20 Years of Coaching Changing Everything

20 years ago today, I discovered coaching. Well, more accurately, coaching discovered me.

20 years of coaching

I was two weeks on a new job, in a new city. Somehow, I got invited to an offsite meeting for only a portion of the staff.

Our team went off to a downtown hotel. This guy began working with us to brainstorm ideas for shows. He just asked a few simple questions, and before long, we had a list of things we were going to explore.

One moment in this meeting lit a fire in me. About 45 minutes into the first session on the first morning of a three day offsite meeting, I thought: “This complete stranger is helping us see what’s possible.”

I was hooked. The person next to me just nodded absently when I said “I don’t know what that guy is doing, but this is what I’m going to spend the rest of my life doing.”

Maybe you can relate.

My coach training began a little while later, and I learned that he made coaching look easy.

But there are 4-5 things I took away from that first encounter that still influence my coaching today.

Here are some things I wrote in my journal over the next few weeks:

  • Every conversation is different when it starts with a question rather than a statement.
  • The other person can’t answer your question if you’re always talking.
  • The best questions lead to action.
  • The best actions take you somewhere you’ve never been before.
  • There is a relationship between good questions and creativity.

I walked out of that room that day not sure whether listening or questioning was more important, but I knew they both had more to offer than any statement I would make.

I hope today, whether you’re a coach or not, you will evaluate how you initiate conversations. What questions are you asking the people around you? How comfortable are you in listening to what they actually have to say? And how easy is it for you to give the other person space to answer the simple focused questions that you’re asking?

10 or 15 years later, I would I begin to say that “coaching changes everything”. That meeting room 20 years ago today convinced me, and one of the things that has been changed is my professional career. Maybe even my adult life.

What about you? Are you open to the change coaching might bring?

If you are…click here to see upcoming CoachNet courses that will begin, or sharpen, your coaching journey! Use the promo code “20years” for an anniversary 20% discount! Offer only valid until midnight (12pm Eastern) tomorrow, April 26, 2017!

**Does not apply to previous purchases.

Making Sense of Credentials for Coaches

The various terms connected to coach training cause a lot of confusion. Are you a certified coach? Do you have a certificate in coaching? And what’s the big deal about earning a coaching credential?

Credential Reminder

Which one is right for you? It depends on what you want to do with your coaching and what your training looks like. Where you decide to do your coach training also might have an impact.

But first, how about we cover some key terms. Three words get bounced around a lot: certificate, certification, and credentials. They are not inter-changeable, though they do work together in some cases.

A certificate is an official document attesting to something. For example, in coach training, certificates attest that you have finished a particular course. But, certificates make no guarantee that you’ll actually be able to DO any thing or have any specific skills after you’ve earned a certificate. CoachNet gives a certificate to everyone who completes a training course.

A certification goes a step further–referring to the fact that a person has learned to apply learning in the form of skills. Certifications confirm classroom learning with some form of review, education, assessment, or audit. The most meaningful certifications have this review conducted by an outside organization or third party.

Here’s an easy way to keep them straight: Certificates are about accomplishment, and certifications are oriented around skills. In both cases, you get a document to hang on the wall or keep in a wallet at the end.

When a coach earns a credential, they get the right to put initials after their name. In fact, I sometimes use my coaching credential like this when I refer to myself as Jonathan Reitz, PCC. Credentials attest to someone’s knowledge or authority, and usually carry professional status or membership in a professional organization, (like the International Coach Federation). Certification is usually a process that results in credentials, but also often require some mentoring by an experienced practitioner in the field where the credential is held.

The ICF process for coaching credentials is a pretty standard credential process. To earn a coaching credential, you need a combination of:
– Training hours (which the ICF calls coach specific training,
– Experience in the field as paid or volunteer coach,
– Time in a focused mentor coaching relationship with a credentialed coach, and
– The passage of an outside examination, which has two parts: a written exam on the ICF’s 11 Core Competencies and an oral exam which consists of the evaluation of recordings of your coaching.

The credential/certificate/certification world can be quite confusing, but the benefits of rigorous standards for evaluating and deploying effective coaches are worth the effort. Credentialed coaches are making a difference in the lives of their clients, and their clients know they can rely on the quality of the coaching they receive!

If you want to earn a credential or just a certificate for some specific training, CoachNet has options for you. You can explore our full credential track called cnStandard (which includes everything you’ll need to earn your associate certified coach credential) or short courses that will sharpen a particular area of your coaching. We can even help you explore what it will mean to launch your own coaching practice. Check out the options here.

Mark your calendar for a web event on Wednesday, March 30th to explore your options! You can register here.

For information about the ICF’s credential process, click here. To renew your ICF credential, visit this page.

Why Coaching is a Necessary Leadership Skill

Plenty of leadership development content is released on the Internet every day.  It’s easy to find.  Try putting “become a better leader” into Google sometime.  (Almost 75 million hits.

What’s much less common is any kind of consensus about what makes an effective leader.  A quick, non-scientific survey points to two common themes in blog posts, academic literature, and magazines:  1) personal character development and 2) a commitment to developing other people.  (This was a highly subjective survey that consisted of me looking at about 100 articles and keeping count of how many times these topics came up.) 

Coaching is Essential
Any effective leader can grow by making a high commitment to developing solid character.  One scary leadership truth is that every leader reproduces some part of him or herself in their followers. As you lead, you don’t want to reproduce the dysfunctional sides of your character, do you?  Personal character development has to be a function of effective leadership.

The second key leadership characteristic is developing other people. The leaders who lead the most effective cultures are constantly in search of opportunities to develop the people around them. Development along those lines is a key to servant leadership.  There is no more effective strategy for this kind of people development than coaching.

CoachNet’s Coach Training is a great way to work on both of these key leadership issues.  What is the current state of your coaching skills? How effective are you in developing the people around you? What vision are you pursuing that would require the development of other people? These are the kind of leadership questions that every effective leader must be able to answer. And at the center of the answers to these questions is coaching.

Coaching is a crucial leadership skill in today’s day and age, no matter what organization, not for profit or church you’re leading.

What results can you expect from embracing coaching as a leadership skill?  Here are just a few:

  • Coaching expands your reach, because the people you have developed are serving in other parts of your organization.  
  • Your influence is felt because you can fully trust that the people around you are handling challenges the way you would.
  • Coaching mobilizes your team at a very high level. There is no faster way to implement a plan then to help the members of your team see its benefits for them through their own perspective. Coaching does that.
  • The solid relationships that coaching generates raise the overall level of efficiency in your organization.
  • Team members being coached have a chance to deepen their buy in to the vision and engage more deeply into the culture of the organization.

If you want to be an effective leader, sharpening your coaching skills is an ideal way.  CoachNet’s Winter Training courses start next week.  You can start your coaching journey, sharpen your skills or specialize in a new area.

Your Coaching Options 

Let me know if you have any questions.  I’d love to see you in the training room next week!