Center for Coaching Certification

Connecting with Clients

ICF Research tells us that the top two sources of new clients are referrals and public speaking. Connecting with Clients

Sometime coaches hesitate to ask for referrals.  Perhaps they don’t want to impose, or they think they are too new or they are afraid of how they will be perceived.  Consider it this way: letting your network know you completed coach training and are now offering coaching services is much like providing an update on your career.  It is often enough to get referrals!  Think also – if people in your network ask you for a referral, what will you do?  If you know someone interested, you will refer them because you know that person!  If you don’t know anyone now, you will wish that person well, and remember for future reference when you meet someone that does want a referral!

Public speaking will be based on your own comfort level.  Post covid it is easier than ever because there are many online opportunities!  The ideal is speaking to group that your ideal client is part of so you can connect.  Provide valuable information, give examples of challenges and how coaching supported facing them successfully, ideas on how they can do it, and let them know you are available for additional questions.  This is what is commonly referred to as content marketing.  Providing valuable content demonstrates expertise and credibility.  The secret is to give enough for it to be useful without giving so much that they are overwhelmed, or they believe that is all they want.

If public speaking isn’t your thing, consider writing white papers or articles as an alternative.  Get your writing out where your ideal client will see it and will see how to contact you!

When you do have a conversation with someone about coaching, instead of selling, coach. Ask the person: What do you want? What does it mean to you? What might prevent you from achieving that? What is your understanding of how coaching supports your success? How will coaching benefit you? What is important to you when hiring a coach? How will you decide if it is right for you?

If someone wants coaching, it will be of value. If someone does not want coaching, it will be ineffective at most. This means instead of selling coaching services, coach people to think, reflect, and make their own choice. If someone wants coaching, that is when it makes sense to move forward.

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Quit Selling and Start Coaching

The idea of becoming a coach and having your own business is exciting!  You do the right things – complete your coach training, join the International Coaching Federation, set up your company, and you are ready!  Now you are a coach – what is next?

When you are in business, offering your services, you want clients.  Where do they come from?  How do you find them?  Or rather, how do they find you? Quit Selling and Start Coaching

Coaches commonly shy away from marketing and selling themselves. In thinking about this for myself, the image that comes to mind is someone pushing me to buy something. It seems the idea of selling is often associated with pushing for other coaches too. It is unattractive and ineffective.

Think of marketing as being available so that when someone is looking for what you offer, they can find you easily. It is often as simple as creating profiles on social media that focus on your ideal client. Think about what is important to them and speak to that. Provide an easy way for them to have an introductory call. When you do talk, make it a coaching conversation.  Instead of pushing services for sales, think in terms of being available for those who want coaching.

Change selling to coaching.  Instead of promoting or pushing your services, invite people to explore what they want, what it means to them, how coaching benefits their success, and the pros and cons of having a coach.  You are a coach, and it truly is their choice!

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Reaching for the Aha

by Maravi Melendez-Davis Maravi Melendez-Davis

New Manager: Ask the question.
Me: (silence)
New Manager: Why don’t you ask the question?
Me: (silence)
New Manager: (silence)

Shortly after this conversation, I resigned without a plan. For a while, I woke and went to sleep thinking, “what was the question I was supposed to be asking?”

During my stint of unemployment, I read a story about a man who was reading a dense, non-fiction book. He must have looked perplexed because another man, familiar with the printed work, approached him and asked, “do you understand what you are reading?” The baffled man looked up and said, “how can I unless someone explains it to me?” At once I thought of my former manager, Luke, and our silent conversation that was full of mutual, unspoken, and unfulfilled expectations. My head and heart became in sync.

I recognize Luke as the man asking the question, and myself as the man needing the explanation. I began reaching out to a woman, Veronica, whom I admired. First, we emailed. Now, I go to her house for lunch and tea. She listens to me; I always feel seen and heard in her presence. Veronica asks me questions. I ponder each aloud. Sometimes, I am frustrated by what I clearly do not know. However, it is a feeling that does not last or take root. Veronica patiently awaits as I take a familiar thought-route—from stuck to Aha!

Veronica is still my master coach. I often think about the difference between my responses today versus my reactions of yesterday. Where would I be if I only knew the questions to ask? Truly, I know the answer to this question does not matter. The most beneficial queries come as I notice someone struggling and boldly ask, “what can I do to help you understand this moment?”

Now I am on the journey to becoming a coach!


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To Be A Coach

By Beth Donovan www.bethdonovan.comBeth Donovan

To Be A Coach

In my way I sought to help,

Those who needed me,

It was then I got Coach Certified,

At a school called CCC,

I learned to help is not to advise,

It’s to question powerfully,

I learned it isn’t finding answers now,

It’s about self-discovery,

Checking expertise at the door,

Of every single session,

Allows a client to explore,

And gain freedom of expression,

Enlightenment and answers come,

Holding space is key,

Somewhere in the silence,

The answer soon will be.


Check out our great team at the Center for Coaching Certification!

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Thriving Coaching Businesses

Thriving as a coaching business. What does this mean?  I think of thriving in two different ways: one is coaches having a thriving business and the other is clients the coaches serve thriving. hriving Coaching Businesses

Coaching is more important than ever to people and to thrive as a coach and help others means being found.  Think about offering your services using a coaching approach.  This means instead of marketing or selling, you are simply making yourself available and asking people what they want.  Ask their understanding of coaching and how it will serve them.

In support of clients thriving, coaches train and practice and reflect on their coaching.  At the Center for Coaching Certification, coaches also come together in group coaching sessions and are talking about how they serve people.

Above and beyond the individual coaching, coaches also support clients thriving with group and team coaching.  Coaches support leaders with remote teams by bringing their teams together.  Coaches serve clients with groups of people who have common interests so they can share ideas and network.

Thriving as a coach starts with your coach training, developing your competencies, being ethical, being available, and expanding your offerings.

Supporting clients so they thrive is the outcome of the work the coach puts into the quality and efficacy of their services.

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Coaching Face-to-face, on the Phone, or Virtually

Pre-pandemic 80% of all coaching was virtual.  Since the pandemic, almost 100% of coaching is virtual.  The coaches and clients who were meeting face-to-face were impacted the most.  I had a funny conversation with one of our graduates, a coach who was resistant to the idea of coaching on the phone or online.  The coach felts there was tremendous value in a face-to-face connection.  The pandemic meant this coach experimented with telephone and online platforms.  They found their sessions were better!  What was different?  They had to listen more intently, and the client was freer because they didn’t see the coach react. Coaching Face-to-face, on the Phone, or Virtually

What are the benefits of coaching on the phone or online?  With online sessions you have the option of being on-camera to say hi and have the personal connection, turn it off during the session, then at the end turn it on again to schedule the next call.  During coaching sessions without cameras, the conversations stay focused on the client’s thinking without the impact from the client seeing the coach take notes or their facial expressions.  The client remains focused completely on what they wish to talk about.  Because there is no visual, the coach hears more of what the client is saying.  Another advantage is that coaches can serve clients all over the world.

As an interesting parallel coach training was often held face-to-face pre-pandemic and while enrollment in the virtual classes had been increasing anyway, only virtual was offered during the pandemic.  In the coaching certification classes, participants experienced on and off camera.  The majority say they find off camera works best.  What do you think?

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ICF’s PCC Markers Speak to Diversity

When you pursue a credential with the ICF, you submit one recording for the ACC or two for the PCC or MCC of yourself coaching. The recording(s) are assessed using what are called the PCC Markers.  The PCC Markers are the specific behaviors that demonstrate the application of coaching competencies.  As a coach submitting a recording, it is important to think about whether you are truly demonstrating your ethics and competencies, and that you are coaching in keeping with what is appropriate.

PCC Marker 4.3 says “coach acknowledges and supports the client’s expression of feelings, perceptions, concerns, beliefs, or suggestions.”  This means inviting the client based on who they are to fully express themselves, and then acknowledging what they express in a way that is respectful and supportive of them. ICF’s PCC Markers Speak to Diversity

PCC Marker 5.1 says that the “coach acts in response to the whole person of the client (the who).”  The coach works with the whole person and that means their identity, their context, and their culture, and is responsive to the whole of the client.

PCC Marker 5.4 says the “coach demonstrates curiosity to learn more about the client.”  This speaks to truly understanding them, their thinking, and their influencers as well as who they are and how their context plays into the conversation.

PCC Marker 6.1 says “coach’s questions and observations are customized by using what the coach has learned about who the client is or the client’s situation.”  This means what a coach learns about the client informs their questions which requires adapting to the client as an individual.

PCC Marker 6.5 states that “coach inquiries about or explores how the client currently perceives themselves or their world.”  It means being curious and exploring the client’s perceptions while considering context.

In PCC Marker 7.1, the “coach asks questions about the client, such as their current way of thinking, feeling, values, needs, wants, beliefs, or behavior.”  This opens the opportunity for understanding the client and their context.

PCC Marker 8.6, says the “coach partners with the client to consider how to move forward, including resources, support, or potential barriers.”  The client’s environment influences which resources are available and the potential barriers.

This blog series highlights points from the Code of Ethics, the Core Competencies, and the PCC Markers with a Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity lens.  Sometimes the connection is clearly stated and at other times it is clear that the application of the point discussed serves diversity.

Let’s keep this conversation going.

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Coaching Competencies 7 and 8 Speak to Diversity

Competency 7. Evokes Awareness is defined as “facilitates client insight and learning by using tools and techniques such as powerful questioning, silence, metaphor, or analogy.”  Which tools work is different for each client, which means understanding their context.  For example, competency 7.1 states that the coach considers client experience when deciding what might be most useful.   As coaches, we are paying attention to what is going to serve the client and be useful to them based on who they are as an individual. Coaching Competencies 7 and 8 Speak to Diversity

Competency 7.3 says, “asks questions about the client, such as their way of thinking, values, needs, wants, and beliefs.”  Learning who the client is helps the coach to formulate questions.  When a coach asks about their way of thinking, and with 7.4 explores beyond current thinking, it involves awareness of their values, needs, wants, and beliefs.  This in turn evokes awareness.

Competency 7.8 states “helps the client identify factors that influence current and future patterns of behavior, thinking or emotion.”  We all have different factors, such as our identity or our culture, that influence our thinking, behaviors, and emotions.  Supporting the client with questions to help them identify how they are influenced helps them move forward.  Ask what they want to do with the awareness, emotions, and influencers.

Competency 8. Facilitates Client Growth happens through understanding the client and the awareness developed through exploring their influencers because then they apply the insights within their strategies and actions.  How the client’s progress and success is celebrated is based on their preferences.

In the next blog the PCC Markers are explored through a diversity lens.

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Coaching Competencies 5 and 6 Speak to Diversity

Competency 5. Maintains Presence says, “is fully conscious and present with the client, employing a style that is open, flexible, grounded, and confident.”  The openness and flexibility call on us to adjust to diverse clients.  5.1 says we are to remain focused, observant, empathetic, and responsive which requires understanding the client and the influence of their culture and experiences.  5.2 says to demonstrate curiosity which supports learning about the client.  5.4 says to demonstrate confidence working with strong emotions which means adapting to the client.  5.5 is a favorite – it says, “is comfortable working in a space of not knowing.”  In addition to this being about the client discovering their own solutions it is also about humility in terms of understanding the client. Coaching Competencies 5 and 6 Speak to Diversity

Competency 6 is Listens Actively.   The definition is “focuses on what the client is and is not saying to fully understand what is being communicated in the context of clients systems and to support client self-expression.”  The context of their systems speaks to their culture, environment, and experiences.  Their context influences how they say things as well as what do they do not say. The coach uses awareness to support their clients’ self-expression and explore further.

Competency 6.1 says “considers the client’s context, identity, environment, experiences, values, and beliefs to enhance understanding of what the client is communicating.”  This speaks to knowing the client so we can consider context.  The coach must learn about the context, the identity, the environment, experiences, values, and beliefs in support of clarity and awareness for the client while also enhancing understanding.

We hope you check out other pages here at the Center for Coaching Certification.

Come back for more in the next blog.

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Coaching Competencies 3 and 4 Speak to Diversity

Because competency 3 is focused on the agreement, consider the entire process with a diversity lens.  How the formal agreement is done – verbally or in writing – calls for sensitivity to client culture.  Exploring what the client wants to focus on and address means being aware of possible influencers based on their culture and experiences.  Incorporate curiosity, humility, flexibility, and a focus on the client throughout. Coaching Competencies 3 and 4 Speak to Diversity

Competency 4 is Cultivates Trust and Safety, defined as “partners with the client to create a safe, supportive environment that allows the client to share freely.  Maintains a relationship of mutual respect and trust.”  The number one indicator of success in a coaching relationship is rapport and that requires ensuring a safe place where the client knows they can trust the coach.  This in turn means a client can and will share freely and be open to questions that invite them to think about what influences them and their perceptions.  The best way to earn trust is to give it and to follow through on commitments.  The agreement process and discussing ethics set the foundation; it is essential the coach give trust and respect to cultivate trust and safety.

Competency 4.1 states “seeks to understand the client within their context which may include their identity, environment, experiences, values, and beliefs.”  This means caring about and getting to know the client.  Competency 4.1 reenforces this “demonstrates respect for the client’s identity, perceptions, style, and language and adapts one’s coaching to the client.”  Whoever the client is, the coach seeks to understand, demonstrates respect, and adapts to them.

Competency 4.6 states “demonstrates openness and transparency as a way to display vulnerability and build trust with the client.”  As a coach, when we are open, transparent, and vulnerable, we make it safe for the client to also be open, transparent, and vulnerable.  The value of coaching shines through when we engage in this way.

More in the next blog.

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