Research Paper By Sarah Ramcharitar
(Life Coach, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO)
In preparing this paper, I thought of the many applications that I was familiar with and how to apply the research and theory. It felt like “yada…yada…yada”!
There was instead this burning desire to address something more, something real. And so it hit me like a tonne of bricks. The more I researched and contemplated about this paper, the more I felt compelled to unveil a lie by omission committed by the ICA. Something that all students should truly be aware of. Did I get your attention yet? Well, I hope I did because I am writing a fundamental truth that I have experienced about this program.
I opted to do the Certified program – allowing me to follow the Accredited Coach Training Program pathway to attain my ACC accreditation from the International Coaching Federation. Yes, it is a truly international school that caters to the student who requires a fully flexible study schedule. Yes, it does have a very long online presence, over 20 years, etc. etc.
I was motivated and prepared myself to start this program because of the above and more as disclosed online. What I was not prepared for was that tremendous inner shift in my being. I mean truly being affected to the core to the point where you can feel, see, and experience life-changing experiences that seemed to ooze through your being and out of your pores.
And therein rests the lie by omission.
Even at the point of writing this reflective piece, I searched the ICA’s online website, not as a paying student, but as a curious browser. I found nothing that indicated that as a student in this program you MAY experience such profound changes to your being, to your thinking, to your life. There were no warnings posted, no hints are given, and no coping mechanisms were suggested.
On April 16, 2018, 2 years and 3 months ago, I was the eager student, scheduling classes, reading my modules, and generally being a diligent student. This approach waxed and waned in intensity, interest, and participation. My initial self-driven motivated timeline was 6 months – yes I know I am an overachiever – so much for that goal! Between the trials of life, the uncertainties of illness, and quite recently the total disruption of COVID, I am only now at the cusp of completing all graduating requirements. It was not until around November of 2019 did things start to gel in a way that I could not have predicted and cannot fathom still to this day.
A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions- Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
And my mind stretched and stretched because of this program. I know for certain that Sarah who started this program 2 years ago is certainly not the Sarah who sits here now. And I certainly have no intention of going back.
I attended all my theory classes. Thinking I understood it all, I ventured into the Peer Coaching and then the Mentor Coaching and then Observed Coaching.
The combination of these experiences can only be described as magical – if you let go of yourself and your ego and allow the coaching sessions to work their magic. The essence of them entailed you being a coach and you being a client. So it was an exchange of value …or so I thought. Only to realize that you received so much more.
During the theory classes, there were many discussions of trusting the process, creating a safe space, pauses, asking powerful questions, acknowledging the client, the client has all the solutions… These elements of magical fairy dust are sprinkled during the coaching sessions bringing the terms to life. You just cannot understand any of these concepts from a logical, taught/instructed perspective. These are things you must experience to learn, and the ICA design has been able to capture that remarkably well for me.
By the end of the Observed session, I truly was depleted of energy, my being just felt like it needed to rest – not only from the pace and effort. I was going through so many changes to my mindset, my underlying beliefs, my attitude – things that rocked me to the core.
Of course, this will only happen if you allow the process to work for you just as much as you want it to work for your client. I trusted the space so much that I brought real, compelling issues to the coaching sessions, from my peer coaching to the mentor coaching to the observed coaching. I was blessed enough to be paired with some marvelous peer coaches from all corners of the globe who helped me to work through so much in my life. And so, I treated all of them as though they were paid sessions for areas of my life that I needed to work on.
It was a landslide of emotional energy that propelled me to move forward in many areas of my life. So yes ICA, you committed a lie by omission. I can now see myself distinctly as pre-ICA and post-ICA. Such was the marked change in me. I did not bargain for that when I signed up for the program.
Nothing becomes real till it is experienced –John Keats
This life-changing experience has truly ramped my coaching techniques up a few notches. I now understand first-hand the immersive experience of the coaching session and the full value of trusting the process. This would not have been achieved if I did not accept it fully to work on me as well. I showed up as a client with genuine problems and as a coach with genuine care, concern, and interest. I had to show up fully for my peer clients and they showed up the same way for me! There were no dry runs. Only peer clients who needed coaching to the best of my ability and peer coaches who you knew had your best interest at heart. The truth is that I have experienced such shifts in my way of thinking and relied so much on the safe space of the coaching sessions, that I will miss the ability to just say out loud and talk through things with my peer coaches.
So, lesson learned – that to get a tremendous benefit – far and above what is promised or advertised on their website – you must be willing to immerse yourself, give of yourself to the program, and for your peers within the program.
Of course, it can be done and completed successfully – without this self-immersion – but then you will not be able to see the veil of the lie by omission. It is so cleverly hidden, the diamond in the rough that awaits you should you decide to let go of all ego and inhibitions – to allow the program to do more than give you accreditation.