Test your Coaching & Counseling Skills
© Martyn Carruthers 2009-2018


This can be a helping hand … or a helping foot!

This optional examination normally completes our individual systemic training.
Why not test yourself? (Many answers are on our website!)

Our final examinations are both Practical and Oral and can be recorded. A complete test, with assessment and feedback, takes about four hours. You can take parts of the test at different times.

Coach Mentoring . Code of Conduct

1. Practical Examination (About 60 minutes)

Certificates of attendance mean little without evidence of competence. To test your skills, your examiner will role play a client. After 30 minutes or so, your examiner will ask you about the steps you took, why you took them, what you expected, what you found and your possible next steps.

We do not expect you to solve problems in this time – we expect you to demonstrate building trust, careful listening, evaluating relationship problems, handling resistance, offering solutions, discussing consequences and judging when to refer a person to another professional.

Yes, this may be stressful – and yes, counseling may be stressful too.

2. Communication Competence (About 30 minutes)

There is no PASS mark for this skill test, as without appropriate communication skills you are unlikely to pass our oral examination. (If your English is poor, we can arrange oral examinations in many languages.) Not only your answers, also how you answer, allow us to offer you valuable feedback on your communication skills. For example:

  1. How can you build trust with clients that you do not like?
  2. How can you build trust with two partners who are in conflict?
  3. How can you explain your feelings without worsening a conflict?
  4. How can you talk to people who have goals that you do not like?
  5. How can you talk to people who have different values to your own?

Briefly describe how you might respond to clients who:

  1. verbally attack you
  2. appear to be intoxicated
  3. endlessly complain to you
  4. do not trust your experience
  5. interrupt when you are talking
  6. insult other helping professionals
  7. criticize you for not fulfilling their fantasies
  8. endlessly blame other people for their problems
  9. endlessly whine or act like resourceless children
  10. use flattery (e.g. You are the greatest therapist in the world)

If you feel unduly irritated by or attracted to a client, or if a client seems inappropriately irritated by or attracted to you, transference may be taking place. A common transference is, “You remind me of someone from my past!“. Describe three other transferences and how you would dissolve transferences in everyday conversation.

Some people may tell you what they want while shaking their heads from side to side. What might this imply? Describe other forms of incongruence and outline how you can check and dissolve incongruence during everyday conversations.

3. Oral Examination (About 60-90 minutes)

This oral examination has 32 questions, and each question has three possible marks, with an extra 4 marks for question 1.

An overall score of 80 or more is a PASS, which is required for us to refer paying clients to you (and for registration as a Systemic Coach). Let’s start.

  1. You ask a client what he or she hopes for. How might you respond to:
    1. I don’t know
    2. I want less stress
    3. I need more money
    4. I want enlightenment
    5. I want to be rich and free
    6. I want to everybody to love me
    7. I want my partner to stop smoking
    8. I want you to tell me what I should want
  2. Describe three types of relationship problems, how you would notice them and their likely consequences in people’s lives?
  3. How might you notice that a person perceives a partner as a child? As a parent?
  4. How might you help adults clarify their relationships with their parents?
  5. How might you resolve “yes-but” objections?
  6. How might you help someone resolve self-criticism?
  7. Give examples of mini-metaphors as pre-frames for resolving conflicts
  8. How might you continue coaching a client who appears to be in trance?
  9. What might you do if a client experiences an ecstatic resource state?
  10. How might you help a client stabilize an ecstatic resource state?
  11. What are some differences in the resolution of trauma and abuse?
  12. How might you find the first events of persistent unpleasant emotions?
  13. A person was recently abused and is in shock. What might you offer?
  14. A person was abused years ago yet suffers daily. What might you offer?
  15. How might you recognize a taboo relationship bond?
  16. Briefly describe three ways to dissolve a taboo relationship bond
  17. A woman describes a ‘dark hole’ inside her chest. How might you start?
  18. A man says that an angry demon possesses him. How might you start?
  19. How might you recognize and help a person resolve chronic sadness?
  20. How might you discern between identity conflict and victim identification?
  21. How might you help a person who describes low-level chronic anxiety?
  22. How might you find the basic identity of a person with complex conflict?
  23. How might you recognize a client with mentor damage?
  24. How might you avoid causing mentor damage yourself?
  25. How might you resolve a fixation (or obsession or compulsion)?
  26. How might you help an adult who wants to leave a cult-like organization?
  27. How might you coach people who say that they feel guilty about ending relationships with immature partners?
  28. How might you coach a man who says that he feels anxious when he thinks that his partner might leave him?
  29. How might you coach a couple to plan their relationship together?
  30. What might you do if both client partners become resourceless?
  31. What might you do if your client partners insult each other in your presence?
  32. A partner had an intimate affair. Both partners say that they want to stay together yet both express unpleasant emotions. What might you offer them?

On completion, we can offer you feedback about your apparent strengths and
weaknesses, and, if you wish, homework to help you improve your skills,
and to prepare for our systemic training to counsel families and teams*.

If you pass this – you deserved to pass!

Contact us to resolve your own emotions and relationship problems

Online Coaching, Counseling & Soulwork Therapy

Example of counseling families and teams
*Imagine that you repeatedly see the following behaviors during family, team or community meetings … consider how might you resolve them?

  1. A member is overly talkative
  2. A member repeatedly distracts the leader
  3. A member says, “Yes, but …” to every idea
  4. A member communicates: “I am always right
  5. A member accuses the leader, “You make us look bad
  6. Two members continually whisper while the leader is talking
  7. A member provides important information only after decisions are made
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