Amanda Rosewarne, CEO & Co-Founder of the Professional Development Consortium – home to the CPD Standards Certified Coach, and Coach of Excellence certifications – .gives her 3 top tips to sourcing a phenomenal professional coach.
Scour the COVID-19 coaching marketplace
With the UK well into the second month of lock-down and Government strict guidelines on self-isolation, social distancing and remote working in place, the UK workforce is experiencing radical change. COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on employers, with increasing numbers of people being furloughed.
As a consequence, furloughed employees are seeking to fill their time with online learning and coaching. Many are keen to develop their skill sets and knowledge competence, particularly when faced with uncertain employment in the future.
Hence there has never been a more opportune time to work with a certified coach and become the best version of yourself.
When scouring the COVID-19 coaching marketplace, you need to keep in mind that there has been a boom in online learning, and there is a high demand for virtual coaching. Unfortunately, as with any market, a black market has emerged with a number of sharks and cowboys selling extremely cheap courses or ‘qualifications’ that assert you can easily become a coach with very little training.
Many of these ‘train to be a coach’ courses are being promoted by non-reputable training companies, with some selling courses as cheap as £25.
These are rarely more than 3 hours long, with the promise that upon completing the course, the individual is now a professional coach and can solicit clients. Another thing to be aware of is that some of these courses are also simply primers for more expensive courses, and are actually a pushy sales presentation aiming to coax you to spend thousands on another, also second-rate coaching course.
To sell these fake courses, many promotional adverts are popping up on social media, with a so-called ‘professional coach’ promising to teach you to become a coach. They even guarantee that completing their coaching course will open the door to potential clients, and the opportunity to grow a successful coaching business.
This is a dangerous game, as when seeking a coach, it is difficult to differentiate between an expert professional coach or a self-styled coach that has undertaken very little training as they are marketed in a clever salesy way which sucks in the unsuspecting target.
Many professional coaching associations and institutes with professional member coaches and reputable communities have strict guidelines in place for coaching practice. These include:
- Enforcing coaches to utilise verified coaching client contracts
- Ensuring coaches use a robust reliable and tested coaching methodology
- Training the coach to ensure their coaching sessions do not ‘slip’ into counselling
Avoid the cowboy coach
It has never been more important to ensure that coaches have a professional certification before you become their client. Those that display and promote their professional certification, means they have had third-party verification, and successfully passed an assessment.
The Professional Development Consortium is home to the CPD Standards Office Coach Accreditations, as well as the Coach of Excellence award. These certifications not only double-check an individual’s coaching credentials but also clearly categorise the coaches by years of experience. Once an individual coach has met the comprehensive assessment criteria, they are awarded an accredited status with an official badge to use on their coaching materials and promotional communications:
- Newly qualified coaches – 0-2 years experience
- Professional status – 2-8 years experience
- Authoritative, experience coach: 8+ years of experience.
When you choose a coach and agree how you will work together, they should provide you with a coaching agreement, clear information about their fees, plus set out their expectations, and your commitments to the process.
If you do not receive this professional and practical set up at the start of the coaching process, this is a good sign that you might be engaging with a cowboy coach.
Good coaches will also have a number of testimonials or case studies on their websites and social media channels, which you should check out. If these aren’t present, then ask the coach to provide you with a previous client who you can reach out to for a reference.
A certified professional coach should have all of this information available, and be open to you asking for references. – This is why they have been certified! Make sure you carry out these checks, s that you can enter your coaching relationship with confidence and assurance.
Develop a positive-proactive mindset
Once you have chosen a certified coach and begin your coaching sessions, you need to focus your concentration and develop a positive mindset.
The psychological impact of Covid-19 with self-isolation and social distancing has been significant, with many of you feeling (sometimes unconsciously) the negative pressures of the new normal.
For the first time ever, we find ourselves in a newly uncertain world, where the news is consistently worrying and frightening. Coupled with this are the images we have never seen before – healthcare people in hazmat suits, members of the public wearing face-masks, and empty roads devoid of traffic. These images will have become embedded within your psyche, and it’s only natural to not feel 100%.
Yet, as we’ve already asserted, this is a great time to undertake some personal and professional development. In order to work successfully with a coach during the lockdown, you not only need to be assured that they are a certified professional coach, but also proactively put aside COVID-19’s negatively.
Standing on this ‘mental platform’ you need to open yourself up to a new way of working, so that you bring the very best version of yourself to the coaching sessions, and to unlock your full potential.
Remember coaches will typically avoid directly giving advice or solving problems. Instead, they will steer you to become aware of the changes you can make. Hence your positive-proactive mindset is invaluable to ensure, as a coachee, you are successful and truly change your behaviours, presence and knowledge base in the future.
A useful paper by Carter et al, back in 2014* (and is still 100% relevant in 2020) identified the barriers that crop up and hinder coaching success, these included:
Difficulties with coach and coaching relationship
- So it’s really important that once you start working with a coach that you develop a great coaching relationship together. If it feels unnatural, or you think you are not achieving what you are aiming for, then don’t be afraid to junk your coach and find another.
- When working with a coach, you need to bring your ‘best professional self’ to the sessions. This means – as hard as it may be – you need to put aside any difficult personal issues. Of course, you should share with the coach if you are facing huge personal challenges, but try not to let them interfere with your coaching experience.
Our advice is now is the time to work with a coach to undertake some personal and professional development, but you simply need to ensure you are working with a certified coach, and you will certainly sail to success!
*Reference 1: https://www.employment-studies.co.uk