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The Importance of Coaching Certification

by Coaching Out of the Box

Choosing a career path can be a very personal and impacting decision, which requires a measure of time invested in reviewing options, courses and opportunities. One of the more important decisions to make, especially when it comes to a career choice like coaching, is whether or not to invest in certification. According to the International Coaching Federation (ICF), surveys have shown that 84% of respondents who have participated in a coaching relationship believe that coaching certification or credentials are important. Assuming this number translates similarly in the general population, not moving forward on a certification could be eliminating the majority of potential clients for a future coach. Since this is a career choice, the greatest amount of potential for future revenue lies in showing that a coach has taken the necessary training and is, in fact, certified to assist in their chosen field. In addition, coaching relationships are found to be more satisfying if the coach possesses the appropriate certification and credentials. The ICF also advises clients who are searching for a coach, to only look at candidates who possess certification to ensure that they meet the appropriate standards, ethics and are up to date with their methods. Although it is possible to coach without certification, it likely would be quite limiting and even frustrating, especially when starting out.

Once the decision for certification has been made, the next step is to decide what programs are likely to be the best suited and the format in which to take them. Some people prefer self-taught or online options, while others need the face-to-face interaction of peers and teachers to fully excel. Neither is better in general, but one might be better suited to a particular person’s learning style. In addition, there are multiple learning facilities offering accredited coaching courses, as well as a variety of specific courses. Finding a program that has high-standards, provides practical and theoretical knowledge as well as the opportunity to develop skills, is the key to success. This may require some time investment in researching the options, but the end result will be well worth the initial output. Finding the right career and training to do something that makes a positive impact in another’s life is ultimately a very satisfying decision. The proper certification will provide a greater sense of confidence for both the client and the coach.

Coaching Out of The Box® offers ICF certified programs, including our Fast Track to ICF Certification course, which includes the required 60 hours of Approved Coach Specific Training Hours for ACC accreditation and within a 6 month time span. We also offer courses individually, which allows for training at an individual pace. Our Fast Track courses start in February – find out more information here: http://www.coachingoutofthebox.com/coaching-education-programs/fast-track-to-icf-certification.

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Learn How to Listen to Gut Instinct When Coaching

by Coaching Out of the Box

Most situations one encounters lead to an initial gut feeling, whether it is meeting a new person or making an important decision. Deep down, the automatic body systems provide detailed information into how the body feels the situation should be handled. Whether or not a person listens to this initial reaction can depend on a number of factors, including their pre-disposition to “gut feelings”. These feelings can be associated with making snap decisions and lacking in evidence to support, which seems illogical to some, but others rely on this intuition in almost every circumstance. Neither one is inherently right for everyone, but there are times when instinct can play an important role in communication and relationship techniques, as well as providing insight into positive outcome potentials. Although there is not enough research to concretely prove how “gut instinct” works, it is acknowledged to exist and provides us with an additional tool to use in coaching. Utilize these instincts to help guide conversation and ultimately progress the relationship and outcomes for clients:

  1. Clear the mind of distractions. If this requires relaxation, try and calm the mind prior to a session with a client by meditating or focusing activities. A cluttered mind can block natural instincts with distraction. This technique can also be useful for the client themselves prior to beginning.
  2. Listen to the first thing that enters the mind – it is often right. It doesn’t even necessarily need to feel in line with the thought process at the time, but don’t discount it based on this.
  3. Focus on how the body reacts to individual options. If one option seems to feel more relaxing than the other, this is often the body’s intuition providing an answer.
  4. Learn to understand different body responses in clients as well. Reading facial expressions, increased fidgeting or clenching can provide valuable insight into the client’s gut response to things as well – they may not even realize they have these responses at the time.
  5. Use common sense in deciding whether the responses are based on the options presented or the situation itself.
  6. Listen to a client’s use of words about their situation – do they use words like “should”? If so, have them explain why they feel they should and what their instincts tell them.
  7. Take time to reflect. After a meeting or when trying to determine a course of action, take time out to quietly reflect on the situation and options. It may take a few minutes to process everything or it may take longer, but give enough time for the brain and guts to communicate before proceeding.
  8. Build up trust with the gut instincts provided. Every time they prove to be right, keep track of it. Learning to listen to and follow the body’s natural instinct will help with understanding how it can be beneficial in future situations.

Instinct or intuition is often cast aside in favor of logical reasoning, since it is based on a natural, but inconclusive bodily response. However, totally ignoring intuition can be eliminating a viable option on the basis of having no concrete physical support. The best solution is to consider intuitive responses as well as logical processes to provide the most viable options to solve any problems.

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Coaching Out of the Box® also has several courses available this coming winter. See our calendar of events or sign up for our newsletter to learn more.

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How to Use Visuals to Help Coach a Client

by Coaching Out of the Box

Some clients will inevitably be more vocal than others. This isn’t a flaw but a character trait and it can become frustrating if getting to the root of their problems is blocked by a communication issue. These clients may try to speak their mind and define the issues with words, but they may not have the verbal skills necessary to make their points clear. This is where visuals may come in handy. These do not necessarily have to involve the client creating elaborate drawings, but can be as simple as inanimate objects in the room or props on hand.

Here are some examples of visuals that may help the client open up or progress past the point of being stuck:

  1.  Ask them to focus on creating their dialogue in pictures or flow charts. Have them brainstorm a flow chart for how they see themselves progressing. Perhaps there are even roadblocks they could create in this flow that could be further identified and solved in conversation.
  2. Have a flow chart created on hand to show clients what the process of discovery might look like. This visual may help them realize the steps necessary to progress.
  3. Encourage the client to create an image of where they are now and a separate image of where they want to be by the end of the process. Help them identify the steps in between to accomplish this goal. This may also allow them some introspection on what exactly they do want, beyond what they may have already thought about.
  4. Have clients create image reminders of their plan that they can keep on hand or place around their house. Visual reminders can help motivate clients to stay on target more-so than auditory or word cues may.

 Complex thought processes can be like a family tree – they are difficult to keep straight when verbalizing the relationships, but if they are sketched out on paper, everyone can be on the same page and see the proper connections. Using visuals can assist clients not only with keeping their own thought processes straight, but it can help the coach with much needed insight into how the client is thinking about the situation and what avenues might be available to problem solve these situations.

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How to Help a Client Identify Their Core Values

by Coaching Out of the Box

In order to assist a client, or even build a relationship, it helps to know what values they have and whether they are similar to that of the coach. Both parties do not need to have the same values, but an understanding of these may help foster a better relationship. These values are important as they become the building blocks for how life is perceived and how a person may react in certain situations – they also guide a person’s priorities and vision for their lives. Unfortunately, a lot of clients may not have taken the time to identify what these values are. Life, family and even religion may have influenced them over the years but their values grew subconsciously and the question of “What are your core values?” may garner a blank stare. Values may also change with the client’s circumstances, such as having a family or going through a crisis.

Here are some steps to helping a client identify their core values:

  1. Ask them to identify at least three peak moments in their life – times when they felt the happiest or most fulfilled. What made these moments so incredible?
  2. Help them break down what values are present in these moments and choose the most important ones. For instance, if their peak moments involved hiking to the top of Mt. Everest, they may identify “adventurous”, “nature” and “challenging”.
  3. Prioritize the top values into a hierarchy of most important to least important. The top 5-7 values have them write out a statement about what this value looks like to them, ie. “To me, success looks like…”
  4. Help them create visual reminders of these core values. Suggest post-it notes, pictures or similar reminders that they can have in plain sight to keep them focused.

It may become apparent to the client through this exercise that they are not living according to their core values. This is not uncommon and can be a great starting point for a plan moving forward on how to improve this. Bringing their lifestyle more in line with their core values can make a positive impact on their situation and/or outlook. Although these exercises may take some time, the ultimate outcome is worth the effort and should provide the client with a better understanding of themselves and even how they interact with others.

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Why Volunteering in the Community Can Benefit the Business

by Coaching Out of the Box

Most people nowadays lead very active lifestyles and fitting in extra, non-income generating activities can be a stretch. This can, however, help to distinguish a business from its competition, especially in the eyes of the immediate community. The large percentage of consumers who research and consider corporate responsibility when choosing products or services should be an influencing factor on every business, but apart from just the increase in the bottom line, giving back is a great way to increase employee satisfaction as well as personal satisfaction for business owners. Giving back in the community builds a sense of purpose, responsibility and connectedness, which is important to every individual’s well-being as well as that of their community. Making a difference to make the world a better place does bring a certain unique sense of self, which could otherwise be difficult to find. Here are some things to consider when choosing to bring community service into the business plan:

  1. Choose an important cause in line with the values of the company or ownership, such as animal welfare, education, healthcare or another cause employees can get on board with easily and customers can relate back to the business.
  2. Use what is at the company’s disposal, including employees and even company time, to better support the cause. This will help build relationships in the community, especially if they are drawn into the business location or can interact with employees directly. Volunteering can visibly demonstrate the commitment a business has to its local community.
  3. Provide opportunities for employees to grow leadership skills by allowing and encouraging them to participate. Outside of the office environment, some employees may find their other skills useful and may even engage on a more positive level with each other and their superiors. This can help build office morale and employee engagement in the workplace.
  4. Let customers and potential clients know what the business is doing to give back. The costs of the program or volunteer hours provided are a great start, but also promote the cause internally to show the company’s commitment.
  5. Provide employees with a way to share feedback on their experiences as well as any other causes or events that might benefit from the company’s support.

Being a socially responsible company, even as a small business, can have long term benefits including new customers, free publicity by the organization and a sense of trust from the community at large. As another benefit, the community will benefit, which can lead to a stronger community and even economy and that is a win-win for everyone.

Feel free to connect with us via email: [email protected], or at any of our social media sites:

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Coaching Out of the Box® also has several courses available this coming winter. See our calendar of events or sign up for our newsletter to learn more.

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