Tools for Coaching Mastery

Confidence Keys for IAC Coaches
by Doris Helge, Ph.D., IAC-CC

Here's the "Does the chicken come first . . . or the egg?" question for IAC coaches: Which comes first, the confident coach, IAC certification or a thriving practice?

Inadequate confidence will bar even the most talented coach from marketing their services or submitting excellent MP3s for IAC certification. On the other hand, you've probably known some very confident, uncertified coaches who were less talented but more successful in business building.

If you're tempted to grinch, "Life's not fair!," take comfort. Our level of confidence is as malleable as a soft ball of clay.

Most coaches who crave IAC certification know it's essential to remember the map to Carnegie Hall, one of the most famous venues for musicians to perform. A musician jumped into a New York City cab with an eager request, "I play the cello. How do I get to Carnegie Hall?" The wisdom in the cab driver's response is equally relevant for IAC coaches, "Study. Practice. Study. Practice."

The keys to masterful coaching include studying the IAC Masteries, taking advantage of quality coach training, practice, and seeking and warmly embracing constructive feedback.

There are also shortcuts on the road to the level of confidence required to become IAC-certified and enjoy a thriving coaching practice. Some of the shortcuts are based on neuroscience and others on spiritual principles.

Take advantage of neuroscience

The science of brain imaging has confirmed what many of us have sensed intuitively. Changing your mind (your beliefs) and manipulating your body can physically rewire your brain. This is why scientists call our brains "plastic."

Each time I read that the human brain has 100 billion neurons that are connected to each other in 40 quadrillion ways, I'm amazed at the power of the personal computers we cart around on our necks. Thinking about something causes synapses between neurons to fire, creating or reinforcing a neural network.

If I say, "Don't think about a pink elephant," you instantly think about a nonexistent animal. Each time I remind you, "Stop thinking about a pink elephant!" you strengthen your new neural network about something that has never existed. Thoughts are things.

We can also program confidence. You are probably aware of the power of mental imagery. We can use multisensory visualization to enhance our self-image as a competent coach and then elevate our performance.

The process can be simple. Examples: Monitor your body posture so that it represents how you want to feel. Use solution-focused language. Delete the word try from your vocabulary. Employ proven multisensory processes that create "confidence loops" in your neurology. The body-mind aspects of this knowledge are in line with IAC Mastery #4, Processing in the Present.

Connect with your source

Learning good coaching techniques that embody the IAC Masteries is essential. Yet, technique alone doesn't develop the level of confidence related to masterful coaching. If a coach has mastered technique but lacks heart and soul, interactions with clients will sound mechanical and can even appear to be heartless.

For example, the coach may methodically ask all of the right questions related to Mastery #9, Helping the Client Create and Use Supportive Systems and Structures, but fail to notice that the client is frightened or lacks the enthusiasm necessary for follow-through. The coach may sound like an accountability drill sergeant.

Likewise, it's very difficult for a coach to engage the level of intuition referred to in Mastery #4 without connecting with their spiritual intelligence. Their coaching will lack the joy, playfulness and curiosity that are spontaneous when the coach trusts the process of the client's and the coach's life––the co-creative process. All of this is directly related to our spirituality.

In coach training, self-doubt is often the elephant in the living room. Practice can enhance confidence but not until coaches deeply connect with their spiritual side, including their innate intuitive edge. Coaches develop unshakable confidence when they fully integrate their life purpose and own their greatness. They develop seemingly magical strengths and gifts that were previously hidden from them.

Since every coach will interpret their spirituality or Universal Intelligence in a unique way that serves them, they can connect with their version of their Creator or Source before each coaching session. When coaches ask themselves questions like the following, feelings of inadequacy are usually replaced by a new wave of confidence.

  • "How can I be of service?"
  • "What does my client really need right now?"
  • "How am I learning and growing during this experience?"

Infinite possibilities for coaching confidence

Many IAC coaches feel seriously challenged when they ponder, "How can I cover all of the IAC Coaching Masteries® in a 30-minute MP3?" "How can I build a thriving practice when the world already has so many coaches?" Confidence is a major key to success…and it can be arranged.


Doris Helge, PhD, IAC-CC, is an IAC- and CTA-certified coach, coach mentor and founder of the IAC-licensed training school, Confident Coach Connection. Discover more at

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