Center for Coaching Certification

Moving Forward

Who are we when our perceived limitations of ourselves keep us from moving forward? What can we learn when our perceived limitations are not perceived as limitations by others? How is our perception limiting us? What are the possibilities? These questions can be explored through reflection, journaling, and/or during coaching.Moving Forward

In the tale in the first blog of this series, a blind lady thought she was unworthy until her boyfriend donated his eyes for her and upon seeing him without eyes thought him unworthy.  The story is powerful. The tale itself offers so much learning. What do you want to take away from that tale? How do the insights help us in partnering with clients?

As a coach, expand thinking and awareness both for ourselves and for our clients. Explore whatever it is that might be getting in the way. Expand to consider different perspectives. Ask about learning from circumstances. Partner with the client as they discover and create opportunities.

Imagine a client that is very talented and very good at what they do lacking confidence.  My guess is that most coaches have experienced this and notice the false perception the client has about their abilities or worthiness. When we effectively support and challenge them from a place of truly being on their side, it opens their thinking and possibilities.

This is the beauty of coaching! When we are working with a client, we are their partner and are on their side. Challenging them comes from a place of supporting them, believing in them, and being on their side. Coaches invite clients to think about different possibilities and different perspectives, different ways of framing things, and to think about how they will move forward.


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Moving Past Limiting Perceptions

In the previous blog an old tale highlighted how perceptions can limit and how changes in circumstances and completely change perceptions.  If a perception is limiting a client, a coach partners with them to create awareness, reflect, and make choices.  The questions coaches ask open the exploration of perceptions and how those perceptions influence choices. Moving Past Limiting Perceptions

A coach will ask a client about their perceptions.

  • How did you come to this perception?
  • How is this perception serving you?
  • How might this perception get in the way?
  • How long do you want to hold onto this perception?
  • What is a different way of looking at it?
  • Given that other people have different perceptions, what do you want to consider?
  • What is a different possibility for you?

A coach will ask about limitations or barriers:

  • What is stopping you from going where you want to go?
  • What else might be in the way?
  • What are different possible perceptions?
  • Where do you want to go?
  • How will you move forward?

Coaching includes challenging thinking, situations, and perceptions. Coaching is an opportunity to explore and expand thinking, create change in circumstances, and reframe perceptions.

What if a change in circumstances leads to a change in perceptions? A coach explores this with a client, What does that change in perception tell you? What if a perceived barrier is removed only to have the outcome of the removal become a barrier? A coach will share the observation and ask, What does that mean to you? Other possible questions include:

  • What does that tell you?
  • What do you learn about yourself from that awareness?
  • How do you want to move forward with that?
  • What do you want to do with it?
  • What do you want to do about that?
  • How will you use your insights?
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A tale that gives us insight is the story of a beautiful young woman who has a boyfriend that wants to marry her and asked her to marry him.  Because she is blind, she says, “no, I can’t marry you, I am blind.”  He says, “well, I do not mind. I do not care.” He asked her many times and worked hard to convince her to say yes.  She kept insisting “no, I cannot because I am blind.” Then one day, a donor gives eyes for her. She has the eyes implanted and can see.  She goes to see her boyfriend. To her horror, she sees that her boyfriend is blind. He says to her, “now will you marry me?” She says, “I cannot marry you; you are blind.” He was devastated. He left in tears. He wrote her a letter, and the letter had just one sentence: “Just take care of my eyes, dear.”

Oh, wow! How many times do we ourselves or our clients hold ourselves back from something we want because of a perceived deficiency we have? Maybe we do not believe we deserve it, or we are not good enough. Whatever it is, we hold ourselves back. Simultaneously, others do not have that same perception. They do not see that perceived deficiency as being an issue, or something to get in the way. Perceptions

Then, just like in this story, when circumstances change, suddenly we see things differently. Are we aware of how a change in our circumstances leads to a change in our minds? Think about what this story tells us. When the young lady was blind, she saw it as ‘I am not good enough.’ The only thing she wanted before saying yes to marrying her boyfriend was to be able to see. He then donated his eyes for her to see. When she saw him, she saw that he was blind. This caused her to change her mind. It then was not about her being able to see, it was about him being able to see. She turned him down before even knowing what he had done for her!

This perceived limitation kept both from moving toward what they wanted. How often do we do that to ourselves?  How often do our clients do that to themselves? We have perceptions about ourselves and other people, about perceived limitations, that get in the way. If these perceived limitations are what is preventing a client from moving forward, how do you support them moving past that perceived limitation? The next blog explores that question.


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Step One: Positivity

By, Janine Sunday Certified Master Coach (Center for Coaching Certification)
ICF Member https://www.leanintochange.netJanine Sunday

A coach’s job is to ask questions that move a client into a positive, hopeful, confident mindset. Once this mindset is achieved, the “doing” begins.  Clients tend to mull over their goals, negative self-talk, and change the plan a few times until they build up the confidence to “do the thing.”  Step one is finding the positivity, which is that first baby step into the world of possibility. Then positivity is use like salt and pepper in every session, sprinkled in to taste, during every step of the recipe for success.

I am blown away by the frequent use of negative self-talk. Why, oh why do we do this?  Negativity drives the downward spiral that we then must climb out of, clutching and clinging to the sides of the funnel.  Everything is so much harder when we don’t stop the funnel in mid spin.  Flipping limiting talk to positive self-talk was one of the most powerful assignments in the Science of Positivity class I took with Center for Coaching Certification.  I was asked to list 20 negative things I say to myself and flip them to a positive affirmation.  The positive flips were eye opening and empowering.  I immediately invited clients to do the same and they too, were amazed at how the positive reframing quickly helped them see their strengths, and how to use their gifts to move forward.

Being positive is hard work some days, because the human experience has challenges. I am not suggesting that clients put on blinders and refuse to deal with hard things.  Finding the positivity in any situation, keeps the spirits up, creates the confidence that they will get through it, and makes smiles more frequent. Positivity ultimately helps clients develop coping strategies that become habits that lead to a healthy and fulfilling life.

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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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