Imagine a house built on the edge of a stream, with water flowing gently past, not unlike the image above...
Now add some rain.
Then add some more rain, until the stream becomes a raging torrent.
You want to be pretty darn sure that the foundations of your house are solid, or you won’t rest well at night, or ever.
My colleague’s elderly Mum lives in just such a house and she grew up next to that gentle stream. After considerable rain, the stream becomes a raging torrent.
But the house was built there for a reason; it’s a former hydro-electric power station. Her Mum, now in her eighties, still lives there and sleeps well at night - even when the water is rushing past - because she knows the house has firm foundations; in fact it was built for this very purpose.
Unfortunately, building strong foundations can seem a bit...well, dull. And how painful does it sometimes feel to go back to basics to revisit our foundations, in any discipline?
As a former yoga teacher, I enjoy an advanced yoga class, where we get to practice more challenging poses, requiring more focus, balance and knowledge, or understanding. But sometimes the schedule doesn’t work out and I find myself in a beginner or intermediate yoga class. Having been a yoga practitioner for more than 35 years, I sometimes kid myself that I “know it all” but mainly I know that I don’t, so I need to remind myself to approach the mat with a beginner’s mind, every time.
In any discipline - think martial arts, meditation, yoga or yes, coaching - there’s much to be learned from revisiting the foundational mindsets, skills and tools. These are the solid foundations on which your practice is not only built, but rests, comfortably. Without a solid foundation, the structure is flimsy and there’s no rest for anyone.
As a coach, that’s how I want to be. Solid in my foundational skills and tools so when the “flood waters” of a difficult coaching situation - or an emotional one, or a demanding one - rush at me, I’ll have the resilience of my foundations to withstand the “storm waters”.
Okay, enough with the analogies; you’re probably wondering where on earth I’m going with this?
The Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership (IECL) faculty sat down earlier this year to review our coach training for 2023 with one single goal in mind; supporting people to be confident, competent and ethical organisational coaches.
We spent a whole day “in the bunker” and scribbled on dozens of flip-charts and hundreds of post-it notes, moving aspects of our program around until we came up with what we consider to be the optimal mix to turn out the very best and most confident, competent and ethical organisational coaches possible.
That program was then submitted to the International Coaching Federation (ICF) for approval, and was accredited by ICF in August 2022 as a Level 2 Accredited Coach training program. (Our Level 1 is “nested’ within Level 2).
So what's new? In addition to IECL Level 1 and Level 2 Certifications, we've added new Level 1 and 2 Accreditations, where you truly embed your Level 1 and 2 foundations, plus mentoring and a performance evaluation at both an ACC and PCC level (which aligns to the new ICF Level 1 and Level 2 programs. Read more.
The new Level 1 Accreditation by IECL rests very firmly, and comfortably, on the foundation of our world-renowned Level 1 Organisational Coaching Certification. This is the program IECL is quite rightly (IMHO) famous for, and it’s the starting point for everyone, launching many a very successful career in coaching.
The ICF Level 1 journey at IECL - comprising Level 1 Certification, Accreditation, Mentoring and Performance Evaluation at ACC level - fits very neatly with an aspiration to attain ICF’s ACC credential, or simply to deepen your understanding, and become a world-class coach, working in the organisational coaching space.
IECL’s ICF Level 2 journey follows on from there, taking you to PCC mentoring and evaluation, when you have 500 hours of coaching logged and you’re ready to continue to develop as a coach, broadening your understanding and practice.
Yes, I hear you if you now have a sense that “the bar has been raised, again” and to be fair, it has. And that can be frustrating, especially if you were close to completing the requirements for credentialing and they are newly just out of reach (again).
However, in our experience over the last almost-24 years in this industry, every time ICF raises the bar for coaching credentialing, the “rising tide lifts all boats” (shifting slightly to another watery analogy!) Yes, getting credentialed becomes slightly more difficult but there’s a very good reason for it; in an environment that is becoming ever more complex and challenging, you’re being asked to work harder on becoming the best possible coach that you can be (rather than just getting a credential, like ticking a box). Revising your basic foundations is good for us as coaches, for the experience and results of our coaching counterparts, and for coaching as an industry in a world where the “storm waters” are getting higher.
So, it’s not about being punished or going back to “repeat” things you have learned before. Like getting back on the yoga mat in a beginner’s class, it’s about revisiting core principles, skills and tools, refining your understanding, practicing with your peers, and with a mentor, reflecting on practice, reviewing your learning goals (coaches never stop learning), and putting your ever-new learning into practice in an (endless!) cycle of learn/practice/reflect/learn…
In this evolving coaching landscape, Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership (IECL) pride ourselves on being the partner of choice for many people wanting to attain specific coaching development goals in as timely a fashion as possible, whilst ensuring their journey is underpinned by a solid foundation that will serve them - and their coaching clients - long into the future.
Whether you are an IECL alumnus already, or just flirting with the idea of learning to coach, you can set up an appointment with our genuinely friendly World Team to discuss your particular situation, at a time that suits you.
By Mandy Geddes, Director of Coach Education (IECL)