Center for Coaching Certification

Coaching is Coaching

coaching is coachingWhat if a coach wants to give advice or their client asks for advice?  During coach training participants learn a significant reason coaching has such a high average ROI, Return On Investment (600%): clients discover their own answers and design their own plan.  If a coach wants to give advice they know to bite their tongue and instead ask questions.  Giving advice is something consultants, trainers, and mentors do and outside the scope of coaching.

What if a coach likes to train?  It is possible to have more than one service that is performed either within the parameters of a job or as a business owner.  For example, coaches often also work in training.  It is the responsibility of the coach/person providing the service to be clear on what the service entails.  If the agreement is for coaching, then during scheduled coaching sessions the coach is the coach and training is inappropriate.  Alternatively, if training is scheduled, then training is appropriate.

What if a coach is also a consultant or mentor?  Much like the response to the above question, ultimately what counts is that everyone involved knows what service role is being offered and utilized.  As an example, when setting up a working relationship, the different services are discussed, the client chooses what they want, and the service is provided accordingly.

What if a coach is also certified to use assessment tools?  Administering an assessment is done in the capacity of someone certified or trained to administer the assessment, or as a consultant.  Coaching happens after the assessment.

Coaching certification includes learning the Code of Ethics and the ethics for coaching state that the coach is to define the roles.  Additionally, the ICF coaching competency on establishing the coaching agreement states: Reaches agreement about what is appropriate in the relationship and what is not, what is and is not being offered, and about the client’s and coach’s responsibilities.  It is therefore the responsibility of the coach to clarify their role or roles and to honor the agreement with a client based on the schedule created.  This means doing the work in keeping with the appropriate role.

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Be Proactive

be proactiveTo be proactive means influencing outcomes or making them happen through action.  It involves thinking ahead in terms of what is happening, choosing what you want, and initiating action to create the outcome desired.  Being proactive is the first habit in Stephen Covey’s book “7 Habits of Highly Successful People”.  The opposite of proactive is reactive, meaning waiting for someone else or for something else.  Being proactive means taking control of what is possible.

Coaching is designed to support creating meaningful change, and this calls for being proactive.

Coaching certification focuses on learning the competencies and a process for partnering with clients so that they proactively achieve what they choose.  Research shows and average return on investment in coaching to be 600% so clearly coaching works.

Coaches incorporate a multitude of tools and techniques in support of their clients being proactive and creating the meaningful change they choose.  Significant amongst these are the following:

  • Forward focus – coaching is about the future and what clients want to achieve or change
  • Positive – coaching language is positive and this lends itself to being proactive
  • Exploration – coaches listen deeply, are aware of how their client is thinking and perceiving, and then ask questions so clients expand their thinking and consider different possibilities or perspectives
  • SMART Goals – coaches ask clients to choose and define their Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Resonant, and Time-bound goals
  • Strategy and Planning – coaches ask questions and partner with clients to develop strategies and plan action steps
  • Follow-through – coaches are accountability partners for following through on commitments and also for acknowledging progress and success along the way

Coaching competency is essential as a coach and coaching competency is helpful for everyone.  When working with a coach, observe the behaviors they model and reflect on how you want to incorporate the skills you value in your life and work.

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A Habit of Action

habit of action blogIt is often too easy to get into a habit of doing the same things at the same times.  It is easy to get stuck in routines or habits.  This is a common barrier to creating meaningful change and achieving goals.  How do you move past being stuck and into a habit of action for creating the change you want and achieving your goals?  The best resource is – you guessed it – a coach.  (When you do work with a coach be sure they have completed their coaching certification and ask them about their membership in the International Coach Federation.)

How does a coach support you to choose and create new habits?  A coach starts with awareness; in coach training information is provided on what it takes to change a habit and effective coaches apply this personally and provide a process for clients.  It is noteworthy that it takes time to change a habit.  The research varies on how much time so for our purposes work with this: 21 days to change a thought, 30 days to change a habit, 6 to 12 months for the habit to become the new norm.

If you really want to change a habit, two things must be occurring:

  1. Information In – this comes in the form of reminders, recordings, books, affirmations, meditation, visualization, and accountability partners.
  2. Application Out – this means taking actions, often starting with a simple step, and consistently doing based on what you want for your new habit.

How does a coach help you create change and develop new habits?  Through the coaching process, a coach helps you define what you do want and plan how to move past barriers, utilize resources, and develop new habits by design.

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Creating the Shift

creating-the-shiftCoaching is a great tool for creating a shift from procrastinating or being reactive to taking action and being proactive.  Coach training highlights the importance of a forward focus and includes asking questions so that clients plan proactively.  Coaches serve as accountability partners for follow-through and progress.

What is it about the coaching process that is so powerful for creating this shift?  The three A’s:

  • Awareness – coaches ask questions and give clients the space to think, reflect, consider, and be open to new ideas.
  • Action Planning – coaches ask clients what they will do, how, and when to support them intentionally being proactive.
  • Assess and Adjust – coaches ask clients how they are doing, what worked, what didn’t work, what they want to change, and how they will move forward.

What are questions coaches ask for each of the three A’s?  Coaching certification teaches coaches to ask forward-focused, open-ended, short questions.  For example:

  • Awareness
    • How do you define being proactive?
    • What are the benefits of being proactive?
    • What are the barriers to being proactive?
    • What strategies will move you forward?
  • Action Planning
    • How will you move past the barriers?
    • What resources will you use?
    • What specifically will you do?
    • When will you do it?
  • Assess and Adjust
    • How are you doing with your action steps?
    • What has helped?
    • What has held you back?
    • How will you move forward?

Coaching is about the future and coach training prepares coaches to effectively partner with their clients for a positive, forward focus on planning and follow-through

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Get it Right versus Get it Done

get-it-right-v-get-it-done-blogSometimes people prefer to focus primarily on getting things right (35% of the population) and sometimes people prefer to focus primarily on getting things done (15% of the population).  (If you are wondering where the other 50% are then you are likely a “get it right” person – the others are a mix.)  Both “right” and “done” have value.  If one is ignored in favor of the other, then complications arise.

To ensure there is an awareness of both right and done, coaches learn through coach training that it is their responsibility to understand their client’s perspective and to expand their thinking.

Start with identifying the pros and cons of each:

Get it Right

  • Pros
    • do it once
    • credibility
    • quality
  • Cons
    • takes more time
    • different ideas of ‘right’
    • opportunity cost

Get it Done

  • Pros
    • frees time and ability to focus
    • timely follow-through
    • can do more
  • Cons
    • mistakes due to speed
    • time and money to correct
    • errors may be compounded

Coaching questions for deciding how to decide on right, done, or a balance:

  • What level of accuracy is required?
  • What level of accuracy is desired?
  • Who defines right?
  • How is right defined?
  • What is “good enough”?
  • What is the timeline?
  • What are the opportunity costs?
  • How important is it to be right?
  • How important is it to complete this?
  • What is your balance between right and done?

Ultimately the client is the one to decide on their priorities; coaching certification teaches coaches their role is to ask the questions that expand thinking and support clients in making decisions effectively.


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Procrastination and Coaching

procrastination and coaching blogIf a client is procrastinating, what can a coach do to support them moving forward?  A coach creates awareness in their client around their reasons for procrastinating, motivations to be proactive, and effective ideas to change from procrastinating to moving forward.

Coaching is based on a proven process using proven competencies.  Specifically, during coaching certification, coaches learn to support clients so they move forward by:

  • understanding who the client is and how they process information,
  • dancing in the moment with their thinking and exploration,
  • listening deeply,
  • asking questions,
  • help develop strategies and action steps,
  • be an accountability partner, and
  • celebrate progress and success.

What questions do coaches ask?

  • What are your motivations for procrastinating?
  • What do you like about delaying action?
  • What do you dislike about delaying action?
  • What are the benefits of taking action?
  • What motivates you to take action?
  • How will you find your source of motivation in the moment?
  • What quick win do you want to motivate a next step?
  • What reminders help you take action?
  • How do you want me to serve as your accountability partner?
  • How do you want to acknowledge progress and success?

Bottom line: apply what you learn in coach training.  Use positive language, believe in your client and their ability to make it work, ask open-ended questions, focus forward, check in on their committed action steps, and take time to affirm their progress and success.

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Setting the Example

setting the example blogWhen people are considering coach training, the question sometimes comes up, “Are coaches expected to be perfect?”  It is funny this is asked because ultimately we are all human and that means we are imperfect; coaches do have coaches, coaches focus forward, plus coaches are continuously learning, growing, and improving.

What is expected of coaches?  Coaches are expected to be moving forward, engaging in ongoing professional development, and enhancing their skills.  This means coaches are expected to prioritize their involvement in conferences or coaching certification.  Coaches are also expected to be an example and model the behaviors they support in clients.

What behaviors are expected of coaches?  The PATH to success for coaching includes these behaviors:

  • Preparation – preparation to be a coach involves coach training on the 11 Core Competencies and membership in the International Coach Federation. Preparation for doing coaching involves having an agreement ready, being accountable to the Code of Ethics, and having the appropriate tools and resources for clients.
  • Availability – coaching within an organization as an employee involves scheduling work time and communicating availability. Coaches that are in business make themselves available by organizing their business infrastructure and taking the appropriate steps for starting a business, and then offering coaching services online with a website and through social media, by networking, and by speaking or presenting.
  • Training and Development – the Code of Ethics for coaches includes a commitment to ongoing training and development which in turn means having tools and using effective techniques when working with clients.
  • Honor Self and Others – respecting personal balance in terms of time and priorities as well as respecting others for who they are ensures coaches have the mental, emotional, and physical energy to truly be present when working with clients and at the same time are fully accepting each client as a whole individual.
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Do Coaches Procrastinate?

do coaches procrastinate?Silly question – you may as well ask, “Are coaches human?”  Yes, coaches procrastinate.  More pertinent questions are, “How much?” and “How often?”  The reality check is, “What happens?”

Because how much and how often people and/or coaches procrastinate varies based on the individual, focus instead on what happens.  The possibilities vary too:

  • Absolutely Nothing – the best possible outcome for procrastination is that nothing happens. Of course it often seems as though nothing happens when in reality what happens is simply hidden.
  • Tasks Pending – another simple outcome of procrastination is that tasks are still pending. Hopefully the tasks are still completed and in time to serve the purpose intended.  Alternatively, it may be that the desired outcome is delayed.
  • Negative Consequences – procrastination may result in lost opportunities, a loss of credibility, and/or a loss of business.

Beyond the impact on the individual who procrastinates, what happens for coaches who procrastinate?  Often it means the coach fails to develop and grow and in turn their work or business fails to develop or grow.  Additionally, if a coach procrastinates then they are modeling a behavior that they are trained to help change.  Specifically, during coaching certification or coach training, coaches learn how to partner with their clients and support clients being proactive.  So the question becomes, “How can you help someone else be proactive if you yourself are procrastinating?”  Coaches – be proactive and ask yourself:

  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • What happens if I don’t accomplish it?
  • What happens if I do accomplish it?
  • How will I move forward?
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Procrastination – A Barrier to Success

procrastination - a barrier to successWhat is procrastination?  It means to put off, delay, or defer doing something.

How is procrastination a barrier to success?  To simplify, putting off tasks is putting off the opportunities created by completing the tasks.

What are the reasons people procrastinate?  In December of 2007, Todd Rogers and Max H. Bazerman submitted a report ( at Harvard Business School on reason for procrastination.  When people know they “should” do something, if it is in the future they are more likely to say they will do it.  If it is more short-term they are more likely to procrastinate.  The logic is that while we prefer being the ideal we act on what is easier or more comfortable.  Consider this: the benefits to procrastinating are immediately gratifying and the cost of procrastinating is hidden or deferred.

A Washington Post blog talks about fear as a reason for procrastination.  The blog goes on and cites other studies and includes a reference to the information above.  Focus on the fear for a moment – is it fear of failure or fear of success?  It may even be a fear of doing something tedious or boring.

What techniques help move past procrastination?  Applying the insights from the above research nicely parallels what is taught in a coaching certification program.  Ask:

  • What is the ideal outcome?
  • What are the barriers?
  • How will you move past the barriers?
  • What resources will you use?
  • What actions steps will you take?
  • When will you take the action steps?
  • How do you prefer to manage your accountability?
  • Describe your life when you complete these action steps.

These questions focus first on the reward – the ideal outcome.  Next the questions define reasons for procrastination, the consequences.  Then the questions develop a plan for moving forward.  Then a question supports follow-through by planning accountability.  In coach training we ask for a complete description of what will be seen, heard, and felt when the actions are completed.

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The Challenge: Acknowledging Progress and Success

celebrate success blogHow many people do you know that forget to acknowledge their own progress and success?  It is ironic then when people do achieve something so many either forget or are hesitant to acknowledge themselves.  At the same time, acknowledging yourself for your progress and for your successes motivates you to keep going!

Coaching certification focused on the 11 Core Competencies of a coach includes “Managing Progress and Accountability” as a competency.  This competency of managing accountability does include acknowledging progress and success.  That means that coaches do take time to commend clients and support their self-recognition.

Questions to ask:

  • How do you prefer to celebrate progress and success?
  • How do you want me to support you so you do celebrate?
  • How do you feel about your progress?
  • How are you acknowledging yourself?
  • What is the value of acknowledging your progress?
  • How will you benefit by recognizing progress and success?
  • How will others benefit when you recognize progress and success?
  • How will you maintain your focus and engagement?
  • How will you stay motivated?

Acknowledging progress and success opens up thinking and possibilities plus motivates in the same way that positivity does.  Plus, acknowledging yourself for steps, milestones, and achievements builds confidence.  Coaching is intended to create meaningful change; acknowledging for the positivity and confidence is part of the reason coaching works.

What are your tips for acknowledging progress and/or success?

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