Several people have asked me about the different types of coaching programmes available worldwide and I would like to share with my readers two important aspects of a coaching programme which potential clients should ask coaches about when interviewing them, before becoming clients. First, there is a course called Coaching Practicum which provides a coach-in-training an opportunity to join in; listen to coaching; participate in coaching as a client or as a coach and practice trial session techniques. A trial session is an interview session between the coach and the potential client to ascertain whether both parties are comfortable with each other before the client agrees to be coached. During the course, an oral exam is taken which consists of coaching a client or colleague in class and then completing a reflective learning exercise based on questions provided. This course assists with building a coach-in-training self confidence as a coach. How else will a coach-in-training understand how a client feels when being coached as well as practicing being a coach and getting positive feedback from their peers? Most coaches-in-training are very mindful about talking about their personal lives when they volunteer to be clients, but they eventually get over it, because they come to realise that these sessions are confidential and information shared stays in the sessions.
The second important course is called Supervised Coach. This is an assessment of the coach-in-training coaching skills and involves coaching a client for no less than six sessions. During each Supervised Coach session, coaches-in-training will coach for 15 minutes. Each coach-in-training is responsible for arranging for their own client to coach in the sessions or you can request that a coach-in-training in your session facilitate as your client. The sessions are usually scheduled, so that clients can enter the class at the appropriate time. Directly following the coaching session, the teleclass leader will give a few minutes of acknowledgment and feedback, and then the next session will begin. Each student receives a written feedback form via email after the session. The criteria for feedback are the ICF Coaching Competencies (This will apply if the Coaching School is affiliated to the International Coaching Federation in the USA.)
I remember going into a cold sweat just preparing for my Supervised Coach course because I had to get a “complete” in order to graduate.
I was most grateful that I was second in line to coach because it gave me an opportunity to hear what the two teleclass leaders would be looking for during the coaching sessions, and to listen to the first student who coached. I had to coach a student “client” who had her own business at home, for three sessions on “how to make time to go to the beach during the week.” I could have cried. I had spent so much time going over notes, potential questions, etc, and all that had to go out of the window. How was I going to be asking questions to someone who wanted to make time to go to the beach during the week? But, I can tell you that by the end of the three session, my “client” found a way to get to the beach. The skills that helped me were my active listening, role playing skills and my ability to ask the questions that helped her come up with the answers. In addition to its benefit in further developing one’s own coaching skills and style, Supervised Coach is an excellent course to get feedback on one’s coaching, and to observe the coaching competencies in action. Therefore, it is important to ensure that coaches have had practical training, in order to be of benefit to clients.
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Published Sunday Guardian: Sunday, September 9, 2012