By Gordon Laird, Associate Coach & Consultant
I should get the self-confession out of the way first. Prior to starting my coaching training with Taylor Clarke 6 years ago I was a bit sceptical about the need to be qualified as an executive coach. I had coached teams and senior leaders throughout my 20+ year career in blue chip companies, and had experienced coaching training as part of leadership development programmes. I had also trained and registered as a counsellor and psychotherapist followed up by a raft of Continuous Professional Development. So, why would I need to have a coaching qualification?
To help me answer this question, I had a conversation with Wendy Robinson who leads the ILM 7 Programme at Taylor Clarke. Wendy’s experience and insight helped me appreciate the various benefits of qualifying as a coach. I signed up for the programme shortly afterwards. What have I learned and experienced that might be helpful if you are asking the same question I was 6 years ago?
There are a host of benefits in working towards and gaining a coaching qualification:
Do you need to be qualified to be a coach? Strictly speaking the answer is no, but we should ask ourselves, why wouldn’t we want to be qualified?
There are no industry regulations or requirements to be certified in order to call yourself a coach. The coaching industry is still relatively immature, having grown in popularity since the late 1980s and 90s, but is developing and professionalising rapidly.
Professional bodies, such as the Association for Coaching (AC), are continually shaping and professionalising the industry with ever growing member numbers, published professional and ethical standards, promotion of continuous professional development, and they all strongly advocate qualifications and accreditation. The AC’s Global Code of Ethics, when describing ‘Excellent Practice’, includes:
Members will have the qualifications, skills and experience appropriate to meet the needs of the client and will operate within the limits of their competence.
As a foundation stone, completing a recognised coaching qualification, like the ILM 7 programme, helps coaches to practice their craft ethically and to a standard that is effective and safe to meet our clients’ needs. It signifies professionalism.
Client Confidence and Trust
The awareness and expectations of organisations who invest in coaching has grown significantly. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the coaching market had grown, year on year, by a minimum of 7%. Even with the current public health and economic challenges, the demand for coaching hasn’t disappeared.
With that level of investment, the minimum expectation is often that coaches should have a recognised qualification. In fact, it’s something that clients are increasingly asking for, and may also ask for evidence of your ongoing commitment to continually develop your craft as a coach.
Working towards a recognised qualification is the starting point to fine tuning your craft as a coach – developing the skills, presence and relational practice that are essential to enable clients to discover their own agency.
Coach training provides sound theory and a complimentary set of skills to the years of professional and life experience and knowledge that you bring to your coaching practice.
You’ll be invited to explore the different definitions of what coaching is and, importantly, what it is not. As part of a supportive learning group, you learn key skills and the practical considerations involved in becoming an effective coach.
Whatever the context you choose to coach in, e.g., as a leader, internal coach within an organisation or an external provider, working towards a qualification sets you up to be a skilled, effective and confident coach.
Undertaking a coaching qualification, such as ILM7, has many personal growth opportunities:
Heightened awareness of communication, language, personal and professional strengths, as well as areas to develop further.
Within a supportive environment, it presents an opportunity to reflect on how we relate to others and to consider how to establish a relationship conducive to insightful coaching.
Ongoing feedback on how others experience your coaching.
Instils ongoing reflective practice which we can take forward into our ongoing work and development as coaches.
Perhaps most importantly of all, coaching qualifications, such as the ILM 7, are comprehensive and rigorous. They go beyond just skills training. As such, they offer the conditions for you to explore what kind of coach you are, what you are making available for others, and where that talent might be best placed.
At Taylor Clarke we have a depth of experience supporting coaches on their professional and personal development. The programme carries an ILM Level 7 Qualification at Certificate or Diploma level.
By Gordon Laird Taylor Clarke Associate Coach & Consultant