Coaching Blog

10 Questions to Help You Thrive Through the Pandemic

Posted by Julia Stewart

ask the right questions

Ready to thrive through the pandemic? Read on...

If you're like most people, you've been thrown for a loop by the corona epidemic.

Up to a point, responding quickly to what's happening is vital, so you can't ignore the crisis. It's a scary disease we're all susceptible to and shutting down the economy creates even more problems to handle even though it's the right thing to do.

But we tend to have better outcomes when we focus more on the positive. You can switch easily to that focus by asking yourself better questions. Don't wait to explore the following. The sooner you start, the better outcomes you can create. You may want to return to them again as you get more clarity.

These 10 questions can change your life by expanding your awareness so you can thrive:

  1. What's already going well? Another way to ask this is: What are you grateful for right now? Make a list of three things, large or small, you're thankful for. Are you breathing? Put that on the list. Do you have a house to live in? You get the idea. Don't just answer this question; take the time to feel the gratitude. I know you are fortunate because you are able to access the internet. You can put that on the list, if you want. Take the time to ask this question and feel the gratitude at least once per day.
  2. What's the worst problem you have right now?... Okay, that sucks. I get it. But now I'm going to ask the real question: What's great about that problem? Think until you find something. Now find two more things. Do you get to spend more time with your kids? Do you have more time to plant your garden this spring? Have you always wanted to work from home? You don't negate other people's suffering by appreciating the goodness in your life. Quite the opposite. When you're happy, it's easier to be kind to others. Isn't that what really matters?
  3. How would you like it to be for the next two weeks (or eight, or twelve)? Imagine everything as if it went as well as it possibly could. How can you show up to create that? Who would you have to become? How could you become that?
  4. What's your purpose right now? If you live your life purpose, it makes everything more fulfilling. But even if you were living it before, it may have temporarily changed. What matters most in these current conditions? How can you bring that about?
  5. What strengths can help you through this? We all have our preferred ways to do things. It makes life easier and more fun. You always have permission to do it your way. But sometimes it helps to develop a new way. Challenges can help us grow.
  6. How can you grow through this? If you're complaining, blaming, or whining, you're playing victim. We all do that now and then but if you allow it to become habitual, you'll make everything worse for you and all those around you. Instead, think of yourself as the creator of your destiny. Make it a fun game. Tools that can help include spiritual practices like prayer, meditation, mindfulness, inspirational reading, and more. A positive psychology coach can help a lot, too.
  7. What positive habit/s could help you achieve the best outcomes? A daily workout? Video chats with positive friends? Enjoying your favorite books, movies, meals? Playtime with your pets?
  8. What do you need to learn right now? Do you need a new career? A new skill? A way to make a living from home? Online learning is plentiful and well worth the time and money.
  9. Who can help you? We're all in this together. You've got something that can help someone else and somebody else can help you. What do you need help with? It feels vulnerable to ask but people often get the most joy from helping others so go ahead and ask.
  10. What's your ultimate goal? Working toward goals is inherently rewarding when those goals are aligned with our values. If you have the gift of time, your ultimate goal may be where you need to focus. How will others benefit when you succeed? Are you willing to get started now?


These 10 questions are challenging. A great coach can help you with them.


If you'd love to help others by asking empowering questions, coaching is the ultimate work-from-home career. If you're ready to start your new future, consider joining us for online training:


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Topics: coaching questions, Strengths, mindfulness, Values, questions, positive psychology coach

How Much Does Life Coach Training Cost?

Posted by Julia Stewart

How much does life coach training costTo become a credible life coach requires training and certification. But how much will all that cost you?

It depends. Answer a few quick questions to get an accurate answer:

  • Is coaching just a hobby or do you want a successful career with it?
  • Do you want to work for yourself or for someone else?
  • How soon do you want to start your coaching career?
  • Are you willing to travel for your training or does it need to fit your current lifestyle?
  • Are you more interested in a degree or a career?
  • Do you want to get certified? (Hint: certification can help your coaching career)

Coach training costs depend on several factors:

  • You'll probably need more training if you want a successful career than if you're just coaching for a hobby.
  • Likewise, if you work for yourself, you may need more training than if you are employed by an organization.
  • Some trainings take years; others take a few weeks. Many encourage you to coach while you train.
  • Travel costs add up quickly. Online training is usually more convenient and cost effective. Consider travel, lodging, and meals if you need to travel for your training.
  • Coach training schools will help you start your career, while graduate programs will earn you a degree.
  • Certification is the preferred credential in coaching, and certification from an independent organization is preferred over certifications issued by your school. Look for schools that are accredited/approved by independent certifiers.

Here's what you can expect to pay for life coach training:

  • You can get short trainings for under $1000.
  • Professional coach training runs between $3000 and $10000, depending on how many hours are involved.
  • Accredited/approved training programs often cost more. If you want a particular certification, such as ICF, IAC, or IAPPC, be sure your training hours qualify. The above organizations each have three levels of certification and may require more training for higher certifications.
  • Graduate programs usually cost more than $10000, sometimes a lot more.

How can you pay for life coach training?

  • Many coach training programs have payment plans.
  • Some coaches apply for a credit card with zero interest for the first year and pay with that credit card.
  • Some coaches get a part-time job and pay with the income they earn.
  • Some coaches keep their full-time job while they train.
  • Some coaches dip into savings.
  • Some coaches pay off their training with their income from coaching.
  • Some coaches downsize their expenses until their coaching careers take off.
  • Some employers will pay for coach training.
  • Many coaches use a combination of strategies to pay for coach training.


Learn the secrets of becoming a coach, how to choose the right coach training for you, and getting certification with this free eBook:


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Topics: life coach, Coach Certification, life coach certification, life coach training, online coach training, questions, free ebook, IAPPC

Virginia Tech: A Dumb Question Might Have Saved Lives

Posted by Julia Stewart

An article in this morning's New York Times about the massacre earlier this week at Virginia Tech reminded me of the importance of not making assumptions.

The article explains that the reason campus investigators didn't lock down VT campus after the first two shootings - a move that might have saved thirty lives - is that they were following up on a lead that suggested the murderer was the boyfriend of one of the victims.

It was a good lead, or so it seemed. However, during a two-hour pause in the shootings, while investigators interrogated the boyfriend, the real murderer, Cho Seung-Hui, was chaining doors and taking other measures in preparation for more carnage.

The investigators made a reasonable choice. As Col. W. Steven Flaherty, the superintendent of the Virginia State Police, said, “There was certainly no evidence or no reason to think that there was anyone else at that particular point in time.”

And I'm not here to blame or criticize them. They did the best they could. The outcome however, is far from what anyone would have wanted.

You want smart professionals doing a job like this. Most of us try to be smart professionals in our own jobs. Nobody wants to be stupid. But a couple of dumb questions might have made an enormous difference here.

As quoted in the Times, authorities “made the right decisions based on the best information that they had available at the time.” That's what all of us do, right?

Professors and students on campus had been nervous about the killer's behavior long before he acted, but as one professor said, "little could be done."

These are smart reasonable people and they all did their best. But when reasonable choices don't get the job done, that's sometimes a sign that it's time to think differently.

And of course, it's easy to to point out what they should have done, now that we have the benefit of hindsight, but there IS a way to think differently in the moment and that's worth talking about, because it can lead to very different outcomes.

It's to refuse to make assumptions, which can sometimes lead us to unreasonable, even dumb questions like, "What if the boyfriend isn't the killer?" or "What if there is a second shooter?"

Again, I'm not here to criticize anyone. This blog is written for coaches and I'm just using this story as a powerful example of what can happen when people do the right, reasonable thing and still get awful results. It's why it's the coach's job to ask dumb questions - seriously.

I'm defining a dumb question as one that is so obvious, people may not be asking it.

I'm definitely NOT suggesting that the investigators should have hired a coach to help them. And I'm also not suggesting that they didn't think about those questions. I bet they did. But for whatever reason, at the time, those questions didn't seem reasonable. I bet they wished they'd taken them more seriously.

My heart goes out to the investigators. They are probably suffering as much as anyone over this tragedy, so I apologize if this article sounds at all harsh.

At every stage of human life, people learn to make assumptions about situations and people as a tool for survival. As human life has gotten more complex and is moving far faster though, this tool has become a big liability in many cases.

For instance, if you live in a tribal culture, making assumptions about people based on their appearance, makes sense. People who look different from members of your tribe may very well be less trustworthy towards you than members of your own group. In a pluralistic society though, judgements based on appearance can be tragic. This is an assumption that has used up its usefulness.

However, reasonable people still make assumptions everyday. I'm assuming right now, that when I click "publish", this article will be uploaded to my blog. Otherwise, I might as well quit typing.

That's why it's the coach's job to listen for assumptions that may pose problems to our clients and challenge them.

"Are we certain we have the right suspect?"

The answer to a question like this is often, "No, but..." It's our job to take a hard look at those "buts". They're the cause for the assumptions!

In this situation, the considerations may have included: "We're pretty sure we have the right guy and shutting down the campus would inconvenience a lot of people and cost a lot of money and we'll be criticized if we take action and are wrong."

That last reason is huge and it stops most of us from taking courageous action. These reasons don't hold up though, if we compare them to human lives in danger.

That's why it's so important for coaches to catch our clients when they are making fateful assumptions and be willing to ask the right question and follow up with more questions until a real solution is found. Anything less can be awful.

It's also our job not to let our clients wriggle out of looking at the truth. Fear of being wrong is powerful and most people won't look at it without someone there who gently, firmly and without judgment, holds them to it. That's when clients make huge shifts. It's also when coaches earn their fees.

Our clients don't want to be wrong and often they can't afford to look stupid. It's our job to risk being wrong, unreasonable and even dumb for their benefit. We can't be too curious, too doubtful nor too nosy. That's our job.

Sometimes the smartest thing we can do is to be dumb.

Copyright, Julia Stewart, 2007

Topics: Coaching, Coaches, coaching clients, curiosity, questions

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