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Four Surprising Ways Being Grateful Boosts Your Success

Posted by Julia Stewart

Thankful and grateful

 

This time of year, known collectively as "the holidays", is when you see lots of articles about giving thanks and being grateful.

I thought I'd share some of the lesser-known benefits of gratitude with you. Here goes...

  1. You probably already know that gratitude is one of the surest ways to boost positivity. Here's why that matters. Positivity leads to flourishing in pretty much all areas, even good health and long life! So when the New Year starts and you set goals to live healthier, be sure to add gratitude to you plan and enjoy greater happiness and health.
  2. Gratitude helps you stay present. Goal-oriented people tend to live for the future when they hope they will reach their goals but they miss their lives in the process! That's why mindfulness has become so popular lately, because there is no point to living if you miss experiencing life. Look around you right now. What do you see that makes your life good? Appreciate it. Repeat daily. Make that your new healthy habit.
  3. Gratitude strengthens your relationships with others. You probably were raised to say, "Thank you," because it's polite. How about elevating that into a Grateful Acknowledgment? Instead of, "Thanks for cooking dinner, Mom," try something like, "Mom, you worked hard on this meal and everything was delicious. Thanks for making it wonderful." Make a habit of sharing a Grateful Acknowledgment at least once each day. Watch how comments like these raise everyone's happiness and strengthen the bonds between you and your loved ones.
  4. Gratitude helps you succeed at your goals. We tend to think reaching our goals will make us happy. Actually, that's backwards. Happy people are more likely to reach their goals. And the goals themselves usually only boost happiness briefly. In fact, people who are already grateful for what they have tend to set more meaningful goals that they enjoy reaching more easily because they are already grateful. And when you practice gratitude, you have an opportunity to extend the happiness of reaching goals. So instead of spending your time striving and stressing over your goals or visualizing yourself reaching goals that seem forever out of reach. Appreciate what you have now and unhook yourself from the future. Works way better.

 

We're grateful that you read this blog and share it on social media so others can enjoy it.

 

To say, "Thanks!" Here's a free eCourse from the Founder of the Coaching Profession, Thomas Leonard.

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Topics: gratitude, Thomas Leonard, goals, positivity

Coaching Businesses: A Simple System for Identifying Which to Trust

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching Businesses and Trust

Coaching companies can transform your life or business for the better, but like any profession, coaching has a few charlatans.

The wrong coach or coaching company can actually harm your life and business so you need to know how to identify who to work with. It's as easy as Stop, Wait, and Go.

I learned how to read red, yellow, and green traffic signal lights one day, long ago, as I sat on my tricycle in kindergarten. Probably I remember it because it was the only day I got to bring my trike to school but it was a valuable safety lesson that I have used everyday since. I hope this blog post will prove valuable for you and keep you safe in the world of business and coaching.

If you're a coach, you probably use positivity and intuition to make choices and that is awesome. But as readers of this blog know, using your whole being is even more awesome. Let intuition guide you but also explore your doubts, do your due diligence, bounce ideas off friendly skeptics. Be 90% positive but also explore the wisdom of waiting when it's warranted.

Avoid making big decisions with just half your brain.

To be clear, there are wonderful coaches and coaching companies that just aren't right for you, but that's not what this post is about. I'm talking about the small percentage of coaching companies that are probably not right for anyone. They can hurt you or your business. Even though they aren't the majority, you will encounter them.

Some coaching companies are well-meaning but just don't know what they are doing. A few are actual scams. They claim they will help you succeed by providing clients, or marketing training, or a back office, a website, or whatever. They over-promise, under-deliver, and then disappear. Coaches who do business with them lose their money and often feel shocked, embarrassed, and discouraged when they realize what happened. They may quit coaching as a result. Some have been financially ruined. Some lost friends who tried to warn them.

Below is a list of potential signals that indicate when to STOP because the signs spell trouble, WAIT until you learn more, or GO ahead and take the next step. They are based on actual experiences of real coaches.

Compare these signals to a company you're interested in. No one signal will be enough to decide whether to work with them so add up all the signs and then check in with your intuition, your emotions, your coach, trusted friends,  favorite skeptics, and most of all, dig deep into GOOGLE.

In the end, you're responsible for all your own choices, so choose with wisdom. Think of a company you've considered joining and grade them on each of the following with STOP, WAIT, or GO. Use your own grades to decide. Here goes...

How did you find out about this coaching company?

  • If you find a company on a job-listing website but the "job" turns out to be one where you pay the company rather than them paying you, be careful. This is known in retail as "bait and switch". You're initially offered one attractive option, but when you inquire about it, a salesperson talks you into something else. It may not break any laws but it is misleading and signals that the company isn't as honest as it should be. Trust is incredibly important in coaching because clients share their most cherished dreams with us. Think twice about doing business with a company that has already betrayed yours. Would you Stop, Wait, or Go with this?
  • If a trusted friend invites you to join a great new company they've joined, find out how long they've been with the company and what their own results are. If they just joined or haven't seen definitive results, hesitate. Don't rely on your friend's enthusiasm or the company's own promises to make up your mind. If your friend has been with the company long enough to see positive results, maybe this really is a good opportunity. How would you grade it?
  • If you receive a great-sounding offer in an email from a coaching company you never heard of, it's probably SPAM. No reputable company will ever SPAM you. How would you score SPAM?
  • Did you find the company through a profile on social media or in a directory? If so, is the profile complete and informative? If not, check for other complete profiles for them on the web. If you see a pattern of incomplete profiles, that says, "fly by night". What's your verdict?
  • Did you find the company through online reviews or ratings? If there are a lot of high ratings and reviews, that's great. If there are only a few good ratings or if the reviews sound like they were all written by the same person, the company may have hired someone to write good reviews for them. What's score would you give them?

What is the company's website like?

  • Can you easily find the name of the company and its physical address and telephone number on the website? In some countries this is required by law. Usually that information is located at the bottom of each page, or on pages titled, "About Us" or "Contact Us". Don't spend money with a company if you don't know exactly who and where they are. Stop, Wait, or Go?
  • Is the website only one page long or is the site unfinished? That says, "fly by night." Careful!
  • Does the site have visible trust marks such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or accreditation marks from reputable organizations like the International Coach Federation (ICF)? These third-party organizations have requirements that the company must adhere to and may help you if the company fails to uphold them. If there are marks from fake organizations, that's a really bad sign. What score did your company earn here?
  • Does the company tell you what it will do with your personal information if you fill out a form? This is required by law in the European Union and most reputable companies worldwide honor it. The site should promise to keep your information private, not sell it to anyone, and explain what you will get in exchange for sharing it with them. What do you think?

What happens after you join?

  • Are they mainly interested in attracting more coaches/customers rather than in helping you succeed? Stop, Wait, or Go?
  • Do they expect you to do their marketing for them? Or worse, do they expect you to get your friends to do their marketing for them? This rarely works well and it's not what you paid for. How would you score it?
  • Do the tools and processes work as they should? If not, communicate with their support team. They should promptly make it right for you. How's your company doing?
  • If you complain, do they take responsibility, make excuses, or place the blame on you? You know the score.
  • Do they tell you to buy their more-expensive "next level" program where they'll tell you what you really need to know to succeed, even though they already promised that when you bought the program you have? Do they do this in a "coaching session"? Totally unethical in my book. How would you score this?
  • If you tell them you have no more money when they try to sell you more, do they reply that you're thinking too negatively and if you really wanted to succeed you'd open another credit card, take out a second mortgage, borrow from relatives, sell your valuables, or raid your child's tuition account? Some companies are shameless. You get to score them.
  • If you ask for a refund or stop paying your bill, do they ignore you or make an appointment for you with a "coach" who turns out to be a high-pressure bill collector? If you've joined an unethical company you're unlikely to ever get a refund. How would you score that?
  • Did your company dissolve before you got the services you thought you bought? You may have no legal recourse. What's the score?

 

If a company you're interested in scores a lot of STOPs, probably you should forget them.

 

If you want to learn more about how to attract coaching clients, register for this free eCourse based on Thomas Leonard's Principles of Attraction. If you want to understand small-business marketing in general, download this free Bootstrapper's Bible by Seth Godin. Mattison Grey can teach you the subtleties of marketing and sales with trust and integrity, and some coaches swear by C.J. Hayden.

 

Students at this school fill their practices with coaching clients based on Thomas Leonard's Coach 100 idea. It works.

 

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Topics: Coaching Companies, Coach 100, ICF, marketing and sales, Thomas Leonard, Mattison Grey, Attraction Principles, coaching businesses

How Does Artificial Intelligence Impact You if You Become a Coach?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Robot and human

You've heard that artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the future of work but how does it affect coaching?

AI is eliminating many job positions but coaching is surprisingly immune to this disruption. That said, you still need to know how to leverage massive changes caused by AI that may already be impacting how you coach...

Why is coaching resilient in the job market that's disrupted by AI when so many other professions, such as law and medicine, are turned upside down?

There are three reasons coaching is is one of the professions that have been hard to replace by artificial intelligence:

  1. It turns out that the human mind is harder to crack than neuroscientists and computer engineers previously thought. They've been successful at mimicking the so-called linear processing associated with your brain's left hemisphere, which includes math, language, and knowledge; but engineering artificial relationships that are trusting, empathic, intuitive, and characterized by non-linear insights has been much more elusive. So professions such as coaching, psychotherapy, and the creative arts are, so far, more difficult to recreate. Our massive human brain isn't big because we can process so much information, but because we are an extremely social species and social relationships require far more complex processing. That said, companies such as Care.coach are already convincing people that cartoon kittens care about them, but that may work only because actual humans are behind the cartoons.
  2. Coaching didn't become a profession until the internet, robotics, mobile phones, and artificial intelligence were already in the works and pioneers of coaching, notably Thomas Leonard, saw what was coming and designed the profession of coaching around the future instead of the past. For example, today's world of business works best when you have a mix of ways people can work with you. Be generous with free information on your website. Write a book that virtually anyone can afford. Join a coaching company that charges a modest price for coaching with a particular method. But your personal, customized one-to-one attention is today considered a luxury good. It needs to be priced accordingly. Coaching is for everybody but personal coaching is only for clients who see its massive value and eagerly pay for it.
  3. Quality coaching is phenomenally effective. Most people have no idea how to do it, which is why ICF accredited coach training is preferable to a degree in psychology. Coaching is new technology for human development. It has been designed to thrive as a profession despite the many disruptions of this century. It's sustainable.

The coaching profession was designed to withstand the onslaught of artificial intelligence and robotics in the job market. In a world of hypercomplex disruption, coaching thrives.

Be resilient in tomorrow's job market. Become a coach. Download this free eBook to learn more:

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Topics: coaching business, coach training, become a coach, ICF, Thomas Leonard, future of coaching, new clients

Can Evidence-Based Coaching Include Spirituality?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Positive Psychology - Neuroscience - Spirituality Model

At School of Coaching Mastery, we specialize in evidence-based positive-psychology and neuroscience coaching.

But what about spirituality? It's the backbone of early coaching technology. Can we still include it?

One of the strengths of early coaching was that it wasn't constrained by western scientific notions of reality. It embraced, among other things, the notion that what we think about tends to show up in our lives, an idea that is confirmed by Barbara Fredrickson's Broaden and Build Theory, as well as some neuroscience findings. That freedom was a strength for coaching that allowed coaches to creatively try new techniques that appeared to be quite effective.

Later on, researchers began studying some of these new techniques and found that many were indeed effective.

But that doesn't mean anything goes in coaching. Nor does it mean we can only use tools that have already been sanctioned by science.

As neuro-psychologist and pioneer of interpersonal neurobiology, Dan Siegel has said,

"We must be informed by science but not constrained by it."

By this he means non-science sources of wisdom can be useful in assisting growth in clients. So yes, spirituality, which I define as any perspective that takes us beyond our small ego-based thinking for greater functioning, does inform effective coaching. In fact, some would argue, the ability to accommodate rational evidence-based thinking while remaining open to transformative experiences that science cannot yet explain, is an advancement of consciousness. Maslows Hierarchy of Needs

In fact, spiritual wisdom can move us upwards beyond what Abraham Maslow identified as self-actualization toward self-transcendence (this last concept is often attributed to Viktor Frankl).

This doesn't mean you should impose your own spiritual beliefs on your clients. Rather, step into their beliefs and leverage them to move the client forward. Where their previous beliefs hold them back, offer reframes that may be useful and leave it to the client to embrace these new ways of thinking, or not.

Again, this requires an openness that most don't posses, which is why personal development and spiritual practice are often a must to develop great coaching.

Curious how new ways of thinking can help you grow and reach your goals? Learn non-science concepts taught by the Father of Professional Coaching, Thomas Leonard...

 

Explore Thomas Leonard's 28 Principles of Attraction in this free eCourse:

 

Get Thomas' 28 Principles of Attraction Free eCourse

 

Topics: Thomas Leonard, Barbara L Fredrickson, Attraction Principles, personal development, Positive Psychology, coaching with neuroscience, spirituality

Does Your Coaching Client Really Have All the Answers?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Client has all the answers

This week, a coaching student asked me about the old coaching cliche that the client has all the answers.

There are important reasons why effective coaches honor this principle and reasons why it's a coaching trap if you aren't careful with it.

Why is it a trap?

It becomes a trap when you treat it like a hard-fast rule. That violates the very nature of coaching, which is personal, customized, and flexible. Every coaching conversation and every client is unique and requires unique responses from the coach.

If you try to apply this rule to every coaching session, you and your client will sometimes get stumped and you won't know how to handle it. It's unfair to your client and to yourself to box yourself in with this belief.

How did it become a trap?

This phrase shows up in coaching books and training programs because, "The client has all the answers," is an attention-grabbing concept. It has often been used to distinguish coaching from consulting. But it is much too simplistic. Some coach-training schools still treat this as a rule rather than a guiding principle. They mislead coaches into thinking there is only one answer to the question,  "Who has all the answers?"

Why is it important to honor this principle in your coaching?

There are several reasons. Here are the top three:

  • When someone arrives at a realization or solution, themselves, they are far more likely to follow through on it. When you hand solutions to your clients you make it less likely they will do anything about them. As the fortune cookie says, "Ideas are like children. Everyone loves their own best."
  • Another reason is that your client's strengths, values, experience, and skills are different from anyone else's and the solutions that work for them will also be different.
  • Finally, when a client discovers that they usually have the answers within, it creates confidence and freedom from the constant need to hire experts to solve their problems. This feature has contributed to the mercurial growth of the coaching profession.

What's the alternative to, "The client has all the answers?"

Thomas Leonard treated this issue differently. He said, "The answer is somewhere," which is far more nuanced. He said it didn't matter whether the client has the answer, or whether the coach has the answer, or whether the answer was found outside the coaching session, as long as the client got the answer needed. I agree up to a point, but it really is true that people follow through on their own ideas more than those of others and without follow-through, clients usually can't succeed.

Here's an even more nuanced way to handle this:

If your brain, heart, or gut is telling you that "The client has all the answers," can't always be true, you're probably right AND it's still useful to approach your coaching from this perspective.

Ask yourself this: "If my client has all the answers, how can I help them find them?" You'll discover that asking open-ended questions which tend to begin with Who, What, When, etc... help your client gain awareness of themselves and their situations. Often this is all that's needed for them to discover the answers within. On the occasions when your client doesn't seem to have the answers, offer options, resources, and other helpful tools. But avoid telling them what to do. That just creates resistance and resistant clients are less likely to follow through to success.

Want to become a coach?

Learn what really works rather than rules that can become traps. The Certified Competent Coach Course is a great place to start. To learn more, click the button below or download the Become a Coach eBook here.

 

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Topics: become a coach, coaching clients, Coach Training Programs, Thomas Leonard, certified competent coach

How to Live Resiliently Despite the Climate Crisis

Posted by Julia Stewart

Mother Nature Always Wins

The title of the image above is, "Mother Nature Always Wins."

Yes, she does. But you don't have to lose, just because she's rapidly changing the climate. You've probably heard the UN recently delivered a stark warning that we have until 2030, just a bit over 11 years as of this writing, to make drastic changes, or the climate crisis will get so bad millions of people will die. For the first time, I'm hopeful people are ready to heed the warning, because...

Last year, I became one of Al Gore's Climate Reality Leaders. I took his free training because it seemed every time I taught one of my international coach-training webinars, someone would be absent because of a wildfire, flood, or hurricane. It was happening to my students all over the world, simultaneously.

Wait, what?

What I learned was that it was too late to prevent Climate Change, but it was not too late to prevent the collapse of civilization (whoa) and that resilience has become an ever more important focus, meaning how to survive and thrive despite the coming catastrophes. As Al summed up, though, "We could lose everything we hold dear."

Sounds like science fiction, right?

Last week, Donald Trump finally stopped claiming Climate Change is a hoax. Now he claims it's real, but it's too late to do anything about it.

Who are you going to believe: the people getting paid to lie about it or the people who've been warning you for years and have now been proven right? That last group says there's still time to make the changes we need, but we all need to mobilize, fast.

Governments, corporations, and individuals can all make a huge difference. Start by voting for politicians who will get to work right away on it.

Humanity has a long history of pulling off massive victories at the last minute. The US, for example, waited to be attacked before it transformed its economy to help win World War 2 in just a few years. Later, when we were losing the "space race", we mobilized to put a man on the Moon in just eight years. That was a long time ago and this is way bigger but we can do it again.

Humans are good at succeeding at the impossible. But before we can succeed, we must survive and flourish. That takes resilience. I usually write about positive psychology and coaching, but resilience is where climate activism and positive psychology meet and embrace. Here are six steps to resilience even in these dangerous times.

Six ways to live resiliently despite the worsening climate crisis:

  1. Thomas Leonard always advocated what he called, Super Reserves, so you'd be ready for anything. Well, anything and everything is coming soon in the form of worsening weather. You can still live well, but it may take some planning. Or you can do nothing now and struggle later. Your choice. If you want to live resiliently and flourish no matter what, here are some suggestions. Stock up now on water (one gallon per person per day for a minimum of three days; don't forget the pets) in case your local water supply is knocked out for a while. Bonus points for installing your own water filtration system, especially one that can run without electricity. You may also need cash after big storms, since other types of transactions require electricity. Also, non-perishable food and clothes in water-proof bags. Don't forget your meds. Put it all where you can reach it when you need it.
  2. Always have a reserve of power: Get a gas generator or a large-capacity battery that can be attached to one or more solar panels, so after a big storm you won't ever have to go long without power. You can also get a small solar panel that's big enough to charge just your phone. Bonus points: Install solar on your roof or geo-thermal and keep your lights and heat on even when the grid is off. See number 5, below, too.
  3. Beat depression before it even has a chance. I've coached a lot of people who've been through disasters. After the fear subsides, overwhelm, confusion, frustration, discouragement, and eventually depression almost always follow. Bounce back faster by working with a positive psychology coach now to build up your resilience. When you know your values and purpose, you're more likely to experience Post Traumatic Growth instead of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Working afterward with a coach or therapist can also help.
  4. Stay physically fit. I lived in NYC during and after 9/11 when I was a personal trainer. One of my clients, an executive in her 60's, who worked next to the World Trade Center, had to walk down forty flights of stairs and twenty blocks home to her apartment, because elevators and transportation stopped that day. She told me later that she never could have done it if she hadn't been working out with me.
  5. Get reserves of transportation and even housing. What if there's a gasoline shortage after a disaster? Or little or no electricity? Owning cars with only one power source could be a problem. If you have two or more cars, make sure one is electric and one is gas powered. If you have only one car, a plug-in hybrid gives you extra options. Mine also has wifi, an essential for anyone working from home, which is the best way to save time, stress, and pollution by skipping the daily commute. Now that storms and pollution are becoming huge problems, staying home makes more sense than ever. And just in case, consider getting a second home if you can afford it, or talk to friends and family about hosting each other if the worst happens. Right now, I have a friend in Canada who is living in a hotel while her home is repaired after a terrible tornado. Personally, I'd be more comfortable at my weekend place.
  6. Look for the opportunities. Chaos and opportunity go hand in hand. You're about to see more of both in greater quantities than have ever before existed. There will be big winners and big losers. Look for new problems and how you can help. Find solutions for our new reality, either to help solve the climate crisis or help people and nature survive and thrive despite what's coming. Always look for the opportunities and you'll always do well. A coach can help.

Get a positive psychology coach to help you build reserves of resilience:

 

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Topics: Thomas Leonard, Values, FIND A COACH, Climate Change, positive psychology coach

What's the Difference Between a Professional Coach and an Entrepreneurial Coach?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Professional_vs_Entrepreneurial_Coach.jpg

What's the difference between a professional coach and an entrepreneurial coach and why does it matter?

I recently received a couple of emails from someone on my mailing list who asked questions such as these. He took issue with a lead-nurturing (a type of marketing) email he received from us in which I frankly advise new coaches to get good coach training and reputable coach certification.

The writer identified himself as an entrepreneur, who offers coaching as one of his services, so I answered him in language I thought he would understand:

I said we were very clear who our ideal student is and he probably wouldn't resonate with our messages, since they are targeted at people who want to become professional coaches, rather than entrepreneurial coaches. I wasn't interested in arguing the relative merits of professionals vs. entrepreneurs, so I neglected to add that I have a strong bias toward professional coaches, for whom training and certification are a must, as opposed to entrepreneurial coaches who generally rely their reputations, experience, and instincts, to coach. That, by the way, is why I started a coach training school that certifies coaches.

A coach used to be considered half professional and half entrepreneur, 15-to-20 years ago, and the Founder of the Coaching Profession, Thomas Leonard, was a perfect example. He started multiple coaching schools and professional organizations, in his lifetime, but was a classic entrepreneur who embodied the creativity, drive, productivity, and ongoing dialogue with his customers, that entrepreneurs are known for. That said, his major contribution to coaching was the turn toward professionalism and he embodied a stellar reputation for integrity, ethics, quality, and service that went way beyond profits.

The two photos above show, on the left, a professional coach who displays an openness and willingness to serve clients. On the right, shows an entrepreneur who's burning with his vision for designing a successful business. Both may be useful to coach with depending on what you want to work on. Neither is automatically better, but the professional coach is more thoroughly defined and has qualities that can be more easily recognized and evaluated.

Since Thomas' death in 2003, a leadership vacuum opened up. Much of it was filled by entrepreneurs who were focused more on marketing and sales gimmicks that drive profitability, than on helping clients grow and reach their goals. There are still a few good entrepreneurial coaches, but unfortunately they are increasingly outnumbered by scam artists and well-meaning wannabe's who may give bad advice.

I've known quite a few people whose lives have been transformed for the better by working with professional coaches. I also have known a handful of people whose lives have been ruined by entrepreneurial coaches. That doesn't mean all professional coaches are great, or that all entrepreneurial coaches are bad. Sometimes the opposite is true. It just isn't that simple, but over the years, I've moved away from the "half-professional/half-entrepreneurial" approach to coaching in favor of primarily being a professional and I advise my students to do the same, because it appears increasingly that professional coaches tend to deliver better results for clients and professional coaching is also a better model for coaching success. 

I've been clarifying the distinction between professional coaches and entrepreneurs with my Coach 100 students for over a decade and realized that it could be helpful to many of our blog readers too, so here goes.

Pro_coach_vs_entre_coach_table.jpg

Whether you are a professional coach or entrepreneurial coach isn't really an either/or choice; it's both/and. Because coaching is still not regulated, so there is tremendous freedom for practitioners. But at the same time, it's the professional side of coaching that is driving much of coaching's positive reputation.

If you're looking for a coach, you may want to use the above table to determine how professional your potential coach is. You have a bit more knowledge and power, because professional organizations define what you can expect. Also, if your coach is a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF), you can file a complaint against a coach-member who fails to uphold the ICF's Code of Ethics.

Remember that lead-nurturing email from above, that advises good training and certification?

Recent research by the ICF found that coaches who get good training are more successful and less likely to quit the profession, while coaching clients say, all else being equal, they prefer to work with certified coaches. If you're new to coaching, my advice is that you get both coach training and certification to increase your confidence and success.

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Topics: professional coach, professional coaching, coach training, Coach 100, ICF, Coach Certification, Thomas Leonard, certified coaches, coaching ethics

Why Tony Robbins Can't Pass ICF Coaching Certification

Posted by Julia Stewart

Tony Robbins Life Coach CertificationThe other day I had a conversation with one of my coaching students about why Anthony Robbins wouldn't pass IAC life coach certification.

On further reflection I realized that he wouldn't pass ICF coach credentialing, either. Why is that? Because he engages in some huge life coaching no-no's. I'll explain in a moment...

Maybe it isn't fair to measure what Tony Robbins does by standardized life-coaching models. After all, he calls himself a 'Strategic Interventionist', not a life coach.

Then again, he does have a coaching page on his website that claims he is the "Father of the Coaching Industry". Hmm, that flies in the face of what tens of thousands of coaches say, that Thomas Leonard is the 'Founder of Professional Coaching'.

 

For instance, Thomas Leonard founded both the ICF and the IAC. But...

 

And I'm just guessing here, but this is a really big "BUT": There are quite a few overlaps between Thomas Leonard's approach to coaching (I studied at both his schools, where I received several coach certifications and I was Lead Certifier for the Thomas Leonard Coaching School) and Tony Robbins' approach, which I've studied informally.

I'm a huge Thomas Leonard fan, BUT...it times out that Leonard may have stolen (ahem, borrowed) many of his ideas from Robbins. I'm just speculating, but Tony Robbins' most popular book, Awaken the Giant Within, in which Robbins calls himself a coach, was based on his work with thousands of people over twenty years and was published in 1991. Thomas Leonard founded his first coaching school (the first life coaching school in the world), Coach University, in 1992, with an awful lot of the very same ideas (though there are some key differences).

Not that I think Tony Robbins invented all of his own ideas. Like many entrepreneurs, he seems to have repackaged, renamed and reorganized ideas that were already out there; some new; some ancient.

A few folks trace these ideas back to Jim Rohn, EST, or Landmark. Others trace their early development to the 19th Century American Transcendentalists. But you can find their roots in the words of Jesus Christ and the Buddha, and in even earlier writings and oral traditions from around the world. (This is one of the many reasons why a degree in psychology or social work, even a PhD, won't make you a life coach.)

 

But back to Tony Robbins and why he can't pass life coach certification...

 

REASON #1: Robbins often coaches people who are suicidal. One of the biggest no-no's in coaching is that coaches don't coach people who are mentally ill. And suicidal thoughts are a symptom of some mental illnesses.

Both the IAC and ICF warn against using coaching as a therapeutic tool. The main reason for this rule is that an unskilled coach could actually harm the client. An additional reason is that the coach may expose him/herself to a lawsuit for practicing psychotherapy without a license.

I would not encourage a coach to coach anyone who is in tremendous psychic pain, but I personally have coached clients who had some big issues. In many cases I required them to see a therapist while they worked with me. But they often told me that coaching helped them more than therapy. For some clients, those who are willing to take responsibility for their issues, the tools of coaching are far more empowering than psychotherapy.

Robbins claims he's never lost anyone. If that's true then maybe his strategic interventions aren't as foolhardy as they would be for some coaches. And maybe he's actually saved thousands of lives. In that case, what he does is courageous and extremely valuable.

REASON #2: Sometimes Robbins does most of the talking. This is one of the basic rules of life coaching: Let the client do most of the talking. But Robbins frequently doesn't follow this rule.

I've seen him coach people when he did almost all of the talking. And it appears to work. Why? He reads body language extraordinarily well and he has a keen understanding of human nature. Isn't that true of other coaches, as well? I think it is, but Robbins has decades more experience than most coaches and he's worked with thousands of people. Most coaches can't scratch the surface of what Robbins has already accomplished and their skill levels reflect that.

Still, talk too much in a coaching session and both the IAC and ICF will fail you. In most coaching sessions, I think they are right. But there may be exceptions...

REASON #3: Robbins makes rude jokes about his clients, often when they are deeply suffering. As one of my colleagues said, 'I just thought he did that because he was an a**hole!' Apparently he does it because it jolts the client out of a stuck brain state just long enough for him to shift them into a more empowering thought pattern. And it seems to work!

The IAC and ICF both recognize that shifting the client's thinking is an important part of good coaching, but using a sledge hammer to do it? That's a great way to lose the client's trust. In most cases, it's better to respect and empathize with the client, especially when they're struggling. Then again, if you have only a short time to coach someone who is in deep trouble, maybe the gloves need to come off...

REASON #4: Robbins doesn't have any coach-specific training. Actually, this is only a problem for the ICF. The IAC recognizes that there are good coaches who, like Robbins, have thousands of hours of experience and have been learning for decades everything they can about how to facilitate enormous personal growth and development in others, but who may not have attended an ICF-approved coach training program.

The ICF on the other hand, recognizes that quality coach training speeds up the coach's development, so s/he can coach competently within a year or so, instead of within ten years, which is what it often takes, for the self-taught. The ICF believes so strongly in coach-specific training that they recently announced that they won't even accept untrained coaches for membership in their organization.

Robbins started his journey as a coach while he was still in high school - long before coach training existed. He not only coached his classmates, he claims he read 750 books and attended every seminar on personal growth that he could afford (sometimes attending the best ones several times, so he could master the material). Then he went on to coach thousands of people for decades.

Tony Robbins exemplifies what Malcolm Gladwell says in his book, Outliers: That extreme mastery is the result of about 10,000 hours of experience, rather than the result of extreme talent. Talent is nice, but an obsessive commitment to 'take massive action', as Robbins would say, matters more. 

 

Let's face it, Anthony Robbins really doesn't need life coach certification.

 

He is famous and his results speak for themselves. He gets away with an awful lot, because his clients already know his reputation and trust him, immensely.

So does life coach certification even matter, when it doesn't recognize the skills that such a well-known master coach uses so successfully? It does, but maybe not for the reasons you would think...

Both IAC and ICF certification processes are more rigorous to achieve than most coaches realize. They virtually force coaches to get thousands of hours of coach training and practice in order to pass. They won't turn you into Tony Robbins, but they will make you a much better coach.

 

Think of life coach certification as a supportive structure that helps you become the kind of professional coach you'd want to work with.

 

But take everything certifiers say about coaching with a touch of humor. Because both of these highly-respected certifying organizations miss a wide range of possible master coaching techniques, regardless of what they say about inter-rater reliability. That just means the certifiers agree with each other; it doesn't mean that their criteria include every form of master coaching.

 

If they fail you, remember, they'd fail Tony, too.

 

Don't use either passing or failing life coach certification as an excuse to quit your coaching development. Use it as a challenge to keep going and become the kind of coach who can turn around a client's life in minutes.

By the way, Tony Robbins probably is the Father of the Coaching Industry. But Thomas Leonard is the coach who began turning coaching into a profession. Both have made enormously important contributions.

Thomas started the IAC because he was frustrated that ICF life coach certification was leaving out some great coaches. I later started School of Coaching Mastery's coach certification, because I became frustrated that IAC life coach certification is also leaving out some great coaches.

 

I'd certify Anthony Robbins. [UPDATE: 5-24-19] I would NOT Certify Tony Robbins.

 

Reason? As I wrote in this blog post, Robbins has made multiple duplicitous and self-serving comments criticizing women who complain about sexual harassment, abuse, and assault without disclosing that he has been accused of such crimes by multiple women, himself. Whether he is guilty as his accusers say, or not, his public comments, lack of disclosure, and disrespect towards women who have been traumatized violates the ethical guidelines of this school, the ICF, IAC, and CCE.

 

I've definitely learned some new things from him. And I've seen evidence that what he does is highly effective. I've even learned how to use techniques that Thomas Leonard cautioned against.

What do you think? Do you agree that Tony Robbins wouldn't pass ICF or IAC life coach certification? Or am I totally full of cr*p?

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Topics: ICF, Coach Certification, Thomas Leonard, Tony Robbins, life coach certification, certified life coach, Life coaching school accreditation, IAC, certified coach, Coach Certification Bootcamp

ICF Credential vs. IAC Life Coach Certification

Posted by Julia Stewart

certified_coach_goldribbon.jpgI interviewed my friend and colleague, Donna Steinhorn, IAC MMC, ICF PCC, on the difference between ICF and IAC life coach certification. Unfortunately, the recording was no good, which is one of the of the many reasons that attending live is always the best policy.

The feedback from coaches who attended the interview has been awesome. So I'm going to add a few highlights here, in case you missed it.

The two organizations, themselves, are of course, the ultimate authorities on what they do and they change their policies from time to time. So if you're looking for highly detailed info, visit their respective web sites. The ICF's is coachfederation.org and the IAC's is certifiedcoach.org.

Donna has been deeply involved in coach training and certification for many years and is one of only a handful of coaches who have both ICF and IAC coach certifications, which is why I chose her for this interview ~ that, and the fact that Donna is fun to talk with.

Both Donna and I have been on the coach training and certification bandwagon for eternity (Donna is a member of SCM's Board of Advisers) - and we're both rebels, so we have a shared skepticism, as well as support of these two leading professional organizations and their respective credentialing processes.

We began our conversation by noting that there are limitations to both ICF and IAC coach certifications. Each has its own coaching competencies (or masteries, as the IAC calls theirs). Each definitely has its own coaching style, which you need to be able to demonstrate. Neither style encompasses every possible way to coach brilliantly; they're just doing the best they can.

So why are there two professional coaching organizations and certifications? Actually, there are zillions of them - some completely bogus - but these currently are the most respected. Oddly, the same man, Thomas J. Leonard, the 'Father of Professional Coaching', founded both the IAC and ICF. Thomas founded the ICF in 1995 and later, the IAC in 2003, just before he passed away.

ICF credentialing, as it's called, emphasizes coach training, mentoring and experience, as well as an online test and demonstration of coaching skill. Thomas sought to streamline the process of certification with the IAC, which emphasizes the results of coach training, mentoring and experience, rather than the documentation of it. This makes the IAC certification process a bit simpler, but it's by no means easier, because coaches need to demonstrate masterful coaching skills. Only about 25% of coaches who apply for IAC Coach Certification pass on the first try.

The ICF has three levels of coaching credentials: The Associate Credentialed Coach (ACC), The Professional Credentialed Coach (PCC), and the Master Credentialed Coach (MCC). The IAC currently has only one certification, the Certified Coach (IAC-CC), but from what I've observed, the level of coaching skill required by the IAC is roughly comparable to the ICF MCC. (UPDATE: the IAC added another 'intermediate' level of certification, as well.)

Finally, the ICF has two pathways for credentialing: The portfolio route allows you to get your coach training anywhere and the accreditation path requires you to study at an ICF accredited coach training school. The IAC doesn't require demonstration of coach training, just the results of it: masterful coaching skills. I know most IAC Certified Coaches and I believe all of them have had substantial coach training and/or mentor coaching. Donna says there may have been one coach who passed without being trained.

I asked Donna if there were any hidden costs to getting certified by either organization. She mentioned the mentor coaching requirement by the ICF, which would cost you about $350 - 400 per month, but Donna doesn't consider that a hidden cost, since all coaches need to have their own coaches at all times. Personally, I don't think anyone needs a coach every minute of their life, but coaches are foolish if they don't work with successful coaches of their own. I worked with two excellent mentor coaches while I prepared for IAC Coach Certification.

What, in Donna's opinion, is the best benefit of getting certified? She considers the coach directory on the ICF website, which only lists ICF credentialed coaches, to be by far the best benefit, because it brings her a steady stream of potential clients. We agreed that the IAC would do well to offer such a benefit to its own membership.

Finally, which coaches need certification most? Donna says corporate coaches and perhaps executive coaches, since companies usually want to see credentials. She doesn't believe life coaches need to be certified, but I've seen anecdotal evidence that clients are screening life coaches more carefully than they used to. Even new life coaches are telling me that potential clients ask about training and certification.

School of Coaching Mastery's Certified Positive Psychology Coach® program prepares coaches for ICF credentialing.

So there you have the Readers Digest version of the ICF Credentialing vs. IAC Life Coach Certification interview.

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Topics: certification requirements, coach training, coaching clients, ICF, Coach Certification, Thomas Leonard, certified coaches, Donna Steinhorn, IAC, certified coach, coach credential

5 Rookie Mistakes New Life Coaches Should Never Make [Are YOU Making These?]

Posted by Julia Stewart

New Life Coach

In my career as a coach trainer and mentor coach, I've known some amazing coaches who changed many lives, but I've also seen some embarrassing rookie mistakes and made a few, myself.

Some mistakes keep popping up on my radar, so here's the blog post i think about writing whenever I see one. I hope it helps!

5 Rookie Mistake New Life Coaches Should Never Make:

1. Using a personal email address as a business address. The address you use with family and friends, such as FredWilmaAndPebbles@aol.com,  may fail to address the bedrock issue in business credibility: your professionalism. Don't communicate that you're an amateur by using a family address. And MissFancyPants1986@hotmail.com may be your flirty way of expressing yourself on eHarmony, but it's TMI for business. Use your name and no one else's, or use your business name. Alternatively, tell people what you do with your address. One of my first was, ICoach121@optimum.net. Of course, having your own web address is a bit more impressive. Another early address I used was coach@YourLifePart2.com.

2. Getting a website before you're ready. A professional-looking email address is a must. A website probably can wait. In the meantime, a robust profile on one or more coach directories will do and/or social media profiles or pages. In fact, these  provide feedback on what people respond to, so it's an awesome way to learn what will work for your website. Otherwise, you're likely to have a site that doesn't really represent you or your business. I knew a new coach who lived on Maui, whose coaching was about building thriving relationships, but the main image on her website was a single leafless tree in a frigid winter landscape. What? Most successful coaches take between a year and three years to get their first website. Get to know your business self, your clients, and what communicates what you do, effectively. No rush.

3. Quitting your job at the wrong time. I've had coaching students who quit their jobs the week after they joined my school. I love their confidence and commitment, but they tend to struggle. Coaches take between 3 months and 5 years to fill their coaching practices. With Coach 100, it takes between 6 months and a year. That's a long time to go without a full-time income. On the flip side, I've known coaches who hung on to their jobs too long. One excellent coach had a quarter of a million dollars in financial reserves, but still too nervous to make the leap. A big part of what coaches do is help clients get over the fears that prevent success, so get your own coach, if you're feeling stuck. On the other hand, if you're ultra-risk-adverse, consider coaching within a large organization, if that helps you feel more stable.

4. Not getting your own coach. How can you call yourself a coach, if you've never been coached? More to the point, how will you know to make smart rookie choices, if the only coaches you talk to are other rookies? You need your own coach, period. Think of it as a business deduction. Find your coach here.

5. Not getting training. There are still a couple of old timers who tell rookie coaches that they don't need training, but that's not fair to rookies. 20-30 years ago, there was no training, but a few talented people invented coaching, anyway. The rest of us have Thomas Leonard to thank for putting coaching on the map and starting the first coach training school and international coaching association. Like having your own coach, getting coach training flattens your learning curve, helps you make smarter choices, and contributes to your success. Coaches with training become successful quicker and are less likely to quit the profession. Don't take my word for it. Ask your coach.

Don't make rookie mistakes. Get the free Become a Coach eBook:

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Topics: coach training, become a coach, Free, Coach Training Programs, Life Coaches, Thomas Leonard, Mentor Coaching, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, coach training program, FIND A COACH

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