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Special Focus on Proficiency #1:
Engaging the Client in Provocative Conversations
















Wednesday, April 3, 2002


Do you ever wrestle with the concern that coaching should be more than "just conversations?" Do you wish you had a way to get to the heart of the issue on your coaching call, using a set of provocative questions? 

You would think that the first of the 15 Coaching Proficiencies, Engaging the Client in Provocative Conversations, is a basic proficiency.  In fact, when the 25 or so Graduate School of Coaching members participated in the training call on this topic with Thomas, the results were quite powerful as you'll see.  Today's Special Focus contains the full transcript and the complete 45 minute RealAudio recording of this training call, so...hold onto your hats!

Your feedback from last week's highlight on the 15 proficiencies persuaded me to share the depth of at least this one proficiency with Today's Coach readers.  I hope you enjoy it, and invite you to share it along to your colleagues, so everyone can benefit.

In fact, tapings just like this one are now done for all 15 proficiencies and available EXCLUSIVELY to CoachVille and Graduate School of Coaching members. (Sorry, I can't share any more in Today's Coach! <g>)  And, the Certified Coach designation that is included in your CoachVille membership will be based on these, with designations/examinations being awarded starting very shortly (more info below).  If you find the taping/transcription helpful, I hope you consider purchasing one of these two lifetime memberships if you haven't done so already, as we are unquestionably in some very content rich and rewarding waters for any coach or manager.

If you have a topic or article that has an impact on your coaching colleagues, I will be glad to hear from you.

Happy Reading,

Andrea Lee
GM, CoachVille



Special Focus on Proficiency #1:               
Engaging the Client in Provocative Conversations               

Transcript of Training Call:

Coaching Proficiencies
#1 - Engages the Client in Compelling Conversations
March 25, 2002 - 1:00 p.m. EST
Thomas J. Leonard (TJL), Session Leader

(from which transcript was crafted)
you will require a copy of RealPlayer to listen.  go to for your free copy.

This call is based on the first of the 15 Coaching Proficiencies, below, for your reference:

The 15 Coaching Proficiencies
Hallmarks of the Certified Coach
beta version 1.5 | 03/20/02 | copyright
These proficiencies are the basis of the Certified Coach Program at the School of Coaching, from
CoachVille and are only available to our members.

-  0  +

1. Engages in provocative conversations.
Coaching sessions are generally short.  By hearing what the client is saying and not saying, by questioning what you hear, by asking the right questions, pressing for clarity, and by sharing what you know and how you feel, provocative conversations can occur within minutes, not months. Welcome to the world of the Certified Coach.  
1. Listen for the unsaid.
2. Ask the "duh/obvious" question
3. Question what does not resonate.
The keydistinction is provocative conversion vs nice chat.
coachville members only> training transcript/realaudio

TJL:    Hello and welcome to the call; who's joined us? (participants check in) This is Thomas Leonard. We've got about 25 people from the Graduate School of Coaching on the line today. Our focus today is on the first of the 15 Coaching Proficiencies, which is engaging in provocative conversation. Susan Austin and I will be engaging in some conversation; we'll also demonstrate some of the ideas here. 

The purpose of our call - we use the word 'provocative' than 'evocative' in discussing this. I would summarize the process as the 3 D's - the duh, the deep, and the doubting. The first one I ask them, the "duh" question is why there are problems in their life at all? I'm really quite interested in my clients having no problems at all. That really gets their attention; remember, most people hire coaches to resolve their problems more quickly. The 2nd D is "deep". Often clients give us the surface story, and I want to go deep fast, without having to probe or push too hard to get to the truth as soon as I can. I do care and empathize with the clients' symptoms and situations, but if you can tell that they're ready to engage, I go for the truth. I want to find it and I want to help them find it as well.

"The first one I ask them, the "duh" question is why there are problems in their life at all?"

Susan:    Can you give us an example of the 'deep'?

TJL:    Why is this happening now? We'll go through some more in the demo. The 3rd D is "doubting". I want to push and make sure it really is true. I just don't accept things as they sound; I push until it sounds true to me. Often clients will come to you with the problem, and if you accept it too soon, you might miss the real core of the issue. I want to believe them and I want to believe my own intuitive response. So, those are the 3 D's. An example of that would be 'I hear what you're saying, but it's not resonating with me' or 'Are you sure you believe what you're saying?'; or "are you sure that's it, and if so, how come?' Again, this is not a step that most coaches do. Often clients aren't able to articulate what's really going on.

Okay, so those are introductory comments. I'd like to open it up for Q & A, and we'll work on some demos. First, any questions or clarification?

Gail:    The "duh" question - how do people take that?

TJL:    Well, for the first time with the client, I would say that one of the things I always ask my clients - you don't want to be accusatory, but ask it innocently and without guile. It may give you and the client something really interesting to work on, rather than just the first thing that was brought up. Often, you end up working on something they didn't come to you for, but end up providing much more value than thought.

Gail:    That's really a powerful opening question.

TJL:    It certainly gets their attention. It just levels up the nature of the conversation very quickly.

Susan:    And it certainly sets up that it's not just chatting about your week.

TJL:    Maybe one out of 3 sessions can be a pleasant chat, but they usually want to get to work pretty fast. If they know this is going to come up, it generates excitement around the call. For the certified coach, this is a level of play that fits the definition.

 An example of that would be 'I hear what you're saying, but it's not resonating with me' or 'Are you sure you believe what you're saying?'; or "are you sure that's it, and if so, how come?'

Bob:    If a client does come up with some idea of why they have these problems, do you explore that or go on to something else?

TJL:    I usually ask them. That way, it's a way for you to bring it up again; in most cases, they're so intrigued that they can't wait to get into it. Rather than bringing problems to you, they'll use you for creativity, win-win, etc.

XXX:    I can just hear some of my clients say, 'are you saying you don't have any problems for yourself, coach?"

TJL:    And that's where we get to walk the talk! (laugh) it does let you share your own history and own story with them, and that sets you up as a collaborative soul.

Valerie:    It's so much a state of mind; what you're really questioning is how to handle the sessions? It's also a way - I don't see things in my life as problems.

TJL:    It's a little tricky; there are problems or there are opportunities. Some clients live in a world of no problems; a certain reality check is important. The more sophisticated clients have the framework to live in a positive light.

Valerie:    Part of what you're doing also is shifting away from complaining or freaking out about something that's going on and becoming more resourceful.

TJL:    I'm really, really big on commiseration; I think it's one of the neatest coaching skills. If life is truly a problem, I'm all there with them. There's a time and place for the provocative conversation, and there are times when it's not right.

I'm really, really big on commiseration; I think it's one of the neatest coaching skills. If life is truly a problem, I'm all there with them.

Gail:    When I first read the proficiencies, I thought #15 needed to be #1.,

TJL:    I never put them in a particular order; I just wrote them. I'm thrilled that 15 is in spot #15. People ask me how I put them in this order, and I didn't plan it specifically this way.

Gail:    And if you're showing it as a circle, it doesn't really matter, doesn't it? I also had another thought I wanted to share. When we get the client interested in becoming a problem-free zone, a nice little formula that helps you get there is PF + R + V, or personal foundation, plus reserves, plus values.

TJL:    Great; we're saying that with coaching, you're really setting your life up to have fewer problems. Thanks, Gail. Any other questions or comments?

Heidi:    Regarding the "doubting' question - I do that a lot; I usually do that, though, to be sure that the lack of truthfulness is coming from the client, not from me. Now, I have a problem with my client. What she's about to do, I don't resonate at all with that - I'm not sure whether it's my problem, or if she's just really off track.

TJL:    Do you think that it's just not good for her, or you wouldn't do it yourself?

Heidi:    A bit of both, I think.

TJL:    Another principle that I think would work is to enjoy the client immensely. One thing I've learned the hard way is that it's more interesting to enjoy my client, rather than trying to determine the path the client should take. It is their life, and I just want to support them in the path that they've chosen. No, if they're hurting themselves or others, I would make my concerns in writing and drop them as a client. When I'm in doubt, I tell them I can't see how this will help them, but ask them what I can do to help. Let them give you some direction on how you can support them. It takes the burden off of you to be correct.

XXX:    And you've left that door open to the coaching relationship.

TJL:    Yes, thanks for that. Does that make sense, Heidi?

Heidi:    Yes, it does. I do enjoy what she's doing. I thought she would get to the point where it becomes clear to her.

TJL:    There are so many mysterious ways in which positive results occur, and our clients are figuring that stuff out every day. Adults are learning how to be successful in their own way, and as long as they can afford the risks they're taking, then hey - why not?

Judy:    I think we have to remember that the client knows what's best for them, and we just need to get out of the way.

TJL:    Thanks, Judy. Anybody want to do a role play with me? You can be your worst client or you can be yourself, or share something in your personal life.

Judy:    I am a client of yours; I'm 35 and I feel like no one's going to love me and I don't do anything right. I've done the Clean Sweep, and I won't give up sugar.

TJL:    Are you setting me up for this or what? Just so you know, I would never coach a client on their weight. There are just certain things I wouldn't get near. If no one loves me, I'm too heavy and I can't change, I just wouldn't get involved with this client. Does anybody have a question on what I just said? There are certain clients I just don't have enough RAM or CPU in this lifetime to support. There are just some conversations that shouldn't be had.

XXX:    Thomas, could some day you do a class on that?

TJL:    Who to coach and not to coach?

XXX:    Yes.

TJL:    I'll make a note of that.

Bob:    There are coaches I've seen in the referral service that do take on clients with weight problems, and I'm assuming they're nutritionists, or something.

TJL:    Yes. And there was more than just the weight thing - the "no one loves me" issue is really big.

XXX:    When Judy presented this scenario, I got a tightness in my chest.

TJL:    Right. We're going to move on - can I get someone else to give us a more traditional coaching client?

Rob:    I'll play. I've been so disorganized lately, and I don't even know which way to go. I think I need a coach to get me moving again.

TJL:    What's going on?

Rob:    I have an entirely new assistant, having lost the old one, and things are really unorganized right now.

TJL:    Tell me what you're behind in.

Rob:    I've got a backlog of calls to make, and paperwork to do.

TJL:    Give me a sense of how significant the problem is - how many hours? If you had 2 weeks to catch up, you'd catch up, but…. You're stuck?

Rob:    Yes, I'm behind on the homefront as well as the work front.

TJL:    Has this happened before?

Rob:    I think I've been on track for the last 3 months, and then I hit a bump in the road. I'm not sure what it's about.

TJL:    What's the source of that?

Rob:    I'm not really sure.

TJL:    So you've got tons of stuff going on, and you're not really ready for it?

Rob:    I hadn't thought about it, but that's probably true.

TJL:    So you want to work on the structures in your life?

Rob:    Yes.

TJL:    That's going to take more than 90 days. I don't know whether this is the right time for you to take to get caught up and as well as find a permanent solution.

Rob:    I just want to feel like I'm getting caught up and want to work on finding a permanent solution.

TJL:    Can I ask - do you like being behind a little bit?

Rob:    I am to the place where I'd like to have a less expensive way of getting energy.

TJL:    So you're looking to get energy from a cleaner, less toxic source?

Rob:    I do, but I just don't know where to begin.

TJL:    Where would you use me to help you with this?

Rob:    To identify the systems that I could put in place.

TJL:    Okay, so we could spend the next 3 or 4 calls working through what you want to organize, and then go from there. We'll stop right there. How was that helpful?

Rob:    I wasn't sure exactly what you were doing, but I figured out you were pulling me out of the problem and into the solution and that made it feel much lighter fairly quickly. Also, when you talked to me about what I really wanted….

TJL:    Great, that's what we did, but how was that helpful?

Rob:    I became aware of other options, and already got me thinking and moving towards something else. I think the huge thing for me was that I didn't feel a judgment in your questions.

TJL:    Just so you know, that place is the big place to get to. Often, coaches feel grips in their chest because they're behind, and feel the need to catch up through you. It's a good way to test how clean the coach is. Let's go around the room here - what did you hear?

Bob:    I think I heard all 3 D's in there.

TJL:    Good; thank you for that, Bob. Who else heard something?

XXX:    I heard you very clearly set up the framework for the upcoming coaching calls.

TJL:    Good - I'm glad you heard that. For a client that's in overwhelm, a coaching call is just another source. I wanted to make sure the client understood that we're going to be talking about systems on the calls, rather than just having him call and report in on what he's done or not done.

Susan:    I think it's great - you seemed to get right to the root of it, and could then spend the rest of the call starting to work on it.

I quickly turned it as fast as I could to the "who".  ...that made it personal to the person, rather than keeping it from separate from them. I wanted to say 'it's about you', without actually saying that. 

TJL:    Where would you have dug in?

Susan:    I would've gotten lost in the problem he was having. I would have gotten deep into the problem, rather than just trusting that, and moving on from there.

TJL:    What would you now do differently?

XXX:    For me, I would just - what you did was, you got him to show the reality. There's a difference between knowing everything you need to know, or thinking to ask all these questions that will give you what you need to know.

Heidi:    I probably would've gone more into the levels, and I appreciated you jumping up about 5 levels and getting to the heart of the matter.

TJL:    The one thing that softens the drill bit here is that I quickly turned it as fast as I could to the "who". I pretty quickly brought in the idea that he gets his energy from adrenaline. That made it personal to the person, rather than keeping it from separate from them. I wanted to say 'it's about you', without actually saying that.

Gail:    I think when he said that it all felt overwhelming and he didn't know what to do next, I would've probably started talking about priorities.

TJL:    And that's what you would still do or that was before?

Gail:    I would probably still do this, along with some of what you're doing.

TJL:    And that works on the matter of personal taste on the part of the coach. I find it I ask the clients to prioritize with me on the phone, it puts pressure on them. Often, it's the small things that need to get fixed first, and they may not seem like a priority.

Gail:    If the call isn't until next week, are they going to wait until next week to do anything about it, then?

TJL:    They've been waiting for weeks already. If they're going to tell you that they're 2 weeks behind, they're probably 6 weeks behind. That's a way to weave in things that matter, rather than trying to prioritize.

Valerie:    I was struck by the process of, while you were getting them clear, you were also educating them at the same time.

TJL:    Engaging them in provocative conversations sounds generic, but if we can do that, we can go deeply fairly quickly. I'd like to hear from you what you got out of this session.

XXX:    I like the notion that the coach isn't the fairy godmother, but you are support, and it's going to take time.

TJL:    Great; who else?

Gail:    I just loved the idea that this went right to the heart of the matter so quickly. I loved that!

TJL:    Thank you all very much! I appreciate your contributions. Bye now!

end of transcript

Thank you to the GSC members who participated in the live calls!

NOTE:  The full set of 15 Coaching Proficiencies is available in an archived issue of Today's Coach for your reference, at this link:

© 2002. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Distribution permitted when intact.

CoachVille Member Resource
I want to be certified as a coach


Certification is an increasingly important step in the world of coaching.  CoachVille launches its Certified Coach Program on April 15, 2002, and along with that, the Certified Coach designation.  Here are the basics about this program and the certification process.

The Certified Coach Program trains you in the 15 Coaching Proficiencies.
(view proficiencies here)
There are literally hundreds of coaching skills and techniques that a coach can learn and master over their lifetime but thanks to the efforts  of senior coaches worldwide, a set of 15 Coaching Proficiencies has been identified which include virtually all of the hundreds of the coaching skills.  When you know and apply these 15 Coaching Proficiencies, you are coaching very effectively.

The 15 Coaching Proficiencies are learnable.
And, perhaps surprisingly, learnable fairly quickly.  Why quickly?  Because of how well they are articulated and how well they represent what the most experienced coaches are actually doing with their clients.  (We interviewed many of them to verify that our 15 Coaching Proficiencies truly represent how they spend their time with clients.)  Back in the 80's and 90's learning how to coach was fairly complicated and required hundreds of hours of training and thousands of hours of experience to be effective as a coach.  But thanks to the work of the senior coaches who contributed to the development of the Certified Coach Program and the 15 Coaching Proficiencies, the process to be trained and effective as a coach has been reduced both in complexity and time by up to 90%.  Evolution has definitely reached the coaching and coach training process.  

The 15 Coaching Proficiencies are effective.
Again, we worked with scores of senior coaches (who often charge $1500 to $5000 per month for their coaching services) to craft these 15 Proficiencies.  It's their wisdom and experience that you will discover in the Certified Coach Program.  These 15 Proficiencies work with clients because they are both simple and profound.  And each adds value, as defined by the client.  And each can be used in virtually all coaching settings:  personal, small business, corporate and governmental.  These 15 Proficiencies embody the best of coaching because they work.

  The 15 Coaching Proficiencies are consistently and easily measurable, for certification purposes.
One of the exciting challenges we faced in developing the 15 Coaching Proficiencies was to ensure that a trained certifier/tester could quickly and easily measure the level of a coach's proficiency in any of the 15 areas.  Given the richness of these proficiencies, a Certifier (a highly experienced and trained Certified Mentor Coach), by listening to even just a single live or recorded client coaching session, can complete a scorecard which will educate the coach on how well they demonstrated proficiencies in the 15 areas.  Which is great news for the coach in training, because this consistency of testing removes any doubt and confusion during the actual training/learning process.  This because the coach is being trained in the same 15 Coaching Proficiencies via the Certified Coach program as they will be tested on in order to be awarded the Certified Coach designation.

To be a Certified Coach means that you have demonstrated proficiency in the 15 areas.
It's as simple as that.  The Certified Coach 'brand' is consistent, given both the training and the testing/certification is consistent.  This is very important in the marketplace, especially for individuals and companies seeking to hire internal and external coaches.   They want to know who and what they are getting with these coaches, and the Certified Coach designation will be a consistent way for them to know. Which makes the buying process easier and safer for them.  Which, in turn, leads to more contracts for Certified Coaches.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How much does it cost to enter the Certified Coach Program (CCP)?

Believe it or not, the CCP is included with your $79 CoachVille membership.  We can afford to offer this because the CCP is delivered electronically (web/RealAudio).  And, this affordability is a clear demonstration of how we live the simple mission at CoachVille.  That mission?  To improve the quality of coaching worldwide.

How long does it take to complete the Certified Coach Program (CCP)?

That is entirely up to you.  The Certified Coach designation is awarded based strictly on demonstrated proficiencies.  This, instead of the old fashioned "hours/experience" model, which may work well for other professions but is not well-suited to coaching given most coaches have been coaching their entire lives in some form.

To answer your question directly, however, we recommend that you spend at least 15 hours engaging with the 15 proficiencies, as a foundation.  Through self-testing, and by asking your clients, colleagues, a Certified Mentor Coach, or even friends to help you discover 'where you are' along the path of mastering the 15 Proficiencies, you will better know how much time you will need to spend in the training/learning process.

But can I really learn the 15 Coaching Proficiencies well enough via the web, in order to earn the Certified Coach designation?
In many cases, yes.  The Certified Coach Program (when completed Spring 2002) is comprised of a series of lessons that include skills and proficiencies training, strong coaching/weak coaching demonstrations, critiquing, coach-the-coach segments and guides on how to know how well you are doing with any of the 15 Proficiencies.

What is the fastest way to learn these 15 Proficiencies and thus qualify for the Certified Coach designation?
If you are fairly new to coaching and/or fairly new to the 15 Proficiencies, you may wish to work 1-on-1 with a Certified Mentor Coach (CMC).  A CMC has been trained in the 15 Coaching Proficiencies and will be able to test your current skill set level and work with you over several months to strengthen areas that may need development.  There is no requirement that you do this, but as virtually all senior coaches will tell you, one of the best ways to become an even better coach, more quickly, is to have a coach of your own.  The CMC has been trained to be your learning partner.  CMC's set their own fees.

What is the procedure to be awarded the Certified Coach designation?
When you feel you are ready, simply schedule a testing time via CoachVille (available starting April 15, 2002).  All you need is to have a client to join you on a 3-way telephone call for 30 minutes with the Coach Certifier.  The Certifier (currently from CoachVille but later this year from the ICSB/see below) will listen in silence as you coach your client.  As they are listening to your coaching, they will be completing the 15 Coaching Proficiencies scorecard.  Maximum possible score is 15.  A score of 10 or more is a passing score (the grading is fairly rigorous).

Then what happens?
Within minutes, you will receive your result, along with individual comments from the Certifier.  If you passed, you will immediately be directed to take an online Ethics test.  The moment you pass that test, you will be provided with a license to use the term 'Certified Coach' along with instructions on how to order a certificate which attests to your qualifying for this designation, and is suitable for framing if you wish.

How good is the Certifier?
Currently the primary Certifier is Thomas J. Leonard, the founder of CoachVille and of several other coaching institutions.  Thomas will be certifying up to 1,000 Certified Coaches during 2002/2003. By Summer 2002, he will have completed the "tester training" of several of the Certified Mentor Coaches so that they can be designated as certifiers.  

How do I know that I am ready to be tested?
That is entirely up to you.  You may schedule a test at anytime. Some coaches simply want to find out 'where' there are along the path of the 15 Proficiencies; others have been coaching for years and are ready to be awarded the designation.  And still others have been training via the Certified Coach Program and feel ready to be tested.

What if I don't pass?

There is a reasonable chance that you will not pass the test the first time around.  (Typically 30% of new attorneys don't pass the bar the first time.)  And, you will come away with the benefit of knowing the precise areas that the Certifier feels you can strengthen.  Please note that the process is 100% confidential; no one will know that you have even scheduled a test.  They will only know when you have passed and been awarded the Certified Coach designation, should you wish to make this known.

What does it cost to be tested for Certification?

Currently, the fee for testing is $99 and includes the 30-minute appointment with you, your client and the Certifier, as well as the Certifier's scorecard and personal comments.  This one-time fee includes a lifetime license to use the term "Certified Coach."  The fee also includes one additional testing session, should you need to retake the test, or a 1-to-1 confidential session with the Certifier should you wish to learn more about his/her comments along with suggestions on how to improve your score.  We have kept this fee as low as humanly possible to make the process of becoming a Certified Coach as painless and simple as possible.  (Note: The $99 testing fee is waived for coaches in the Graduate School of Coaching.)

How does this certification compare to other coach certifications?

There are several very important advantages to the Certified Coach designation:

Advantage #1
By the end of 2003, we expect the Certified Coach designation to be the most widely recognized coaching designation worldwide.  
This, because of the size of CoachVille (nearly 10,000 coaches in 70 countries) as the largest network of coaches worldwide.  Big numbers do matter in order to build the key areas of brand credibility, worldwide acceptance and consumer awareness.

Advantage #2
The Certified Coach is being certified in what we feel the marketplace respects most: Coaching Proficiencies.
How proficient you are is the most important measure in our view; not just the number of hours of training or the years of experience you've had, although that can contribute greatly to your depth and breadth as a coach.  We feel the Certified Coach designation should mean one thing in the marketplace; and that is that you have demonstrated the 15 Coaching Proficiencies. It's that simple.  No mystery.  And the consistency of the measures and the testing process builds trust in the brand.

Advantage #3
No requirement for ongoing learning credits to renew your Certified Coach designation.
We would agree that ongoing training is essential for continued certification in certain professions (medicine, law, accountancy) but we do not feel that this is essential in the coaching world. Why?  Because coaching is like riding a bicycle.  Once you learn it, you simply do not forget it.  And to continue with the bicycle metaphor, advanced training on mountain biking and bike repair and road touring are definitely a plus but shouldn't be a requirement to ride a bike.  Even as coaching evolves, as specialties are developed and as technology plays a larger role in the delivery of coaching, the fundamental Proficiencies are unlikely to significantly change over the next decade.  And, that said, we do encourage coaches to continue to learn in many ways: from their clients, from their own lives and through formal training programs.  We just do not feel that it is essential that coaches be forced to take more learning credits in order to maintain their designation.

Advantage #4
A global standard.
Currently, 15 campuses of CoachVille are opening outside of North America, on our way to 50 or so.  The coach trainers/owners of these campuses are training coaches in their respective countries on the identical 15 Coaching Proficiencies, all leading to a single designation: Certified Coach.  When you have this many schools worldwide pointing in the same direction, a standard is developed.  

We have also licensed the 15 Coaching Proficiencies to a large coaching school, based in the U.S. but operating internationally. And we are licensing the 15 Coaching Proficiencies to 500 or so Certified Mentor Coaches over the next year or two.  Again, with this many schools and mentor coaches working with the same 15 Coaching Proficiencies toward the same designation, a standard develops.  

Advantage #5
Personalized learning paths.
With approximately 40,000 coaches operating worldwide, there are different needs in terms of coach training and coach certification.  Here is how the Certified Coach designation serves several of these market segments:

Path #1. 
The 'new' coach who has actually been coaching for years but never called it that.
Some of these folks need a strengthening of skills and an awareness of the full scope of what a coach does (the 15 Proficiencies) in order to complete their learning.  Others are already there, either through past learning experiences or maybe just great genes.  It's hard to say.  Either way, through, the Certified Coach Program and Certification acts as a benchmark or finishing touch on their past experience, depending on where they are.  A person in this situation can know quickly, easily and inexpensively 'where' they are in terms of proficiency.

Path #2. 
The related professional (therapist, consultant) who wants to add coaching skills or to repackage themselves as a coach.
There is definitely some crossover between the proficiencies that a therapist or consultant have developed and the 15 Coaching Proficiencies.  We have found that when a related professional identifies the 2 or 3 (of the 15) Coaching Proficiencies that they discover the benefits of developing, that this professional's related skills quickly 'reorient' so that the professional starts working from the place where coaches and coaching comes from.  Coaching is a distinct approach and style of working with people, even if there is overlap on the skills side.  The Certified Coach Program and Certified Coach designation are the fast track into coaching and certification without having to 'go back to school' and start over.  We respect your degrees and training.

Path #3. 
The manager or professional who simply wants to be more 'coach-like' in how they work with others.
This type of person generally doesn't want to be a full-time coach; they just want to be more effective in how they work with others.  So, the Certified Coach Program is a terrific learning path for them. They can learn the skills and proficiencies, at their own pace, first and then decide if they want to go for certification.  Simple, easy, practical.

Path #4. 
The veteran coach who has decided they now wish to carry a certification.
The vast majority of experienced coaches have not yet decided to become certified. This, because they are already successful in the marketplace, and second, because some view other certification options as not well fitting for them.  The Certified Coach designation, while not a shoe-in for even well-experienced coaches, is a process that honors that coach's experience and track record.

Path #5. 
The student or graduate of a coach training school or program.
Given current trends, by 2005 there will be 200+ coach training schools and programs available worldwide.  Some of these schools and programs offer a certification of their own, others offer a 'certificate of completion.'  (Big difference, obviously.)  And some schools offer specialty certifications (Certified ADD Coach, for example).  Diversity is very important.  And, many of these graduates are looking for a common bond and designation that connects them professionally to the larger, global coaching community.  We feel that the Certified Coach designation is that connection, given it certifies that you, and your colleagues, have demonstrated proficiency in the 15 areas.   The Certified Coach designation does not compete with any other certification or program. Rather, it offers a unifying opportunity, given its inclusivity and given that it honors the many specialties and approaches to coaching.

Finally, shouldn't the certification be awarded by an independent body vs the coaching school that trains the coach?  Isn't there a conflict of interest?
Great question and one that needs to be addressed.  We are modeling the school/training vs professional association vs testing/certification issue after how the College for Financial Planning and other professional institutions have done so successfully over the past 30 years.  The institutional structures needed to serve the coaching industry would be:

A consistent curriculum targeted toward a common designation:
Certified Coach Program

This, so that those who are taking the Certified Coach exam have been properly trained and prepared for it.  CoachVille and those schools/groups who have and will be trained/licensed to teach the 15 Coaching Proficiencies wil provide a consistent and integrated curriculum worldwide.

Consistency of testing and awarding of certification:
International Coaching Standards Board
The testing process needs to be consistent and 'true' to the 15 Coaching Proficiencies.  And the Certified Coach designation needs to be managed, marketed and protected.  The current plan is to work with Certified Coaches worldwide to establish and run an independent organization called something like ICSB (International Coaching Standards Board).  The sole purpose of the ICSB is to provide consistency of testing and certification.  There are related models for this in other professions, notably the accounting and financial planning fields.  The board would be populated by members of the IACC (see below).

A professional association for those who are Certified Coaches:
International Association of Certified Coaches

It seems like every profession has this except for the coaching profession.  Think IACPA, ICFP, AMA or ABA.  This would be called something like the IACC (International Association of Certified Coaches). This would be a membership/voting organization that would further the goals of Certified Coaches worldwide.  It would be 100% independent from CoachVille and set its own agenda.  And, we would assume that ethics, complaints and policing would be a part of that agenda.  Some body needs to stand for that.

A network of coaches who are not certified, yet including those who are:

Related example being the IAFP (International Association of Financial Planners).  CoachVille is currently hosting this network in the coaching world given the number and variety of coaches who are members and and given the 100+ (soon to be 200) CoachVille-affiliated chapters available.

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