“I want to be a PCC coach.”  I heard my client (who is a coach, cause I coach coaches) say to me.

We did all the work that happens in coaching and set our sights to designing a specific timeline and goal and all that stuff that we do in coaching, and her assignment was to come up with some kind of structure that would help keep her focused—eye on the prize, as it were.

Part of the approach we were taking was about finding ways to “already see yourself” at that end goal.  This was a tactic that I had been exploring with other clients as well as with myself throughout my own MCC journey.

I knew I couldn’t officially call myself an MCC… yet—not in my signature or business cards or website or anywhere—but I felt it important that I find some way to indicate to others that I wasn’t just another PCC coach, but an MCC who just hadn’t gotten the hours yet.

I saw other people listing their non-coaching credentials like “LMNOP, pending approval” or “XYZ under submission” or whatever clever jargon that people use to declare they’re something that they haven’t been actually approved and validated by their reviewing organization.  However, that “fudging it” didn’t didn’t feel right.

And then it hit me.

-ben dooley PCC (but I roll like an MCC).

That way, I was clearly acknowledging I was officially a PCC coach, but what you’ll get from me is an MCC experience and MCC level coaching.

How clever.  People liked it.  I got emails and comments and “that’s so great” and all that wonderful support… until I got a call from ICF.

“You can’t have that in your signature,” they said.

“Why not?” I replied.  “I’m not saying I’m actually an MCC.”

“I know, but there have been some complains about your signature, and you can’t include that credential unless you really are one.”

“These people don’t understand,” I pleaded my case, hoping for some special dispensation to support my cause.  “I’m saying, ‘This is how I show up.  This is the bar I hold myself to.’  I would think those coaches would appreciate that I am striving to be at that level and am playing a bigger game.”  I used all the fancy coaching terms I could think of to really make my point.  (Looking back, I can completely see the frustration and objection on their end, and I probably would raise the same concerns if I saw someone posting themselves that way.)

So I went through all of my signatures and documents and cleaned it out.  Unfortunately, I had run that campaign for so long, I lost track of where it appeared (I’m still coming across, “but I roll like an MCC” and now wince a little at the audacity as I delete.)

But I was not deterred.  I knew that while my actions weren’t right, my motive was.  I knew that even if I couldn’t advertise it, I needed to continue to see myself as “already an MCC coach”.  That would keep me focused and exploring and growing.  Eye on the prize, as it were.


Let me clarify this a little bit.  We’ve all heard concepts and approaches like this.

Our results are based on our actions, and our actions are supported by our thoughts and feelings.  So with that in mind I was looking for ways to reprogramming myself to “THINK” like an MCC, FEEL like an MCC, and ACT like an MCC.”  After all, my whole professional base was BE DO, right?

I realized that first I have to BE an MCC coach, before I can DO MCC coaching, and before I can actually HAVE that status given to me.

It all made perfect sense.  I just needed to find structures that weren’t going to upset anyone along the way (which totally changes the energy and the impact of the action).

Fast forward to my conversation with my client.


She wanted to set her sights on becoming a PCC coach and was feeling that it was still far out of reach.  Yet, she was good—skilled in her coaching, articulate in her work, and full of passion and commitment to her excellence.

So when I asked her to explore how she could support already seeing herself as a PCC coach, she came up with the idea to “make” a fake PCC certificate.  By no means was it meant to sidestep the official process and begin living some strange unethical lie (on the contrary, she’s one of the most ethical coaches out there I know), but this document would be her own and post dated to inspire her to get all her hours completed by then and to address all of the other requirements and keep herself focused.

It was so simple, and I loved it.

I loved it so much I decided to do my own.  Scanning my very real and legal PCC certificate, I found a matching font and replaced the “P” with an “M” and then dated it December 15, 2010 which was three years from the day of that conversation.  Which meant I had given myself a three year timeline to make it official before it “expired”.

I had now officially declared myself in the next stage of obtaining my MCC.  I had declared it to someone else and created a reminder structure to keep myself moving.


And it worked.  I liked the idea of having it on my wall, in my office, right next to where I was coaching.  Occasionally I would glance at it while I was coaching and ask if I was doing what I thought was MCC coaching.  Often I said, no.  but sometimes I thought, yes.  And when I recognized, no, I quickly would get myself refocused.


Also, I was now truly “In the Game” and that destination of MCC was always tugging at me in the back of my head, pulling me forward, encouraging me to learn and grow and better myself in any way that I could.  And once I was “in the Game” I began to approach becoming an MCC very differently, and very deeply.

Commitment does that to you.

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