What About Coaching Competence?
In talking with coaches, a common goal is to be highly competent and masterful in the profession. Certainly every client deserves a masterful coach, but have you ever wondered how coaching competence is actually defined?
- A skill that is distinct. Coaches who are affiliated with the International Coach Federation [ICF] use the organization’s definition of coaching as their guideline and use a set of competencies that define how a coach interacts with clients.
- Competence is a scale of growth. The scale begins with a foundational level of competence that is the basis for continual learning and development.
I remember when I finished forty hours of coach training, way back in 2004. I presumed that was all I needed and didn’t realize the course was meant to be the beginning of my competence. In my journey of completing my first 126 hours of coach training, I realized what I didn’t know! From that point, I knew there could always be a consistent polishing of my skills. When I asked Patrick Williams, author of Becoming a Professional Life Coach, what makes a masterful coach, his response was, “Mastery is a journey and not a destination.”
On the logistic side of competence, basic skills begin with three investments:
- Training from a reputable training program. Competence doesn’t develop without training from experienced coaches.
- Experiencing coaching as a client. To understand how to coach and understand the role of the client, the coach must be a client. ICF recommends that a new coach invest in a coach for 6 to 12 months! Why? This allows the new coach to experience how the coaching relationship unfolds from the client’s perspective and to learn coaching skills from an experienced and competent coach.
- Coaching skills practice. Coaching cannot be learned by just reading a book. Coach is interactive and occurs between a coach and client. Without spending time in practice, the coach will still be a beginner at the end of the program. The only way to learn how to apply coaching skills is to practice.