Experts and researchers in the coaching industry have found professional coach training to be a key factor in a coach’s ability to proficiently facilitate the coaching process (Grant, 2008; Grant, 2007; Passmore, 2010). Likewise, the coaching literature suggests continued professional development further strengthens a coach’s competency and emotional intelligence (Grant, 2007). However, the issue many new and veteran coaches face is what constitutes quality training for optimal coaching effectiveness (Maxwell, 2009).
Furthermore, it can be challenging to identify a quality training program. There are many coach training programs that exist, making it difficult to know which one provides what you need to sufficiently develop your coaching skills. In fact, if you review social media posts on ads for coach training, some social medial followers share they have little confidence in the rigor and quality of coach training programs, or that they wasted a lot of money and time on a program that didn’t live up to its own hype.
Another issue new and veteran coaches run into is the cost of coach training and continued professional development. It can be expensive and time consuming! So, if you plan to be a professional coach for the duration of your career, you may want to consider reserving money and time towards training and professional development. But, the quality of your training can significantly impact your abilities. You do yourself and coachees a great service making effort to ensure you are qualified to deliver effective coaching.
What should you consider about yourself?
The first thing I ask a prospective coach trainee considering my coach training program is: what is your “why” in pursuing the coaching profession. Your reason to become a coach or to seek coach training is a driving factor in the type of program you undertake. In addition, your why determines the time and money you are willing to invest, and what you hope the program will do for you overall. Is your why about being respected and reputable, or for personal knowledge? Do you want to train cheaply or thoroughly? Your answers can determine the program you choose. For example, if you only want to learn a new coaching skill and you are not interested in a career as a professional coach, you may only need to complete a specialized, self-study class. However, if you seek to start your own business or have a career as an internal coach within an organization, you may want to earn a formal coaching credential.
Additionally, you want to think about how much you want to invest and how often you want to work on your development. Again, for short-term goals or for general competency building, course participation and completion may be the right path. For long-term development and continued growth or interacting with organizations, professional certification may be ideal. In addition, do you want to work with specific populations? If you do, you might consider specific credentialing or certification requirements. So, as you can see, your “why” plays a huge factor in your decision to undertake and invest in professional coach training.
Also, while there are no state requirements for coaches, most public and private institutions require professional training and certification. So, you can also consider how you will apply your coach training and for whom. For instance, if you are coaching high-school educators, the school district may require you have a coaching certification or credential by a professional coaching body (e.g., the International Coaching Federation, the International Association of Coaches, or the Board of Certified Coaches). Likewise, if you work with a government agency or corporation, you may need to meet a specific coaching criterion and education level pertaining to human behavior (e.g., BS or MS in psychology)
What should you look for in a training program?
The quality of your coach training contributes to your knowledge and experience as a coach (Grant, 2007; Passmore, 2010). When I conduct my Q&A sessions about my program, I am very transparent. I discuss with prospective coach trainees where my program is in the credentialing process, the purpose of my coach training program, and ways they can use the training after successfully completing the program. I also share some of the limitations of my program and how the Reid Ready Coach Training program differs from others. More importantly, I inform my prospective trainees that I stand by the quality and rigor of my curriculum and that I use evidenced-based practices and coaching psychology theories to support the framework of my coach training curriculum.
Based on the coaching literature and my professional experience, I recommend key aspects you can look for to identify quality coaching programs among all the choices that exist: a) is the program supported by or based on an ethics and coaching standard set by a reputable coach credentialing body (e.g., International Coaching Federation); b) what are the main learning objectives and are those objectives supported by research that sufficiently make a connection between theory and practice (Passmore, 2010; Stober, Wildflower, & Drake, 2006); c) is the program coach-specific training, or part of a broader discipline (e.g., psychology course); and d) is there continued development and support after you complete the program. If you are seeking to start your own coaching business, you may also want to identify if the program includes business development or the basics of business and branding for coaches.
To identify quality training, you can also determine what requirements the domain for which you are coaching require and if the program matches that requirement. For instance, if you are working for the government, what credential are you expected to have as a coach, or if you are working for a major corporation, what coaching credentials are important in order to work with that company. You can identify this information by conducting a job/position research on a job board (e.g., Monster, CareerBuilder, Glassdoor, Salary.com) and search for Coaching or executive coach as a title. The qualifications required is identified in the job description. You can also speak with individuals or decision makers of an entity (e.g., human resources, learning and development personnel, an internal coach within the company).
In conclusion, coach training is a particularly important aspect of being a professional coach. Even though the industry does not require formal training, studies have shown the value and necessity quality training has on a coach’s outcomes, and on a coach’s ability to expertly facilitate the coaching process. Likewise, quality training validates your knowledge, aids in you continued growth, and supports your marketability among your colleagues and clients and further solidifies coaching as a respected profession (Passmore, 2010).
Grant, A. M. (2008). Personal life coaching for coaches-in-training enhances goal attainment, insight, and learning. Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, 1(1), 54-70. DOI: 10.1080/17521880701878141
Grant, A. M. (2007). Enhancing coaching skills and emotional intelligence through training. Industrial and Commercial Training, 39(5), 257–266
Maxwell, A. (2009). The co-created boundary: negotiating the limits of coaching. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, Special (3), 82-94.
Passmore, J. (2010). A grounded theory study of the coachee experience: The implications for training and practice in coaching psychology. International Coaching Psychology Review, 5(1), 48–62.
Stober, D. R., Wildflower, L., & Drake, D. (2006). International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, 4(1), 1-8.