Center for Coaching Certification

Meta Programs Matter

By Beth Donovan

The meta-program of moving towards a goal, rather than away from something negative, is very powerful.  It is a total shift – a different mindset.  Beth Donovan

I learned about this during my coaching certification.  I work with this particular meta program frequently in health and weight coaching.  Clients tell me initially what they want to get away from or avoid.  I hear things like “I don’t want heart disease.”  “I want to lose 100 pounds by ____.”  Those statements are moving away from something negative, such as heart disease or 100 pounds.  The goals, what they do want, are a healthy heart or to weigh 150 pounds.

Changing the mindset and looking at where they want to go is an amazing way to get there.  My instructor from coach training, Cathy Liska, often says that if you go to a travel agent, you tell them where you DO want to go.  Telling them where you don’t want to go does not give them a destination.  If we have a destination in mind, then we can plan how to arrive there.

Shifting things from “I don’t want…” to “I do want…” gives us a target of a sort.  It is motivating as we begin to picture results in our lives.  My clients enjoy doing vision boards or journaling about what life will be like at their goal.

Another important meta program is internal versus external motivation.  Internal motivation is stronger and more lasting than external motivation because we are more invested in it.  The more we want something for ourselves, the more likely we are to go get it.  When we have external motivation, we are doing something for someone or something outside of ourselves. 

There are other meta programs and they all matter.  These two along with being proactive are ones that I have noticed seem to make the greatest difference in client success.


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Noteworthy Details in the New Code of Ethics

In addition to the overall format changes in the International Coaching Federation’s, ICF’s, Code of Ethics described in the previous blog, there is value in looking more closely at some of the detailed information that is different.   Noteworthy Details in the New Code of Ethics

For example, there are five additional definitions in the new Code of Ethics.  First, two definitions, that of Student and Roles in a Coaching Relationship are no longer included.  Professional Coaching Relationship changed to Coaching Relationship.  ICF Coach changed to ICF Professional.  New definitions include Code, Confidentiality, Equality, ICF Staff, Internal Coach, Support Personnel, and Systemic Equality.  Noteworthy in these changes are the addition of Equality and Systemic Equality.

Before exploring additional changes, it is important to note that for the first time the ICF has published Ethics Interpretive Statements, EIS, at  This adds so much depth to the standards themselves.

Additional details that are important in the Code of Ethics include:

  • The move of confidentiality and conflicts of interest points to be contained within Responsibility to Clients. Because of the EIS information, the points are covered and additional clarity is provided.
  • The addition of standard number 10 addresses being sensitive to the implications of multiple relationships.
  • Standard 11 is focused on the potential risks of power differences.
  • Standard 25 includes respecting local rules and cultural practices within fairness and equality.
  • In standard 28 it goes beyond avoiding bad to doing good.

During your coach training discussion will include how you are being as a coach.  ICF’s Code of Ethics and Core Competencies direct coaches earning their coaching certification to embody integrity and ethics in our being and mindsets.

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ICF’s New Code of Ethics

In December of 2019, the International Coaching Federation published the new Code of Ethics that then went into effect January 1, 2020.  What are the reasons behind the change?  Primarily two things: 1. It is a best practice to review and update as appropriate on a regular basis.  This leads to what is behind the extent of the changes with the next reason: 2. As the profession grows and matures the experience and knowledge base also grows and matures.

Most noticeably, how the code is organized changed.

Sections Before:

  • Professional Conduct at Large
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Professional Conduct with Clients
  • Confidentiality/Privacy
  • Continuing Development

Sections Now:

  • Responsibility to Clients
  • Responsibility to Practice and Performance
  • Responsibility to Professionalism
  • Responsibility to Society

To go into more detail, consider this table shows what converted and where.

Comparing old and new ethics

This provides a very general outline of what changed.  In the next blog, we will explore more of the details in the changes.

In response to an unasked question: Yes, during coach training the new Code of Ethics is now taught in all Center for Coaching Certification programs.


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The Difference between Therapy and Coaching

by Beth Donovan – www.CoachBeth.usBeth Donovan

I have had clinical major depression turned bipolar depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder ever since childhood.  I needed therapy to help me with such things because I required diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment during my childhood included hospitalization and talk therapy.  Later in life, cognitive-behavioral therapy helped more, where I became more aware and was actively working on my thinking according to past and present.  Eventually, medication helped the very most.

As I became more familiar with coaching, I discovered there were distinct differences. Coaching does not deal with a diagnosis or treatment; it simply creates awareness around where a person is and helps move them forward from where they are currently.  Coaching is very positive and does not dwell in the pain of the past because coaching is forward-focused.

Coaching views the client as an expert.  Coaching is a conversation to bring out the client’s absolute best self and inner expertise.  The coach asks powerful questions to bring out the true brilliance of the client, provoke thought, self-discovery, and create change.

Coaching focuses on self-awareness, growth, and development, strategy and action plan with a return on investment, while therapy focuses on healing the inner conscious and subconscious mind.  It is the difference between being able to see the results for your money in a measurable way.

Coaching is more short term, while therapy is often long term.  Often, therapy goes on for years due to digging up the past and analyzing, testing, medications, treatments, talk, and behavioral therapy.  Coaching explores where you are, where you want to go, supports creating an action plan, establishing accountability, considering different perspectives, clarity and more.  Coaching conversations move you forward.

Whether you seek coaching or therapy depends on your objective.

  • Is your problem stemming from the past?
  • Do you require input from an expert, such as a diagnosis or medication?
  • Do you have a challenge to move through to get to your future?
  • Do you feel you want clarity and perspective?
  • Which best suits your personal objectives?
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Setting Smart Goals to Create Change

by Beth Donovan –  www.CoachBeth.usBeth Donovan

A SMART Goal is:

Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Time-bound

Smart goals create change by providing clarity, direction, a measurement of success for efforts, and motivation.

In creating a SMART GOAL, being specific means that you have decided on what change you want to create.  Be as specific as possible and keep it simple so that you can call it to mind quickly. For example: I will drink 2 quarts of water daily.

Measurable means to set up a way of measuring success.  For example, I will drink 8 glasses of water per day.  Track progress towards goal success in a journal or app.

Actionable is vital.  We all want success, so setting ourselves up for it does benefit us.  Making the goal actionable is akin to making it a no-brainer.  It’s something you’re sure you can take action toward.  The idea is set a challenge that you feel confident facing.  Example: I will drink 8 glasses of water per day by setting my water bottle in front of me every hour.

Relevant is knowing it matters to you and the reasons.  Relevant is knowing that the goal makes sense.  Example: I will drink 8 glasses of water per day by setting my filled water bottle in front of me every hour because drinking water helps me feel good, have energy, and be healthy.

Timely is giving yourself a specific timeline for action and specific time to achieve your desired end-result.  Example: I will drink 8 glasses of water per day by setting my water bottle in filled front of me every hour for one month so I develop a new habit.

There is a definite progression in a SMART GOAL.  Creating one is as simple as writing SMART and filling in the blanks. This is a “Baby Steps” approach, really.  As we succeed at each SMART goal, we believe in ourselves more.  Success begets success.


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The Importance of Letters: Why a Coaching Certification Matters

By Diana Fritts The Importance of Letters: Why a Coaching Certification Matters

Obtaining a certification is valuable in any profession, and coaching is no different. In such a rapidly growing industry, showing your commitment to your career through further training and certification is crucial to remain competitive. For example, consider Maryville University’s report that there is a growing demand for training specialists who can help bring about organizational change, whether it’s for personal development or technological innovation. Whichever profession you choose, training makes sense.

There are plenty of benefits that a coaching certification can bring and understanding the impact of getting a coaching certification will help one determine whether to get one or not. Read on to discover why getting a certification is important.

It’s a stamp of excellence and self-accomplishment

A study from researchers at Umeå University note that certification makes one feel and look good. In other words, certification provides a way to challenge one’s capabilities, provide self-actualization, and a sense of worth as it signals the competence of the owner. Whether you get an Associate Certified Coach (ACC), Professional Certified Coach (PCC), or Master Certified Coach (MCC) all will signify that you’ve gone through a specific number of hours of coach-specific training from an International Coaching Federation-accredited program.

It can keep you ahead of the game

The best thing about getting a coaching certification is that it keeps you ahead of competitors. Compared to other coaches without certification, you will look more credible to a client. Not to mention, writers from HuffPost note that holding an industry-recognized certification, such as an ICF Certification, can help you grow your skills, knowledge, and proficiency — even if you’ve been in the industry for years.

Corporations and clients prefer it

Certifications don’t just help a coach, they help a company too. Aside from helping the coach advance within a company, it can also help employers evaluate potential new hires and employees, analyze job performance, and even motivate employees to enhance their skills and knowledge. Not to mention, companies may trust an individual more if they have submitted to a combination of accredited training, coaching hours, and assessment and compliance for standards of practice.

It demonstrates a level of commitment to clients

Within coaching certification training, one will go through all kinds of courses and learn new things — one of which is coaching competencies. Cathy Liska notes that learning these competencies, aside from the myriad of other things you will learn, will demonstrate both self-respect and respect for your clients. This is because you will respect yourself by giving yourself opportunities to learn new things, and respect to your clients by demonstrating that you want to give them a higher quality of service.

At the end of the day, whether you get an AAC, PCC, MCC, or no credentials at all, it’s all up to you. While holding an ICF credential does not reflect all the skills you may have, it does reflect a tangible level of commitment that will help demonstrate how you can provide the best quality of professional care for your clients.


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Creating Change with a Positivity Journal

by Beth Donovan – www.CoachBeth.usBeth Donovan

I keep a record of positive things that I see, do, hear, think, and discover.  I call this my Positivity Journal.  I make it a daily goal to write 3 positive things about myself and my day in it each evening.

A Positivity Journal gives you a spectacular record of your success and insight to what you are doing to succeed at creating change.

Keeping things very positive is crucial.  Use positive, proactive words (for example those on the positive word list from coach training).  Poisonous words like don’t, didn’t, try, maybe, etc. are self- defeating.  You are looking for a record of positive successes.

The great thing about a Positivity Journal is that you can look back at how you were succeeding to move past bumps in the road.  You have a road map to your own success.

It also puts your brain on POSITIVE!  Positive thoughts and language help create change in and of themselves because they can rewrite the neuro pathways in the brain.  Once this starts taking place, change starts becoming easier.  The more positive thoughts you can think, the more your brain neuroscience will change.  This is helpful in overcoming a stubborn habit.

Building a new habit is like any building.  Building requires the addition of materials.  Adding positive things and thoughts to life is building.

Removing is a negative.  Consider when people destroy something.  They remove materials and leave a hole where the materials used to be.  Habits are easy to pick back up where there is a hole.

By building and creating positive change, the hole gets filled.  It is much easier to stick to new changes and succeed.


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Helping Your Client Create Motivation

by Beth Donovan –  www.CoachBeth.usBeth Donovan

Coaching clients often want inspiration and motivation.  Tap into their inner expertise and bring out their brilliant nature.  They know what they want.

Help them remember WHY they want it.  A WHY is a strong motivator.  It is the very reason that they created their goal in the first place.  Perhaps your client wants to release weight, for example.  The WHY might be because their knees hurt or they miss out on playing with their children like they want to, or it may be because they want to feel good in their clothes and have more energy.

Asking questions to provoke the WHY and building their self-affirmation can truly support them to see the possibilities for the future when motivation wanes.

An affirmation story is one tool that a coach can co-create with the client in very positive, flowing language.  It helps the client envision and create their desired future when recorded in the client’s voice and listened consistently.

Recognize accomplishments and reward them along the way.  Motivation is built in a positive and proactive way using rewards.  Ask the client how they recognize and reward themselves.

Simply having a coach for accountability check-ins and brainstorming is motivation.  People will perform well just to share progress and success with their coach.  Coaches can also brainstorm with clients to create extra motivation when their clients run out of ideas.

Coaching is ideal for garnering motivation because it deals with exploring where a client is, where they want to go, and supporting them creating an action plan to get there.  Along the way, motivation is a natural occurrence in coaching.  It is simply part of the conversation of how to get from here to there.


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When Abracadabra Doesn’t Work…..Try WOOP to Engage Positive Change

By Christie Carney Christie Carney

Recently, a client reached out with urgency to push beyond her weight loss challenge.  Her hope was to quickly hone in on her blocks and move forward.  Perfect, I’ll just use my magic wand that I received for Christmas with a one-and-done wave and a catchy spell.

Just kidding of course.  If only we could make sustainable change with such expedience and finesse.  Back to reality, this client has a big life and I wanted to consider her sense of urgency and how to partner with her for tapping into navigating her goals.  Then, I remembered an article I read that referred to a tool called WOOP.  That’s right, WOOP!

WOOP stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan.

Renowned researcher and author of Rethinking Positive Thinking, Gabriele Oettingen, describes how to use positive thinking to envision the desired goal and raise your motivation to attain that vision with WOOP.

WOOP aligns perfectly with coaching.  Here’s how the process rolled out with my client Desiree who desired to lose 20 pounds by her 30th wedding anniversary party on New Year’s Eve.

I asked what her WISH was and to positively visualize herself on New Year’s Eve – how she looked, how she felt, and to engage all 5 senses in her imagery.  Additionally, I asked her to envision how she achieved her goal.

Next, I asked her desired OUTCOME for this goal and what powerful emotions she associates with achieving the weight loss.

Then, I inquired, what might be the challenges to achieving the goal, and to identify the possible OBSTACLES.  This required deep exploration and honesty on her part.  We discussed how she will preempt herself when cravings, excuses, and distractions arise that divert her from her goals and actions.  This was a painful process.

After taking a hard look at the obstacles, I asked, how did she know she will still lose the weight?  Then, she visualized overcoming the challenges to achieve her desires and developed a PLAN, which included focusing on the response and action to obstacles.

The weight loss wasn’t quite like magic.  She did lose 18 pounds by December 31st, was the belle of the ball, and achieved her vision.  Woop, Woop!


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Today is the very best day

by Susanna Theo Theo

Each day I take a moment to recite this phrase aloud with 100% belief supporting every word. I have the freedom to set the tone of my day both for myself and for my students. This action is selected with conscious commitment. The path I choose to walk is paved with stepping stones constructed of positivity and success where all things are possible.  Positivity begins with me.

As I am vested in my own road, my students become part of this, too. Each day and every moment is a living example. My students are not just on lookers, they engage as part of the example. Co-creation. The students have the chance to hear, see, feel, and experience if only for a split second. Positivity is like a seed: once planted it grows and grows. Quickly, students see the simplicity of including this shift in their everyday life through their own efforts: attendance is solid, they become more engaged, and they see progress in rising test scores.  Daily I watch the transformation.

Positivity does begin with me, therefore, I am at the ready.  Today, a student walks into a session with body posture and face revealing the weight of worry and stress. Their eyes reflect their thoughts spinning around in their mind questioning things like: how can I balance work and school, or pass an upcoming test? In a split second, I say “Today is the very best day!” Instantly, tense muscles relax as their face lights with a smile.  Now, the focus is solely on achievements where their smallest dreams will become real.

Today, I say, “It IS the very best day!”


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