would suggest the next level down, the ICF PCC, is the one you want to shoot for. In my experience, those are the coaches who are succeeding.

Will the ICF PCC guarantee coaching success?

No. As stated earlier, no one factor contributes to coaching success, but certifications do matter and entry-level certifications sometimes aren't enough. When you choose your coach training path, look for trainings that are accredited for at least enough hours to qualify for the PCC. You may want to shoot for the stars and get MCC-level training, as well.

Where can you find coach trainings that are accredited for PCC and MCC credentialing?

The ICF has listings for many trainings that meet the requirements for PCC certification (125 hours) and MCC certification (200 hours). The Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program was the first positive psychology coach training program accredited by the ICF for 125 hours and later became the only one accredited for 200 hours. We are still the only positive psychology coach training, other than university training programs that are much longer and more expensive, that is accredited for 200 hours. If you're looking for evidence-based coach training, one of the fastest growing areas in coaching today, check out our program.

 

Get this Fact Sheet and Start ICF Coach Credential

 

Topics: ICF, Coach Certification, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, MCC, PCC

Why the New ICF Requirements for the MCC Credential Matter

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coach Certification

An important deadline looms for any coach who wants to achieve the coveted ICF MCC credential.

As the owner of a coach training program that meets the requirements for Master Certified Coach (MCC) level training (namely, the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program), I received an email today from the ICF, the world's best-known certifier of coaches, about an upcoming deadline for MCC applicants.

This is one of several changes in certification requirements that the ICF has made based on data collected from past applications, such as the requirement that all applicants complete comprehensive coach training that progresses from beginner to advanced skills, rather than piecing together a course here and a course there, because graduates of progressive training programs are more likely to succeed in achieving their ICF certifications.

The next deadline is for coaches who want to apply for the MCC without first achieving the mid-level PCC credential.

After February 28, 2019, Noon Eastern/New York Time, you must already have the ICF's Professional Certified Coach (PCC) before you can submit your application for the MCC. Again, this is based on the ICF's own data, which found that PCCs were much more likely to succeed at passing the MCC requirements than non-ICF certified coaches. I have been told by an ICF Mentor Coach (but have not personally verified) that up until now, only 7% of applicants for the MCC have passed. Evidently most of those who did not pass did not yet have the PCC.

Here's a story that illustrates why these changes matter so much:

The following is true, but I've obscured some details to hide the identity of the individual... I received a phone call recently from someone who had been employed for three decades as a coach at the headquarters of a large financial corporation when the building they worked in was destroyed in a major disaster. Rather than relocating all the employees whose offices no longer existed, the corporation chose to lay off all of them. Despite thirty years of experience and an advanced degree in psychology from an ivy league school, this individual found they were unemployable as a coach, because in thirty years, the landscape of professional coaching had changed and virtually all large organizations now require recognized certifications for their coaching hires.

This person was interested in taking the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program and qualifying for the MCC as quickly as possible and they were hoping to avoid beginner-level courses. I had to tell them they probably wouldn't have time to get the MCC without applying for their PCC, first, because they would also need to clock 2,500 hours of coaching AFTER they commenced training to qualify for the MCC. The ICF requires this because many people who coach without adequate training aren't really coaching. The individual said something telling at the end of our phone call: "Thanks for the great coaching."

I didn't coach them; I gave them advice.

Their confusion over the nature of our conversation helped confirm for me the wisdom of the ICF's requirements even though they might seem overly restrictive. Sometimes what people call coaching isn't really coaching and that's why the ICF won't certify them based on degrees and experience, alone. They also need coach-specific training.

In short, certification is more important in coaching than a degree and comprehensive coach training is a must for the best-known certifications.

The Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program was the first comprehensive positive psychology coach training program to meet the training requirements for MCC-level credentialing. It also meets requirements of the entry-level ACC and mid-level PCC. Currently, the only other positive psychology coach trainings approved at the MCC-level are graduate-level university degrees, which take longer to pass and cost quite a bit more. Coaches who want advanced skills and successful careers choose our program because they're uninterested in graduate degrees, either because they already have them, or because they know their clients are uninterested in them.

Another trend in coaching is the turn toward evidence-based coaching, such as positive psychology coaching.

There are many other shorter positive psychology coach training programs, but based on our data, coaches who coach at least at the PCC level tend to be more successful, professionally. We also assist our students in building their careers.

Get training that prepares you for today's coaching market.

If you'd like to learn more about positive psychology coaching, certification, and training, click below and download a free ebook, fact sheet, or list of graduation requirements. We're here to help you succeed!

 

Explore the Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program

 

 

 

Topics: ICF, Coach Certification, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, MCC, positive psychology coaching, positive psychology coach training

ICF Master Certified Coach: Join Me on the Journey

Posted by Julia Stewart

Master Certified Coach

The ICF's Master Certified Coach (MCC) is generally considered the ultimate in coach certifications. And since I run School of Coaching Mastery, it seems fitting that I have that credential. For the nearly fifteen years that I've been coaching, though, I really didn't need it. Here's a short history of coach certifications and why the ICF's is more important than ever.

Way back in the beginning, when Thomas Leonard started the IAC (called the International Association of Certified Coaches, or IACC, back then), I was only interested in getting that credential. Despite Thomas' passing in 2003, the IAC did certify coaches and I got to be among the first certifiers (via CoachVille) and was eventually given the title of Lead Certifier for the Thomas Leonard Coaching School, where we certified most IAC-CCs from 2003 through 2005, until the IAC split from CoachVille. But after that split, IAC certification gradually slowed to a trickle. Without Thomas in the lead, the IAC just didn't have the visibility it needed to fulfill its promise.

Of course, the ICF was founded by the same Thomas Leonard years earlier (1995, making it a ripe old 20 years, now). Its certifications (ACC, PCC, and MCC) required way more hoops to jump through, including training hours, mentor coaching, coaching hours, etc., but it already had a powerful toe-hold by the time the upstart IAC came around and the IAC never slowed it down.

I think the competition actually has been good for everyone; the ICF has now made some important improvements to their certification process, so it's more respectable than ever. And although other not-for-profit coach certifiers have come around, such as the Center for Credentialing and Education, with its Board Certified Coach credential, the ICF is still the leader in coaching certifications.

In the meantime, the IAC seems to be licensing schools more than it's certifying coaches. Just today, their newsletter, the IAC Voice, mentioned three new school applications and one new certified coach. That's been par for the course for several years now and it's an unworkable business model. If the IAC licenses more schools to teach its Masteries each year than it certifies coaches, that means, on average, each of those schools has a chance to graduate one fraction of a certified coach per year. See what I mean? Why bother?

School of Coaching Mastery was the first school to be licensed by the IAC worldwide, but with so few coaches interested in IAC certification and even fewer succeeding at getting certified by the IAC, it has started to feel a little like false advertising to call ourselves IAC Licensees, because our students just aren't getting certified by the IAC, anymore (so I'm thinking about dropping our IAC license next year).

Our students are getting certified by the ICF, however.

That brings me back to my MCC journey. Although I've had the IAC's master-level certification for years, now that I have an ICF-approved coach training program, the ICF wants me to get certified by them.

More importantly, after all these years, I feel like I really want this credential. So I'm on my way and using my love of learning to dive deep into the ICF approach to masterful coaching.

Curious what it takes to get the MCC? I have on good authority that they only pass 7% of coaches who apply for the MCC, so statistically, I have a 93% chance of failing the first time. That's okay, because there's a 100% chance I'll keep sending them coaching sessions until they pass me, so that MCC pin is nearly mine (at least in my head).

To keep myself honest and on track (accountability, anyone?), I'm writing about my experiences and discoveries in this blog. I'll keep you posted.

Want to learn more about becoming a coach and getting certified? Get the "Become a Coach!" eBook, below.

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Topics: ICF, Coach Certification, master coach, BCC, MCC, IAC, certified coach

Become a Business Coach: Shut Up and Listen

Posted by Julia Stewart

If you want to become a business coach, your best strategy is to shut up and listen. Yes, what you know matters, but less than you think. Listening is your key to helping others succeed.

Watch this TEDx video with Ernesto Sirolli, Founder of the Sirolli Institute, on how you can't help anyone unless you first listen.

This is true whether you're coaching them or selling coaching to them. To learn more, click the button to join Business Coach, Master Sales Coach and Provocateur, Mattison Grey, MCC; for a free teleclass on how to Stop Talking & Get More Clients.

But first, get inspired by Ernesto's impassioned talk. You'll love it!

 

Register for FREE: Stop Talking & Get More Clients

Topics: business coach, become a business coach, Free, Mattison Grey, TED, sales and marketing coaches, teleclass, MCC

Become a Business Coach: Super Secrets of a Super-Successful Coach

Posted by Julia Stewart

Become a Business CoachRecently I interviewed Mattison Grey, MCC, about her 15 years as a super-successful coach and the three secrets to success that she wished she knew when she first became a business coach.

If you want to become a business coach yourself, love your work and be well paid, you owe it to yourself to listen to the 45-minute audio, below. Even if you're a veteran business coach, this audio will be eye-opening. In it, Mattison discusses in detail the following:

 

  1. Your fee has to reflect the value your client wants to create, not what you think they want to pay.
  2. Her mentor was right when he told her she would have to learn to sell if she wanted to succeed.
  3. Traditional selling is pushy and manipulative, so she had to learn a new way to sell with authenticity.
Listen to the whole audio to discover what Mattison really means and why it matters if you want to become a business coach and succeed like she did:
Mattison's approach to selling is a fresh breath of air, compared to what most of us think of as selling. 
I know, because I've taken her sales seminar (twice), along with a whole slew of other successful coaches, such as Coaching Telesummit Queen, Adela Rubio, who said, "Mattison shifted my resistance to selling when I took her virtual sales training." and Coach Laurie Peterson, who says simply, "It Works!!!", and TV Image Coach, Sarah Shah, who says the best part is, "I'm making more money and no one feels dirty in the end." 
I've managed to talk Mattison into teaching her signature Real Selling for Real Humans course at School of Coaching Mastery this January.
But you can get a taste of Mattison's unique approach to selling with integrity in a free teleclass on December 13th called, Stop Talking and Get More Clients.
Find out more about the free teleclass and the Real Selling for Real Humans course and learn how you can save $50 off the fee and get a free book ($20 value):

 

Register for FREE: Stop Talking & Get More Clients 

Topics: business coach, become a business coach, coaching clients, Free, Mattison Grey, Adela Rubio, sales and marketing coaches, sales training for new coaches, MCC

Life Coach Advice for Romney Before the Debate

Posted by Kristi Arndt

Guest post by Dr. Kristi Arndt, MCC
Dear Mr. Romney, Life Coach Advice

May I call you Mitt? It's more comfortable for me if we interact on a first name basis. I was pleased and honored to receive a request yesterday to coach you. Given that your final debate with Barack Obama is tonight, we do not have much time to build our relationship prior to the event. However, I would like our connection to deepen over time as that would allow us to work most effectively together.

As your coach also knowing you grew up around politics with your dad becoming Governor of Michigan, I think it is important for you to understand something. My mother was the political one, not me. Unlike you, I much prefer remaining on the sidelines. How proud your own father would have been to see you running this race!
If you didn't know "the late, great Mary Jo Arndt" as many friends now refer to her, then I encourage you to get acquainted by reading her obituary when you have a few moments. Interestingly, after my mother's sudden passing September 24, 2011, a family member realized she had died on Mary Jo Arndt Day proclaimed by the Village of Lombard President exactly one year earlier

Mitt, at this point the presidential race is way too close to call. Your campaign certainly has an eye on the latest polling data. As we've seen in recent elections, every single vote counts, and one can not take anything for granted. In today's world, information is available instantaneously around the globe. Given the dynamics of political systems, changing moment to moment under the influence of a multitude of complex, interacting factors, plenty of opportunity still exists that I believe can make a difference in your favor.

I'd like to ask you a couple of questions. After all, that is what coaches do best! What do you really think you most need as you prepare for tonight's debate? Whose vote might you gain by showing your true colors and saying what is in your heart instead of sticking to those talking points your advisers have given you? Remember, it's only me; what you say here remains strictly confidential. I really want to know who you are, what you value most, and what drives you to become the next President of the United States of America. Why do you deserve my vote on November 6?

I have an inkling. Would you like me to share it? The words GRACE under PRESSURE are coming to me. Given the fact that you have not yet effectively convinced women to elect you, perhaps a strong, independent-minded, intelligent female leader with her own set of political accomplishments could serve as a perfect role model for you. What do you think, Mitt? Are you willing to give it a try? By the way, the weekend Wall Street Journal summarized the gender gap nicely.

Why are you even with Obama among men in the "Monied 'Burbs" but lagging 10 points behind with women there? Given that you need some swing states to go your way, this seems like a really important gap, especially since I'm one of these women. What's possible while there's still time to influence suburban women who tend to be wealthier and more highly educated?

Perhaps my mother's example can provide some inspiration you might use to convince potential voters to trust you when they head to the polls on Election Day. Mary Jo instinctively knew when to speak up and when it was best to keep quiet even if it meant she had to bite her tongue because a larger issue really was more important. She also fought to win. While undergoing chemotherapy to keep an extremely aggressive cancer under control, she served as the Illinois Women for McCain Campaign Chairman as well as a member of the McCain National Hispanic Outreach Team. Throughout her life, she faced adversity head on and always remained victorious in spirit. She was adamant about bringing women of diverse backgrounds into the Republican Party, encouraging and preparing them to run for elected office. Many times she chose to rise above challenge to defeat the odds, even turning some adversaries into her biggest supporters.

If she did it, so can you. Let's go, Mitt!
Your coach,
Kristi

Mary Jo and Kristi Arndt resized 600A committed leader devoted to help steer the future direction of the coaching profession, Dr. Kristi Arndt is Vice President of the International Association of Coaching (IAC). Kristi integrates extensive knowledge of the Human Design System to guide her clients according to life strategies that are correct for them. A lifelong learner and agent of change, she has fifteen years of professional experience in secondary and higher education settings including roles as a university learning center director and faculty development coordinator at a veterinary school. Kristi is a Master Certified Coach with the IAC and a Board Certified Coach through the Center for Credentialing and Education who earned PhD, EdM, and DVM degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. To get better acquainted, please book an appointment with her at www.CoachWithKristi.com.

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Topics: life coach, Kristi Arndt, CCE, BCC, MCC, Barack Obama, IAC

Coaching Questions Don't Always End With Question Marks

Posted by Julia Stewart

Business Coach, Mattison Grey, MCCToday, in the International Association of Coaching's (IAC) Voice newletter/blog, an article by Business Coach, Mattison Grey, MCC, appeared with the title, When the Best Coaching Tool Isn't a Question.

In her article, Mattison makes a powerful case for acknowledgment as a masterful coaching tool. She should know. Mattison wrote the book on acknowledgment called, The Motivation Myth. And she points out that most coaches don't know what it is or confuse it with something else.

Mattison has studied the art of acknowledgment more than anyone I know, probably more than any coach alive, so I always defer to her on this subject. She started educating me on acknowledgment six or seven years ago and I've watched her use it in action many times. It truly is amazing.

Unfortunately, if you haven't watched a master acknowledger practice her art, or if you didn't know what you were witnessing, you probably missed the implications. So let me point out a few.

Here's Mattison's definition of acknowledgment:

Acknowledgment is saying what a person did, or results they achieved, delivered with a tone of appreciation, curiosity or surprise, and without judgment.

Easy, right? Try it. For most coaches, it's anything but easy. That's because we're still getting in the client's way (In other words, we're NOT making it all about them, so we're failing the first step in master coaching).

If you acknowledge well, here are some of the things that may happen:

  • Your client lights up
  • They feel seen/heard
  • They don't feel suspicious (as in, 'What's she buttering me up for?')
  • They acknowledge themselves ('I did!')
  • They open up to us
  • They see themselves in a new light
  • They tell us things we didn't even know to ask about
  • They think more resourcefully
  • They step into their Personal Greatness
  • They are willing to do far more
  • They love themselves (and us)

When I teach acknowledgment to Master Coach Training students, I offer a few pointers, such as, use second-person pronouns (you, your, yours) instead of first-person pronouns (I, me, mine); acknowledge what the client did, the results they got and who they are becoming.

When used well, acknowledgment can express or enhance virtually any other coaching skill, including all of the IAC Coaching Masteries(tm). The right acknowledgment, well-placed and followed by a bit of silence, can even be a powerful clarifier.

Which is one reason why master coaches don't always ask questions.

Motivation Myth

 

Get your copy of Mattison's book, The Motivation Myth (at left) and become a master of acknowledgment.*

 

*I'm an affiliate of Mattison's and I would recommend this book, anyway.

Topics: business coach, Coaching, blog, Become a Master Coach, coaching questions, Mattison Grey, Masterful Coaching, acknowledgment, MCC, Master Coach Training, IAC, coaching tool

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