Posts Taged international-coach-federation

Learning Coaching from a 3-Year Old

fully present

As a coach, I consciously work to stay “present” when meeting with my clients.  After all, they want my time and attention and I want to make sure that I am fully there and stay there. Like most adults, I think I am a work in progress on this.  I think there is too much going on in my life to fully commit to one person at any given time.

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to see my 3-year old grandson in action.  He is the living definition of “being present.”  Several family members and I attended a wedding in western Illinois.  My grandson was all-in on everything.

  • At a lake? Want to go swimming?
  • My uncle brought his girlfriend. Will you read to me?
  • Flight cancelled? Do we get to stay in a hotel?
  • Chicago? Let’s have deep dish pizza (He didn’t say this, but he whole-heartedly approved).

The point is that he was not concerned with being right or leaving the correct impression.  He wasn’t bothered by delayed flights or lost opportunities.  He was participating full-out.

One of the International Coaching Federation core competencies is “Coaching Presence—Ability to be fully conscious and create spontaneous relationship with the client, employing a style that is open, flexible and confident.”  They go on to describe this with phrases like dancing in the moment, going from your gut, and choosing in the moment.  That is my grandson in action.  This is also a central piece of what coaches strive to accomplish.

I think we do this when we want to have a completely open and honest dialogue with another person.  Carl Rogers describes this by saying “To be with another in this way means that for the time being you lay aside the views and values you hold for yourself in order to enter another’s world without prejudice.”

So the next time you start to get caught in your stuff, think of my grandson, the people you are with, and go dancing in the moment.

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As coaches, how can we support our clients in creating a high performance culture? How do we support them in making it sustainable? (Note While this article is intended for larger companies, the methods discussed here can work with direct sales team or start-ups.)

Develop a coaching cultureAs coaches, how can we support our clients in creating a high performance culture?  How do we support them in making it sustainable?  (Note While this article is intended for larger companies, the methods discussed here can work with direct sales team or start-ups.)

Executives who benefit from coaching want make coaching sustainable across the company.  One common solution is to hire more coaches and hope that when enough employees have been through the process it starts to catch on and become cultural.  While that sometimes works, the results are often haphazard.  The results are not systematic.  Rather, they are person-specific.  They depend on the people who have received coaching being able to be coaches without any training, time, or encouragement.

A better approach to building a coaching culture is to treat it like any other initiative. Figure out what you want, build a program to provide it, and evaluate the results along the way. The key step is deciding WHAT you want the coaching program to accomplish so that you know how to build and evaluate it.

A good place to start looking for program goals is the International Coach Federation. Every year they host an annual competition in which the “ICF honors organizations who have demonstrated that professional coaching used as a leadership strategy can pay off greatly.” Since the applicants cover fields ranging from IBM to BC Housing Canada, the ICF has developed four selection criteria that universally work.  The four criteria are:

  • Effectiveness – How has the coaching initiative been effective in achieving the intended goals and purpose?
  • Impact – How has coaching improved the culture of the organization? What are the benefits?
  • Strategic Significance – How has the initiative addressed significant issues within or for the organization? (Examples include retention, employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and team development.)
  • ROI/ROE – What are the tangible results/the proven return on investment or return on expectations for the organization as a result of the coaching initiative?

Of course, criteria like these are always easier to say than develop. When you start with the goal in mind, the job does become easier.

What other criteria come to mind to evaluate a program designed to create a coaching culture?

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The First Step to Being a Coach

Student coaches coachingI’m sure it’s a common complaint among children that they are not treated right.  I remember protesting to my mother when I was a very young boy about “You never let me ___________ .  When are you going to treat me like a _________ .” (Fill in the blanks.  I said it a lot.)  Her answer was always the same.  “When you start acting like a ______ , I’ll start treating you like a __________ .”  That’s still great advice today.  I want to give that same advice to new coaches.  They want to know how to get started.  My answer is to act like one and the rest will follow.

You don’t need to fake being a coach.  You have some idea about what you need to do:

  • Ask curious questions
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Let the client control the outcomes.
  • Listen with your whole heart
  • Ask about accountability for actions.

Nobody says that you have to do these activities well.  Just do them.  Put your heart into acting like a coach and then you will be one.  The key word is ACT.  ACT is the root word of ACTION.  DO something and the rest will follow.

I don’t just make this stuff up.  No matter how much you study coaching, train on coaching, write about coaching, or claim to be a coach, you are NOT a coach unless you actually coach.  The verb COACH is part of being a noun COACH.

The International Coach Federation has worldwide standards for the certification process.  To be an ICF Certified Coach, you must experience coaching.  The minimum amount of experience required is 100 hours.  To be a Master Coach requires 2,500 hours of documented experience.  For the ICF, learning requires doing.

The biggest challenge you face is the first step; the first little bit of acting like a coach. At Ultimate Coach University, we work to make that a positive experience from the very beginning.  You get to experience coaching at our three-day launch program.  As part of the process, you get immediate feedback from your client and from the faculty who are cheering you along.  By the time you leave your coaching launch workshop, you will have already started acting like a coach.

Are you interested in learning more about launching your coaching practice or building your company’s coaching culture?  We have Launch Workshops in Salt Lake City in March and Dallas in May.  You can read about what you get during the launch at the website or by sending an email to dana@ultimatecoachuniversity.  We’d love to unlock your coach.

 

 

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Get a Coach: The First Key to Starting Your Coaching Culture

First steps to a coaching cultureFor a decade or more, coaching has almost been seen as a perk of the executive position in large corporations.  In the past few years, interesting is growing in developing coaching as a method of interaction and development at virtually all company levels in all sizes of companies.  More and more, businesses are working to build coaching into the DNA of their culture.  The initial steps don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg, but you do have to make a commitment.  While most philosophers will tell you that the first step is the most important one, the step you choose need to be the right one.  Here is one informed suggestion.

Get a Coach.  When I say, “get a coach,” I mean get a credentialed coach or one who received their coach training through an accredited program.  You want someone who has the knowledge to interact well with you in a coaching encounter.  You want a coach who has been trained by professionals.   At a recent leadership training program, Betty (the name is to protect the innocent) approached me to have a conversation around coaching.  She said, “I tried coaching once, and it didn’t
work.”  As we continued the discussion, it became very apparent to both of us what went wrong.  Betty’s friend persuaded her to start coaching with a friend of a friend who was just beginning their coaching business.  This coach had no professional training other than “he had been to several weekend retreats where they taught coaching.”  Furthermore, he started his coaching career because a lot of “people at his old job told him that he would be good at it.”  While a step of this kind can be successful, it is more often the wrong one.

As with any buying decision, don’t take it lightly.

  • Google a phrase like “find a coach” or “hire a coach.”  Then research it like you would buying a car.
  • Go to a website of a professional organization like the International Coach Federation.  Most of them will let you search for coaches with credentials.
  • Talk to the coach before you hire.  Go with your gut.  How does this coach make you feel?

Start your coaching culture by working with a coach.  You’ll learn from the inside of the experience how it works; what you feel, think and do.  By experiencing coaching, you know how to grow the culture that fits your company.

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The Science vs. The Art of Coaching

Art and science of coachingI’ve been working with another coach recently to enrich the student experience at Ultimate Coach University. The program has two major goals for every student: (1) provide students with exposure to the collective body of knowledge around coaching and (2) provide student with the opportunity to apply that knowledge to their own coaching practice.  The alignment of these two goals provides the student with an incredibly powerful learning opportunity.  The former provides a chance to see the science of coaching and the latter provides insights into the art of coaching.   If the emphasis between the two is lopsided, then you won’t be well prepared as a coach.  The sense of balance between the art and science of coaching will let you be part of a great program or an average one.

  • The science of coaching is concerned with tools and replication.
  • The art of coaching is concerned with finding the meaning in the moment
  • Science is about finding significance and understanding the probabilities.
  • Art is about giving significance and unlimited possibilities.
  • Science lets you appreciate the chaos that you don’t understand.
  • Art lets you appreciate the regularity and predictability in nature.

A good training program tries to find that balance between art and science that lets you appreciate replication and rules while at the same time encourages you to own your coaching art.  Besides the recent work at UCU, we’ve also had some opportunities to work on the development of leadership training programs with several companies.  It’s a difficult balance to find.  When you spend money, you want to be able to point to widespread replicable results; those things that you can say prove a solid return on your investment. But if you don’t leave space for the art of leadership, you only have half a program.   An IQ based education without an EQ component leaves you unable to work with others.  And the reverse also is true; an EQ based education without an IQ component lacks substance.

We can learn science, but must experience art.  The best education gives a good blend of both.

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The Two Big Reasons for Accredited Coach Training

ACSTH_WEBAs the interest in coaching continues to grow at an accelerated pace, the number of coaching schools continues to proliferate.  Unfortunately, not all coaching schools are created equal.  When you look for a coach-training program, you should seek one that is accredited or seeking accreditation.  While accreditation is no guarantee of a quality program, it certainly increases the odds of finding a reputable program.  There are two strong reasons to look for an accredited program.

1.       Accredited coaching programs must meet standards.  ANYONE can open a coaching school.  There is no guarantee of quality to a coaching school.  On the other hand, an accredited program has to meet the standards set by a professional organization.  Ultimate Coach University offers Approved Coach Specific Training Hours, which is one level of accreditation from the International Coach Federation.  For ICF programs, the standards are pretty comprehensive:

  • The Director of Training for the coach-training program is required to meet the highest level of coaching certification (Master Certified Coach).
  • Faculty need to be credentialed, seeking a credential, or be delivering coaching for 50% of their time.
  • Classes are taught using approved methods such as live or live webinars.
  • ALL of the training material related to the courses (slides, handouts, recordings) need to be submitted as part of the application.

Put simply, there is an extra layer of security that non-accredited programs can’t offer.

2.       Programs without accreditation are trainer dependent. If you are looking at a program because of the trainers involved and you like what you see, then choose that program.  Realize, however, that you may not really be getting coach training. You will be getting that trainer’s vision of what coaching is.  Their vision may not match professional standards and may not teach you anything about the core competencies of coaching.

Ultimate Coach University has put in the time and work to receive accreditation from the ICF.  You can always check at the ICF website to see if the program is listed.  Click this link and then type in Ultimate Coach University as the training organization.  That listing is your guarantee that you will receive coach training that meets professional standards. When you graduate from the program, you can tell people that you have been trained as a coach because you have.  You will have been immersed in the International Coach Federation competencies in a program that meets their standards.

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