Coach School

The Science vs. The Art of Coaching

Art and science of coachingI’ve been working with another coach recently to enrich the student experience at Ultimate Coach University. The program has two major goals for every student: (1) provide students with exposure to the collective body of knowledge around coaching and (2) provide student with the opportunity to apply that knowledge to their own coaching practice.  The alignment of these two goals provides the student with an incredibly powerful learning opportunity.  The former provides a chance to see the science of coaching and the latter provides insights into the art of coaching.   If the emphasis between the two is lopsided, then you won’t be well prepared as a coach.  The sense of balance between the art and science of coaching will let you be part of a great program or an average one.

  • The science of coaching is concerned with tools and replication.
  • The art of coaching is concerned with finding the meaning in the moment
  • Science is about finding significance and understanding the probabilities.
  • Art is about giving significance and unlimited possibilities.
  • Science lets you appreciate the chaos that you don’t understand.
  • Art lets you appreciate the regularity and predictability in nature.

A good training program tries to find that balance between art and science that lets you appreciate replication and rules while at the same time encourages you to own your coaching art.  Besides the recent work at UCU, we’ve also had some opportunities to work on the development of leadership training programs with several companies.  It’s a difficult balance to find.  When you spend money, you want to be able to point to widespread replicable results; those things that you can say prove a solid return on your investment. But if you don’t leave space for the art of leadership, you only have half a program.   An IQ based education without an EQ component leaves you unable to work with others.  And the reverse also is true; an EQ based education without an IQ component lacks substance.

We can learn science, but must experience art.  The best education gives a good blend of both.

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The Two Big Reasons for Accredited Coach Training

ACSTH_WEBAs the interest in coaching continues to grow at an accelerated pace, the number of coaching schools continues to proliferate.  Unfortunately, not all coaching schools are created equal.  When you look for a coach-training program, you should seek one that is accredited or seeking accreditation.  While accreditation is no guarantee of a quality program, it certainly increases the odds of finding a reputable program.  There are two strong reasons to look for an accredited program.

1.       Accredited coaching programs must meet standards.  ANYONE can open a coaching school.  There is no guarantee of quality to a coaching school.  On the other hand, an accredited program has to meet the standards set by a professional organization.  Ultimate Coach University offers Approved Coach Specific Training Hours, which is one level of accreditation from the International Coach Federation.  For ICF programs, the standards are pretty comprehensive:

  • The Director of Training for the coach-training program is required to meet the highest level of coaching certification (Master Certified Coach).
  • Faculty need to be credentialed, seeking a credential, or be delivering coaching for 50% of their time.
  • Classes are taught using approved methods such as live or live webinars.
  • ALL of the training material related to the courses (slides, handouts, recordings) need to be submitted as part of the application.

Put simply, there is an extra layer of security that non-accredited programs can’t offer.

2.       Programs without accreditation are trainer dependent. If you are looking at a program because of the trainers involved and you like what you see, then choose that program.  Realize, however, that you may not really be getting coach training. You will be getting that trainer’s vision of what coaching is.  Their vision may not match professional standards and may not teach you anything about the core competencies of coaching.

Ultimate Coach University has put in the time and work to receive accreditation from the ICF.  You can always check at the ICF website to see if the program is listed.  Click this link and then type in Ultimate Coach University as the training organization.  That listing is your guarantee that you will receive coach training that meets professional standards. When you graduate from the program, you can tell people that you have been trained as a coach because you have.  You will have been immersed in the International Coach Federation competencies in a program that meets their standards.

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Coaching: An Indispensible Soft Skill for Leaders

Rolling doughCoaching is one of the indispensable soft skills for leaders. Hard driving results oriented leaders want to get to the bottom line as quickly as possible.  If a process (like coaching) doesn’t generate immediate dollars then why do it?

I’ve heard all types of reasons for not starting coaching.  Here are a few of the common ones:

  • We’re too small for coaching. We have to get bigger before we worry about focusing on improving individual performances.
  • We’re growing too fast to add coaching.  We want to see who is going to rise to the top as leaders before we provide them coaching.
  • Money’s too tight to add coaching. We need to invest in things with a solid result.
  • Things are going well.  Why change?

In every case, the company is ignoring the soft skills because the benefits can’t be documented.  But here’s the point:  just because the benefits can’t be measured doesn’t mean they don’t exist.  That’s the point in calling coaching a process to develop soft skills.  Here are two perspectives on this issue to explain more.

Emotional Intelligent Leaders.  Daniel Goleman included coaching as one of the six fundamental styles in a leader’s repertoire.  Coaching is not micromanaging or one-to-one directing.  Goleman describes the behavior by saying, “Coaching exemplifies the EI competence of developing others, which lets a leader act as a counselor, exploring employees’ goals and values and helping the expand their own repertoire of abilities. . . . As a result, people sense that a leader cares, so they feel motivated to uphold their own high standards for performance, and they feel accountable for how well they do.”  Goleman goes on to conclude “The coaching style may not scream ‘bottom-line results,’ but in a surprisingly indirect way, it delivers them.

Return on Investment.  Brian Underhill’s book,Executive Coaching for Results, is built around extensive surveys, interviews, and experience (the book is written in conjunction with Kimcee McAnally and John Koriath).  In the chapter on “Measuring Impact,” he reports his findings. “Leaders are generally less worried about impact metrics than organizations. . . . Organizational representatives (such as HR or LD professionals) are feeling challenged more often to justify the coast of coaching programs.” He goes on to write, “At least one organizational representative urged us to ‘measure the leaders, not the coaches.’”

We should remember Albert Einstein’s admonition, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”

Interestingly, the majority of coaches who come to Ultimate Coach University are seeking to add coaching to their skill set.  Whether it is for their career as an executive, entrepreneur, sales leader, or salon owner and operator.  They see the benefits of a coach approach in their industry.  UCU is launching their next program on January 29 and their is still time to enroll.  Reach out to and she’ll be happy to talk with you about enhancing your coaching skill set.

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Quantum Neuro Linguistic Programming Explained (whew!)

The popularity of Quantum NLP keeps growing.  As more and more people show interest in it, the popular questions are about the differences between traditional Neuro Linguistic Programming (commonly known as NLP) and Quantum NLP.  To produce some clarity around this issue, I have developed several videos that explain the basics of NLP and then dive into the Quantum universe.  Go to you tube to view it or just click below.

Feel free to contact me with any questions you have about Quantum NLP and how it can enhance your coaching practice. Contact me at or call me at (801) 979-4799.


Ultimate Coach University is starting their next session in January, so write to to find out how you can participate in their program and build your QNLP coaching practice.

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Ten Tips for Selling Your Coaching Proposition

DSA2012_InspiringEntreprenuersLogoEarlier in May, Ultimate Coach University joined the Direct Selling Association as a supplier.  It seemed like a natural fit. One of UCU’s majors is coaching direct sales.  We thought it was time to go to the direct selling companies and let them know about us.

This week, the Direct Selling Association had their annual meeting and Dana Phillips and I had the opportunity to attend.  Here are some of the things we learned about going to the marketplace.

1. Ask experienced people for advice.  At an early reception, I had the chance to ask several people, “what do you know now you wished you had known your first year?” Their advice was invaluable.

2. Know your value proposition. Everybody knows the difference between training and coaching, right? How about the difference between mentoring and coaching?  It only took about two conversations before my head was working fast and furious to make a clear, quick distinction.

3. Be brief.  UCU does a lot of things.  Most people don’t care about anything except the piece that fits them.  The longer it takes to find out their itch, the less likely you will be the one to scratch it.

4.  Drop names.  Normally this is not a behavior I engage in.  Here, however, I was advised (see #1 above) to mention names.  It’s a great way to help people understand what you do.  This was a big AHA moment for me.  It was like a shorthand for telling an anecdote or a story.

5. Carry business cards and find a reason to use them.  Dana did this much better than I.  She would ask, “Do you read blogs?” (Who is going to say no?) When they answered yes, she gave them her card, took theirs, and wrote on the back, “blog” as she was telling them she would subscribe them to ours.  The process was simple, painless, and a first step beyond a convention conversation.

6. Start conversations. It’s to your benefit to start conversations.  Nothing happens until there is talk.

7. Ask more questions more than you tell. Be curious (just like a coach) and ask powerful questions (just like a coach).

8. Listen like a coach.  The better you understand and engage in good listening behaviors (paraphrase, summarize, restate, etc.) then the better you will be at finding out their need.

9. Take notes.  You will talk to a lot of people in a short time.  Your short-term memory is a weak system for keeping information sorted and available.

10.  Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. We create a spreadsheet with names, contact information, next steps, and desired outcome.  Something will happen every day until to create business.

What did I forget?  If you’ve had an opportunity to talk to people about your business, what do you do to make sales happen?

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Three Types of Coaching Feedback

Positive FeedbackCoaches, especially new coaches, view feedback as a mixed blessing. They know it’s a key element for improvement but they fear being crushed by what clients have to say. Here are three ways to solicit feedback that are easier to take.

External feedback around the client informs you. When the client reports that people around him are noticing a difference, that’s telling you something as well. Performance reports, 360 surveys, and requests for coaching from your client’s colleagues all provide insights. Admittedly, these types of feedback are indirect indicators.  While they may not be directed towards your improvement, they have a high degree of credibility and truth.

External feedback from the client is invaluable.  The hardest part for new coaches is sitting in fearful anticipation about what will be given as feedback.  The problem is not the feedback; it’s the anticipation of feedback.  One thing that Ultimate Coach University student coaches have found is that written feedback carries less fear.  You are not hearing from the lips of your client; it’s not a knee jerk reaction. Instead, written feedback is designed to be more tactful and that makes it easier to take. Develop a quick one page email form that can be sent to your clients a few times during the coaching.  You’ll be glad for the insights it provides.

Internal feedback to you is integral to improvement. Unless you’ve stopped growing as a coach, you need to ask yourself some important questions.  Ask yourself questions like:

  • Did my client fully understand what he/she needs to change, improve, or continue doing?
  • Did my client understand why he/she needs to change, improve, or continue what he/she is doing?
  • Does my client have a sense of ownership for the plan and results?
  • Did I listen effectively?
  • Do I have a plan for reinforcing or following up on the coaching?

While you can talk harshly to yourself, you are more likely to find valuable answers to these questions that you will implement immediately.

Nothing can remove all of the fear surrounding feedback.  Once you start to become comfortable with your process, then the fear starts to dissipate.

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Ultimate Coach University Launch Workshop is This Week

Ultimate Coach University launches new cohortOn Wednesday, May 16, Ultimate Coach University launched its fifth cohort of coaches.  That’s said with a little sense of pride.  The bigger feeling is a sense of wonder as new coaches understand what it means to be a coach and are playing full-out in their new role.

Yesterday’s training was about thinking like a coach.  Today’s focus is on the skills of a coach: listening, curiosity, and asking open-ended questions.  Tomorrow’s topics are on acting like a coach.  We’ll update you throughout the day on Facebook and in the near future we’ll have a video or two where we give some students the opportunity to talk about their experience during the three days.

UCU continues to grow in the breadth of its offerings.  When we started last summer, we offered specialized major in life coaching, direct sales coaching, and salon coaching.  In this launch workshop we’ve added a fourth major, Quantum NLP coaching.  When we have our next Launch workshop in Dallas on September 12-14, we’ll be adding students to a new track in business coaching.  And enrollment is open.

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Coaching Clients on Authenticity

In just about every list of leadership characteristics, you will find “authenticity.” Seldom, however, do leaders come to coaching so they can be more authentic. They want to know what to DO, not what to BE.  Often, they will say things like:

  • I want to create a more trusting team.  No more backstabbing.
  • I want to do a better job of mentoring and growing new leaders.
  • I want to take my leadership to the next level.
  • I want my team to perform better.

As we work through the coaching path to create goals for our engagement, new leaders come to the realization that great leaders have already discovered; leadership growth is about discovery and self-development.  Great leaders work to understand more about themselves and, in doing so, start to understand how WHO they are affects HOW they act.

Authenticity is the ability to be you regardless of the situation. It is a state in which you are so comfortable that you can share deep pieces of yourself comfortably. Coaching for authenticity usually involves three pieces.

Leaders seek clarity and understanding about their values. You can’t be authentic if you are clear about what you value. At Ultimate Coach University, we have several classes on value clarification with clients. The tools for this involve value sorting exercises, biographies of admired leaders, visualization boards, and practice in powerful discovery questions.  One tool that is recommended is the Values In Action Survey of Character Strengths which is free.

Leaders seek clarity and understanding about their strengths.  In its simplest, a strength is anything that leaves you feeling more powerful and a weakness is anything that leaves you feeling drained. Besides strength finding surveys, coaching clients are pushed to discover these things on a day-to-day basis.  A 360 is a great way to discover what others see in you.  Strengths are the activities that we want to do: the behaviors.

Leaders develop a strong connection between their values and their strengths. The core questions are powerful ones:

  • What do you need to do so your behaviors (strengths) reflect your values?
  • How will others know this is the real you?
  • What will make this a consistent and persistent pattern of activities for you

As coaching clients start to live what they believe, their authenticity becomes more and more apparent. What they want to do will match who they are.

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Business Coaching is Not Like Football Coaching

Not Business CoachingNot all “coaches” are created equal.  At Ultimate Coach University, our coach training program, we teach people who want to improve their coaching skills as well as those who are training to become professional coaches.

Once you find a coach, you’ll discover your best practices, learn more about yourself, and achieve the goals you have set for yourself.

Coaching is not on-on-one training.  It’s not having someone give you the “playbook” for your business, your life, or your relationships. There are a lot of people out there who will charge you to learn their playbook and call it coaching.  Really it is more like a football coach.

I have a friend who is terrific football coach. He devises plays for offense and defense, he teaches his players the plays, and he observes practice.  He usually calls the plays.

But his players are limited to his playbook.

A great business coach will not give you his playbook and plug you into his plan for your business.  A great coach will allow you to explore your best practices, partner with you to find innovative ways to improve, and let you build your own playbook.

If you just want somebody to “tell you what to do,” get a trainer or a mentor.

If you want a coach, here are three quick tips.

  1. Get a professional.  Credentialed coaches are trained to bring the best out of you.  They are skilled at listening to what is being said and what is not being said.
  2. Hire the right kind of coach.  It is important that your coach has at least enough expertise in your circumstance to support you.  If you want a business coach, don’t choose a relationship coach.
  3. Make sure your needs are met.  I just had a client invest in a coach who gave her his “playbook” and it really didn’t fit.  You have the right to ask your coach to stay on your agenda.

Coaching can increase your effectiveness, improve your satisfaction, and keep your focused on what you want.  Even coaches need coaching.  So, what kind of coach are you?  Share your niche with us!

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