Choosing a coach training school can be a long and exhausting process for many people particularly if you are one of those people who like to do a lot of research before making a buying decision. One way you can make this easier for yourself if you think about the type of school or type of learning experience that is NOT for you. Like anything really, sometimes the easiest way to work out what you want is to be really clear on what you don’t want. So with that in mind, let me tell you the five reasons why our coach training school might not be for you.
Reason No#1 – You Want a Quick Fix
Now I don’t say this with any judgement implied, some people really do want to do their coach training fast. Get in, get your training hours, get the coaching hours under your belt and graduate ASAP. Our program is not structured that way and whilst we offer flexible participation, we don’t advise our coaches to structure their programs that way either. With more than 20 years experience in learning and development one thing I know to be true is that REAL learning, DEEP learning, learning that is sustainable and still with you years later – that kind of learning only happens when the following things are in place:
A Solid Combination of Theory and Practice
Coaching is a practice based profession so it’s very difficult to get full mastery just by learning theory. To really fully master coaching you need to combine practice with theory, and you need to do it in an integrated, entwined way. So not 2 months of theory followed by 2 months of practice. That just results in the theory being disconnected from the practice. Think about teaching a child to ride a bike. You might talk about the 2 wheels and discuss when to use the front brakes and when to use the back brakes, but you wouldn’t do this for too long without getting them on the seat and pushing off for a bit. Even if they fall over, which they will the first few times, it is important to experience the front and back brakes before you discuss them again. Learning to coach is exactly the same . You need to learn the concept in THEORY, then you need to PRACTICE the concept.
Our Peer Coaching Program runs simultaneously alongside our training program and allows for an ongoing connection between practice and theory. Practicum classes also run every week giving students the opportunity to learn a skill one day and practice it the next.
Built In Reflection and Contemplation
It is very difficult to find adequate time for reflection in fast paced programs. By it’s very nature reflection requires a period of time to pass between the learning and the implementation of the learning. It is essential that this process be allowed for in the curriculum even better if it is BUILT IN.
At ICA we build it in. So students who come to our online learning environment, pick their topic or module, download and read it and then attend a teleclass and discuss it in more depth with fellow students and our coach trainers. Say for example the module is “Asking Powerful Questions” what you then might do is go away and practice asking powerful questions. In our program you can either do that with clients that you already have, you can do it with family members or friends or you can do in our Peer Coaching Program. Whichever way you choose the important thing is you can’t learn to ask powerful questions just by reading examples of powerful questions you actually need to do that – actually ask a question in a real coaching session and feel what it’s like. Did the questions work? How did it land? Was the client challenged? Would you do it differently another time? So with these questions in mind you then REFLECT on your experience and it’s then that deeper more sustainable learning takes place
Reason No #2 You Can’t Learn Unless the Curriculum is Backed up With Empirical Evidence Based Science
Okay this is a tricky one because there’s a lot of evidence based coaching research out there a lot of new work based on neuroscience and the workings of the brain that is fantastic and eminently useful. However the ICA curriculum is a curriculum of LIFE. And most students who come to ICA are not looking for an academic learning experience. In fact many of our students have one or 2 degrees, many have PHD’s, so its not like they are unused to that style of learning. But what they really want to do is learn how to coach so that they can help their current clients more or create a new career path for themselves. We don’t ask you to spend hours citing references or making sure that your ideas are new unique ideas. Instead we ask you to combine your critical thinking skills with your feelings and start on the journey of working out who you truly are as a coach. No amount of research is going to help you figure out your coaching niche, only you can do that.
Reason No#3: You Assume Quality Resources Are Limited to Hardcover Textbooks
This is a common question – where are all the textbooks? There is an assumption resources come only in hardcover text books. This is simply not true and in fact in many ways a 400 page manual can be detrimental to your learning (and alot more expensive). At ICA your learning is packaged in an online learning environment that is portable and, unlike a hardcover textbook, updated regularly.
The way we teach at ICA is often referred to by our students as learning from the inside out. With every new concept or topic we teach, take for example ‘active listening’ or ‘refraining perspectives’, we ask our coaches to first try that concept out on their own life. So go home and try to really listen actively with your kids, or try at work to reframe a perspective and see how you go. It is a very important step not to be missed because until you fully experience what active listening is or what a difference refraining perspective can make to your OWN LIFE, it is hard to apply it to the lives of your clients.
So if you are the sort of coach who wants to grab a toolbox of ready-made strategies and tricks, this is not the program for you. In our program we ask you to go deep within yourself and look critically at your life and then use this experience to develop your coaching ‘persona’.
Reason No#4 – You Like to Attach Strongly to One Belief or Philosophy
If you are the sort of person who likes to attach strongly to one set philosophy or belief, once again no judgement implied here, if you’re that sort of person then our program is not for you. We believe coaching is a new and unique profession that blends and is influenced by many other beliefs, philosophies and theories. Theories such as Neurolinguistic Programming, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Appreciative inquiry, Emotional Intelligence, Positive Psychology – just to name a few.
What we do at ICA is run a module on several of these different philosophies and schools of thought and we look at how this particular theory or philosophy has contributed coaching and we look at how you can use it in your coaching. What we don’t do is hand you a coaching model on a platter when you enroll. I can really understand the attraction of this and it does appear to be an easy path, however in our experience if you use the skills and knowledge that you already have and apply those to coaching you can come up with your own unique coaching model. This then puts you in a far more powerful position in a crowded marketplace then just using the Grow model or one of the other more well-known models.
Reason No#5 – You Absolutely Know That New Ways of Learning are Not For You.
The reason I say absolutely know rather than ‘I’m not sure about’, is because many people don’t always exactly know about the new opportunities and vehicles for learning. It’s fine to be nervous and apprehensive, but that’s very different to knowing 100% that learning via interactive teleclasses, rich community forum conversations and an online learnsite full of resources and downloadable modules is not for you. I think the other thing is that as adults we often fall back into assuming that good learning or a good program should resemble the way we were taught at school. I’m not sure why we do this since there is more than enough evidence out there that textbook learning is the most ineffective means of learning there is. You just have to google Sir Ken Robinson to see that. When you join our program you get to experience a new and different type of learning – Experiential learning. If you are looking for the traditional approach, where you sit as a student in a classroom, F2F, with a teacher and a blackboard, then our programs are not a good fit.
However if you’re the sort of person who is open to change, prepared to try new things and enjoys challenging yourself then our program is 100% for you. At ICA we put a lot of effort into your first two weeks in our program we have a support team available 24 hours a day seven days a week via e-mail and we also have a buddy system where on request we can match you with an ICA ambassador who is a graduate and coach and ex-student who can walk with you hand in hand through the online learning platform. Our training model has more in common with The Flipped Learning Model than a traditional classroom. The idea with a flipped classroom is that as adults our time is precious and we want to get straight to the heart of the matter. We know what we want to learn and we want to choose when we learn it. Our learning model allows for this, you come in and get the knowledge part of the program at your own pace on your own terms and you decide. The second part of the Flipped Learning Model is where you attend a great learning environment, in our case a teleclass (which is just like an international teleconference and discuss your learning. The theory is that the conversation in class is much more rich and valuable if students are not coming with no knowledge of the topic being discussed.
So, what to do if you are unsure?
ICA holds weekly Coaching 101 classes where you can come along and meet our faculty and get a sense of what it’s like to connect online and via teleclass. We also share three of our accredited coach training modules for you to download and keep. Many of our students come via this path.