Center for Coaching Certification

I’m going to college. Do I need a Career Coach?

Fortune magazine said: Do you have a career coach? If not, you could be limiting your success.  A ten-year study of coaching at Amoco, now part of British Petroleum, resulted in the finding that those who received coaching earned on average 50% higher salary increase.

Do I need a Career Coach?

Do I need a Career Coach?

Monster.com listed 4 reasons to get a career coach.  They are:

  • You feel unfulfilled
  • You don’t know who to trust
  • You’ve been job shopping without direction
  • You’re not advancing

As you can see, there are a multitude of reasons someone may utilize the services of a career coach.

So, do you need a career coach?  Certainly you want one!

The real question is, What is a career coach? There is a big difference between career counselors or consultants and career coaches.  A career coach has professional training in the 11 Core Competencies of a coach from the International Coach Federation, ICF, as well as the ICF Code of Ethics.  Whereas a career counselor or consultant will tell you what to do and how to do it, a career coach will put you in charge of choosing what you want and how to achieve it with the coaching process.

Sometimes working with someone who offers career counseling, consulting, training, and coaching is smart.  Ask about the different roles and choose a coach who clearly differentiates what they offer in terms of coach training, coaching experience, and the coaching process.

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Are coaches trained?

Professional coaches are trained.  Unfortunately, there are many calling themselves a coach who do not have training.  Because coaching is a self-regulated profession, there are people who think being a coach is as simple as saying you are a coach.

Are coaches trained?

Are coaches trained?

How much sense does that make?  Well, years ago, people use to call themselves a doctor without medical training.  People use to call themselves a financial planner without training.  People use to call themselves a counselor or a therapist without training.  Like other professions have experienced, that is happening in coaching.  The real question is, do you want to hire a professional service provider who has not been trained?

The gold standard in coaching is the International Coach Federation, ICF.  To become a member, they require coaches to have 60 hours of training.  To earn a credential with the ICF, they require training, experience, working with a mentor coach, recording yourself coaching, and an exam. The ICF offers three levels of credentialing.  The first level, the ACC, requires 60 hours of training and 100 hours of experience.  The second, the PCC, requires 125 hours of training and 250 hours of experience. The third, the MCC, requires 200 hours of training and 2500 hours of experience.

While many professionals have transferable skills, coaching is a unique process and coach training is how the ability to coach effectively is developed.

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Coach or Mentor?

Often people wonder, Do I want a coach, or, do I want a mentor?  Understanding the difference is essential for making this call.  A mentor is someone who has experience and wisdom that they pass on.  They are there to give advice.  A mentor is valuable when you want new information.  Alternatively, a coach is a strategic partner that empowers you to explore and discover your own answer.  A coach is valuable when you are ready for an advanced level of development and to create meaningful change.

Coach or Mentor?

Coach or Mentor?

A mentor is someone you have a long-term relationship with in your life.  How much time you have with them ebbs and flows.  In the workplace mentors are often assigned or cultivated to help learn about the organization and the job role.  In life a mentor is cultivated because you respect them and want their advice.

A coach is a professional service provider that has completed coach training and ideally coaching certification so that they hone their coaching competencies and know the ethics of their role.  The coach sees you as your own best expert.  A coach listens deeply and asks questions.  In the coaching process you explore possibilities and opportunities, consider challenges, develop strategies, and plan your actions. A coaching relationship lasts one year on average – it continues as long as it benefits you so sometimes it is shorter and sometimes longer.  Most importantly: the number one indicator of success in a coaching relationship is the rapport between the coach and client.  This means work with a coach you trust.

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Coaching Competencies Engage Coaching Clients

Duringcoaching certification, the 11 Core Competencies of a Coach from the International Coach Federation, ICF, are taught and developed.  In addition to these competencies being great soft skills in terms of people and communication, these competencies support the effectiveness of coaching relationships. Learning coaching means learning to empower others, take ethics to the next level, build trust, be present, communicate effectively, expand thinking, create strategies, and ensure follow-through.

Coaching Competencies

Coaching Competencies

The past five blogs have been intended for you to recognize that the 11 Core Competencies as applied in coaching are also applicable for engaging coaching clients.

The coaching skills from coach training are skills to develop in life in general.  Coaching competencies enhance our personal relationships, our workplace productivity, and our leadership abilities.  Coaching skills are something to practice at all times because if we think we can simply turn them on when coaching, we are mistaken.  Coaching skills require practice all the time.  In addition to using our coaching skills to improve our own lives, using our coaching skills all the time builds our reputations as coaches and invites new clients to engage.

In your writing, speaking, and conversations, using the coaching competencies you learned during coaching certification means opening the door for engaging new clients.

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Facilitating Learning and Results for Engaging Coaching Clients

In the last three blogs we covered specific application of the core competencies of a coach for engaging coaching clients.  The11 Core Competencies are from the International Coach Federation, ICF, and taught during coach training.  Now we move to the application of the remaining competencies to engage new coaching clients.

Facilitating Learning and Results for Engaging Coaching Clients

Facilitating Learning

The fourth area and last four competencies of the 11 are:

  1. Facilitating Learning and Results
    8. Creating Awareness
    9. Designing Actions
    10. Planning and Goal Setting
    11. Managing Progress and Accountability

Engaging new clients calls for your network and people you meet being aware of your coaching services.  Some of the awareness comes from providing information about what you offer on your website and in social media.  Some of it comes from speaking and training engagements.  In conversations, it is often as simple as asking, “What is your understanding of coaching?”  If they respond in a way that shows they are unaware, simply say, “That is a common misunderstanding.”  Then you can explain coaching.  If their response indicates and accurate awareness, or after explaining coaching, ask, “How will coaching benefit you?”  Simply put, you are using what you learned in coach training to create awareness, asking questions.

When talking with people, model the coaching competencies of Designing Actions plus Planning and Goal Setting.  Ask about their work, what they like, and their challenges.  Then ask how they move past those challenges.  Model how coaching helps them think through and plan for themselves. When you ask people about moving past challenges, challenge and expand their thinking as is possible and appropriate. Then support them in deciding on action steps plus planning for what they want to accomplish.

Often applying other coaching competencies also demonstrates how having a coach means having an accountability partner.  Look for an opportunity to ask, “How does having an accountability partner benefit you?”

Applying your competencies for facilitating learning and results in your conversations models what you offer and invites people to explore your services.

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Communicating Effectively for Engaging Coaching Clients

Hopefully you are realizing from the previous two blogs that the 11 Core Competencies of a Coach are also skills that serve to engage new coaching clients.  These competencies are defined by the International Coach Federation, ICF, and taught in coach training.  Let’s continue exploring the application.

Communicating Effectively for Engaging Coaching Clients

Communicating Effectively

The third area and next three competencies are:

  1. Communicating Effectively 
    5. Active Listening
    6. Powerful Questioning
    7. Direct Communication

Each time you meet with colleagues, network, and / or talk about your coaching, the application of your communication competencies is essential.  The means listening deeply to what people say, asking powerful coaching questions, and using clear, direct language.

Sometimes we have the mistaken idea that we are focused on selling and that means telling and even pushing our services.  The reality is we are creating the experience of communicating with a coach so that people can determine for themselves whether coaching is a process that serves them at this time in their life.

That means that instead of telling people lots of things, focus on engaging in a conversation from a place of curiosity about what they want in life, their challenges, and how they can move forward. Apply your coaching communication competencies and empower a natural flow in the conversation and exploration of the coaching process as a tool.  Most important, invite others to consider the pros and cons and then decide for themselves with coaching questions.

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Co-Creating the Relationship for Engaging Coaching Clients

In the previous blog we focused on the application of the first category and first two competencies of the 11 Core Competencies from the International Coach Federation, ICF.  Now we move to applying the second category and the next two competencies for engaging new coaching clients.

Co-Creating the Relationship for Engaging Coaching Clients

Co-Creating the Relationship

As covered during coach training, the next competencies include:

  1. Co-creating the Relationship
    3. Establishing Trust and Intimacy with the Client
    4. Coaching Presence

Clients will hire you as a coach when they believe in your abilities, the quality of your work, and your integrity.  This starts with the Code of Ethicsand how you talk about coaching.  For people that already know you, learning about your coach training and commitment to ethics validates their existing trust. For new contacts, it is a starting point.

Establishing trust and intimacy is a process – it is relationship building.  From your coach training you learned tools to be present to who the client is and to flex to them.  Apply the same techniques when building a relationship with new contacts because they will come to trust you for themselves and / or for referring others too.

When meeting with a prospective client, be true to your role as a coach.  That means being aware of how that person is thinking, feeling, and processing in the moment and effectively flexing to them appropriately.  Do this in the same way you do it when coaching.

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Setting the Foundation for Engaging Coaching Clients

The 11 Core Competencies of a Coach as defined by the International Coach Federation, ICF, are organized in four areas.  Through coach training, these competencies are learned and developed.  After coaching certification, these same competencies serve to engage new clients.

Setting the Foundation for Engaging Coaching Clients

Setting the Foundation

Start with the first category and first two competencies:

  1. Setting the Foundation
    1. Meeting Ethical Guidelines and Professional Standards
    2. Establishing the Coaching Agreement

As a new coach, chances are you plan to or are already updating your profile on social media and creating a website.  This is a great opportunity to apply the first two coaching competencies!

First, include information on what coaching is and is not – draw from your coach training class.  Write about how the focus of your coaching is to empower the client and that they choose what they want to accomplish and how they want you to partner with them.

Second, promote the ICF Code of Ethics and share your commitment to abide by it as a coach.  Talk about how you learned about the ethics during coach training.  Share your plans to continue coach training for ICF membership or credentialing.

For your network and prospective clients who read about you on your social media profiles and website, your information on coach training, coaching ethics, and on empowering the client speaks to your commitment to provide effective coaching that makes a difference.  This is an invitation for them to contact you or refer you to others they know who want a coach.

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Meeting the Challenge: Engaging New Coaching Clients

Coaches that completed their coach training share one of their big challenges is engaging new clients.  Part of it is a fear of selling, part is a lack of confidence, and part is a lack of knowledge as to how to engage new clients.

Meeting the Challenge: Engaging New Coaching Clients

Engaging New Coaching Clients

First, let’s address the fear of selling.  To be successful, each coach must go through a paradigm shift.  The word FEAR stands for: False Expectations Appearing Real.  The reality is that in terms of coaching, we are offering a service for those who are interested.  Selling implies pushing and we are instead inviting.  Focus on letting people know you are available if and when people want coaching.

Second, let’s talk about confidence.  In the Certified Professional Coach program, during the second session each participant is given the single most powerful tool for developing their own confidence and coaching language.  Both support your effectiveness and success as a coach.  An additional thought: if the only thing you do is use the process you learned during coaching certification, then you are adding value for clients.

Next, let’s move to knowledge on how to engage clients.  Quite simply, learning and applying your coaching competencies is the knowledge required for engaging coaching clients.  To support this, in this blog series we will take each area of competency and explain how to apply the competencies to help you engage new clients.

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Coaching Competencies Empower Clients

In the last blog, empower and empowerment were defined and then explored as part of coaching.  Coach training involves a paradigm shift from giving solutions to empowering the client to discover and create their own strategies.

Coaching Competencies

Coaching Competencies Empower Clients

There are 11 Core Coaching Competencies from the International Coach Federation covered in coach training that all support empowering the client.  The details in nine of them call out specific ways to empower clients:

  • Establishing the Agreement includes empowering the client each session to choose both what they want to discuss and how they want to have the conversation.
  • Establishing Trust and Intimacy includes showing genuine concern, demonstrating respect, and providing ongoing support.
  • Active Listening states that the coach encourages, accepts, explores, and reinforces the client’s expression of feeling, perceptions, etc.
  • Powerful Question says to ask clients questions that move them toward what they want.
  • Direction Communication involves using language that is appropriate and respectful.
  • Creating Awareness had the coach help clients discover for themselves.
  • Designing Actions includes promoting active experimentation and self-discovery, celebrating successes and capabilities, and encourages stretches and challenges plus a comfortable pace of learning.
  • Planning and Goal Setting include helping the client identify and access resources plus targeting early successes.
  • Managing Progress and Accountability includes acknowledging the client, promoting self-discipline, and developing the client’s ability to make decisions, address key concerns, develop themselves, determine priorities, set the pace of learning, plus reflect on and learn from experiences.

The value of coaching with a professional who has completed their coaching certification is found in how it empowers individuals to grow, create meaningful change, and achieve what they want – in other words, they are empowered and develop their own empowerment.

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