November 2018

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Moving Past the Biggest Challenges Faced by Coaches and Leaders


If you look at coaching and leadership challenges, the things that get in the way of moving towards one’s goals, there is a recurrent theme – FEAR. It could be the fear of change, fear of making a mistake, fear of being vulnerable, fear of looking bad/good, fear of success and more.

The good news – coaching is perfectly suited for helping one move past the fear and towards the goal. Even when the goal changes. Our role as coaches and leaders is to support the individual in moving towards their goal farther, faster, easier, better and quicker than they would have without us. That is why organizations and individuals are embracing the use of coaching. Not only has coaching been proven to produce results, it is fully customizable and adaptable to fit each individual and every circumstance. Honestly, no other tool can make that claim!

Fear as a challenge is quite broad so to bring this into focus I’ve broken it down into the top five fear related coaching challenges we’ve seen and tips for navigating through them.

  1. Getting crystal clear as to what the focus and goal of the coaching is.You and your coachee need to be very clear about what the goal is and what success looks like. AND, very important, you need to check in to see if the goal has changed, as it often does. As a coachee begins the process of self-discovery it is not uncommon that their goal will shift. The adaptability of coaching is one of its strengths so don’t forget to check in often and modify the conversation as goals and objectives change. A good practice is to start the coaching conversation with a few questions about the goal and listening for clues that would indicate a goal shift. If you sense that there has been a change in the goal, pause, evaluate and make any necessary adjustments in the conversation. Don’t get caught up in pursuing a certain path when your coachee has moved to a different one. Use your questioning skills to always stay on top of where the coachee is. Remember that the coachee is in the lead and you, as their coach, must remain flexible and adaptable.

     Check out our 365 Coaching Questions Booklet to find ideas on questions to ask to make sure you know where your coachee stands on their goals and objectives.
  2. Holding the coachee accountable. This one can be become unpleasant for some coaches, but it is absolutely critical. In fact, lack of accountability is often one of the biggest stumbling blocks for coachees. In many cases, the coachee already knows what they need to do to move forward but they just don’t take the actions. This is a BIG RED FLAG and it is imperative that you help the coachee uncover what is getting in the way. Sometimes just the mere fact that someone is holding them accountable is enough to move them forward. Often though fear is getting in the way. They know what needs to be done but they don’t take the steps because they fear something. They end up procrastinating, making excuses etc. You will need to help them navigate past the fear before the coachee can embrace accountability. Holding a coachee accountable is not just about setting actions and due dates. It is also about demonstrating that you believe in them and what they can do AND, if things are not moving forward, supporting them in finding out what is getting in the way. Unfortunately, the lack of accountability is all too common. Do not let this one slide!

    Resource: For examples on holding the coachee accountable, check out our Webinar: Live Coaching Sessions. You will also find helpful tools to uncover what is keeping coachees from following through on commitments in our PGFC Assessment Tool.

  3. The Goal is TOO BIG/TOO SMALL. To have a productive and successful coaching relationship there must be a gap between where the coachee is and where they want to be. The gap is what will pull them forward. But not just any gap will do. Having the right size gap is important. If the gap is too big it can seem overwhelming and the coachee can become immobilized. If this is the case, break it down into smaller gaps that are more manageable and likely to produce quicker wins. If the gap is too small the coachee may lack motivation. In these cases, support your coachee in creating a goal that is big enough to mobilize and energize.

    Resource: For help on setting goals with your coachee, check out our PGFC Assessment Workbook. The workbook is designed for coaches and their clients to work through co-actively.

  4. Energy draining vs Energizing. At the end of each coaching conversation you want your coachee to walk away energized and mobilized to move forward. If that is not happening, it is important to pause and evaluate why that is. Conversations that are more draining than energizing are often the result of the coachee and coach focusing too much on what is not working or did not work versus focusing on what did work and what will work going forward. In other words, focusing on the negative rather than the positive. Some coachees are extremely hard on themselves and will repeatedly shift the conversation to the negative. It is important that you, as the coach, do not go down that “failure” path with them. Instead, listen with empathy and acknowledge what they are saying. But then shift the conversation to the positive and support the coachee in staying there.

    Resource: For an example of what an energized coaching conversation looks like, view our webinar: Live Coaching Sessions.

  5. Saying or making your coachee feel they are wrong! This one can be a little uncomfortable to mention but coaches, especially those who have or had the role of manager and consultant, can run up against this challenge. If you have been a manager or consultant you’ve played a very different role than that of a coach. Managers and consultants are paid to have the answers and tell their employees or clients what is best. Coaches, on the other hand, should never, ever say or make their coachee feel that they are wrong (even if you truly believe that they are). Doing so goes against the basic principle of coaching and will likely be detrimental to the relationship. Before you start the coaching conversation check to make sure you have removed your manager / consultant hat. Your role as a coach is to focus them forward on the positive; what now and what next can they do to make positive steps toward their goal.

Fear can creep in at many different points and take on many different shapes and forms. Even though people like to give a strong façade, underneath it all most coachees (and coaches too) FEAR something that is preventing them from moving forward. Yep, it is scary to take on a new project/goal/doing something they have ever done before etc. But this is our opportunity as coaches to utilize our unique skills to be there by our coachees side supporting, cajoling, challenging and encouraging to move them past the fear and towards the goal. We are all unique and sensitive human beings. Masterful coaches have the ability to develop strong empathy and compassion while still holding people accountable. Just imagine. What if EVERYONE had coaching skills?

We are here to support you when it comes to coaching challenges. We offer webinars, coaching guides and courses. View our resources and check out our calendar of events. If you have questions, connect with our Program Advisor who is ready to help.

The Business of Coaching


Building a thriving coaching business takes more than just great coaching skills. You also must know how to build a business. For many, this is the hardest part of going out on your own. If you are starting your own coaching business, check out our resources just for you.


Guide to Starting Your Coaching Business

Guide to Making it as a Coach


(visit the webinars page, then scroll down to find the title)

Strategies and Tips for Building a Successful Coaching Business

The Business of Coaching: Overcoming the Biggest Challenges

Making it as a Coach: Strategies for Success

Resources Beyond COTBx

ICF’s Business Development Series (BDS) designed to help you build, sustain and expand a successful coaching business. Now it is available through OnDemand access!

Infusionsoft Business Success Blog


Inspiration Station

“If you don't love what you're doing with unbridled passion and enthusiasm, you're not going to succeed when you hit obstacles.” 
– Howard Schultz

In order to succeed, people need a sense of self-efficacy,
to struggle together with resilience to meet the inevitable obstacles
and inequities of life
– Albert Bandura


Education and Training Courses


Build Core Competencies


Coaching Fundamentals™

ICF Core Competency Hours: 15

Coaching is catching on. More and more people are turning to coaching because coaching produces results. The performance of individuals, teams and organizations are being transformed when coaching skills are developed, used and become part of the culture. If you are intrigued by what is happening with coaching and want to learn core coaching skills, this fundamentals class is for you.

This is a hands-on class that includes practical techniques for trust building, focused listening, evocative questioning, planning and goal setting. The course includes practice sessions that are reviewed by a professional coach who provides feedback on coaching skills and comprehension of the competencies. You will learn the skills and gain the confidence needed to use them. Click on the course name to learn more and register.

Coaching Fundamentals™ - Starts December 4

Testimonial: Coaching Fundamentals was essential to my growth as a human resources professional. I feel like I have the tools I need to have powerful conversations with the people I work with.



5/5/5 Coaching Skills Training Program™

ICF Core Competency Hours: 12

If your goals include starting a coaching business or using coaching to lead within an organization, you won't want to miss our 5/5/5 Coaching Skills Training Program™.

During this course participants learn advanced questioning, multidimensional listening and framing skills. Through the simple, intuitive and highly transferable 5/5/5 Coaching Skills™ framework, participants acquire tools to ask powerful questions, listen in a new way, build trust and provide productive feedback. These skills help coaches guide their coachees to new insights, discoveries and breakthroughs that will help them become self-reliant problem solvers and goal achievers. Join over 18,000 participants who have gone through this transformational program. Click on the title below to learn more and register.

5/5/5 Coaching Skills Training Program™ - Starts November 1

Testimonial: I got so much more from the 5/5/5 Coaching Skills Training Program than expected. I thought it would be more theoretical about the basics of coaching, but we delved right into the depth of the most important skills and used them together in a practical way. I gained so much confidence in a short period of time through role playing and receiving feedback from my peers. This was a very inspiring course that has given me new life skills. – Robin R.


Advance Your Skills


Advanced Coaching Skills Practicum

ICF Core Competency Hours: 12

Are you looking to enhance your coaching skills? Take your coaching to the next level? Or maybe you are looking for tools to help you with your biggest coaching challenges. If any of these apply, check out our Advanced Coaching Skills Practicum.

Participants of this program will refine their coaching skills by coaching others and hearing others coach in a virtual classroom overseen and critiqued by an ICF certified professional coach. The environment fosters real-time learning for those doing the coaching and for those observing. Participants in this course;

  • Gain confidence in their ability to coach
  • Hear a variety of styles and methods by hearing others coach
  • Get immediate feedback on their coaching and use of the core coaching skills by an ICF Certified Coach
  • Are challenged to coach at a whole new and higher level in a fun and supportive way
  • Receive coaching tips, techniques and demonstrations from an ICF Certified Coach

Click on the course title to learn more and register.

Advanced Coaching Skills Practicum - Starts January 31, 2019

Testimonial: Advanced Coaching Skills Practicum is an action-packed class where you learn coaching by coaching. The facilitator creates a unique and supportive environment where everyone's improve their coaching skills receiving constructive feedback. ACSP gives you the confidence needed to start building the coaching hours for certification. – Caroline P.


Personal Groundwork for Coaching™

ICF Core Competency Hours: 20

Are you looking to enhance your coaching skills or take your coaching to the next level? Or maybe you need to obtain CCE credits to renew your ICF credential or add to your coach specific training hours. If any of these apply, check out our Personal Groundwork for Coaching™.



In this course you will learn advanced coaching skills to help highlight and explore areas that are often at the source of where a coachee becomes stuck, self-defeating or demotivated. You will also learn how to use the accompanying Personal Groundwork for Coaching Assessment™ Workbook, a widely-used tool to help coaches move their clients past daily symptoms and into the deeper source of what is getting in their way and preventing them from reaching their goals.

This is a hands-on class. Each week you will work (outside of the classroom) with a different learning partner to coach one another around the concepts covered in the class. Click on the course name to learn more and register.

Personal Groundwork for Coaching™ - starts January 8, 2019

Testimonial: This program exceeded my expectations! I walked away with a toolbox of coaching strategies and personally made changes and grew in my own life. It was excellent. - Karen R.


Ace the ICF CKA Exam


ICF Coach Knowledge Assessment Prep Class

ICF Core Competency Hours: 9

This course is designed to prepare coaches for the ICF Coach Knowledge Assessment exam which must be successfully completed prior to receiving the International Coach Federation (ICF) ACC Credential.



The course covers ICF Core Competencies and Ethics and Standards plus test taking strategies. This prep class will present several questions each week that mimic the multiple-choice questions you will be asked to answer in the CKA exam. Click the course link below to learn more and register.

ICF CKA Prep Class – Starts November 12

Testimonial: The Coach Knowledge Assessment preparation was a powerful programme which affirmed the coaching learning I had achieved in my journey with other Coaching out of the Box programmes as well as preparing me for the ICF quiz and demystifying it. On top of this I learned a lot through the wisdom and coaching experience of the facilitator. This is so helpful for anyone aiming for ICF ACC accreditation. - Ian M.


Take the Fast Track to Your ICF Credential


Fast Track to ICF Credential

Fulfils the educational requirements for obtaining the ICF ACC credential

Develop the skills and set yourself apart by jumping on the Fast Track. Coaching is becoming more and more competitive and yet many coaches have no credential and minimal training. One of the best ways to set yourself apart is to complete the training and earn a coaching credential.

But pursuing your ICF Credential is a big step and commitment. That is why we created the Fast Track to ICF Credential - to streamline the process and make it as convenient as possible.

Benefits of the Fast Track to ICF Credential include;

 FAST TRACK: Takes only 6 months to complete (other programs may take as long as 18 months).

 ROBUST, DISTANCE-BASED LEARNING: We use cutting-edge technology to create an in-person, interactive classroom experience while you participate remotely.

 TOP-NOTCH EDUCATION AND TRAINING: You get world-class instruction from expert coaches with experience in both coaching and teaching.

 FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE: We offer day and evening classes for your convenience, and new classes start throughout the year.

 AFFORDABLE: This program is priced to fit into your budget. Save $495 US / $595 CDN when you register for the package option. Don’t need the package option? You also have the choice of taking separate modules a la carte. We even have a payment plan.

Our next program (evening classes) starts November 1. Click here to view the schedule

Testimonial: Coaching Out of the Box® gave me much more than what I expected. After the first couple sessions of FastTrack I was thinking, wow I've learned so much already and was really excited about what I would know by the end of the program. It didn't disappoint, I feel I'm a much better coach and understand coaching in a way that I never imagined I would. Excited about moving people forward with my new found understanding. - Brad W.


Become a Coaching Educator


Train the Trainer for 5/5/5 Coaching Skills Training Program™

ICF Core Competency Hours: 12

You've done the training, developed your coaching skills and now you are ready to leverage your expertise. But where do you go from here? If you want to expand your reach, add a new tool to your toolkit and a new source of revenue, this course may be just what you are looking for.



This course prepares you to become licensed to deliver the 5/5/5 Coaching Skills Training Program™. As you go through the course you will gain in-depth knowledge of advanced coaching skills and learn to use your skills in a new and expanded role.

Train the Trainer for 5/5/5 Coaching Skills Program™ – Starts February 5, 2019

Testimonial: I really enjoyed the small group training in the Train the Trainer Program. It was a safe space to get questions answered about presenting the 5/5/5 content to others. The teach backs were fun and gave everyone more confidence to get started training. – Carol H.


Coaching Resources

We offer many resources on a wide variety of topics to support coaches at all levels. On our website, you can find blog articles, educational videos, webinar recordings and more under Coaching Resources. We are continually updating this section so check back often.



To make it easier to find what you are looking for we’ve organized the most popular resources by topic. G = Guide and W = Webinar.


The Business of Coaching

Coaching Skills

Leveraging your Coaching Skills

Coaching in Healthcare

Coaching in Organizations


Did you know?

COTBx offers Immersive Coaching Skills Development Programs 
for Organizations

These programs, delivered specifically for your organization, are designed to accelerate learning and uptake. Programs are offered in on-site, virtual and blended formats. Contact us to learn more.




If you have questions about coaching, certification, courses or more, we'd love to hear from you. Click here to schedule 1:1 time with Alison Hendren, CEO and Founder, or fill out our contact form!



We would love to connect with you! Reach out to our team here or call Toll Free, 
1-888-4A-COACH (1-888-422-6224).

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