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  • Writer's picturesallyeast

A no-blinkers approach to coaching. Seeking a wider view for new coaches Whilst there are plenty of opportunities for managers and leaders to coach colleagues in an organization, more are choosing to strike out and start their own career as a coach. They have had some basic workshops as part of the on-the-job training, and, typically without clear guidance as to when to appropriately use their coaching skills in various situations, they may have had a diverse range of results. Now that they have applied this thing called ‘coaching’ and it’s worked, some of them want to be a coach (and exit their current role). I mentioned this to Yvonne, and suddenly it evolved into a blog which I’m sharing today from a series of conversations. During these conversations we explored from our experiences what could help guide others in their thinking as they transition to become a coach. It is very clear that there is no one way to do this, and as you develop your skills, gain your credentials, it is also about bringing all your experience to coaching that’s most relevant to you as a coach. It is tempting to think when you start your new career as a coach that it’s a reset; rather it would be better to consider all the strengths you’ll be bringing from your different tangible roles and leverage where you’re coming from to make it as a new coach. Typically, as part of the new coaches’ transitions, they often reach out to coaches they know, or know of, and ask us to share our experiences to help them decide what they should do because there is a plethora of ways to become qualified. After picking a course, and as if by magic, they are now a coach, they ask the question ‘where do they go from there?’ And that, to me, is the big moment when the integrity comes in: before you decide to be a coach, you have got to think about how is coaching going to provide you with what you need, what you want and what fits with your style. Similar to the conversations I have with them, I share an outline of areas I normally coach them on, whilst sharing my experiences. Doing the groundwork for exploration The trouble is, people don't always know what they are looking for when they search for their coach training course. One way is to dip a toe in the water, sometimes with a free course. There are some that are good, some bad, and some that are great! Now that you’ve started your initial exploration, what type of coach do you want to be? I, for example, reflected that when I did my coaching certificate, I looked for a course with a certain underpinning model that I felt comfortable with. Other questions to consider:

  • What are some of the potential models you want to work with?

  • What could that look like with a recognized qualification at the end of it?

  • What kind of course might that look like?

  • What do you want from it?

  • Where do you want to take the course?

In order to get to that place, you need to do a bit of research about the course content and options in delivery methods. Some providers allow you to sit at home and take the course without any problems at all, or perhaps your preference would be in the traditional face to face and group settings, while other providers offer blended learning, incorporating both. Returning to the basic nuts and bolts conversations When you do a coaching qualification quite often it is very theoretical. Bridging the qualification, where you practice coaching within the group and you also practice setting up the coaching itself. But you don't really do the practice of how do you run your own coaching business? The starter questions to think about:

  • What is the reality of coaching itself in the market?

  • How would you fit in?

  • Would you be able to do it alongside the day job or not?

  • How would that work? In terms of hours? Money?

Assuming that you have now done the business development and organized your coaching assignments, the next set of questions you’ll need to consider might be:

  • How do you know you're going to be any good?

  • How do you know how it really works?

  • How do you know that's going to work for you?

When I reflected on how I achieved my teaching qualification, as well as the required studying and theoretical part, I had on the job practice where I had to teach in a classroom, diving in at the deep end with 30 people. It is the bridging of theory with experience in a safe setting of the qualification that helped me to be confident in my teaching skills, framed by a well-informed teaching syllabus that included both the theory and experience of what it means to be a teacher. And to me, in the current coaching qualification there's a big, big gap in the mixture of the two elements when I compare it to my teaching course. Understanding the product you are signing up to in coaching? It's really important to know at the end of the day what product you're signing up to, whatever the course is?

  • What will the course actually provide you?

  • How important is accreditation for you in your current situation and its value in the market?

At every point it’s about validating each of the outcomes on the journey to be a coach from the classroom into the marketplace. Whether you're considering starting a new career, or adding new skills to your existing tool set in your current role,

  • How much experience are you going to get from this program?

  • How do you integrate your existing experiences and educational background into coaching?

  • What's it going to cost?

  • And all of those other questions that frame the decision about what you will do?

Educating yourself as the potential coach is important in order to ensure you find the right model; that includes not just the theory you will learn, but also the actual practicalities and where it can take you. Hopefully this blog has started to get you thinking about what it is you want from your future career as a coach. Please do reach out if you’re interested in exploring more.

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