PAST - PRESENT - FUTURE THE knowledge & skills you need to get the best results with your clients
Is this anything like your story?
Got your ICF coaching certification. Coaching your fellow peers and others also on the continuing “ICF path” and everything is progressing just nicely. Then one day you do your first “real life” coaching session. Perhaps with a paying client, perhaps with a member of your staff, maybe even a friend. This is another person though who has no idea of the “rules” that ICF (or Executive Coaching) has set out.
In other words you find yourself sat with someone who hasn’t been pre-framed to only talk about their life in a “present to future” manner. They are continually bringing up experiences, emotions, people, places from their past! All of your active listening skills and learnings about being “present” are being put to good use and there is a voice inside you screaming something along the lines of “I need to help them explore some of these beliefs, these emotions and associations from their past, they keep going there so it’s as clear as day this is significant to them”. You become frightfully aware all of a sudden that other than your intuition and own life experiences (which ICF specifically frowns upon you voicing) you have practically zero skills as a coach to help them here, in their past, which is what fills their subconscious mind, 95% of who they are and running their body on a moment to moment basis.
I know how that feels and it was significant enough for me to decide to pursue this “problem” and add value to others now I personally am in a position to do so. Having spoken to at least 50 other people who are basing their coaching careers largely on their ICF or other Executive Coaching skillsets it became very clear this is a frustration and limitation a lot of coaches are having.
Why does this happen to some coaches whereas others never feel this way?
It seems to me that there are several kinds of people who endeavor to become qualified as a an ICF coach. What I believe happens is that one of these groups of people are aspiring coaches who have not yet realized the nuances between Life Coaching and Executive Coaching. I certainly was in this category at the beginning of my career as a coach. They embark on a journey as a coach signing up to ICF training and certification unaware that this is a very specific skillset (don’t get me wrong, an extremely valuable one) but for “Executive Coaching” predominantly. You can’t base a “Life Coaching” career on this skillset alone with real clients out in the real world. Time and time again I have heard the same thing from aspiring coaches “I don’t know what to do when my client goes to their past”. “I can see a clear limiting belief but how do I help them change that?” Your client wants to go diving into the deep end of their mind, you can follow them there but you have no idea what to do when you hit the bottom and how to bring them back up a new person (so to speak). In my humble opinion, if you desire to do this you are a life coach at heart and need a life coach’s skillset. I have found the ICF coaching style is an amazing supplement to that, and is just that. A supplement.
In ICF we learn that coaching is absolutely not therapy or counselling and that is accurate and correct by ICF’S own definition. What is not so clear though is that within the realms of life coaching the relationship between a client’s thoughts, emotions and behaviors stemming from their past and building awareness and clarity here with them is generally one of the main ingredients to a successful outcome for the client over a course of sessions. We all get anxious and stressed. We all have cognitive distortions and maladaptive thoughts. I don’t believe you can be an effective coach with no knowledge in these areas, certainly not a Life Coach. The overlap of where NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) stops and CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) starts is at times quite indistinguishable to the coach proficient in both. That is not to mention an element of counselling potentially added to the mix too (often without coaches even realizing that is what they are doing in the moment, have they not taken any counselling courses themselves).
What became very clear to me and quite quickly was that an ICF coach has a fantastic set of skills to utilize with their fellow peer coaches, staff members and colleagues within the office and anyone out there in the world providing the coaching conversation stays within certain parameters. These parameters do not include the past. What also became very clear to me through my experiences early on in coaching life and to nearly all of whom I have spoken to on the topic since, is that when a “real world client” (a paying client - not a barter coaching arrangement you have with someone or a fellow peer coach) signs up to your service, they do not see any guidelines and do not humor you by playing within the boundaries that ICF has set. Hardly a surprise when so many of our answers, clarifying moments, awareness breakthroughs, unblocks and emotional releases come from picking away at the old version of ourselves so we can help create the person we need to be going forward to achieve our aspirations in life.
In summary, the way I see it is that if you are an ICF certified coach swimming around in an ocean of corporate HR Training departments, boardroom executives and middle managers living and breathing their careers above all else you are in the perfect place and going to do very well. You are an Executive Coach, at least primarily speaking.
If for you that sounds like taking a swim in the North Atlantic on a cold winter's day but you know you were born to be a coach of some kind then I’d say you are going to enjoy being a life coach far more than an executive coach. Hey, I could be wrong of course. After all coaching is evolving right. What I can tell you for sure is that trying to be a life coach based only on ICF coaching techniques will be rather like trying to win a game of football after being told you’re not allowed into the other team’s half of the pitch. Scoring is possible but it won’t come easily. I personally feel I have reached my ideal compromise now as a potential and lifestyle coach. As an NLP Master Practitioner and Master Coach, (currently about to embark on my NLP Train the Trainer certification), a CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) Practitioner and the proud owner of my ICF Leadership certification I believe I have finally created my own balanced blend of coaching and based on the results my clients are getting in their lives, this assessment is fair.
I coached my 42nd paying client today. I unapologetically emphasize the “paying” as in my view this is perhaps the most realistic way to separate the professional coaches from the thousands upon thousands of “peer coaches” flooding the industry weekly racking up hour after hour of “playing nicely” together to work their way up the chain which of course ultimately means they are then the best coaches in the world, the ICF world that is, not the real world.
We are all continually learning and improving, with each client we help and each session we conduct. This learning and sharing of learning is what has inspired me to connect my NLP and CBT skillsets with my years as a facilitator and trainer and furthermore combine them with my experiences and learnings taken from my actual one to one coaching of real paying clients and create the “Champion Coaches for Champion Clients” online group training program. My goal for this training program is that those who complete it will have the skills and confidence to swim with their clients wherever they go. Coaches from my training program will have the techniques and knowledge of when and how to remove their life jackets and go deep diving with their clients exploring the ocean of their subconscious mind and (when necessary and requested) creating a new program for them in there.
The training program is based on what I consider to be the ideal blend of NLP, CBT and ICF skillsets. It is a comprehensive 30 hour course which will be carried out over 10 weeks. One 3 hour LIVE and private class with me once per week. By the end of the 30 hours my guarantee to you is that you will be both fully confident and fully equipped to thrive as a life coach. I will of course always be here to support you long after you finish the program with me. For a client to feel like the champion of their life they need a coach who feels like a champion of coaching. Are you that coach now? If you are then you know that it’s the best feeling imaginable. If you still feel like you’re in a life jacket, sign up to this program. You will not regret it.
Serious about becoming a Life Coach and as yet have not done any training or any formal courses or qualifications? Save yourself a lot of time and money and get everything you need right here in this program.
Online Program available worldwide. Limited to 6 Coaches per group. Group 1 starting in November 2020!