There are many coaching classes out there. Before going on a full accreditation programme myself, I went on to a couple. Each of them was special in its own way. I made sure to learn from highly distinguished coaches. In this article I would like to share my experience from the Barefoot Coach Training Programme. It was an astounding experience and I wish that, should you wish to select from the coaching classes out there, your experience will be similar.
The following is an excerpt from one of my essays for my postgraduate certificate in Personal and Business Coaching. The essays title is: "Coaching in practice: The futility of perfectionism as a coach"
More than a training programme
Before the Barefoot programme I had already been working with a few volunteer coaching clients, practicing professional coaching. My skills were basic at the time and restricted to focused listening and powerful questions (Whitworth, Kimsey-House, Kimsey-House, & Sandahl, 2007). Still, according to my coaching clients I was able to be of great service to them. Yet I was left wanting more and chose to complete a full education in order to do better. Doing better is an understatement I wanted to deliver perfection in coaching through life-transforming experiences.
On day 1 of the programme I arrived in the meeting room and politely met 13 strangers; 11 other students, one tutor, and one assistant. I believe it is fair to assume that most people know the feeling of meeting strangers and spending time with them. This was the feeling I had in me in the morning.
By the end of the day we hugged each other good night. This was an amazing flip in relationship. Being able to move from strangers to something more than friends in 8 hours, got me thinking, and I’m still reminiscing on this to this day. What is it about that day that so highly accelerated the closeness and trust amongst this group? How could coaching create such meaningful relationships so quickly? (De Haan & Stewart (Translator), 2008)
One key aspect was that we, of course, learned how to coach. It was the way we did it though that stood out to me in contemplation as a key stimulant of this 8-hour speed train to something beyond friendship. We practiced with each other in groups of three; the first person coached the second, the third acting as observer, and these roles rotating twice. Through this reciprocity we all got to help each other through coaching, and also be helped by each other through coaching. We did this several times each day, including that first day. It occurred to me that this is simply a process though. While this provides a great opportunity to connect there was more to what created the outcome of the day.
In the morning we were encouraged to choose real topics to be coached on to really help us experience what coaching can do and what it will feel like to be coached. This was the other key ingredient. Certainly, everyone whom I got to work with on that first day seems to have taken this advice to heart. We all chose topics that mattered to us personally. This appears to me as the key point. We were vulnerable with each other and thus quickly related to each other on a deeper level. I shared thoughts and feelings that I haven’t share with my closest friends. This openness and connection lasted throughout the programme. Ultimately the programme was not only a solid professional developmental experience. It was also a deep personal development opportunity.
When I get to train others in coaching skills, I carry forward the tradition of practicing in this format so that all participants get to experience something similar. It hasn’t ceased to be a positive experience.
- De Haan, E., & Stewart (Translator), S. (2008). Relational Coaching: Journeys Towards Mastering One-To-One Learning. Wiley. Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5734389-relational-coaching
- Whitworth, L., Kimsey-House, H., Kimsey-House, K., & Sandahl, P. (2007). Co-Active Coaching. Nicholas Brealey Publishing. Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/825552.Co_Active_Coaching