Only three classes left in Module 2!


I’m really enjoying the second module of Erickson College’s Art and Science of Coaching
and this week we got into a deeper discussion about Mission Statements and Vision Statements… I explain more in the video below about the difference between the two. I hope you will be as excited about creating your own vision and mission statements as I am. Happy Holidays!

Module 2 is halfway through!


I’m already halfway through Module 2 of Erickson College’s Art and Science of Coaching. This module is just flying by! I am really enjoying it, and I think I might have taken it on a weekly basis rather than the accelerated twice a week pace… though maybe I would be hungry for more if it was once a week.

In the past week, we have covered a lot of tools in time management, examining our perception of time (and how our clients view time), prioritizing tasks, visioning and mission statements and how to empower our clients to create more passion and motivation for their projects. It’s been an exciting and knowledge-packed week!

I just started module 2 in my journey to becoming a professional life coach


Tonight, I had my first class in Module 2 of Erickson College’s Art and Science of Coaching. The biggest and most important thing I learned was how to use The Wheel of Life during a session. It really helps with getting a look at whether or not your life is balanced, and it provides a VISUAL representation of where you’re at in the key areas of your life… one of the benefits of this is that you can consider what small things you could implement that will spill over into other aspects if your life.

I will be vlogging about the experience of module 2 on YouTube (and will post some of the videos below).

Here is an example of the Wheel of Life
The Wheel of Life

If you want to experience more gratitude and happiness, today’s episode is for you


Today on Synchronicity, I spoke with author, intuitive and DailyOM teacher, Sara Wiseman, about her new book, Living a Life of Gratitude. But the discussion went much deeper than just being grateful for the good things in your life. Her book takes you through your entire life process, from birth to death, and shows you how to find gratitude for your life experiences.

As a trauma and abuse survivor, I had a lot of questions around resistance to meditation and even being able to look back on life and find things to appreciate, when the idea of remembering the past is painful.

If you have had past trauma, would like to release regrets and negative beliefs, experience more gratitude, connection and an open heart, today’s episode is for you. You can find it the November 18th, 2013 episode of Synchronicity: Talk Radio for Your Mind, Body and Soul on the podcast page (just click the link).

If you find this episode helpful, inspiring or otherwise valuable, please share it with your friends and through social media. You can connect with me on Twitter @MarieBenard and

You can also receive the most influential episodes of Synchronicity history by signing up for my mailing list, on the main page of my website.

blessings and love,

Namaste 🙂

No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it – Albert Einstein


This is my review of Erickson College The Art and Science of Coaching – Module 1.

If you are interested in elevating your ability to problem solve and consciously create, you may be interested in this article. Thank you for reading.

No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it – Albert Einstein

For nearly seven years, I have volunteered as a distress line counselor and trainer at a local suicide prevention hotline. I also host a weekly talk show based on spirituality and well-being. I have interviewed many coaches and have developed many of the basic skills required for coaching… I have even been coaching shy guys on how to meet the woman of their dreams (and helped a number of men develop strong relationships with wonderful women). Yet I lacked a certain confidence in charging for my coaching services because I didn’t have any coach-specific training. That is where Erickson College came in.

So far, I have completed Module 1 of the Art and Science of Coaching and I’m happy to share my review of the school. If you are considering a career in coaching or just want to learn more about what coaching is and how it can benefit you, I hope you’ll find this article helpful.

There are a couple of ways to study with Erickson: in person or online. Erickson College offers intensive live courses that last a few days, usually over a weekend (Thursday through Sunday). I was hoping to catch the Vancouver workshop this fall but I missed it by one day! The next start date wasn’t until April, 2014, so I decided to try the online version, which is a total of 10 classes, twice a week over 5 weeks (40 hours). To be honest, I was worried that the online course wouldn’t be as good as the in-person class. I know the type of learning environment that works best for me, and I had tried to sit through long webinars in the past and found it incredibly draining… I didn’t think I would be able to focus and learn as well online. However, I didn’t want to wait more than 6 months to start my coaching training, so I jumped in and gave it a try.

I am so glad I did. I haven’t taken a live class with Erickson yet, so I can’t tell you exactly what that is like but I can tell you some of the benefits of studying online:

Their Webex portal is really good so it’s about as close to a ‘real’ classroom as you can get. There is a white board similar to a chalkboard and when it is time to do practice sessions, small groups are put into their own private ‘rooms.’ They call those ‘breakout sessions.’

Another benefit is that you have 5 weeks for the information to sink in. I love to learn in an intensive workshop, but how much of that information do you actually retain? I believe the live program is 32 hours… that is 32 hours of learning in 4 days. You get LOTS of information, but how much of it sinks in over the long term? I really enjoyed being able to think about what I had learned and practice it during the week… it keeps the momentum going over a longer period of time.

I was also really lucky that my training group was SO AWESOME. We instantly had a rapport and everyone was very supportive and friendly. During the last week of the course, my oldest friend passed away. I am so thankful I had the support of the wonderful people in my class, and I am happy to say that it was such a helpful experience that I made it to every class. I only missed one hour on the evening of my friend’s memorial service. It was really nice to know that I had a group of helpers holding space and waiting for me after I left the wake.

My teachers, Kim Leischner and Patricia Irwin, were awesome. They really know their stuff and they were very supportive and encouraging to everyone in the class. The assistant, Chris, was also very helpful. I believe anyone who completes the whole program can apply to be a training assistant, which is a great way to further your skills by helping to teach them to others.

Now you might be wondering what I learned in Module 1. First, let me go over the type of training I received. There are up to 5 modules for the Art and Science of Coaching at Erickson. After Module 5 students are certified with Erickson and receive their Erickson Certified Professional Coach (ECPC) certificate and complete an oral exam. There are a few levels of certification through the International Coaches Federation, that the 5 modules at Erickson prepares you for:

ACC – Associate Certified Coach – students must log at least 100 hours of coaching experience

PCC – Professional Certified Coach – 750 hours of coaching experience

For the Master Certified Coach (MCC) you will need to continue your education as you grow as a coach, complete 2500 hours of coaching experience and jump through some other hoops… that is down the road. The first step is ACC certification.

You can start logging your hours during module 1 and the teacher will clarify specifically what counts as a real session towards your certification (my hours as a crisis counselor, for example, do not count, even though the skills are transferable). Practice sessions in class do not count towards your certification.

It probably depends on where you live, but in Canada you don’t need a special license or training to call yourself a coach. The ICF is an internationally recognized organization of coaches that ensures their members have certain standards of training and follow their ethical guidelines. I feel this is really important because I, personally, have been ‘coached’ by people who claim to be coaches and I discovered they really had NO idea what they were doing. Not only is coaching with someone who is unqualified a waste of time and money, but it can actually be harmful, in my experience. It was VERY upsetting to be poorly coached in a way that was argumentative and advice-based (especially when the person was not qualified or experienced enough to provide advice on business, either). So if you are considering hiring a coach, making sure they are a member of the ICF will ensure they have a certain level of training and ethical boundaries, at the minimum.

If you are considering paying a company to train you in coaching, it is also a good idea to make sure they are accredited by the ICF. You don`t have to be ICF certified to coach. And there are good coaches out there who aren’t with the ICF, but if certification is important to you, so that you know you are offering a high standard of coaching to your clients, I also recommend you look closely at what LEVEL of accreditation they have with the ICF… one course I was looking at cost about $3,000 and the teacher said the course was accredited by the ICF. This is true and I am sure the training was great. However, the certification was at the Continuing Coach Education (CCE) level. In my understanding, this is specifically intended for people who are ALREADY trained as coaches and want to learn new skills to add to their practice. The CCE level is not intended to give you the core skills to be a coach if you don’t already have them, though it is great if you are already a coach and want to continue your education (like if you are working on becoming a Master Certified Coach). I believe taking a CCE level course without previous training will allow you to become a MEMBER of the ICF, which is valuable, but it will not give you any ICF CERTIFCATION. If being certified is important to you, when you are researching your school, take a look at the ICF site and see 1. If they are accredited and 2. At what LEVEL are they accredited? 3. Which course will qualify you for the level of certification you want?

Okay, if you have been wondering what I learned, your wait is over… In Module 1, I learned the basics of coaching. A lot of this was review for me, with my background in crisis counseling, but it was a good way to direct my skills into a more SOLUTION-FOCUSED mode, rather than for crisis counseling. Erickson’s coaching is very solution-focused and they operate under the belief that clients are able to come up with their own solutions through coaching (not advice-giving!), that everyone does the best they can with what knowledge and resources they have and that people make choices based on what they feel is the best available option at the time. When you are able to trust that your clients (or even your loved ones) have the wisdom to find their own solutions, it opens up a whole new conversation. Have you ever needed to get something off your chest, and the person you were telling started giving you unsolicited advice? How did that feel for you? If you’re anything like me, it likely felt incredibly frustrating and upsetting. Did you find that it opened you up to solutions and new ideas or did it make it even harder for you to think clearly? With the solution-focused model of coaching, you learn to ask really great questions that allow people the space to access their own creative solutions and problem solving abilities.

First, we were taught basic rapport-building and active listening skills, which I already had learned through my crisis counseling training (but I did learn a new slant on active listening and it is always helpful to have a bit of review). Rapport and active listening skills are two of the most important parts of being a good coach, manager, sales person or even just to be successful in social situations. These skills are great for helping your friends talk through their challenges, or for parents who want to guide their kids while providing the space to share freely.

We learned about the brain and how to help clients access the visual and creative parts of the brain. When you are able to access these areas, it can help you to rise your consciousness ABOVE the problem. I have always loved Albert Einstein’s quote, `No problem can be solved at the same level of consciousness that created it.’ And I have always agreed with this statement… But what does it really MEAN? How do you GET to a higher level of consciousness when you’re stuck in a problem? I learned a lot of ways to help my clients (and myself) accesses different levels of consciousness… not in a meditative or spiritual way, but in very practical and scientific terms. As an example, when you are focused on why something upsetting happened, it can be an endless cycle that just leaves you with more questions and feeling more and more frustrated. If, instead, you ask yourself something like, ‘what lesson is there in this circumstance or mistake?’ it opens up a whole new perspective. Or if you are stuck on a challenge, like how to make more money or how to lose weight, and you feel like you are going around in circles, try asking yourself something like, ‘What would this provide me? Why do I want to make more money? Who else will benefit if I earn another $10,000 this year? What would that be like?’ Notice the difference in how those questions feel.

The course is 40 hours long, so I obviously can’t cover everything that I learned in one article. I can tell you that I learned how to do a complete coaching session from beginning to end. I learned how to guide clients through the process of coaching, how to help them access their problem solving abilities, what a really good coaching session looks and sounds like, how it feels to coach and be coached, a few basics on building my coaching business and what kind of people can most benefit from my coaching. I was also able to practice on a few friends and the results have been wonderful. They were mostly helping me out so I could get practice, but I continue to hear feedback of how much my coaching has and continues to help them. I also had the opportunity to practice with my classmates, so I received a bunch of free coaching as well. While I plan to continue my education, I feel that Module 1 was a wonderful addition to my nearly 1,000 hours of training and experience in crisis counseling skills. I definitely feel more confident that my clients will be getting true COACHING, rather than a mishmash of other skills intended for a different type of helping model.

I will be Vlogging about my Module 2 experience beginning on November 26th, 2013 on my YouTube page (

Overall, it was a good experience and I would recommend Erickson College to anyone who is considering a coaching career or anyone who works in sales, management or human resources and wants to develop more skills to help their clients and co-workers. If you would like more information about Erickson, you can visit If you would like to schedule a complimentary coaching session to see if my style of coaching is a good match for you, please email me at spiritualshow at with the subject line: COACHING.

Thank you for reading and if you found value in this article, please share it with your friends on Twitter and Facebook!

Here are links to some recent interviews on my radio show with some of the teachers from Erickson:

Richard Hyams – teacher and coaching mentor

One of my teachers, Patricia Irwin, discussing her book on creativity and the mood spectrum

Erickson ICF Professional Business & Life Coach Alumni


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Marie Benard interviews Marci Shimoff from the Secret


Dennis Quaid on Ellen – silly and hilarious :)


The first time I saw this I nearly died laughing. It’s an oldie, but a goodie:)

Angel Therapy Practioner Anna Taylor Interview


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