Can A Behavioral Coach Succeed? [2023 Edition]

Why do you need a behavioral coach? Why is this particular coaching niche all the rage now?

Sit back and let me explain. In this blog, we will find out all you need to know about behavioral coaching.

What Does A Behavioral Coach Do?

What does a behavioral coach do? How does that make a difference to the company baselines? In short, why should companies hire you?

As we all know, times are now tough. Global economies are still struggling. There are healthcare and financial challenges. Nobody knows how long it will take to go back to ‘normal’.

So the question is why should companies invest in a behavioral coach at a time like this?

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Let me tell you about my approach. I have always embraced challenges. They are the only things that sometimes force us to pause and think. We analyze and reassess and this process helps us grow!

This is why companies need to look inward even in challenging times such as these.

In this article we explore why leaders and organizations need to hire a behavioral coach now!

Why Should Companies Hire A Behavioral Coach?

Recently, a lot of organizations have tried to change behaviors among team members. They hope that this will improve team cultures.

This website tells you why this does not always work. I have simplified the article and mentioned some bits here. Do read the whole article for details.

Behavioral coaching refers to the actions, responses and reactions. These may be of a person, team or organization. This helps the organization to grow and make better profits. Behavioral coaching aims to help individuals increase their effectiveness and happiness. This can be at work, study and/or in a social setting.

We all know that aligned behavior helps create effective teams!

Why does behavioral coaching not work?

The article mentioned above also mentions a curious trend. Many companies claim that they use behavioral coaching because they are dealing with behavior. A closer look reveals that this is not really so. They are renaming an existing counselling model.

The “coaching” in this case is remedial. It occurs on a need basis rather than on an ongoing basis. It involves little monitoring or evaluation. It also does not account for behaviors that slip back into old patterns. Some professionals claim to practice behavioral coaching because they use personality profiling.

Behavioral coaching goes beyond false promises about change. It examines what we can and cannot change.

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Behavioral coaching also integrates research from many disciplines. These include:

  • Psychology (behavioral, clinical, social, developmental, industrial and organizational)
  • Neuroscience
  • Neuro-psychology
  • Systems theories
  • Existential philosophy
  • Education
  • Management
  • Leadership literature

Behavioral coaching model

The behavioral coaching model emphasizes the following aspects of behavior and learning:

  • Humans “learn the behavior” they exhibit
  • All behaviors have positive or negative impact on the person and those around him or her
  • Individuals are systems within systems
  • An individual’s behavior defines their current status and developmental progress

To drive change, we have to:

  • Specify the target behavior. For example, a professional skill, position, task etc
  • Measure the target behavior
  • Uncover the key emotional drivers of behavior
  • Access and assess emotional events
  • Establish the past, present and future desired mindset
  • Explore and change core values, motivation, beliefs and attitudes. These can result in significant behavioral change
  • Assess environmental events and the interactions between behavior and environment
  • Employ validated behavioral techniques
  • Provide statistical proof of beneficial change/learning acquisition and ROI
  • Employ follow-through monitoring and coachee self-coaching strategies.

Although an extensive list, you can now see why this is relevant for you as a behavioral coach!

How Does A Behavioral Coach Create Impact?

Behavioral coaching helps managers improve their client/team’s current skills. They develop committed employees who then help the organization to run better.

This is a great definition, is it not? It explains what behavioral coaches do and why they are so important in offices today.

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Cognitive behavioral coaching

As a behavioral coach, you may also want to read up more on cognitive behavioral coaching.

I will not describe the technicality in detail as that goes beyond the scope of this blog. Here is a good resource to find out more about cognitive behavioral coaching.

Cognitive behavioral coaching (CBC) is a corporate and personal coaching technique. It enables those restricted by emotional or psychological barriers from reaching their goals.

The effective principle of CBC is simple. Our thoughts about a situation affect our feelings. As we control our thoughts, we learn to control our feelings.

The tools can help with changing behaviors such as lack of motivation, and confidence. They can also help with general personal or professional skill development.

CBC also helps with leadership and in business! CBC aims to help people overcome functional weaknesses or mental obstacles at work. It differs from other coaching frameworks such as GROW. It focuses on psychological barriers and not practical knowledge, skill or strategic shortcomings. Although it is like Cognitive Behavior Therapy, there are differences. CBC focuses on the workplace and a person’s ability to perform.

CBC covers a broad range of issues. It can help resolve indecisiveness, procrastination, impatience, self-confidence and assertiveness among other qualities.

CBC in the workplace can help members struggling with certain aspects of their jobs. For example, CBC can help ‘stage-fright’ (performance anxiety).

Once the coach finds the core cause, she proposes alternative behaviors to the client. By doing this, the belief system can be rebuilt with positive beliefs. This will enable the individual to expose themselves to public speaking. Over time, the client will become used to the experience and excel at it. This will result in personal growth and she will become a more effective team member.

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In simple terms what does this mean?

A behavioral coach helps a client:

  • Identify behavioral patterns that have become barriers for future growth. The client’s self-assessment and feedback from peers/boss helps with this. A behavioral coach may use a 360-degree survey. This step is a crucial part of the coaching process. It is measurable and lays the framework for the requirements of coaching.
  • Decide on which goals define success. Goal setting is a process that requires both the coach and client to align expectations. A common barrier may be clients’ very high expectations from the coaching process. Say the client wants to double company profits by the next 6 months. This is a great starting point for identifying a goal. But it is up to you as the coach to break it down into manageable set of actions that lead up to the larger goal. Which behaviors are preventing the client from achieving the success she/he wants? What would help the client to bring about changes? How can clients change behavior patterns by taking small steps?
  • Work on an action plan. Set goals together. Then, draft an implementation plan together. Identify new behavioral patterns with your client and provide opportunities for practicing those. Set targets and hold the client accountable. It is also imperative to celebrate wins. Remember that a new action usually takes 21 days to become a habit. So help the client persevere to form new behavior patterns.

Although helping a client achieve their goals seems to the end of the coaching journey, often it is not so. As a behavioral coach you may need to be on call to support a client even after your engagement. You may need to intervene to reinforce the new patterns of behavior or for feedback.

I always treat this continuous engagement as a measure of success. It helps you to remain in touch with your ex-clients and is a good opportunity to get references to new clients.

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Does It Pay to Be a Behavioral Coach Now?

Glassdoor points out that the average annual pay for a Behavioral Coach Job in Phoenix, AZ is $39,957 a year. PayScale pegs the average hourly pay for a behavioral coach at $15.78.

This seems like an estimate of most professionals who deal with behavioral change. This website pegs the national average salary for a behavioral specialist at $45,924 per year. This boils down to about $22 per hour. A behavioral specialist attends to clients dealing with substance abuse addiction.

Now is the best time for companies to look inward and invest in employees. So, a good behavioral coach will continue to be in demand.

Traits of a Successful Behavioral Coach

There is no one solution for all problems in the coaching world. Clients are as diverse as they come. Coaches need to adapt to stay afloat. I use the swimming metaphor to help you understand how easy it is to get overwhelmed by changing tides.

There are some traits that are always in demand among coaches. As a behavioral coach, here are a few things that you need to know about your clients.

Differentiation is key

Clients have several options. Today, with coaching online, there are several options available to your client. Flexibility of time, location and money is available at the fingertips. So why should a client choose you? The most successful coaches offer something that no one else does. This is not limited to the coaching niche that you are operating in. Look around you at competitors. What makes them special?

Accountability is crucial

There are two aspects to this. Hold your client accountable to goals and deadlines. But you have a role to play too. You cannot preach accountability if you cannot practice it. What was the promise you made to the client while starting out? Have you over-promised services to win clients? This is a mistake that could make you suffer loss of client and goodwill. In the last segment of this blog, I have offered a free webinar for you to learn more about coaching. Find out how I can also help you to establish your business. This will help you avoid many such common but fatal mistakes.

Clients need objectivity

As a behavioral coach, your primary role is a supportive one. You have to free yourself from all fears and prejudice to be an effective sounding board. This is not your journey so the client’s failure or accomplishment does not rest on you. You have to believe in the client’s ability and respect her/his wishes. Begin by asking some powerful questions and let the client lead you.

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These three are not the only traits that successful coaches have. There are several other traits I have mentioned in my blogs. In my blog Top 10 Coaching Skills You Must Have as a Life Coach, I have mentioned these qualities.

These may well be a start but inculcating these traits will go a long way in helping you on your coaching journey. There are also some habits that all successful coaches follow. I have written about these in my blog 23 Success Habits Of Becoming A World Class Coach.

Books for a Behavioral Coach

There are several books written on behavioral coaching. Here are some of the titles I found online which you may find helpful.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Coaching. A Guide to Problem Solving and Personal Development by Michael Neenan, Windy Dryden
  • Cognitive Behavioral Coaching in Practice. An Evidence-Based Approach by Michael Neenan (Editor), Stephen Palmer (Goodreads Author) (Editor)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Coaching Techniques For Dummies by Helen Whitten
  • Life Coaching: A Cognitive-Behavioral Approach by Michael Neenan, Windy Dryden
  • Sports Coaching Concepts: A Framework for Coaches’ Behaviour by John Lyle
  • Cognitive Behavioral Coaching Pocketbook by Dorothy Spry
  • Understanding CBT. Discover the Secrets of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Coaching. And Enhance Your Workplace Performance by Stephen Palmer, Kasia Szymanska
  • Mission Possible. Good Dog Behaviour by Choice with Positive Canine Coaching by Sally Gutteridge
  • Rational Emotive Behavioral Coaching: Distinctive Features by Windy Dryden
  • A Practical Guide to Rational Emotive Behavioral Coaching by Windy Dryden
  • Motivational Career Counselling and Coaching. Cognitive and Behavioral Approaches by Steve Sheward, Rhena Branch
  • Cognitive Behavioral Coaching: Distinctive Features by Michael Neenan
  • Dealing with Clients’ Emotional Problems in Life Coaching. A Rational-Emotive and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (Recbt) Approach by Windy Dryden
  • When Time Is at a Premium. Cognitive-Behavioral Approaches to Single-Session Therapy and Very Brief Coaching by Windy Dryden
  • Very Brief Cognitive Behavioral Coaching by Windy Dryden
  • Cognitive Behavioral Coaching Techniques for Dummies by Judith Turner
  • Sports Coaching Concepts: A Framework for Coaches’ Behaviour by Lyle John
  • 10 Quick and Easy Cognitive Behaviour Coaching Tips That Will Change Your life! Learn how to apply cognitive change and make better choices by HELEN ASH
  • The Person Behind The Professional. Cognitive Behavioral Coaching for Today’s Workplaces by Raechel Pefanis
  • Cognitive-Emotive-Behavioral Coaching: A Flexible and Pluralistic Approach by Windy Dryden
  • Evidence-Based Coaching Volume 1. Theory, Research and Practice from the Behavioral Sciences. By Michael Cavanagh (Editor), Anthony Grant (Editor), Travis Kemp (Editor)
  • Performance Coaching for Complex Projects. Influencing Behaviour and Enabling Change by Tony, Mr Llewellyn
  • Best Behaviour. Empowering Managers and HR Leaders to Coach and Align Employee Behaviours to Supercharge Growth. By Tony Holmwood
  • Motivational Career Counselling & Coaching: Cognitive and Behavioral Approaches by Steve Sheward, Rhena Branch
  • Resilience as a Framework for Coaching: A Cognitive Behavioral Perspective by Michael Neenan
  • Performance Coaching for Complex Projects: Influencing Behaviour and Enabling Change by Tony Llewellyn
  • Dealing with Emotional Problems in Coaching. A Rational-Emotive and Cognitive-Behavioral Approach by Windy Dryden
  • How to encourage good behaviour, so you can enjoy your children. A short workbook for busy parents by Jane Rogers
  • Positive Behaviour Management in Sport by Sports coach UK

Besides this list you may also want to look up related coaching books on Goodreads. Some of the books that are relevant for you as coaches are:

  • Unlocking Potential. 7 Coaching Skills That Transform Individuals, Teams, and Organizations by Michael Simpson
  • The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier
  • Coaching Questions: A Coach’s Guide to Powerful Asking Skills by Tony Stoltzfus
  • Bowerman and the Men of Oregon. The Story of Oregon’s Legendary Coach and Nike’s Co-founder by Kenny Moore, Phil Knight
  • Coaching for Performance: GROWing Human Potential and Purpose. The Principles and Practice of Coaching and Leadership by John Whitmore
  • The Coaching Hours (How to Date a Douchebag, #4) by Sara Ney
  • The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods by Hank Haney
  • Coaching Agile Teams. A Companion for Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition. By Lyssa Adkins
  • Agile Coaching by Rachel Davies, Liz Sedley
  • The Art of Coaching: Effective Strategies for School Transformation by Elena Aguilar
  • Topgrading. How Leading Companies Win by Hiring, Coaching, and Keeping the Best People by Bradford D. Smart
  • The Coaching Mindset: 8 Ways to Think Like a Coach by Chad Hall
  • Conscious Coaching: The Art and Science of Building Buy-In by Brett Bartholomew

These are a few recommendations of books online. Do let me know which ones you read up. Are there any other interesting books you would like to add to the list?

Video Content for Behavioral Coach

As a behavioral coach you will find lots of resources online to help you. There are several YouTube videos and podcasts that you may refer to. I have chosen some podcasts and listed them below.

The top few podcasts related to behavioral change are here.

  • Some CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) podcasts you may follow in 2021 are here.
  • How do you design for behavior change? Find out here.
  • The Mindset Mentor Meets. This Podcast sees Angela meeting inspirational CEOs, business leaders and professionals.

There is also the Habit Coach podcast here.

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