I am a certified professional coach, and have hosted a local weekly coaching meetup to teach and practice.
Coaching is not a regulated field in the way that therapy is. That means anyone can call themselves a coach, and although there are some well-respected certifying agencies like the International Coaching Federation, a certification can be created by anyone.
My certification is accredited by the ICF.
Professional just means someone who makes money doing something. I have sold my coaching services for a few years now.
The biggest misconception that people have about coaching is that we are consultants. It’s certainly not against the rules to give advice or consult with clients, but that’s outside of the scope of coaching in my view and as defined by the ICF.
Because a coach is not a consultant, the tools and techniques available to us are somewhat common. In other words, these tools can help anyone (including yourself)!
The life wheel is a really great place to start.
Steven Covey & Cal Newport advocate using something similar. Look at your buckets, and ask yourself “what needs filling?”
You can do this in 6 minutes, and revisit it every week, or at least every quarter.
Focus more on creating the conditions for insight, rather than asking the brilliant question. Because you are not a consultant, it’s not your job to give them the answers or even lead them to the “right” ones. Like with children, this is more about safety and connection through tone and pace than it is about word choice.
Focus on the bright spots. What’s going well?
Never* ask Why?
Listen 80% of the time. Talk 20% of the time.
Start questions with What or How
Keep one or two simple questions in your back pocket for when you don’t know what to say next. For example: “And what else?” or “What would that look like?”
You can also just ask for time to think. It’s a sign of respect.
Check in with more frequency. Habits are more about quantity than quality. Send a text midweek.
Relax. People need cool-headed leaders. If you are nervous about a big-deal client, exercise before the call, avoid stimulants, and “put on your coach hat”. To me this just means donning the persona for an hour. You can go back to being a nervous wreck afterwards : p
Fire clients you don’t like.
Like with therapy, your clients are self-selecting. The fact that they have come to you for help says more about them than it does about you. They are intelligent, motivated and also not starving. So they will figure out how to solve their problems, they might just need someone to bounce ideas off of, someone to believe in them, and someone to hold them accountable.
*Do I have to say?