HomearticleSo, you are a coach…

So, you are a coach…





Many “coaches” come to The Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership to formalise their coach education, get certified or start on the path toward ICF credentials.

Yet, it's fascinating how quickly the veil lifts. By lunchtime on the first day of our Level 1 Certification in Organisational Coaching, many realise that what they've been calling coaching isn't actually coaching.

And so the process of unlearning and relearning begins.

It’s not easy to let go of a habitual way of working with your clients, including letting go of all the comfort and security of the known. And in course after course we see brave, and often very senior, people shedding their perceived notions of coaching. We absolutely take our hats off to these folks, who are willing to start from scratch with a new coaching mindset and a new way of being in their one-to-one conversations with others.

It’s not easy to let go of the emotional “pay-off” attached to giving advice, or telling stories of your experiences, or subtly guiding the conversation to where you think it needs to go. A lot of this is done in the name of coaching, and it’s not coaching.

Imagine a conversation where you are guided entirely by your coaching client, following their lead, with no agenda of your own… It may feel like the guardrails are missing and in the early days, it’s harder to see where/how you are adding value.

And yet, this is the exact kind of conversation that truly excellent coaches engender, and the results are often life-changing because your coaching client is finally getting the opportunity to fully explore what it is they want and need to do and just what’s getting in their way. If the coach’s agenda is driving the session, there’s no room for the client’s unfolding.

Yes, it’s simple. But not easy.

If you want to learn how to really coach, get in touch with us. We understand that the unlearning can be difficult and we make space for that. And you’ll be in great company; how real coaching actually works is commonly misunderstood by some very intelligent people. Those willing to learn and change become truly excellent coaches.

Mandy Geddes is IECL’s Director, Coach Education and an experienced coach.