How do you create awareness above solutions, which is a mark of a Master Coach?

I’m going to show you a technique that I like to call, “Take out your picnic basket”.

When I mark assessments, I’m looking for evidence of an ACC, PCC or MCC coaching competencies.

And one of the clear indicators that you can coach at a master level is if you are able to create awareness above solutions.

Now, this is an ICF competency definition.

The International Coaching Federation defines among many of its competency descriptions that a master coach is able to create awareness above solutions.

So what does “Creating Awareness Above Solutions” in a life coaching session mean?

Well, when you’re coaching someone, you establish what we call at InnerLifeSkills master coaching, a “contract”.

A coaching contract is the outcome or the deliverable, the thing that your client chooses to do or to achieve in the session.

And depending on the time of the session you might have a 30 minute session, you might have a 60 minute session.

  • The contract is bound by the time of the session.
  • It’s what can be achieved or done within, for example, 60 minutes.

If you’re having a 60 minutes session, the contract is that something that you are helping your clients to actually work towards achieving in the 60 minutes session. The contract is connected to the overall goal that you are coaching.

So that by the end of that 60 minutes they can actually stand at the contract point of achievement and feel deeply satisfied and happy that they walk away from the session with something valuable.

Now, the difference between ACC, PCC and MCC levels of coaching, which very simply is: associate, professional and master levels.

These are the 3 levels of credentialing that the ICF have put in place.

Now, an ACC coach, which is our entry level beginner coach, if you’re coaching at an ACC level, you are pretty much standing with your clients and you’re asking them questions like, “What do they want to achieve?”

The client tells you their contract, they tell you what they’re aiming to do and you go about doing it.

ACC coaching has the feeling of an action plan or a to-do list.

And your client just systematically works through the session in quite a mechanical way to end up with an action plan or a to-do list.

Now, ACC coaching is still valuable of course, it provides great value to people.

1. ACC coaching is very practical.

It’s very pragmatic and many people benefit from ACC coaching, but I want you to be more than an ACC coach.

The PCC coach can coach the client up that mountain to achieve the contract, but there could be obstacles in the way.

There could be a river to cross metaphorically. There could be rocks and boulders to climb.

2. PCC Coaching includes coaching inner obstacles.

Instead of just creating essentially a to-do list, the PCC coach is able to assist the client in overcoming those obstacles where the PCC coach says to the client, “What is your best way to overcome the obstacles?”

And that is included in their planning and some of that work can even be accomplished during the session. 

3. MCC Master Coaching can create spontaneous, relevant questions in the moment – takes out a picnic basket.

Now, a master coach does what I call taking out a picnic basket.

As the client starts to work towards their contract and they start to make progress in that 60 minute time frame, the client may express something, a solution, they might have an insight, they might express some kind of vulnerability.

They tell you something and you can hear because you’re listening at a deeper level as a master coach, it’s deeper level coaching.

And you might hear the subtle hint of some kind of, “Yeah, but I don’t know how.

Or some hesitancy or some inner doubts creeping up.

And instead of just rushing through the session mechanically, the master coach pauses and takes out a little picnic basket, so to speak, sitting with the clients to spontaneously create questions that are relevant in that moment, depending on what has come up so that the client can find new insights and so that the client can find awareness above pure solutions.

What does this mean to you as a Life Coach?

That will mean that the session has depth to it.

To be a master MCC coach, instead of aiming only for the contract, and in a way trying to get there in a straight line with quite a mechanical step by step process.

If you want to coach at an MCC level, remember to take out a picnic basket and to create what we call at InnerLifeSkills – spiral up questions, which are solution focused, open questions.

And to use all of your coaching competencies to really create that little space, that picnic basket space.

So that your client can discover more insights and work on their inner obstacles and have those AHA moments, which really defines and makes master coaching so special and so life changing.

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