How to go pro with professional coaching – The professional coaching Journey. | Unlock Your Team's Genius

How to go pro with professional coaching – The professional coaching Journey.

By Georg Fasching | blogpost

May 02
HOW TO GO PRO WITH PROFESSIONAL COACHING - THE PROFESSIONAL COACHING JOURNEY

Hi, Georg Faching here, helping you unlock your team’s genius. In this video I’m going to cover three key things, the professional coaching journey, Professional Coach Federation as an association to support that journey, and what the accreditation might look like, so professional coaching accreditation is also covered in this video. And I thought I would start with sharing my own journey which from what I have experienced since I started that particular journey seems to be quite similar to a few people, so it might be useful to you as well.

So I thought I’d start with that. So it was in the year 2014 that I had been working with teams to help them with their development for a little while. After working for well more than 10 years in product development and product management, I made over the shift to start working with people. And at that time I had started to play around a little bit with what I knew at the time as a Socratic questioning, helping people find their own answer through questions. And I was quite curious about playing around more with that and found myself on a one-day workshop in June 2014 with Jeff Watts who became a mentor of mine. And at the time I wasn’t quite sure what the day would bring, but the demonstration in the morning was really very eye-opening for me. So Jeff started off saying he’d like to demonstrate what the day will be about by having a quick conversation and doing a demo with somebody who would like to participate. Without me noticing, my hand shot up very quickly. Luckily he picked me so I could benefit from that straightaway. And he asked me what it’s gonna be like, and he said whether that would be okay, having a different kind of conversation, asking me a few questions, but mostly listening to me working through something that is useful for me. Of course I agreed and we had that conversation. And within just a few minutes, I’m not exactly sure how long this demonstration took, sense of time went away, awareness of everybody else in the room went away as well, but I’m guessing it might have been just about 10 minutes or so, I was able to work through something that had been on my mind for a couple of weeks before that I didn’t actually on my own make a lot of progress on. And through the help of the professional coaching skills that Jeff used at the time, I was able to make significant progress just in a short 10-minute conversation. So that really sealed the deal for me. It made it very very transparent how and what professional coaching can bring for me, and the rest of the day was practice and learning more about those. And following this one-day workshop I integrated those skills into my practice working with teams. And I was so inspired by learning about this that I wanted to learn more.

So some months after that, I think it might have been about nine months or so, I embraced an opportunity to do a two-day workshop with Lyssa Adkins and Cynthia Loy Darst, a Master Certified Coach. From them and through the practice with everybody else on the workshop, I was able to build further my understanding of professional coaching, get more practice, learn more skills, learn more about the structure of professional coaching conversations, and what my stance would be as a coach as well. So following that, I then also started with one-to-one coaching relationships but still on a volunteer basis, but I accumulated more and more evidence for myself that this is definitely a direction that I wanted to take my professional development, and that was also enough evidence for me to then make the jump and go on to a full master level accreditation program and training program for professional coaching. And after evaluating the options that I had, I personally went with Barefoot Coaching in the UK, but there are many great coaching schools available out there. And that is a very very in-depth education. It was 12 days of working with each other with some mentor coaching and a lot of reading and a lot of study around that. And based on that, I then started alongside my customer work where it was more about team development, organizational development, also do one-to-one coaching with leaders, and do that on a paid basis. So through that accreditation training, I was able to have the confidence to then also start alongside the work that I was familiar with, from team coaching to go one-to-one coaching and work with leaders. So following on from that, I’ve done various other courses and further accreditation and training and a lot more, lot more lot more lot more coaching practice. And I’ll get back to the accreditation pathway, but that’s what the first year or first couple of years I would say of my professional coaching journey looked like. And from what I’ve learned is quite similar to a few of the other coaches that I have met on my path since then.

So hopefully that story was quite useful. So I wanted to highlight a couple of things. So what seems to be a pattern is you might have been on a one-day workshop or have been on a training course where there was a few segments that were dedicated to professional coaching skills, and if that is of interest to you, then you might get curious to do a little bit more, find perhaps a dedicated one-day course to professional coaching or two-day course professional coaching, gain experience, do the work, and you might look for practice workshops where you can focus on a few particular professional coaching skills to practice those with peers. And after doing, going through those workshops, those training experiences or courses, you might decide, hey, actually now I know enough that I feel this is something where I would like to pursue a professional path and go pro. So in order to go pro, you might want to look at accreditation or certification of you as a professional coach, and there are a few options that you have available.

So the by far largest international organization, international member organization for professional coaching is the International Coach Federation, the ICF, sometimes referred to as the Professional Coach Federation. And the purpose of this organization is to set the standard, the gold standard as they refer to it, of professional coaching worldwide and continue to develop the field of professional coaching through various means. So there a lot of member benefits as well, there are conferences to make available inside and exchanges between fellow coaches. There are local chapters available in most countries of the world where the chapters get together locally to organize events and to help each other grow as coaches. There are communities of practice available that get together on a regular basis. They have their videos, most of them have their videos available on YouTube so you could search for those as well. If you look for International Coach Federation Community of Practice, then different communities should show up there. And the International Coach Federation of course also has a code of ethics that I fully subscribe by that sets out what a coach must and mustn’t do, and when you work with an ICF coach, what you can expect to receive in terms of delivery of service, the education, the practice, and the decorum that is also very very important.

So the International Coach Federation has tens of thousands of members, not all of them are accredited, but even by simply deciding that you want to go pro, that you want to go on a journey, you can already join as a member, enjoy the benefits, and make the declaration that you subscribe to the code of ethics as well. So the International Code Federation also sets the standards for the education and the accreditation, and ensures that the training programs that bear the signifying marks that I’ll explain in a short while, that they adhere to their standards and their requirements, and that they are fit to really meet the learning objectives that the International Coach Federation sets forth. The ICF has been around since 1995, and it’s not the only one. There is particularly in Europe, there’s another organization called the European Mentoring and Coaching Council, don’t have quite as many members, more focused on the European market, and also includes mentoring as a key skill and engagements type. I’m personally not a member of the European Mentoring and Coaching Council, the EMCC, but if that is of interest to you, feel free to research them on Google. As a member of ICF, I’m focusing in this video also on the International Coach Federation specifically. So we covered what the journey might look like of a professional coach, we covered what the Professional Coach Federation, the ICF, the International Coach Federation is and what they do, and now I wanted to spend a few minutes to talk about what the accreditation pathway looks like.

So when you decide to go pro, it doesn’t really matter where your niche of coaching may end up being. You might want to pursue life coaching and be a life coach, or you might go into executive coaching and do this for leaders, you might work in an organizational setting as an internal coach employed by an organization, or you might go independent and work on your own or work as an associate coach. And regardless of what your approach might be, if you want to go pro, then it is very beneficial to go for a professional certification or accreditation as well because there is a lot of skill involved with professional coaching, and you are demonstrating that you have acquired the skills necessary if you go for accreditation. So if you are seeking to start coaching, then the ICF is probably the strongest and most well-recognized brand that you can pursue for accreditation. So if you think about the experience for a potential coaching partner or coachee that might seek your services and might want to work with you, then being able to point them to what you have invested and what you have learned and the fact that you are an International Coach Federation accredited coach, that really bears some weight, so really demonstration that you have gone pro.

So the International Coach Federation has three different levels. When it comes to accreditation, there is the ACC, PCC, MCC. The ACC stands for Associate Certified Coach, PCC stands for Professional Certified Coach, MCC stands for Master Certified Coach. And they are three different levels. They require a specific amount of training hours that are accredited, and a specific amount of practice hour, experience hours of actually undertaking professional coaching meetings with coachees which is quite specifically pointed out what that is and what that is not. So I have been as I mentioned working as a team coach in certain environments, and the work that I did with them didn’t count. It doesn’t count. It is specifically professional coaching that counts for those experience hours that the International Coach Federation is looking for. So the first level of accreditation is the Associate Certified Coach. You need 60 training hours in order to satisfy the criteria for that, and you need 100 professional coaching hours to satisfy the criteria for the Associate Certified Coach. The next level up is the PCC, Professional Certified Coach. You need 125 training hours and 500 professional coaching hours. So that’s the level that I am currently at at the time of the video, so right now it’s early March 2018. And then Master Certified Coach is the most experienced level that the International Coach Federation has, is 200 hours of training, of accredited training, and 2,500 professional coaching hours that you need to accumulate. So quite a jump. And from another mentor of mine, what I hear it is very very in-depth also the process of getting through that accreditation, you will spend a fair amount of time to really demonstrate that you have completely absorbed the coaching mindset that is required from a master level coach. So in order to satisfy the training hours, you have a few options if you want to consider those. So the probably easiest way where there is no doubts that you’re gonna have, that you’re going through a training course that satisfy all the criteria is one that is labeled as an ACTP accredited course. So ACTP stands for Accredited Coach Training Program. That means that this program that you’re looking at satisfies all the criteria that you might need in order to get the accreditation that you’re pursuing, and the first instance this would be the ACC. But of course if you have already done certain coaching, you might be able to go further, but you need to refer back to the first proper training that was done. So if it’s an ACTP labeled training, then you go on that and it includes everything that you need. It includes training on all the competencies, it includes the work required practice and observation and opportunities from accredited coaches, it includes the appropriate amount of mentor coaching, and so on and so forth. So everything is catered for, and if you go on to those, then you know that you have done the training course that satisfies the training criteria and the educational criteria, then all you need is the practice hours.

The second option you have is to go for an ACSTH program. ACSTH stands for Approved Coach Specific Training Hours. That is described as an a la carte type program where you might visit an educational experience that covers other things apart from professional coaching. And out of everything that they cover, there are a certain amount of hours that are confirmed by the International Coach Federation for meeting some of the ICF coaching competencies. So one of those programs may include a minimum of 30 training hours. So it could actually be that the whole program is 30 hours, and it is all relevant to coaching, and nothing else is being covered. It is just that this is a smaller training program and is one that could be perhaps more modular and gives a bit more flexibility. The thing with an ACSTH program is that in its own right, it is not sufficient from the training point of view to cover all the requirements for a credential like the ACC, but it covers the training components. So in addition to that, you also need to ensure that you receive some mentor coaching to help you with your practice of professional coaching, so that’s a minimum of 10 mentor coaching hours over a period of three months by an accredited coach of the same or higher level of the credential that you are pursuing. Also you need to provide a demo video or some evidence, a recording, with a transcription of the session with permission of the coachee of course so that the assessors at the ICF can ensure that you are meeting the required standard for the credential that you are going for. So as you can see in comparison to the ACTP, an ACSTH type program is a little bit more effort in order to put together and ensure that you have the right coverage. Also if you go for an ACSTH that only has 30 hours, then you need to go on another one that covers the remainder of the competencies so that you have the full coverage of the 60 training hours that are required by the ACC for example. So that is the second part. So it’s still quite possible.

Three key things that you need to bear in mind with such a program. And there is also another option as a third option to gather the requirements required for an accreditation, and that is the so-called portfolio option. Now that requires a fair amount of solid documentation by yourself and ensuring that you are pointing to all the learning experiences that you have covered that are supposed to meet the competencies. Ideally it should have a certification from the ICF which is CCE, Continued Coach Education hours, because they are in some way, shape, or form, in some shape or form mapped to the ICF core competencies for professional coaching. But it gets quite difficult to do that on your own, you probably want some guidance from a mentor coach in order to help do that. And it gets a little tricky to navigate if that is the route that you’re going for. It is available to you by the ICF, but because there is no core body of work that can be drawn on, and the ICF needs to be able to verify all the different types of learning experiences that they’re looking to pull in if you go down the portfolio route, but that’s quite cumbersome. So to sum up quite briefly, the easiest option if you want to go for an accreditation and wants to meet the training and mentor coaching and the proficiency requirements for the training component of the credential, then you would want to go for an ACTP, an Approved Coach Training Program. If you don’t mind a little bit of modularization and get in parallel also the mentor coaching and submit a video, both a transcribed video or a transcribed audio recording of a session with permission from the coach, then you can do the ACSTH, and the portfolio is quite cumbersome but also possible. So when it comes to these three different credential levels, the ACC, PCC, MCC, the Associate Certified Coach, Professional Certified Coach, and Master Certified Coach, at the moment they are about 10,700 plus members who hold an ACC credential, there are almost 8,000, a little bit over 7,800 Professional Certified Coaches around the globe, and there are almost 1,000 Master Certified Coaches in the International Coach Federation, and thousands and thousands of members that are not credentialed are also part of the International Coach Federation. So that is the introduction to the journey of the professional coach, including my own journey and apparently what also seems to be quite common amongst coaches for others as well. For me really the first big eyeopener was that one-day workshop that I went on, and then an almost life-changing experience was the full training program, the ACTP that I did with Barefoot Coaching where I met the founder and managing director, Kim Morgan, an absolutely wonderful Master Certified Coach, so I’m very privileged that I got to learn from her directly on the course as well, and from the other tutors there as well, phenomenal learning. So it was a life-changing experience for me.

So hopefully this video gave you a little bit more overview and insight of what going pro as a professional coach might entail, with an overview also of the International Coach Federation, what it is, where it comes from, what it does for its members, what it does for the people who leverage coaching by the members, and what’s the pathways to pursue an accreditation with the International Coach Federation. So if you have any further questions about the professional coaching journey or Professional Coach Federation or professional coaching accreditation, feel free to leave me a comment. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. If you have any other queries or requests for further videos about professional coaching, of course please also let me know in the comments.

So with that I’d like to close for today. I thank you so much for your time, your attention, and energy and your interest in professional coaching. And till the next video, I wish you all the best for the practice with your team. Thank you very much and goodbye.

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About the Author

A leadership team development specialist, International Coach Federation - Professional Certified Coach, with global product management experience since 2000, employing Agile & Lean since 2010, Georg Fasching helps digital creative agencies’ leadership teams delight their clients, fulfil their people, and improve their prosperity.

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