The GMC Advantage

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Impact of GMC Methods


Impact of the Guiding Mindful Change methods on the lifestyle coaching skills of participants of the Mindful Coach Certification training

Prepared by Sara Corwin, PhD – University of South Carolina

Guiding Mindful Change (GMC) is a program that offers powerful tools for behavioral change and personal empowerment through a structured protocol of life coaching.  It was founded by Billie Frances, a licensed therapist, with a vision of creating a network of mindful life coaches who would positively change the lives of their clients. She founded GMC in 1993 and added personal lifestyle coaching in her practice in 1996 in San Diego, California. In 2000, she designed and implemented a training program for qualified health and wellness professionals to learn the skills of mindful coaching. Today, there are over 250 certified coaches who expand the vision of GMC by offering high quality service using tools of personal lifestyle coaching to promote mental, physical, and spiritual well-being of their clients. Mindful Coaching Trainers are highly credentialed certified mindful coaches who meet the standards of the 10 core competencies as outlined in the program protocol.
Mindfulness is a state of awareness of essential harmony within self, within all relationships and within all circumstances. Mindful Coaching begins with the following assumptions:

  • People are naturally whole and resourceful
  • Balance is essential for fulfillment
  • Clients are their own authority for change
  • Change is promoted with mindful guidance, support, and partnership

Life coaching is an effective, personalized relationship to support participants to take action toward their personal and professional desires and goals. Highly skilled coaches facilitate clients to learn, practice and embody a sustainable approach that empowers them in setting goals, identifying problems, exploring options, formulating strategies or action plans to achieve the set goals, and account for the results both in personal as well as in professional setting.

GMC is a ten-week training program with 46 total hours of direct training streamlined for professionals to build on skills. The key elements of the training include:

  • Two on-site experiential weekend intensives to begin and complete the training
  • Eight weekly two-hour teleseminars
  • Eight hours of direct coaching including working with four practice clients
  • Seven hours of peer coaching including providing and receiving weekly coaching to and from other peer coaches
  • One hour personal coaching with the trainer and one-hour weekly homework
  • Comprehensive manual including worksheets, tools, and strategies

Mindful Coaching skills include instructions on how to employ methodologies and tools of personal lifestyle coaching in order to promote mental, physical, and spiritual well-being using:

  • Mindfulness Theory — focus on others’ strengths, facilitate ownership and refrain from imposing one’s own agenda when coaching
  • Coaching Skills — learn and practice accountability, acknowledgment, mindful listening, powerful questions, inquiry, requests, clarification, and commitment coaching
  • Training in Ethical Considerations including informed consent, dual relationships, how to determine when coaching is counter-indicated, the use of referrals, duty to warn and report unanticipated events, and coach-client confidentiality

The primary goal of this paper is to investigate the impact of the GMC on lifestyle coaching skills of the participants at the end of the program. It was hypothesized that the participants of GMC would demonstrate significant improvements in the lifestyle skills at the end of the program. The effectiveness of the program was evaluated using a single group pre­- and post-test non-experimental design.
Evaluation Design:         NR       01        X         02


Each participant completed a pencil-paper survey of transferable skills at the beginning of the program (pre-test) and at the end of 3 months i.e. after completing the program (post-test). The transferable skills survey was a 26-items scale measuring the lifestyle skills of the respondents. It included 5 subscales: 1) interpersonal skills, 2) communication skills, 3) problem solving skills, 4) persuasive skills, and 5) administrative skills. The response format was a five-point Likert type scale ranging from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest). The scores on each item included in a particular subscale were summed to obtain overall scores for each subscale which was treated as a dependent variable. The interpersonal subscale included 4 items and the possible scores ranged from 4 to 20; the communication skills included 5 items with possible score range of 5 to 25; the problem solving skills included 9 items with possible score range from 9 to 45; the persuasive skills included 5 items with possible score range of 5 to 25; and the administrative skills included 3 items with possible score range of 3 to 15. The validity and internal consistency reliability of the scale were not established.

Pre- and post-test data obtained from 85 participants were entered in an excel spreadsheet. The missing values were coded as “.”.

Sample included 85 participants from 16 states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhodes Island, Texas, and Wisconsin). Nearly 90 percent of participants were females. Out of 85 participants only 37 participants provided their age. Age ranged from 31 years to 61 years with mean age of 49.51 years (standard deviation=8.61). Data for educational and employment level were missing for 24 participants and 14 participants respectively. Among those who had data for education, more than half had education of at least master’s level. Employment varied widely ranging from health care, education to coaching, social work, and business. Table 1 provides the descriptive statistics for the sample.


The data were analyzed using SAS to obtain descriptive statistics including frequency, mean and standard deviation for each dependent variable (each subscale) at the pre-test and the post-test. The research hypothesis was examined using Univariate analysis (t-test) for each type of skill. In addition, exploratory factor analysis was performed on the survey to obtain internal consistency reliability coefficients for each subscale and also to help assessing the validity of the instrument. All the analyses were performed at 95% significance level with a = 0.05. For the exploratory factor analysis, 0.3 was considered as the acceptable level for factor loadings.


As indicated in Table 1, the mean scores for interpersonal skills, communication skills,
problem solving skills, persuasive skills, and administrative skills at the pre-test were 15.95 (standard deviation SD = 2.78), 17.93 (SD = 3.67), 29.55(SD = 5.85), 15.84 (SD =  4.33), and
9.94 (SD = 3.54) respectively and at the post-test were 18.24 (SD = 1.81), 20.29 (SD = 3.25),
36.42 (SD =  5.27), 20.20 (SD = 3.07), and 10.89 (SD = 2.80).

The results indicated that the program participation significantly improved all five types of lifestyle skills: interpersonal skills (p < 0.0001), communication skills (p <0.0001), problem solving skills (p < 0.0001), persuasive skills (p <0.0001), and administrative skills (p = 0.01) at the end of the program. The results of t-tests are shown in Table 1. The tests for normality for the pre- and post-test differences showed normal distributions.

The exploratory factor analysis on the instrument using a 5-factor model did not give a simple and interpretable structure. Some items (e.g. item # 8, 18, 22) loaded nearly equally on more than one factors. The internal consistency reliability coefficient for the interpersonal skills subscale was 0.59, for communication skills was 0.81, for problem solving skills was 0.84, for persuasive skills was 0.86, and for administrative skills was 0.85. The results of factor analysis are shown in Table 2.
Since the exploratory factor analysis did not give a simple and interpretable structure with 5-factor model, we ran additional factor analyses using 3-factor model and 2-factor model. The 3-factor model provided a simple structure with high factor loadings on one factor and low on the remaining. Using the 3 factor model, items 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, and 26 loaded high on the 1st factor, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 15 loaded high on the 2nd factor, and items 2, 7, 9, 10, 11, and 12 loaded high on 3rd factor with Cronbach’s alphas of 0.90, 0.81, and 0.78 respectively.
Table 1:  Means and Standard Deviations at Pre-test and Post-test and the results of T-tests (N = 85)


Univariate Analysis
Mean SD Range Mean SD Range t-statistic p-value
15.95 2.78 8-20 18.24 1.81 12-20 7.32 <0.0001
Communication skills 17.93 3.67 9-25 20.29 3.26 10-25 5.98 <0.0001
Problem solving skills 29.55 5.85 13-42 36.42 5.27 23 — 45 9.84 <0.0001
Persuasive skills 15.84 4.33 5-25 20.20 3.07 13-25 8.48 <0.0001
Administrative skills* 9.94 3.54 3-15 10.89 2.80 3-15 2.58 0.01


All analyses performed at 95%significance level (a = 0.05)

  • N = 84 at the post-test

SD – Standard Deviation

Interpersonal skills = sum of scores on item # 1 to item # 4

Communication skills = sum of scores on item # 5 to item # 9

Problem solving skills = sum of scores on item # 10 to item # 18

Persuasive skills = sum of scores on item # 19 to item # 23

Administrative skills = sum of scores on item # 24 to item # 26

Table 1. Demographic description of Guiding Mindful Change™ coaching training
               participants (n = 85)*




Age (Mean = 49.51 +/- 8.61)
     30-40 years



     41-50 years



     51-60 years



     61> years













    Some college



    Bachelor’s degree



    Master’s degree



    Doctoral degree








    Health Care












    Information Technology






    Social Work



    Other **








* f varies due to missing responses
** Other includes:  Self-employed, consultant, leadership trainer, speaker, author, artist, musician and retired.

Coaches Eligibility and Training

Skilled, compassionate, resourceful professionals who are already working with people to enhance their well-being are eligible to apply to become Certified Mindful coaches. This includes professionals with master level degrees, licenses or certifications in education, counseling, nursing, human resources or related fields.

GMC Wellness coaches complete a rigorous two-tiered training process:

* Mindful Coach Certification is a comprehensive course on coaching techniques that promote mental, physical and spiritual well-being. This accelerated instruction, which occurs during a three-month period, includes:

o 32 hours classroom instruction
o 18 hours telecourse instruction & discussion
o 6 hours peer coaching session
o 8 hours directly coaching 4 practice clients
o Comprehensive manual includes a foundational packet, worksheets, and tools

* Certified Mindful Coaches who have demonstrated excellence through  continued coaching experiences are eligible to apply to enter the GMC Employee Wellness Coaching training program. This training program includes:

o The philosophies, scope, distinct guidelines of wellness coaching, administering pre-test and post-test assessments, ethical considerations, confidentiality, and client contact protocol
o 6-8 hours of telecourse instruction & discussion