In today’s unregulated coaching world, we’re often asked, “Why does ICF certified coach training make me a better coach?” While completing a training program isn’t necessary to start a coaching business, becoming a certified coach gives you instant credibility with potential clients. Completing an ICF certified training program means you are recognized as being part of a select group of coaches. In fact, as of 2019, just under 30,000 coaches have completed various levels of ICF credentialing.1
The most obvious advantage is that certification separates the non-trained from the professionals. But the benefits of ICF certification go beyond to include:
• Having a foundation for your coaching business based on proven core coaching competencies.
• Understanding techniques that make you client focused.
• Learning how to coach the client rather than the problem.
1. A business foundation based on proven core coaching competencies.
When researching professional coach certifications, you’ll come across the term “coaching competencies” or “core competencies.” This is in reference to the ICF core competencies. The ICF is considered the gold standard in the coaching industry, so it makes sense to ensure the credentialing program you attend is based on these competencies. They were developed by ICF to “support greater understanding about the skills and approaches used within today’s coaching profession.” They are the foundation for evaluating coaches who want to obtain their ACC, PCC or MCC credential from ICF. The good news is that ICF accredited programs such as Presland Coaching Institute offer a lifetime ICF CPC, Certified Professional Coach, credential designation.
The ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. The Core Competencies are grouped into four clusters according to those that fit together logically based on common ways of looking at the competencies in each group. The groupings and individual competencies are not weighted—they do not represent any kind of priority in that they are all core or critical for any competent coach to demonstrate.2
A certified coach partners with their client to explore various areas in the client’s life in which changes can be made to help them move forward. Ideally, the client needs to take ownership of the coaching sessions. This can only happen if they fully understand what they are gaining from the experience. When you take a certified coach training program, you can master the elements of holding a client accountable to their agenda through the following steps:
• Coming up with action steps. You will be trained on how to work with the client to develop some actionable steps.
• Allowing the client to be in charge. Training will help you to allow the client to be in charge. It is part of human nature to want to impose your solutions on someone you are trying to help, but in certified coaching the coach must take a back seat and allow the client to discover the most optimal solution for their needs.
• Maintaining focus. In any conversation, people sometimes let their minds wander. A trained coach will know how to steer the conversation to focus on the intended topic. Maintaining focus on the client’s agenda is an important coaching skill that can differentiate between a successful and unsuccessful coaching session.
2. Certified Professional Coach Training Prepares You to Coach the Client Rather than the Problem.
One of the most important fundamentals of certified coaching is that the client has all the resources they need to deal with any challenge they encounter in life. Taking appropriate training will help the coach know:
• Their client is not broken. This is an important point because it is not the job to “fix” the client. On the contrary, clients actually know what besets them, and they need their coach to help motivate them to work things out.
• They are looking for solutions, not problems. The coach’s role is not to create problems but to help find solutions. The certified coach should be concerned with how they can give the client insights that might help them move forward on their journey towards the solutions they need.
• Their clients have all needed resources. A coach must always appreciate that their clients are already empowered, and they are to work with the Holy Spirit to get the solutions they need. The coach is, therefore, a facilitator to help them realize the solutions.
• Not to make assumptions. The problem with making the assumption that your client is unable to do something will make you seem like you are trying to be clever or a know-it-all, and this will be counterproductive.
• The importance of confidence. It is important for the coach to have confidence in the coaching process. It is also important to be confident in the client. Without this confidence, the coaching process will falter.
Training will help you realize that a coach doesn’t need to be the expert, with all the answers and all the solutions at their fingertips. Asking powerful and appropriate questions is more important than having the best answers. The coach helps the client see their potential—not as they are but as they are meant to be.
3. Training Will Help You to Attend to the Client’s Learning, Being, and Action.
Another benefit for certified coach training is that it will help you to know the best way to attend to your client’s learning, being, and action. These are the most important tenets of personal growth. Without the awareness of “self” in an environment of learning and action, it wouldn’t be possible to have a meaningful conversation. But here is the challenge of learning: When you attempt to help your client without taking their characteristics into account, you are, in effect, asking the client to try to move forward without any context. Learning is only effective if the client understands the importance of acquiring knowledge.
As a certified professional coach, it is important to help your client to understand their “self” in relation who they are created to be. As the client understand who the are and their unique identity, they can recognize and even celebrate the uniqueness of others with whom they interact. This is the stage where the client defines their unique personality, values, and other personality characteristics. The coach asks powerful and insightful questions that will inspire the client to understand their “self.” Here are some examples of good questions to ask:
• What do you wish to achieve by accomplishing your goals?
• How will accomplishing your goals benefit others?
• Which characteristics you display when you are at your best?
• What do you admire most about yourself?
• What are the changes that need to be made in order to achieve your goal?
Discovery of new information (learning) is a very important facet in coaching. Learning is usually facilitated by the coach but created by the client. Learning largely depends on the context, concept, and meaning. The concept refers to the idea that the client becomes aware of what they want to accomplish. Context refers to the life of the client as it relates to information relevant to themselves and their goals. Meaning refers to the awareness the acquired information creates in the life of the client.
The purpose of the coaching process is to inspire positive action. The way to measure success is whether or not their client was inspired to take action steps. Clients seeking coaching services desire to realize an objective. The coach should work with their client in order to develop an effective action plan. For instance, defining and clarifying the client’s vision. A clear vision is like a goal except that it also has finer details, for instance, of the specific time frames. It is important to ensure that the action plans are aligned with the client’s life values.
Completing an ICF accredited training program enables the public at large to recognize your expertise. Credentialing and certification are extremely important for anyone wanting to set up a professional coaching business. Certified coach training will set you apart from the “coaching herd.”
1 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Coach_Federation#:~:text=As%20of%20December%202019%20there,Master%20Certified%20Coaches%20(MCC).
2 – https://coachfederation.org/core-competencies#:~:text=Establishes%20clear%20agreements%20and%20keeps,client%20in%20sensitive%2C%20new%20areas.