Center for Coaching Certification

Coaching Your Client with SMART Goals

Clients come to coaches wanting to create change and/or succeed at a goal.  Coaches partner with clients and many use the S.M.A.R.T. goal model to define the goal.  This also prepares the client to design an action plan and process.  This tool encourages both motivation and success. Coaching Your Client with SMART Goals

Clients gain clarity with S.M.A.R.T. goals and they gain perspective.  This tool breaks things into achievable steps that clients design.

S stands for Specific.  Questions to ask:
·      What exactly do you want to accomplish?
·      How do you define your goal?
·      How do you describe your life after you achieve your goal?

M stands for Measurable.  Questions to ask:
·      How will you know when you have achieved your goal?
·      How will you measure your success?
·      What does success look like to you?

A stands for Actionable.  Questions to ask:
·      What might get in the way?
·      What steps will you take to achieve this goal?
·      What resources do you have that make this goal attainable?

R stands for Relevant.  Questions to ask:
·      What is important about this goal to you?
·      What will be different for you when you achieve this goal?
·      How will you feel when you achieve success?

T stands for Time Bound.  Questions to ask:
·      When do you want to achieve your goal?
·      What are the milestones on the timeline along the way?
·      When will you complete each of your action steps?

A note: sometimes people use the word achievable for A or realistic for R.  Both these words require knowing the future so during coach training we learn to use actionable and relevant instead.

S..M.A.R.T. goals are a positive, motivating tool to help get your client define and achieve their success.


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Search Engine Optimization for your Coaching Website

We hear a lot about SEO optimization.  It is important when you have a website!  That is because it is one way people find you online.

When you want to find something on the internet, you type words into a search engine such as Google, Bing, Fire Fox, Chrome, or Safari.  These sites then list the pages the algorithm considers most relevant.  How does it decide which pages are most relevant?  The algorithms consider the age of the website, the expiration of the URL, they key words for each page, the meta description for each page, the alternative text for the images, the content on the page, outbound links, inbound links, and more. Search Engine Optimization for your Coaching Website

When you design your website, list different key search words for each page that accurately describe the page content.  Name each page differently, simply, and so it clearly defines what is on it.  Write a meta description of what is on each page.  Be sure your key words, title, and description match the content on the page.  When someone is on your website, they will very quickly decide if it offers what they are searching for and whether to stay and learn more.

Incorporate words your ideal clients may enter in a search engine.  The niche of coaching, your client’s concerns, and solutions to challenges.  A health coach, depending on their area of expertise, may have weight goals, meal planning, and physical training as key words.  A life coach may use work/life balance, family support, or relationships.

Images are important too as the search engines also look for a word count to image ratio.  The use of strong and compelling images can be seen by many people – the search engines are machines, so they only “see” the alternative text you provide for each image.

Link to other sites that offer valuable information for your clients.  Link from your social media pages to your site.  List your site in directories.  Write blogs that link to your site.  Invite others to link to your site with guest blogs, social media, podcasts, and videos.

Build these basics into your site because they are low or no cost options that help.  At the same time, remember that referrals and public speaking are the top two sources for new clients so get yourself out there!


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Whether new or an experienced coach, writing a bio may seem challenging.  What will sell your coaching services?  What is your target market and ideal demographic?  What words or phrases represent you the best?  These things are important.

When someone reads your bio, they want to know whether you offer what they want and will help them.  Knowing you offer what serves them determines whether they will reach out.  Share your story or example facing a common challenge, your mistakes, what you learned, and your success. WRITING A COACHING BIO FOR YOUR WEBSITE

Tailor your bio to your ideal client and write based on what they want to know.  Express how you identify with their pain point.  Share how partnering with you will empower them.  Write just for them.  Use the word “you” to personalize it.  Our brain focuses on what is most important to us personally.

Create curiosity so that readers want to keep reading.  Use teasers and strong imagery. Ask questions that hold interest.  Create trust and safety.  Having severable consistent with your bios on multiple social media platforms and your website.  List your certifications, education, experience, affiliations, and successes.

Incorporate reviews and testimonials from real people.  Reviews, ratings, testimonials, and social media icons help people to make decisions.

Be easy to find.  Be easy to see.  Be easy to work with.  Let people know exactly how to contact you on the phone or via email.  Describe easy steps or use call to action buttons on your website.

Gifts are often appreciated and lead to more sales.  Providing a small gift in return for getting in touch, such as a mini book you have written, is a great way to collect potential client’s emails and phone numbers.

The key components of your bio include:

  • A story of with pain points followed by successes that gives them hope.
  • An examples and testimonials of how working with you helps them overcome their pain point and succeed.
  • Easy ways to contact you or schedule a free introductory session.
  • Call to action – invite them to take the first step.

During coach training we had the opportunity to share bios and learn from each other.  It is smart to look at several different bios for ideas to enhance your own.


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One of the many great coaching tools is brainstorming.  The word “brainstorming” may bring up ideas of white boards with scattered ideas and the challenge of engaging or of managing enthusiasm of others.  Brainstorming is a word for sharing and listing ideas.  “Ideation Session” or “Creative Thinking Session” may improve the perspective of the value. Brainstorming

Clients who are stuck say, “I don’t know.”  One thing we learned during coach training is to reply, “OK.  If you did know, what are the possibilities?”  That question may be followed by “What are the benefits of staying where you are?” when appropriate.  Alternatively, another approach is to ask them if they were giving advice to someone else, what advice will they give?  When the client is truly stuck and these questions do not produce insight or exploration, brainstorming offered as one approach to the conversation to choose from may lead to the sharing and listing of ideas.

Brainstorming is the practice of coming up with multiple ideas offered by both the client and the coach in turn.  It helps to jumpstart the mind with new ideas.  The idea itself does not matter because any idea can take the client into a new and interesting place of exploration.

With brainstorming, we realize that it is only our thinking holding us back.  For this reason, some general rules apply to brainstorming:

  • Be positive.
  • Focus on quantity over quality – “silly” ideas create some of the best exploration.
  • Encourage big thinking.

Brainstorming results in the client having a list of ideas to consider and choose from based on what they want.  The beauty is that this list is theirs to explore and gain insight from, a jumpstart for moving forward.


A final tip from coaching certification: when you brainstorm with a client be sure you have three or more ideas so instead of being perceived as a suggestion, it really is a brainstorming session.

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Coaching in Change Management: Some Lessons Learned (Part 2)

By Randy Kesterson, Kesterson

Confusion About Coaching in the Change Management Community

During my ICF-sanctioned training, I learned that a coach “guides from the side”, and they do not give advice to theirclient. Instead, they ask open-ended questions, helping the client come to their own solutions. However, when I look up the word “coach” in the dictionary, Merriam-Webster defines it as “a private tutor” and “one who instructs or trains”.I remember reading the dictionary definition for the first time. A golf coach friend of mine, Chase, immediately came to mind. Chase is successful as a coach, because he has vast experience as a golfer (years of lessons learned) that heattempts to transfer to his client by watching, showing, and correcting. Given the two differing definitions ofcoaching, I can see why there is confusion about coaching in the change management world.

Coaching in Change Management

Some of the work I do is as a Senior Change Advisor. I typically get involved when a client is attempting to usechange management on a large project and things have gotten a bit off the rails. My assignment is to help the client getthe project back on track by identifying significant risks to the project and then by helping the client mitigate theserisks. For example, a risk I often see is the lack of meaningful engagement in the project by the executive sponsor. Inthese change advisory engagements, I’m typically advising the client around a specific change managementmethodology, approach, and set of tools. In this regard, some of what I do is more in line with the role of a golf coachthan that of a coach using the ICF definition.

Wearing Multiple Hats

For me personally, I now comfortably wear multiple hats while working on a client engagement. When in coachingmode, I “guide from the side”, ask open-ended questions, and I do not advise the client. But at times, the client (oftenan executive) grows weary of the open-ended questions, and they say, “Just tell me what to do. I have a meeting withmy boss in 15 minutes. You’ve been in a role just like mine.

What would you do in this situation?” When there is a need for me to leave coaching mode, I will tell the client, “OK,I’m taking my coaching hat off now and moving into advisor mode.” The thing that helps guide me in thesesituations are the following words: What will best serve the client?

Who is Randy Kesterson

Randy Kesterson early retired from executive roles in industry, and he now works as a senior change advisor at TheKesterson Group, founded in 2013. Randy helps organizations improve their critical business results by advising andcoaching the CEO and other members of the senior leadership team. Randy has written and published two books aboutstrategy deployment and change management.

Randy lives in Davidson, NC with his wife Susan, their thirteen-year-old son Chase, and Petey Smalz, their two-year-old French bulldog. For more information about Randy’s unique background, see


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Coaching in Change Management: Some Lessons Learned (Part 1)

By Randy Kesterson, Kesterson

I’m a retired executive from industry and I now coach … well, I coach, advise, consult, mentor, facilitate, etc., etc.Coaching is but one hat that I wear while working on a typical engagement with a client. I also help clients withstrategy deployment, change management, and performance improvement. Today, I will focus on an engagementwhere I am helping a client achieve the desired outcomes with a large change project.

So, let’s talk about Coaching in Change Management. Full disclosure: My experience with Change Management farexceeds my experience with Coaching.

My Personal Discovery of Change Management

Twenty years ago, I was an Executive VP and COO running an international aerospace & defense manufacturingcompany. We had just acquired a company in Europe, and I was tasked with leading the integration. I wasimmediately struck by how difficult it was to make significant change, especially in organizations with significantlydifferent business cultures. This is when (out of desperate necessity) I discovered change management. I met JeffHiatt (the founder of Prosci) and then met Jeanenne LaMarsh (the founder of the firm by her name) and I was trainedand certified in both methodologies. I actually left my executive role in industry at the time and took a four-year, deep dive into the change management world. It was a fantastic experience, and I’ve used change management in executiveroles and advisory roles ever since. I’ve even written two books on the subject. Neither book is a million seller, butmy mother loves both of them (although I don’t think she’s actually read more than the first few pages).

My Personal Discovery of Coaching

I discovered coaching later in life. A few years ago, I was in a SVP Global Ops role with another internationalcompany, and I spent much of my time visiting people on my team based at 14 sites around the world. After returning home from one of these trips, while walking with my wife for exercise, she asked what I did while I wasaway. “Well, I coached some of my people,” I replied (rather proudly I might add). My wife, an HR professional andtrained coach, queried me on this. “Oh really?” she said, “What did you do?” I exuberantly explained my coachingapproach, and I can still remember her stopping in her tracks, laughing, and then declaring, “You’re not coaching,you’re just telling stories.” Damn it. She was right (again). When a member of my team would explain a problemthey were having, I would immediately go into my data bank of decades of experiences, find one that seemed to fit,and then use that story to explain how I had handled the situation. Most of the stories were funny (at least to me),because they involved how I had thoroughly messed up a situation. In telling the story, I was explaining a lessonlearned. It was a teaching moment – right? Maybe more mentoring than coaching? At any rate, soon thereafter, Isigned up for an International Coaching Federation (ICF) sanctioned class to learn what it meant to be a coach. After 60 hours of training and a lot of practice, I earned the right to join the ICF. I was still very much a newbie coach, but atleast I understood what it meant to be a coach.

For more information about Randy’s unique background, see


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Four Ways to Spot a Great Coach

Professional coaches get certified because they want to provide very best service possible  for their clients.

Professional coaching is still a relatively young field with the organization of the ICF in the 1990’s.  As a self-regulated profession, no legal regulations have been set in place.  This means that literally anyone who wants to say they are a coach is can say so – no license, degree, or experience is required to declare yourself as a coach. Four Ways to Spot a Great Coach

According to The International Coaching Federation (ICF), which is the entity that approves coach training programs and manages the credentialing process for individuals, a professional coach will uphold the Code of Ethics, and develop their skills in the Core Competencies.  To earn a credential requires coach training, coaching experience, mentor coaching, demonstrating proficiency by recording coaching sessions, and passing an exam.  All members of the ICF are accountable to the Code of Ethics.

At the Center for Coaching Certification, we hold to the highest standards and are accredited by ICF, and the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (which means the credits are accepted by SHRM, HRCI, and many other professional organizations, colleges, and universities).

When you are looking for a coach, ask them about their coach training and coaching experience.  Ask them about their other professional experience.  Find out if they are a member of ICF and thus accountable to the Code of Ethics.

When you are working with a great coach, here are four ways to know they are serving you in the best possible way:

  1. They ask questions (rather than tell you the answer).
  2. They use many tools from their coaching toolbox (rather than relying on one).
  3. They pay attention to your language and use active listening skills.
  4. They are authentic and flex to your focus.

Coach graduates from the Center for Coaching Certification, CCC, were trained to ask questions based on your style and language, use and create many different coaching tools and processes, plus listen actively and on many levels.  Each earns their certification and has access to many tools to maximize each coaching relationship.  Hiring a graduate of CCC is a way to assure quality in the choice of a coach.


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How You Can Boost Team Morale as An Executive

By Isabella Goode Goode

As an executive, there are things that you can do to further ensure that your employees are doing okay during such a challenging time. When team morale is running low, it is crucial to do what you can to ensure that emotions and motivation are high. Furthermore, with the topic of mental health and well-being prevalent in the mainstream news media, it is essential to ensure that your broader workforce is looking after themselves.

Team morale is vital to the workings of a business, and numerous factors – including the work environment, and how valued an employee feels – can impact an employee’s enthusiasm. As an executive in a business, do what you can to ensure that the morale stays high.

A handy list of ways that you can boost team morale as an executive follows. Go forth with the confidence that you will be making a difference and read on for more!

Talking with Your Employees

While it seems relatively simple, it is something that can make a world of difference. Whether you choose to host a group meeting or opt for the more intimate one-to-one discussions with your employees, conversations provide a good opportunity to find out just how your employees are doing.

While group discussions are suitable for going over fewer personal issues that people are experiencing, by having regular one-to-one meetings with your employees you are providing them with a safe space to get things off their chest.  This is ideal if any of your employees are going through a tough time outside the workplace.

By talking with your employees about how they are handling things, and getting feedback on factors within the workplace, you are sure to be lifting their moods and boosting the team morale while at it.

Team Building Exercises

Team building exercises play a vital role in the workings of business and ensure that things run as smoothly as possible. Team building invites employees to have time getting to know one another in a different environment. By forming and building working relationships with one another, and in a fun and engaging way, morale is soon to be on the upwards trajectory!

While the pandemic has put the usual work socials on pause, and with most people turning to the virtual world for these types of events and activities, there are options. For those executives reading this who prefer to hold in-person socials, consider using the services of businesses like Team Tactics.

They provide companies like your own with socially distanced team building activities. From orienteering and treasure hunts, through to outdoor team building, there are multiple possibilities to choose from! To find out how you can make something like this work for your business and check out the broader range of activities available, head to the website.   

Recognition and Rewards

Everyone enjoys being recognised for the hard work that they are putting in, and this is even more true when working from home. By identifying and rewarding team members who have excelled in the latest quarter, or who have grown in their role, you are sure to be boosting the morale of the wider team.

Small Business Chronicle reports that 79% of employees who feel valued and recognised for their hard work are said to be more productive than those who are not. You will have happier employees, and a higher level of productivity, the perfect formula for a more productive workforce.

Check out more great stories at the Center for Coaching Certifications blog page.


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The Power of Group Coaching

by Naomi Clark-Turner Naomi Clark-Turner

Why are professionals unaware of coaching as an effective way to accelerate personal development?  Coaching is often viewed as a perk reserved for senior level executives and an expensive alternative to mentoring.  The clear benefit that broader access to coaching can offer in organizations is only limited by accessibility since coaching is not freely available to most employees.

So, what if there was an affordable way for more people to access coaching?  Knowing that coaching enhances career prospects, helps develop skills and capabilities, and creates opportunities for individuals to go further and achieve more it makes sense to offer it broadly.

Increasingly, more people are finding that group coaching fulfills the desire for cost-effective coaching.  It is growing in popularity and empowers individuals to proactively invest in themselves at a reasonable cost.

Group coaching creates a win-win financial situation for coaches and the clients as well as in organizations.  Instead of clients or their organization paying for one-on-one sessions, session costs are split between the group members.  Group coaching also provides a safe space to experience coaching and then consider more in-depth individual sessions.

In group coaching, although there is a common purpose or topic of interest, the group usually consists of individuals who are unfamiliar with each other and who are interested in coming together to explore a topic, with the topic being the primary thing they have in common.

The benefits include:

  • Open sharing of knowledge, experience, and perspective between group members.
  • Synergy and potential new insights for individuals and the group.
  • Deep connections and strong, lasting relationships between individual group members in addition to developing trust in the coach.

Learn more about how I developed and ran my first group coaching program by reading “The Power of Group Coaching” in Coaching Perspectives X.


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Personal Brand Makeover

by Delby P. Bragais Delby P. Bragais

Does expertise ensure a steady stream of coaching clients?
Is passion enough to magnetize potential clients?
How does one get seen and heard in a virtual world?

Years ago, having a coach was reserved for top level executives, rising celebrities, superstar athletes, and the ultra-rich. There were few other people investing in coaching services, fewer people who understood the transformational power of coaching, and correspondingly fewer coaches.

Fast forward to today when it is increasingly common for people to turn to coaching whenever they encounter challenges in their life, when they want to level up personally or professionally, or when they are in transition and seek support.  Now, there are coaches for almost all niches and areas of life.

The good news is that anyone with an internet connection and a mobile device can conveniently search for self-help and education, going online to look for coaches, consultants, books to read, and online courses amongst other things.

The not-so-good news is that with the exponential increase in online activity, shorter attention spans, multi-tasking, information overload, and the growing number of people who have jumped on the booming coaching career opportunity, standing out as a coach amidst mounting competition is more challenging than ever.

How does a coach get seen and heard in a crowded, noisy world?

In the book Coaching Perspectives X, I share about the benefits of a “Personal Brand Makeover” for coaches and consultants, the opportunities it attracts, and the 5 steps to build a powerful personal brand leading to more visibility, credibility, and profitability.  Do check out this book because it will be a gamechanger for you!

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