Finding good coaches made easier by the ICF

It’s never been easier to find a ‘good’ coach, thanks to the work of the
International Coach Federation (ICF). If you haven’t heard about it, the
ICF is a “non-profit, individual membership organization formed by
professionals worldwide who practice business and personal coaching. It
exists to build, support and preserve the integrity of the coaching
profession, through programmes and standards, supported by the
individual membership”. It currently has 10,500 members in 80 countries
and has 145 chapters in 40 countries. So, if you’re looking for a coach,
look for one who is a member of the ICF and one who has a coaching
credential. The coaching credentials (ACC, PCC, MCC) means the coach has
had many hours of coach-specific training, large numbers of logged
coaching hours and has had their work checked and approved by several
other professional coaches, in some stringent processes. Check out
www.coachfederation.org to find the coaches near you!

Forced participation in business coaching often unsuccessful

Over the years I’ve had a few people come to me for business coaching
who didn’t want to come but were ‘forced’ to by their business or
personal partners. I never knew this until I had the person in front of
me, looking and sounding reluctant and resentful.and who could blame
them. I’ve noticed that some people don’t realise coaching is a working
partnership between the coach and the client. And like any successful
partnership, it requires both parties to be compatible, comfortable with
one another and share a desire to work together. Forced participation,
on the part of the client, is seldom successful, I’ve found. It wastes
the client’s time, energy and money and isn’t that great for the coach
either! Successful client participation is characterised by the client
really wanting to work with someone to help them enhance their
management or business practises; the client knowing specifically what
they want to work on; and most importantly of all, they’re highly
motivated to learn, try new things and do whatever is needed, to achieve
results. When all these elements come together, with a skilled coach,
the effect can be truly transformational…

Management and business coaching not a quick fix, coach warns

One particular issue that makes my heart sink, is when working with
managers or business owners grappling with a long-standing
organisational issues, I discover they think coaching will be a “quick
fix” solution. This is worrying because coaching, effective as it is,
has its limitations. In itself, it isn’t a miracle cure (how could it
be?) but it is a highly appropriate mechanism for managers and business
owners to look at what has contributed to the development and
maintenance of long standing issues (i.e. systemic management failure
over the years; weak leadership; lack of resources, whatever); and to
consider what steps could be taken over time, to rectify the situation.
The key word in resolving long-standing issues is time – quality time to
analyse situations and problem solve – and timely action then taken, to
rectify them. So, quick fix, no, never. Timely action, yes, always.

Management coaching not just for new beginners, personal management

I’ve been interested to hear over the years how “management coaching”
is, in some quarters, perceived to be beneficial for “new” managers only
and not experienced ones. I don’t agree with that notion because
managers at every level of responsibility and experience have different
needs at different times, as they go along the management path. There
are however common issues managers face at every level: having and using
effective time management techniques, for one; dealing with “difficult”
situations or personalities, for another..and, having to juggle
increasing workloads with sometimes diminishing staff levels and
resources, as a popular third. So management coaching isn’t just for the
new-bees; it’s for everyone, at every level. But what is it that stops
this happening? What is it that stops senior staff in organisations
recognising that one-on-one coaching support is highly beneficial (for
all staff) and not a once-a-year token gesture, at the generally dreaded
and often avoided performance appraisal sessions?

Coach label best avoided

I never used the word “coach” to describe what I did when I started my
business in 1992, because “coach” was used mainly in relation to sports
and opera singing and not in the world of management. And it is only in
the last few years I’ve used the coach label, because now it is more
acceptable. It’s everywhere now and fast being adopted by different
sectors. Who hasn’t seen advertisements for a financial coach (financial
planners), career coach (used to be careers guidance), property coach
(used to be investment and real estate salespeople) and food coaches
(nutritionists and dieticians)? Given the label’s popularity, my hope is
that coaching isn’t seen as a fad that’s here today and gone tomorrow.
My hope is that “management coaching”, for new through to experienced
managers, becomes the organisational norm. And I hope that there are
others out there, like me, who call themselves personal management
trainers – because I’m the only one I know who does!