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Why study to become a qualified coach? (an observation from the point of view of a coach)

January 23, 2024
Study for a coaching qualification

Like many coaches my decision to become a coach was influenced by being coached. I was at a point in my life where I needed some direction, someone independent to listen to me and help me clarify what I was going to do next. (You could call this my first mid-life crisis).

During the second session I remember thinking ‘I could do that’, which then over the space of two weeks morphed into ‘I want to do that’, and which is now ‘I love doing that’. The ‘that’ of course, is being in the privileged position to coach an individual or team.

I knew that I wanted (and needed) a professional qualification if I was going to become a coach, and after much research, decided on the ILM Level 7 and EMCC route. There are others available. Since completing these qualifications several years ago, I haven’t looked back, and am more convinced than ever of the importance of professionalism in our industry (ref: coaching qualification blog).

If you are considering becoming a coach, the following insights I discovered along the way might help you make the decision:

1   It’s all about you!

I learned more about myself during my 12 months of coach training than in the previous 40 years. Training to become a coach has made me more self-aware, more empathetic, more emotionally intelligent and more positive …and that’s before I learned the more practical skills – better listening and asking insightful questions, for instance.

2   It’s not (just) about work

Becoming a coach will change how you interact with people in all areas of your life, not just in the workplace and not just when you are getting paid. This can have unintended consequences. When attempting to help my then teenage daughter with something for example, she retorted: “Don’t you coach me!”.

3   You’ll feel great

What a job to do. You will have the honour of being present when people learn and develop – for themselves. Sometimes you’ll witness the lightbulb moments. Sometimes the coachee will tell you they had that lightbulb moment after the fact. You’ll be working in an appreciative industry – people are thankful and people will say nice things about you. So, yes, ego does play a part. You’ll feel great about yourself.

4   But only if you look after yourself.

You should have regular supervision. Some of the subjects that you may deal with could impact you; you may feel your client’s pain / worry / doubt. You may be thinking about a session long after it has finished. You’ll need to look after yourself – physically and mentally – to best serve your clients.

5   It’s about your clients

There are many ways to serve other people, and the community at large. Volunteering, working in a caring industry, random acts of small kindnesses. I chose to coach. You will be doing work that makes a positive difference to people’s lives. Your clients will have their self-awareness raised. They will make decisions. They will overcome obstacles and play to their strengths. And then they will pass these benefits on to others by being better managers, leaders, parents and partners.

Whatever your motivations to become a coach, I hope you will find it as fulfilling and life-enhancing as I have.

The above is an observation from Shaun Durham, manager of Crisp Professional Development and Senior EIA EMCC Practitioner on what becoming a coach has meant for him.

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