School of Coaching Mastery

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Does a Psychotherapist Need Coach Training to Become a Coach?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Do Psychotherapists Need Coach Training

At School of Coaching Mastery, we get tons of inquiries from people interested in becoming coaches. Quite a few of those inquiries come from psychotherapists. Questions from psychotherapists about coach training fall into two types.

The first type of question, from psychotherapists who are interested in coach training, are from therapists who assume that coaching and therapy techniques are the same and therefore their degrees and years of practicing therapy should exempt them from coach training, or that they should take the shortest and cheapest route to coach certification. Those coaches often mention that coaching is unregulated and that they already coach their therapy clients with skills such as, training, education, and support. Usually, they're looking for confirmation that they can just call themselves coaches, or they're looking for a fast, easy, and inexpensive course for therapists.

This group of therapists are sometimes surprised to discover that "not regulated" does not equal "anything goes" in professional coaching. Coaching is well-researched; we know what techniques work best (often not those used in therapy), we have codes of ethics and well-defined standards of certification. The reason we're still unregulated is because we don't target vulnerable populations or people in crisis. Never-the-less, we may become regulated eventually, and approval and certification from well-established professional organizations, such as the ICF, will likely be beneficial for professional coaches.

This group is also sometimes surprised to discover that they don't actually understand what coaching is, what it is for, or how to do it. Coaching is not practicing therapy without a license, nor is it therapy without a diagnosis. It is neither training, nor education. It is not advice giving nor consulting. It is not a way to practice something you're not licensed for, just because you call yourself a coach. I'm reminded of the woman who told me she called herself a coach, but was actually practicing conversion therapy (an attempt to convert a gay person to straight), which she couldn't get licensed to do, because being gay isn't an illness and therefore no one can be "cured" of it. I told her what she was doing violates coaching ethics.

The second set of questions come from therapists and counselors who also have advanced degrees in psychology or psychotherapy, including holders of doctorate degrees and professionals who have been practicing for years. This group is usually well-informed, has high standards, and is genuinely excited about becoming coaches. A sizable percentage of these coaches join our Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program, because they love the focus of coaching, which is on flourishing rather than healing, and because they're excited about the new direction positive psychology is taking, away from pathology and towards well-being. This latter group fits in perfectly at School of Coaching Mastery and we encourage them to join.

We have an application to join the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program, which helps us weed out people who aren't likely to succeed as coaches. You don't have to have a professional degree in psychology to be accepted into the program, but if you do need to be excited about becoming the best coach you can be, so you can offer maximum benefits to your coaching clients.

If you're a psychotherapist, or anyone, who thinks you may want to become a coach, ask yourself why. If it's mainly because coaching is trendy and well-paid, but you have no deep passion for it, no amount of money or time spent on coach training will be worthwhile for you. However, if you love the idea of helping people reach their full potential and attain exciting goals or dreams, this may be the profession for you. Apply to the program to find out.

Interested in becoming a positive psychology coach? Get the free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook here:

Free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook

 

 

 

Topics: coach training, become a coach, ICF, coaching vs. therapy, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, psychotherapy, Positive Psychology, life coaching vs. psychotherapy

11 Ways Bad Coaching and Coaching Hype Can Harm Coaching Clients

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching Hype

When I was a coaching student, my classmates and I were told it was okay to practice coaching even before we graduated, because "Coaching can't hurt anyone."

But the Elliot Rodger massacre counters that advice with a stark reality: "Coaching" doesn't cure mental illness, but it can and does hurt people when delivered by unknowledgeable or unscrupulous "coaches". Sometimes in spectacular ways. 

The thinking behind the advice I got in coaching school was that coaches don't work with vulnerable populations, or in crisis situations, and that our clients are high-functioners who are responsible for their own choices. If the coach is ethical and is getting good training, and the client isn't mentally ill, then this theory works well.  By the way, this is also why coaching isn't a regulated profession.

Coaching is unregulated, so buyers must be extra careful.

Reportedly, Rodger's parents did everything they could to give him a good upbringing and tried to help him with his emotional problems by getting him therapists and life coaches. He doesn't sound at all like a high-functioner to me, so most likely he was never a good candidate for coaching. His obsession with his perceived victimhood suggests something seriously wrong. Pick-Up-Artist Coach

That doesn't necessarily mean Rodger was harmed by his life coaches, but apparently he also explored another type of "coaching": the Pick-Up-Artist Coach (such as the guy to the right), who left Rodger feeling more frustrated than ever. The "coach" in the picture, and his website, look so creepy to me that I would call into question the mental health of anyone who hired him (or worse, slept with him).

Then there's the guy, below, who according to Slate and Jezebel, SPAMMED Rodger's YouTube channel with ads for his Dating Coach business. He claims his products could have saved lives!

StrategicDatingCoach

That's one of the many ways over-hyped coaching harms coaching clients: the marketing, itself, over-promises and misleads potential clients, while pretending the coach just wants to help. People with common sense often see through the sham. But not always.

I've known some very smart cookies who've been taken in by scam artists posing as coaches. Their sole purpose is to empty clients' bank accounts and max out their credit with ever more personal and exclusive "coaching programs". I've known more than one coaching client who lost their house, as a result.

And not every harmful coach is a scam artist. Some are well-meaning, but operate on false beliefs and methods that can leave a client dazed and confused.

Apparently Rodger tried learning "game", as PUA (pick-up-artist) Coaches call it, and it didn't help him with women. Then he join a PUA hate site.

Therapists didn't stop Rodger from going on a killing rampage, so it's not fair to blame the coaches that worked with him, except for this: ethical coaches know they don't have tools to overcome mental illness and even if they can't diagnose illness, they can observe whether or not they are helping and send a sick client to the appropriate professionals.

Here are 10 more ways over-hyped coaching, scam artists, and untrained coaches can harm their coaching clients.

1. Over-hyped coaching often encourages people to focus on false goals, such as becoming millionaires. Everyone wants more money, or at least thinks they do, so get-rich-quick schemes are always popular with scam artists. These days "spiritual" get-rich-quick schemes are especially in vogue. "Coaches" who promise wealth are one of the most likely groups to be preying upon unsuspecting clients. Sex is also a big seller.

2. The fact that most people don't know what coaching is, inspires nefarious people to call themselves coaches. "Coaches" are sometimes scam artists in sheeps' clothing. That includes an alarming number of spirit-based coaches.

3. Well-meaning (or not so well-meaning) Law of Attraction coaches may encourage overly extreme optimism, which can mimic bipolar mania, which tends to be followed by failure, including loss of money and disappointment. Then the client is told they are "doing it" wrong, that they must buy a platinum program to learn LOA better, which then leads to further failure and disillusionment. When the client finally accepts that the process doesn’t work for them, they may sink into depression. Manic Depression is the old name for biplor disorder. Really bad coaching encourages manic-depressive extremes.

4. Too many coaches are only interested in grandiose goals, when in some cases, more modest goals can transform a client's life. To paraphrase the old theater saying, "There are no small goals; only small coaches."

5. Confused coaches often expect to completely change a person’s mindset instantly, when in reality, permanently changing one’s thinking takes time and consistent effort. Sometimes the most successful coaching sessions merely open the possibility that change could happen.

6. Misguided coaches may over-emphasize environment and under-emphasize action. I was trained this way and environment is quite powerful, but coaching clients aren't passive creatures. They relearn how to be in the world by taking action and observing the results. Action trumps environment. Just ask Oprah Winfrey.

7. Over-hyped coaching promises outrageous success ("Make quantum leaps!", "Millions of dollars the easy way!", "Get beautiful women to sleep with you!", "Attract everything you want just by thinking about it!"), missing the subtle possibilities that are genuinely transformative.

8. Fake coaches focus primarily on advice-giving, which often is inappropriate for the client. Finding out the client's strengths, needs and values, helps them step into resourcefulness, which is almost always more valuable than advice.

9. Then there are the coaches who avoid any advice-giving at all, which can limit a client’s options. Effective coaches know when clients need more information. If they have it, and the best coaches have a lot of empowering information, they share it at the right times and in the right ways.

10. Finally, nefarious "coaches" make stuff up, instead of using tools that actually work. What kind of stuff do they make up? In the beginning, whatever the client wants to hear. Later, when the client has already sunk thousands into the coaching and is desperate to get some value out of it, scam-coaches tell the client whatever will make him or her spend some more money. 

How do you avoid being harmed by bad coaching? There are plenty of good coaches. Only work with coaches who have pledged to uphold professional ethics, make sure your coach has been trained in evidence-based coaching, opt for a certified coach whenever possible, and never ever try to substitute coaching for therapy. Even those things won't absolutely guarantee a good coach, though. Also use your common sense. If your gut says to run, run!

Elliot Rodger was a tortured soul who believed he was a victim of injustice. One of Rodger's victims was Christopher Michael-Martinez. His father, Richard Martinez, believes his son is a victim of injustice, namely that current laws in the US make mass-murder more likely. His call to action, "Not One More", has spurred a movement to demand that lawmakers change the laws. Will it be effective? No one knows, but what we have currently is a travesty. If you'd like to send a message to your elected official in support of Martinez' movement, click here.

Topics: Coaching, Coaches, Life Coaches, Law of Attraction, psychotherapy

4 Reasons It's Harder for Psychotherapists to Transition to Coaching

Posted by Julia Stewart

Therapist to Coach

Written by Julia Stewart

I've worked with thousands of coaches in the decade, or so, that I've been training coaches and most of them think they already know how to coach before they get training. That's true only in about 1% of cases.

That 1% applies to psychotherapists, counselors, social workers and other "helping professionals", too. People from these backgrounds can make terrific coaches, but usually they need to unlearn a few things and unlearning often takes longer than learning from scratch.

A story: One day, a member of our Certified Coach Training Program, a licensed psychotherapist, used a therapy technique to extract some info from a resistant client during a practice coaching session in class. He got the tidbit he was after, but the client was insulted and shut down the whole session. His classmates were likewise offended. I had a WTF moment, listening to this travesty, but the coach seemed to think he'd done something clever!

Lesson #1: You NEVER have permission to practice therapy on a coaching client. They are high-functioning and you'd better fully respect that. Use a therapy technique and you will destroy the trusted relationship you need to coach them well - and you'll be violating professional ethics, and possibly the law, as well.

Another story: I worked for years with a psychotherapist whose communication style was serious, cerebral, and analytical. It was perfectly suited to the type of therapy she did, but it hurt her coaching sessions and she had a real challenge learning an effective coaching style to qualify for IAC certification. When she finally achieved it, I literally had tears in my eyes!

Lesson #2: Coaching is light. A big part of what we do is validate the client. It sounds easier than it is for a lot of coaches, but the goal is for the client to be resourceful, so serious, cerebral, and analytical won't cut it.

A third story: I worked for a while with a counselor who had trouble transitioning to coaching. Whenever she got stuck, she asked the client how they felt: "How do you feel?...How do you feel, now?...How do you feel, now?" Argh! I'm pretty sure this wouldn't be great counseling, but I can tell you with authority that constantly focusing on the client's feelings is lousy coaching!

Lesson #3: Coaches don't heal people's feelings. We don't ignore them either, but they are an adjunct to the conversation, not the main topic. It's far better to ask a more specific question, such as, "You don't sound excited when you talk about that goal. What's up with that?"

Final story: I had a former child psychologist show up to a live certification event, but each time she coached, her clients (fellow participants, who were coaches and open to the process) got irritated and shut down. Hmmm, what's up with THAT? Answer: she communicated with her coaching clients in a voice that may have been appropriate for frightened children: soft, gentle and high pitched. In other words, she was talking baby talk to her clients. Ugh. No wonder they were irritated!

Lesson #4: You probably wouldn't use baby talk with your clients, but a communication style that worked for you, as a therapist, may still undermine your coaching. In fact, it may be a train wreck. And you might assume your clients are the problem, rather than your communication style, if you don't get feedback from a good coach trainer, because resistant coaching clients act a lot like therapy clients who have issues: mistrusting, closed mouthed, uncooperative, etc. 

Don't hobble your transition into coaching. Get training on coaching communication and make sure you get lots of in-class practice and feedback from experts. Otherwise, you'll repeat the problems above, or worse.

Better yet, if you want to coach and you're just getting started, you may want to skip the psychology degree and just get coach training, instead. You'll save a ton of money and time.

Get Certified Coach Training

Topics: professional coach, become a coach, Coach Training Programs, IAC Certification, Certification Practicum, Certified Coach Training, psychotherapy, Certification Prep

Coaching Your Great Self: A Whole New World of You

Posted by Julia Stewart

Great Self Coaching

What is the Great Self?

That's a great question...If you're a veteran of personal development programs or of some forms of spirituality, then you may have been introduced to the distinction of the Higher Self vs. the Ego. The terminology may have been different, but the basic idea is that the Higher Self is good (ex.: loving, spiritual, altruistic, etc.), while the Ego is bad (ex.: selfish, petty, destructive, etc.) Read A New Earth for one of the best descriptions of this dualistic view of human beings.

The Great Self concept takes this idea a step further from either/or to both/AND. The ego is an essential operating system for any healthy human being. It's there to protect you and look out for your interests. It only becomes a problem when our interests conflict with the interests of others. This tends to happen, because we are either unaware of the Higher Self or are rejecting the Ego.

Eliminating the Ego would be like removing the Windows, Mac, or Chrome operating system from your computer and expecting it to still work. In Great Self Coaching, we integrate the ego and all of its 'apps' with the Higher Self, which is enormously powerful. This is a HUGE upgrade, like going from 8 Gigs to 160. And it's a fun process!

How did Great Self Coaching come about?

Another awesome question. Great Self coaching is the culmination of decades of professional experience, helping people reach their dreams. I've synthesized and developed the work of hundreds of master teachers from fields like coaching, psychology, neuroscience, spirituality, personal development and more, such as Thomas Leonard, the Founder of the Coaching Profession, and Zen Master, Genpo Roshi, whose Big Mind process added the concepts of the Controller, Protector and Analyzer as gateways to the Great Self.

Great Self Coaching has been years in the making and you're invited to taste it for free in one of 3 group coaching sessions coming up:

Find out more about Great Self Coaching Here.

 

 

Image courtesy of Elan Sun Star.

Topics: Coaching, group coaching, ego, Thomas Leonard, Great Self Coaching, psychotherapy, Genpo Roshi, Big Mind Big Heart, Life Coaching, personal development, Eckhart Tolle

World's First Certified Mastery Coach

Posted by Julia Stewart

Dr. Brick, Certified Mastery CoachYesterday, I had the pleasure of telling SCM coach/student, Brick Saunderson (Dr. Brick), that he's the first ever SCM Certified Mastery Coach!

I'm not sure which of us was more excited! Brick joined the SCM Certified Coach Training Program about a year ago. With decades of experience as Clinical Counselling-Hypnotherapist (RCCH) and Registered Counsellor on Vancouver Island, BA, Canada, Brick already had loads of skill working one-on-one with clients. In fact, he has his own school where he teaches other counsellors how to use hypnotherapy and is clearly is a long-time master in helping others create the lives they desire.

Regardless, Brick says becoming a certified coach is a huge milestone for him!

SCM, on the other hand, is a pretty new coaching school (founded, 2007) and the Certified Mastery Coach designation was only designed a couple of months ago, so we are super excited to have our first certified coach, especially since several more of our coach/students have demonstrated coaching mastery and will be following in Brick's footsteps and getting certified by us and/or the IAC very shortly.

 

And you can visit Brick Certified Mastery Coach page here.

Brick shared some gems about his journey with me in a 19 minute recorded interview right here. If you're wondering about going into coaching or becoming certified and you'd like to hear from someone (unedited) who's just been through the process, maybe this will be helpful to you:


MP3 File

Coach Certification eBook If you'd like more secrets about becoming a certified coach, download the free Seven Secrets of Certification eBook.

Topics: Coach Certification, Become a Certified Coach, Certified Coach Training, psychotherapy, IAC, certified coach, Canada

Coaching vs. Therapy: The Ick Factor

Posted by Julia Stewart

Life coaching vs therapyThe "coaching vs. therapy" issue has been debated by coaches and therapists for years.

It came up for me in two completely different episodes, recently. One was in a coaching session that I observed where a coach/therapist brilliantly used a therapy technique and got the response they were after, but elicited considerable resistance from the client, in the process.* It took me by surprise, because it clearly wasn't part of the coaching "rule book" and it became a catalyst for some reflection, on my part, about what actually defines a boundary between coaching and therapy, because as you know, they are very different professional services that do overlap in a number of areas.

The other situation was with a coach/therapist who I had reason to talk to for a few minutes, who was clearly not happy that I hadn't done more of something that they thought I should be doing.* It was a really icky conversation that reminded me of how there are times when neither coaching nor therapy is appropriate.

Why therapy and counseling don't work with coaching clients: This is simple. High-functioning people hate being put in too small a box and in most cases therapy or counseling feels way too small to them. The exception to this is when someone gives permission to a therapist to counsel them. Permission is everything in relationships. Coaching clients do not give permission for therapy. Period.

People with therapy or counseling backgrounds often assume that coaching will come easy to them, because of the communication skills or techniques that they have already mastered. In some cases this is true. In many more, it is actually a hindrance, because the style of communicating that may have served them well within counseling situations, irritates coaching clients. I remember observing a coach who had previously been a child counselor.* Their clients, who normally were quite open to coaching, kept shutting down. It was because they were using their "child counselor" voice, which was offensive to their high-functioning adult coaching clients!

Subtleties make all the difference.

Even when the communication style is completely appropriate, therapy techniques will feel manipulative to a coaching client, because in therapy there tends to be a bit of a "one up, one down" relationship, where the client has agreed that there is something wrong that they need the therapist's help with. In coaching, the relationship is always between equals and the client doesn't need to be fixed. Get tricky with a coaching client and, even if you succeed in the short run, you'll pay for it down the line with a less open and less trusting client. 

That brings me to my icky conversation. The person I talked with tends to communicate with me from a coaching/counseling approach, even in emails. This is alwaysinappropriate, unless the person you're communicating with gives permission. It is presumptive and rude. Virtually always, when a coach thinks someone needs their help, their ego is getting in the way. The other person will sense this and shut down.

It's like that old saying about why one should never try to teach a pig to sing. It doesn't work and it irritates the pig.

In this case, calling the coach on what she was doing didn't help. To make matters worse, she seemed to be using her "therapist voice". Yucko. When the conversation was over, I remember thinking, "God I hope I never run into her again!"

I was one irritated little piggy.

After later reflection, I realized that while there were many reasons I chose the path I took, which this person clearly wasn't satisfied with, there was another, more subtle reason: I had gradually shut down over a period of months, because of their meddlesome, coach-y, I-know-what-you-should-be-doing-better-then-you-do style of communication. By the time we came face to face, it was already over.

Why coaching people without their permission doesn't work: High-functioning people hate being "helped" unless they've given permission. It implies they're incompetent. Don't try to coach them and definitely don't try to counsel them, unless they've told you they want it.

The Ick Factor will get you. Clients will shut down. Friends and acquaintances will avoid you. People will do less of what you want, instead of more. (They might even blog about it! ;-)

*I purposely made these stories vague, because the details aren't important, but the ramifications are.

 

Copyright, Julia Stewart, 2008

Topics: coaching clients, coaching vs. therapy, psychotherapy, Life Coaching, communication

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