Coaching is an unregulated profession and anyone can call himself or herself a coach. Unfortunately, many people do just that, without any coach training, often confusing consulting and training with coaching. Although some coaches do provide training and consulting, coaching is a distinctly unique profession with its own competencies and standards of conduct.
Professional trained coaches receive training in:
- Ethical Guidelines and Professional Standards
- Establishing the Coaching Agreement
- Co-Creating the Relationship: establishing trust and intimacy with the client
- Communicating Effectively: active listening, powerful questioning, direct communication
- Facilitating Learning and Results: creating awareness, designing actions, planning and goal setting, managing progress and accountability
- Self-Management: Staying out of the client’s way
The International Coach Federation (ICF)
The ICF is the leading global independent organization that certifies coaches. The ICF has more than 21,000 members in 100 countries (2012). The ICF does not offer coach training thereby offering an independent credential for coaches wishing to align themselves with an ethical independent organization that upholds high coaching ethics.
Why it’s Important to Choose an ICF-Credentialed Coach or Graduate of an ICF Accredited Training Program
Many professions have core competencies and standards of ethics. Professional coaching is no different. When hiring an ICF-credentialed coach or graduate of an ICF Accredited Training Program you are hiring a professional coach who has agreed to uphold the ethical standards set forth by the ICF.
The ICF supports three levels of certification, each with its own rigorous standards. They are Associate Certified Coach (ACC), Professional Certified Coach (PCC), and Master Certified Coach (MCC). Presently there are over 8,000 coaches worldwide holding an ICF credential. In order to receive certification, your coach has demonstrated core competencies necessary to provide valuable coaching benefits.
Please note that all coaches listed on the Sacramento Coach Association’s website are members of the ICF, have had coach training and have agreed to abide by the ICF Code of Ethics.
How to Hire a Coach
In addition to training credentials and professional ethical standards, a good “fit” is also important. Each coach will have a different style, personality and philosophy about coaching, and you want to feel comfortable with your coach. This partnership is a profound relationship, where trust and intimacy are important. Many coaches offer complimentary coaching sessions, so ask for one to test the waters.
Prepare Yourself. Before calling a coach, take a moment to reflect on the questions below:
- What do you want to change in your life?
- What’s driving this change?
- What have you done so far to make this change happen?
- What help, support or tools do you want from a coach?
- What resources are you willing to commit to make your desired change happen?
- What’s your time frame?
- What would have to happen for you to know that the coaching was successful?
What to Ask the Prospective Coach?
- What professional coach training have you had? How long have you been coaching?
- What is your coaching philosophy? Do you have a specific process or model that you use?
- What success have you had with clients with similar situations?
- What do you expect from a client?
- Do you offer a complimentary session?
- What are your fee options, availability and time frames?
- Ask the coach to coach you on a specific issue, even if only for 10 minutes
[Kick the tires: Check out more than one prospective coach]
Reflections: Assess Your Readiness; Assess “Fit”
- Which coach did you connect with the best? Why?
- Would she/he challenge you enough?
- Which coach inspired you to take action? Did you take action already?
- Are you willing to commit the time and money to get the results you desire?
- Which coach has the best combination of skills, experience and contacts to help you accelerate your success?