coaching

Coaching Certification – What On Earth Is It, Is It Important, And Who Are The Players?

Hang around life coaches and it won’t be long before you hear talk about the International Coach Federation (ICF) and life coaching certification. What, you ask, is certification? And…how does one get certified to help people with their lives?

To answer that…we first need a little background.

A (very) brief story of the Origins of Coaching

The phenomenon called ‘coaching’ really began in the early 1990s when Thomas Leonard – a product of the 1970s Human Potential movement – invented the life coaching profession and founded the first training program, CoachU.

Leonard was instrumental in creating the International Coach Federation (ICF) – the largest coaching professional association today (and the main certifying body) – as well as the International Association of Coaching (IAC).

What is this thing called ‘certification’ anyway?

Life coaching certification is a process through which a coach demonstrates the willingness and ability to meet certain standards of the profession. Certification is NOT licensing.

As of the current moment, you are not required to get certified to coach and many (including myself) think it’s largely a waste of time and money especially for coaches just getting started. Continue reading

Health Coaching – Top 10 Reasons to Hire Or Be One

Health Coaching is a relatively new profession which focuses on helping people making positive changes in their health, physical, mental and emotional lives, that they have not been able to do for themselves. Its about people deciding that the personal cost for not making some changes has become too high. They are willing to trade pain for gain — so to speak. Here are ten “pain for gain” reasons to hire (or become) a health coach.

1. Health Coaching and Weight Loss

One of the most challenging (and discouraging ) behavioral changes that people try to make is losing weight and keeping it off. We are all aware of the health risks associated with being overweight. Many people have been on the weight loss and gain it back yo yo ride for years. What can make the difference and break this vicious cycle is a trained professional to guide you how to take it off and keep it off. This can be done with a few key lifestyle changes which are easier than you might think especially with the support of a health coach. What would it mean to you to lose 20-40 pounds and never gain it back. Visualize yourself at your ideal weight. What does that feel like? What does it look like? See yourself there now. Feels great doesn’t it?

2. Health Coaching and Eating Habits

A second behavior change that is tied to and often more challenging than weight loss is our eating habits. We love to eat ( and eat and eat and eat) And most of us are addicted to some form of junk food. Mine is chocolate. How our lives could change if we could make a few basic improvements in our daily diet. More energy, better sleep, less illness because of a boosted immune system, healthier skin, look better, feel better. So how do we do it. A health coach can introduce and effective program that makes sense and is easy to do if you are motivated to make a few changes and reap the rewards.

3. Health Coaching and Stress

Stress can literally destroy people’s lives. The pace today is hectic and people are paying the price. Marital break ups, illness, child abuse, addictions, mental ill health, low self esteem, the list is endless. The price is high and robs us of a quality of life.. We live a fast paced life with multiple responsibilities. Learning to manage stress can literally save your life. What a different life you could lead if you could tame the tiger and learn to channel stressful events so they worked for you rather than against you. A health coach can show you how to do that.

4. Health Coaching and Positive Relationships

Positive nurturing relationships are vital to a healthy life. How well we get along with others including our own family often will determine our level of emotional and mental health. Lots of people are challenged in this area because they have not learned the social skills it takes. Ongoing conflict with people at work or at home can and not knowing “how to fix it” can really compromise your quality of life. The solutions to these kind of difficulties are easier than you might think. There a few “learnable” skills that can make a huge difference in your relationships. Ask yourself what it would mean to you to have much more positive and enjoyable communication and relationships with someone at work, your family, your spouse or your kids. Health coaching can make the difference.

5. Health Coaching and Communication Skills

I hear this all the time. ‘We can’t communicate, we argue all the time, he/she doesn’t listen to me, we’re not on the same page, i wish i could tell him what i think, I just don’t know what to say. Perhaps one of the greatest failures of our educational system is not teaching basic communications skills, how to connect with people, how to listen, how to say what you think or feel so people will listen. Probably the #1 reason for failed relationships is people not knowing how to communicate effectively with each other. There are basic effective easy to learn talking and listening skills that would resolve most misunderstandings and health coaching can teach you them easily and quickly.

6. Health Coaching and Exercise

Exercise. A four letter word for some. The fact is just a little more routine exercise in our daily lives could have a significant impact on our health. I like to walk and jog and lift light weights. It could be bike riding, swimming or flopping on the floor during commercials and doing some light stretching. A lack of exercise can ruin your health. A health coach can get you started towards a more active existence and help you stick with it long enough for it to make a significant difference. Go for it.

7. Health Coaching – Preventative vs. Curative

A distinct advantage of health coaching is that it is preventative as opposed to curative. Would you rather have someone help you prevent diabetes or some other debilitating disease or visit a doctor to get treated after the fact. That is the choice a lot of people are facing but the point is you have a choice and if you don’t choose for yourself, life will choose for you. Make a wise choice and choose the path of prevention. You will reap the rewards of better health and health coaching can get you there.

8. Health Coach – Being a Role Model

Be a trend setter, be a role model for others. Just think of the impact you could have on other peoples lives especially those you care about most. What if because of changes YOU made your mother, father, sister, brother, child or friend made a significant change in their health. What would that feel like? You often see people make dramatic changes after the heart attack. Well those same changes can be made right now and have the effect of preventing a disastrous heart attack or stroke. What if because of the changes you made it prevented a family member or friend from having a serious illness. This scenario is quite possible. Because I have started to run on a regular basis both my kids and my wife have started walk/jogging. What a thrill for me. Who knows how that will benefit them in the years to come. So be a trend setter in your family. Your family will love you for it and you will feel great about yourself for doing it.

9. Health Coaching and Self Esteem

A lasting benefit of health coaching is how you feel about yourself when you succeed at making important changes in your health. This is because of the positive feelings and feedback you get from family and friends ( and when you look in the mirror ). You’ve lost weight and people notice and comment. You’re not as stressed out and it feels good. You have more energy and you are more active. You’re sleeping better and you look more rested. Your relationship with your spouse and kids has improved. People around you will often mirror your mood and energy. You’re more fun to be around, not as irritable, short tempered or demanding. Your doctor notices and commends you for your efforts. You just feel good about yourself and you’re not going back to the way it was. Never!!

10. Health Coaching – It Could Be For You

One of the things that happens for some who go through health coaching and derive significant benefits from it, is they get exposed to the process and see how much it benefits others and how it could be a powerful change agent for people ‘stuck in the muck’ and suffering the consequences. It can often influence them enough to consider being a health coach themselves. Health coaching is a rapidly growing profession and is open to most people as an income choice, part time or full time, who have a genuine interest and desire to help others. Not to mention that the average hourly for a session ranges from 100 to 200 dollars for a session. A rather ‘healthy’ income.

So in summary, these are just a few of the benefits for hiring ( or becoming ) a health coach. Decide that you deserve excellent vibrant health and if you can’t achieve it on your own or would like to speed up the process consider hiring a health coach. A healthier, happier life awaits you.

The New Rules of Triathlon Coaching

The paradigm has shifted for triathlon coaches. You may be a triathlete looking for a coach. You may be a triathlete evaluating your current coach. Or you may be a triathlon coach struggling to get better results for your athletes. Whoever you are, it is crucial that you are aware of critical evolutions in the triathlon coaching industry – evolutions that are going to directly effect your success in the sport of triathlon, whether you’re a coach or an athlete.

New Rule #1) Workouts Are Not The Holy Grail.

In the day of training plan wizard writing software, libraries of pre-written triathlon programs, and a glut of free online workouts, it basically takes a chimpanzee to tell a triathlete when to swim, bike and run (that, or good copy-and-paste skills on the computer). With technology, the complete amateur coach can now design training programs that rival the guru expert coaches of triathlon.

So workouts are not the holy grail. Any triathlon coach on the face of the planet can deliver you effective workouts in a timely fashion. But here is the catch: it takes a wise and seasoned triathlon coach to intertwine a triathlete’s swim, bike and run routines with changes in lifestyle, health, social obligations and injury status, and an even more knowledgeable coach to diagnose and correct nutritional and biomechanical deficiencies and errors that are impeding an athlete’s progress.

Do not assume as a coach that because you give an athlete some semblance of a workout plan each week or each month that you are doing a good job. And do not assume as an athlete that because you are paying a few hundred dollars a month you are getting a customized plan. Is the plan periodized? Does it change with an athlete’s changes in fitness and availability? Does it constantly test and evaluate the athlete, and give the athlete feedback?

If not, it is a lazy plan.

New Rule #2) It’s No Longer About GPS and Heart Rate.

Once upon a time, the only data a triathlon coach inspected was distance, speed, power, heart rate, and occasionally a few more advanced factors and mathematical combinations of those.

This is no longer the case.

A triathlon coach needs to be looking at the recovery status of their athlete, and that should include the ability to examine oxygen saturation status, heart rate variability, hydration, testosterone:cortisol ratios, amino acid levels, and caloric balance.

A coach needs to be looking at the internal performance factors of their athletes, and that includes iron levels, vitamin D levels, magnesium and electrolyte status, fatty acid ratios, body acidity, candida or yeast, and food allergies and intolerances.

A coach needs to be able to see and give specific direction to fix locked sacroiliac joints, imbalanced muscles, weak shoulder stabilizers, hypoxic tissue areas, and power deficits.

Can you as a coach do this? Do you as an athlete have these options from your coach? Every parameter I mentioned above is 100% testable and 100% sharable with a coach, whether or not a coach lives in the same town as an athlete. If a coach is not providing these as options to an athlete, the athlete is getting the short end of the stick.

New Rule #3) Teams Are Paramount.

A triathlon coach cannot and should not be a lone wolf. Every coach should be surrounded by a team that can help the athlete get results, and that team should include a sports medicine physician and/or orthopedic surgeon, a chiropractic physician, a registered dietitian or sports nutritionist, a massage therapist, and when necessary, a naturopathic physician.

A coach must have full access to a team with collective expert knowledge that goes far beyond what you could provide to an athlete on their own. A coach must be able to call a doctor on the phone and ask them about an athlete they are coaching, check in with a nutritionist to deliver a triathlete’s logged meals, and refer an athlete to a higher power when necessary.

If there is no evidence that a triathlon coach has the ability to reach beyond their knowledge and speak about an athlete’s status with experts in specific healing and nutritional fields, then there is no evidence that the triathlon coach is fully equipped to get ideal results.

New Rule #4) Experience Matters.

Triathlon coaching is becoming quite sexy, and, as a result, throngs of young sports science graduates and multi-sport hobbyists are rushing to obtain certifications with the equivalent of a few local sprint triathlons under their belt. Once a website, a sandwich board, or a Yellow Pages advertisement has been posted, the triathlon coach can then sit back and wait for gullible triathletes to hire their smiling face – the triathletes completely convinced that the word “certified” denotes “expert status”.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In evaluating a triathlon coach, an athlete should look at how many triathlons the coach has done, the distance of those events, the final results of those events, the number of years spent coaching, the number and range of athletes coached, and even the time spent traveling and experiencing the unique changes travel can impose upon circadian rhythm, hydration status, and performance levels.

When it comes to triathlon, a piece of paper or certification stamp means next to nothing. If a coach can’t tell an athlete what to do when they drop their electrolyte capsules during a race and need an alternate salt source without flipping their gut, the coach needs to go do a few more races and spend a bit more time in the trenches.

New Rule #5) Communicate Or Die.

A triathlon coach must be able to respond within 24 hours to changes in the triathlete’s health, injury status or social life and make instant changes in that athlete’s program to allow the training plan to effectively continue without interruption of the final goal. The coach must also be able to dynamically program an athlete’s workouts on a weekly basis, constantly moving and shuffling the swimming, cycling and running workouts based on the athlete’s needs, while still achieving the big picture goal.

In the age of the internet, Skype, e-mail, text messaging and cell phones, there is no excuse for a triathlon coach to not be able to communicate with an athlete and instantly respond to an athlete’s needs. Do you, as a triathlon coach, provide this type of communication to your athletes? Do you, as an athlete, get this type of communication from your triathlon coach? If not, then a line needs to be fixed or replaced.

So those, folks, are the new rules of triathlon coaching. The triathlon coach should take these words to heart and examine their business model to determine whether they are doing everything possible to get the best results for the athlete, and the triathlete should give serious thought as to whether the money being spent on a triathlon coach is getting them everything they need…or just a plan in a can.

Tips for Leaders: Selecting an Executive Coach

Executive Coaching is on the rise. After a pullback in recent years, organizations are again offering coaching to all levels of management (2011 Sherpa Coaches Report). It is clear that executive coaching is becoming a recognized practice within organizations. What is not clear to business leaders is what executive coaching really is and how to select a great coach.

There seems to be wide-spread confusion, and the integrity of executive coaching is being threatened, by those that call themselves coaches and are really business consultants and/or trainers. Sport coaches, counselors, clinical psychologists, HR professionals, trainers, business/management experts… coaches come in all shapes and sizes. So how do you, the buyer, distinguish between these professionals?

First, it is most appropriate to use an external coach when political neutrality, maximum objectivity and the highest levels of confidentially are critical to the success of the coaching engagement. External coaches are likely to provide a broader and deeper array of experience. Further, other factors that influence fit between the coach and the coachee may be personality, functional expertise, geography, or even age, gender or ethnic background.

Second, research indicates that the “fit” between the coach and the leader is correlated with higher success rates. It is sensible for an organization to identify two or three suitable coaches to interview for chemistry, expertise and personality.

With so much complexity in the market, there is no doubt that selecting the “right” coach can be a difficult task. Here are some areas to consider when selecting a great executive coach.

Appropriate Training/Accreditation: What is their coaching experience and are they qualified? Do they hold accreditation? Coaches who have undergone accreditation typically have between 60 to 120 hours or more of coach-specific training, and have 100 to 2,500 hours or more of coaching experience. Credential holders demonstrate core competencies, understand the definition of coaching and adhere to the code of ethics. Additionally, they must earn 40 hours of continuing coach education every three years to retain their credentials (ICF, Global Coaching Client Study).

Business Acumen: A great coach will have an understanding of organizational dynamics and the business world. Executive coaches will come from a variety of backgrounds and will bring very different experiences and skills to the coaching relationships. The key is to find a good fit with your organization and the needs of the coaching intervention. For example, does the coach have experience in a male-dominated industry or a multi-generational workforce, if that is appropriate for your situation?

Advanced Communication Skills: Good communication skills are crucial to get a point across clearly and concisely to the listener. Additionally, good communication skills drastically reduce mistakes and misunderstandings. Communication also includes effective body language cues, and most importantly, effective listening skills; a must for a great coach. Not only should one be able to speak effectively, one must listen to the other person’s words and avoid the impulse to immediately answer, blurt out ideas, or end a leader’s sentences.

Breadth of Tools/Process: A great executive coach will have a breadth of knowledge and experience utilizing different models, techniques and frameworks from a range of theoretical backgrounds. Utilization of a variety of methods will expand the way one thinks/views situations for greater flexibility and appropriate responsiveness to situations. Coaches should use these tools, models and techniques to encourage reflective learning and change, and should be able to articulate these clearly during the selection process.

Business Coach Certificate – Starting a Business Coaching Company

Opportunities abound for people who want to become a coach in business. Companies are seeking out coaches more and more in these tough economic times to prevent business failures. The training courses for the coach certificate cover not only the skills to successfully execute the processes of a coach in business, but also tips on how to find clients and get them to hire you. Some courses teach a system that is highly successful at identifying potential clients, hooking them, and reeling them in. Of course, the main focus of the course is the business methods, models, processes, and formulas that have been proven successful in many areas of business. These are strategies that are easy to apply right away in your coaching business.

Another benefit of completing the training for a coaching positing in business is the knowledge gained in the area of interpersonal leadership. Business coaches deal with business leaders, such as company owners and CEO’s. They are people who are used to leading rather than being advised and directed. Care must be taken to establish a good relationship structure with the client that facilitates analysis, critique, and motivation to change. These courses also train students in communication skills, helping them to articulate effectively with clients. Communicating clearly makes the changes happen more efficiently. Just like in sports, part of the role of a business coach is to encourage and motivate the client. To do this, you must speak the business lingo, and the classes help students become conversant in business leadership language.

Building a successful business coaching company takes more than just business coaching skills. The business coach certificate training teaches effective processes for running the business of coaching businesses. Effectively using your time makes a more productive company. Business coaches also need to apply their expertise to their own business periodically. Assessing the processes and methods you are using and making adjustments for efficiency is essential. A certified coach in business can put their credentials on their business cards, resumes, and websites.

Getting your business coaching certificate and launching a career as a business coach is a four step process. The first is to find the training course that is a good fit for you. Online offerings give the most flexibility for someone who is already working full time. Second, complete the course, using the study resources, as well as the actual teaching sessions. The third step is taking the qualifying exam. After passing that test and acquiring your certificate, you can focus on the fourth step, building your client roster and sustaining a successful company.

12 Benefits of Basketball Coaching Certification

The question of why the gap has been closed in international basketball is a pressing one. The United States once dominated international and Olympic play. Those days are gone as our coaching structure leaves a lot to be desired. The quality of our coaching has deteriorated, therefore other countries have made great progress due to a motivated coaching movement. Coaching certification for basketball coaches was once just a topic for discussion. It has become an urgent topic and must be seriously be considered by the United States coaching community.

This article addresses the benefits of a coaching certification. Following the lead of countries such as Canada and the UK, the following list represents a good reason for us to follow.

12 Benefits of a Basketball Coach Certification program

 

  1. By becoming certified you will increase your knowledge of the game of basketball.
  2. You will immediately be part of a small group of certified trainers to facilitate your learning and application of the game. Your knowledge will be sought by other coaches.
  3. Certification will prepare you to run your own training program or youth basketball camps.
  4. A comprehensive learning approach with a classroom setting and on floor setting will enhance your learning curve.
  5. 12 hours of learning will equal the amount of learning gained in several coaching clinics.
  6. Can be completed in a 2 or 3 day period to fit your schedule and other responsibilities.
  7. You can add references to your resume to grow your coaching network.
  8. Your will gain access to hundreds of coaching contacts in high school, college and NBA basketball.
  9. You will begin to compile your coaching philosophy in your own “Black Book” of coaching.
  10. You will demonstrate initiative and enhance job prospects.
  11. For the cost on ONE Nike clinic you will exposed to every part of the game from a teaching and philosophical standpoint.
  12. You will develop your own coaching philosophy, techniques and methods of teaching the game.

 

The main step to take in this process has to come from those in leadership roles. The National Association of Basketball Coaches, the NBA, the NCAA, and the thousands of coaching associations around the country must all embrace this effort toward improving basketball coaching. Until we do our game will continue to struggle for identify and quality.