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What Consumers Know about Coaching

Coaching consumer opinionsThe International Coach Federation recently released their 2014 ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study.  The survey was done in 16 languages and utilized responses from nearly 19,000 individuals in 25 countries.  The study is an insightful look at how coaches and consumers see “coaching” in the marketplace.  The Executive Summary has its set of conclusions (p. 29).  Here are the four most important takeaways I had.

Coaching is a global phenomenon.   The size of the study is one indication of this.  Overall, nearly 60% of consumers are aware of professional business and/or life coaching.  17% (that’s nearly 1 in 5!) have participated in a coaching relationship. And participation is growing.

Consumers understand coaching as a definable activity.  Among the 60% of the population aware of coaching, there is also an awareness that coaching is distinct from mentoring, consulting, training, and counseling. The implications of this are important.

  • Distinct content lets you be a professional coach; you are distinct from counselors, trainers, etc.
  • Your prospective clients can see a difference between real coaching from a coach and quasi-coaching from someone claiming to be a coach.
  • The profession can develop best practices.  A good example of this is the ICF creation of evaluation markers to be used by assessors in awarding credentials.

The reasons for hiring a coach are becoming clearer. Are you a coach struggling to find clients?  Find out which reason they have and then speak to it.  New coaches often struggle with finding the right reasons to give.  Instead of being creative, you now have the opportunity reach into the consumer’s awareness of coaching to find the reasons they have.  What’s the most common reason?  “Defining strengths and weaknesses within oneself” is the reason for nearly have of those seeking coaching.  “Optimize individual/team work performance” is the most frequently cited reason for participating in a coaching relationship.

The more professional coaches produce more customer satisfaction.  For coaches, this is very good news.  The statistics on this make the conclusion a no brainer.  37% of all consumers were very satisfied regardless of the credential.  However, among the customers who were very satisfied with their coaching:

  • Of those who had a coach with a credential, 49% were very satisfied.
  • Of those who had a coach without a credential, 29% were very satisfied.

A 20% difference is very telling.  Credentialed coaches meet their clients needs much better than other types of coaches.

What do you think?  When you look for a coach, what criteria show u on your radar?

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Celebrating our New Coaches: Angie Howell

Angie Howell Certificate

Angie Howell, our newest Certified Direct Selling Coach lives in Addison, Texas.

With a human resources background, Angie is passionate about coaching as a vehicle for personal growth and increased productivity.  She serves as the Director of Partner Development at J.Hilburn in Dallas.

Angie is a warm encouraging coach with exceptional empathic listening skills. Here is what she had to say about her coach training experience. “UCU has been a phenomenal opportunity for me. Not only have I grown tremendously as a Coach, I have grown in confidence and knowledge. I am more prepared to coach, train and communicate more effectively due to the information provided on the webinars and through the coaching proficiencies.”

Her mentor coach, Neil Phillips, has this to say about Angie. “Angie is living proof that when you sent your mind to something, you can achieve it.  She wanted things that were missing from her personal and professional life, she turned those wants into goals, plans, actions, and results.  And along the way, we had some laughs.” (Just look at that picture.  Who wouldn’t want to smile along?)

You can learn more about Angie on LinkedIn.

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The J. Hilburn Coaching Culture

It’s rare that I get to see our students get resounding applause for their coaching.  That occasion occurred this past week at the International Coaching Federation-North Texas Chapter Prism Awards.  This is a big deal.

J. Hilburn Prism Award recpients

(L to R) Neil Phillips, Dana Phillips, Larry Novak, Karen Bejjani, Angie Howell receive Prism Award

Two of Ultimate Coach University’s students are key performers in J. Hilburn’s coaching culture. Karen Bejjani and Angie Howell led the charge in developing a coaching culture among the sales force.  They both spend most of their workdays coaching top performers, upcoming stars, and groups of new leaders.  Karen and Angie will both tell you that coaching is energizing and they are passionate about its importance to productivity and the personal development of leaders.

J. Hilburn received a special recognition for “demonstrating a deep strategic commitment to coaching across the organization.”  Top honors went to BNSF Railroad.  The other finalists were AT & T and Frito-Lay.

THIS IS HUGE.  I can’t emphasize enough the honor they receive with this award. Here’s why this demonstrates such an incredible achievement.     

 The ICF-NT Chapter has a storied history.  The ICF got its start with the work of Texas coaches and the ICF-NT is the first chartered chapter of the world’s largest professional association for coaches.

North Texas is known for quality coaching. Big claim?  Need proof?   In 2005, the global office of the ICF adopted the concept of the Prism Award and has been recognizing organizations that have enhanced excellence and business achievement through their commitment to coaching ever since. In the 8 years that the international award has been given, North Texas companies have been honored 3 times.

The Prism Award recognizes excellence.  The North Texas Prism Award is recognition that the coaching initiatives are meeting and exceeding globally recognized standards. The award is a public acknowledgement of their efforts in creating a culture that embraces coaching. The Prism Award celebrates:

  • Effectiveness: How has the coaching initiative been effective in achieving the intended goals and purpose?
  • Impact: How has coaching improved the culture of the organization?
  • Strategic Significance: How has the initiative addressed significant issues within or for the organization?
  • ROI/ROE: What are the tangible results or the proven return on investment or return on expectations for the organization because of the coaching initiative?

If you have an opportunity, please leave a comment and congratulate J. Hilburn for their accomplishment.

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What Makes a Good Direct Selling Coach?

Find the right coachBecause coaching is not regulated in the US, just about anyone can put the word “coach” in their bio.  I see “coaching” added to all sorts of LinkedIn and website profiles.  When I ask, “where did you get your coach training?” I often here a long pause.  One poor uninformed speaker/trainer told me she got her training from the “school of life”.  She might be a good mentor, but I don’t think I would coach with her.

Coaching with an untrained coach:

  • It’s like going getting marriage counseling from someone who has been married but never trained to be a counselor.
  • It’s like getting rehab for a back injury from someone whose mom fell and went to rehab.
  • It’s like getting trained in direct sales by someone who has never been involved

It’s RISKY at best, reckless at worst.

A great coach has been trained in the skills of coaching.  A great direct selling coach will possess both the knowledge of direct selling and the skills of a coach to best serve the client. While an up line leader might be a terrific mentor, I would look for these things as I pick a coach for my direct selling business.

Coach credentials:

Look for a person who has been credentialed by the International Coach Federation.  That credential means they have external validation as a coach and not just some piece of paper that says they paid $995 and spent two days getting certified.

Knowledge of direct selling:

Even though I know some terrific coaches who have no direct selling background, and they could coach you, most of them would refer you to a coach with direct selling knowledge because our industry is a complex one, definitely not like other businesses or other stay at home opportunities.  A coach with knowledge about the direct selling profession doesn’t need to get “up to speed” on the way you do business.

At the end of the day, if you have the basic skills in the business and you want to take your business to the next level, a coach makes sense.  Just get one that knows how to coach, not just tell you what to do.

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As coaches, how can we support our clients in creating a high performance culture? How do we support them in making it sustainable? (Note While this article is intended for larger companies, the methods discussed here can work with direct sales team or start-ups.)

Develop a coaching cultureAs coaches, how can we support our clients in creating a high performance culture?  How do we support them in making it sustainable?  (Note While this article is intended for larger companies, the methods discussed here can work with direct sales team or start-ups.)

Executives who benefit from coaching want make coaching sustainable across the company.  One common solution is to hire more coaches and hope that when enough employees have been through the process it starts to catch on and become cultural.  While that sometimes works, the results are often haphazard.  The results are not systematic.  Rather, they are person-specific.  They depend on the people who have received coaching being able to be coaches without any training, time, or encouragement.

A better approach to building a coaching culture is to treat it like any other initiative. Figure out what you want, build a program to provide it, and evaluate the results along the way. The key step is deciding WHAT you want the coaching program to accomplish so that you know how to build and evaluate it.

A good place to start looking for program goals is the International Coach Federation. Every year they host an annual competition in which the “ICF honors organizations who have demonstrated that professional coaching used as a leadership strategy can pay off greatly.” Since the applicants cover fields ranging from IBM to BC Housing Canada, the ICF has developed four selection criteria that universally work.  The four criteria are:

  • Effectiveness – How has the coaching initiative been effective in achieving the intended goals and purpose?
  • Impact – How has coaching improved the culture of the organization? What are the benefits?
  • Strategic Significance – How has the initiative addressed significant issues within or for the organization? (Examples include retention, employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and team development.)
  • ROI/ROE – What are the tangible results/the proven return on investment or return on expectations for the organization as a result of the coaching initiative?

Of course, criteria like these are always easier to say than develop. When you start with the goal in mind, the job does become easier.

What other criteria come to mind to evaluate a program designed to create a coaching culture?

LIKE THIS ARTICLE? Don’t forget to share it with your friends! Don’t forget to leave your comments.

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The First Step to Being a Coach

Student coaches coachingI’m sure it’s a common complaint among children that they are not treated right.  I remember protesting to my mother when I was a very young boy about “You never let me ___________ .  When are you going to treat me like a _________ .” (Fill in the blanks.  I said it a lot.)  Her answer was always the same.  “When you start acting like a ______ , I’ll start treating you like a __________ .”  That’s still great advice today.  I want to give that same advice to new coaches.  They want to know how to get started.  My answer is to act like one and the rest will follow.

You don’t need to fake being a coach.  You have some idea about what you need to do:

  • Ask curious questions
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Let the client control the outcomes.
  • Listen with your whole heart
  • Ask about accountability for actions.

Nobody says that you have to do these activities well.  Just do them.  Put your heart into acting like a coach and then you will be one.  The key word is ACT.  ACT is the root word of ACTION.  DO something and the rest will follow.

I don’t just make this stuff up.  No matter how much you study coaching, train on coaching, write about coaching, or claim to be a coach, you are NOT a coach unless you actually coach.  The verb COACH is part of being a noun COACH.

The International Coach Federation has worldwide standards for the certification process.  To be an ICF Certified Coach, you must experience coaching.  The minimum amount of experience required is 100 hours.  To be a Master Coach requires 2,500 hours of documented experience.  For the ICF, learning requires doing.

The biggest challenge you face is the first step; the first little bit of acting like a coach. At Ultimate Coach University, we work to make that a positive experience from the very beginning.  You get to experience coaching at our three-day launch program.  As part of the process, you get immediate feedback from your client and from the faculty who are cheering you along.  By the time you leave your coaching launch workshop, you will have already started acting like a coach.

Are you interested in learning more about launching your coaching practice or building your company’s coaching culture?  We have Launch Workshops in Salt Lake City in March and Dallas in May.  You can read about what you get during the launch at the website or by sending an email to dana@ultimatecoachuniversity.  We’d love to unlock your coach.



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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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Direct Communication

Direct Communication and Coaching By Lyn T. Christian MCC, CFCC

One of the key distinctions between a master coach and a novice is the use of language. In specific, a coach uses the power of Direct Communication in a skillful manner.

According to the I.C.F., a mastery level of Direct Communication (see number 7 in the link) goes beyond one’s ability to communicate effectively and with positive impact on the client.

A few key indicators that a coach has reached a high level of impact through language are as follows:

  • The client and coach have an ease and freedom in the words and pacing used within their sessions. Meaning that the coach can offer up information of various sorts without attachment. And the pacing matches the client, not the coach.
  • The coach shares what they have to share in a manner that incorporates the client’s language. Meaning metaphors and analogies fit the client’s frame of reference.
  • The coach invites and nurtures respect for the client through the sort of words and language patterns incorporated in the session.
  • The coach hears and celebrates direct communicate flowing from the client to the coach.
  • The session supports more client talk time than coach talk time.

Recently I went through an audit of my own coaching skills. I hired a seasoned mentor. Together we took me through a battery of proficiency like pass-off sessions. The notes shared during one such session and the corresponding pod cast might further prove useful as you absorb the broad topic of Direct Communication.

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Salon Coach Certification – First In The World

Ultimate Coach University is proud to announce our part in giving birth to the first Salon Coach Certification program recognized by the International Coach Federation. That is right! This is the first I.C.F. accredited program in the world.

We have been working with salons since 1998. Most recently our work has been to meld coaching programs within compatible salon cultures. Our results have been phenomenal as you can see:

We are proud to be a part of a profession that can deliver customized programs which produce real outcomes in real time for creative, busy and visionary salon leaders.

More about Coaching

Coaching is not new, it is not a fad. In fact coaching sprouted up from the broad range of philosophies and practices that date as far back as Aristotle, Socrates and Buddha.

The taxonomy of coaching blends an array of ancient wisdom and practices with modern science and advancement in the arts of communication and education.

The coaching industry has grown enormously over the past ten years. The evolving dynamics of coaching are proving it to be a ubiquous as training.

If you are interested in being a salon coach, please reach out –

If you are interested in crafting a coaching culture within your spasalonschool, business, etc. we have a proven track record and would love to discover what we can do in partnership with you.

An independent R.O.I. study showed that the Paul Mitchell The School system accrued a 42% increase in the number of trainings that were booked, a 100% retention factor affording the company a savings of $57,381.00 during the 2006 to 2007- the year spent with Lyn Christian coaching the management staff.


First we’d like to thank Meche’ Ortega for her expertise and experience in building the salon certification track that currently exists at U.C.U. mentioned above.

Next, we’d love to congratulate Progressions Salon, Spa and Store in Rockville, Maryland. We have been working with Cindy Feldman and team for several years and want to acknowledge how well they have implemented a coaching culture using our curriculum as well as our coaching. Kudos for being in the Salon Today top 200 salons!

Also, if you don’t think that coaching is a huge part of top salon’s business success, think again. While we had our noses to the coaching grindstone, Salon Today did a feature article. We’ll be sure to let them know they missed a huge hat tip our way. However, take a look at what is happening out here. We’ll pit our R.O.I. (return on investment) against any coach engagement out there.

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Proud Out Loud: Ultimate Coach University Makes History

Ultimate Coach University has been received the ACSTH (Approved Coach Specific Training Hours) for our direct selling major from the International Coach Federation, the largest credentialing association in the world!

Why is this such a big deal?

First a little history for you: when Lyn Christian, Neil Phillips and I envisioned Ultimate Coach University we knew we wanted to bring excellent thought leaders and their content to marry with exceptional coach training.  We wanted to have a true university where our students would receive outstanding general education in the art and science of coaching and be able to major in an area of coach training that would support their market niche.

We are committed to providing coach training that is professionally recognized and relevant to each coaching tract we create.  We also know that outside recognition of our programs adds credibility.  It isn’t just us saying that we are great.

One of our certification tracts is Direct Sales Coaching.  Our programs already have external validation from the direct selling industry.  Ultimate Coach University is an authorized service provider of the Direct Selling Association and is the only coach training provider to hold that distinction.

Adding the approval of the International Coach Federation is affirmation from the coaching profession as well as the direct selling industry. We are the first and only coach training program with the ACSTH approval for direct sellers!

We are committed to providing coach training that is professionally recognized and relevant to both professions.

  • We concentrate on coaching techniques that you will immediately and easily apply to your business.
  • We constantly monitor the evolution of the coaching industry—so what you learn will be the most up to date.
  • You will begin with a three day live training on the front-end and twelve weeks of mentor coaching to support your coaching skills.
  • You will participate in live web-based training to complete your certification.

For all of you who have supported us in this journey, we offer our profound gratitude. We look forward to adding new certification tracts with the remarkable thought leaders of our time.


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