Thursday, April 21, 2011

Professional Coaching is Evolving

That I know.  That's all that I know about it.

My work as a coach must also evolve and become more future oriented. If I am to work another 10 years or so (that would be amazing at my age), I want to stay on the leading edge of my profession. It is one thing to say 'leading edge' but another to figure out where that edge is, or begins, or ends. I'm not an eagle who can fly off that edge so I must be my human self and remain conscious and vigilant, yet willing to venture forth.

   Where does that venturing want to go?

I will never forget when Indiana Jones stepped off that cliff and found a bridge magically under his feet. An action like that takes a high degree of faith ... the faith of the future. It's always important to bear in mind that when we talk about the future we talk about what has not yet happened. It takes an "every moment" kind of faith and trust to live into it.

When making one's living doing this or that, the times we live in dictate we pay attention to what we do, want to do, wish we could do in order to pay our way on this earth.

       To what shall I pay attention, given the magnitude of the possibilities?

The other day I was acknowledged as being rather pragmatic. I normally don't think of myself that way but it's a good approach and helpful at the least. I've always known myself as an idea machine fully occupied by the future. Yet if one thinks about that for a moment, what I do for a living requires that I stay "in the moment" with each client. I must imagine that I learned to do that, because that’s what I do.

I am going to venture forth and start with this question:

       Am I just making a living or am I making a difference?

As I inquire into this question I’m struck immediately by “maybe I make a difference” but really, is there any evidence that I do?

The word ‘pragmatic’ comes forward when I ask about “just making a living” as if it were a bad thing. It’s not!! I must make a living; it’s my responsibility to do so.

How I language myself is rather important, don’t you think? The word ‘just’ is pejorative and not helpful. What do I mean “just make a living?” Hey, I’m proud that I do. And if I preen and strut as if I know I make a difference, I’m not making a difference with anyone. All I could say to you or myself if I did that would be: “I am full of myself.” Yikes!

Here’s how I intend to investigate ideas and questions about the future of coaching. I will first address how I speak of my profession, the people who practice it and its potential for the future. I will hold myself as a learner on the road to mastery.

I’ll let George Leonard (Mastery) set my path all the while reminding me that the “plateau” is where we spend just about all of our lives.

“Practice, the path of mastery, exists only in the present. You can see it, hear it, smell it, feel it. To love the plateau is to love the eternal now, to enjoy the inevitable spurts of progress and the fruits of accomplishment, then serenely to accept the new plateau that waits just beyond them. To love the plateau is to love what is most essential and enduring in your life.”

Friday, April 15, 2011

Noticing My Assumptions About Exams

Usually, I write in Word, edit and think about my blog posts.  I'll try something different today.  I'll compose straight on my blog post.  Sometimes that results in stream-of-consciousness thinking,  Well, okay.

Thank you to those of you who follow my blog.  I pretty much write what I think and experience in the world of professional coaching.  I've always been sort of an iconoclast (breaking down traditions) ...not so much that I get in big trouble, but often enough to limit my "fan club membership."  LOL

I've been an assessor on a whole lot of exams over the past few months.  After eight years of exams I'm noticing something that I assumed over the years:  the number of client coaching hours is important to the quality of coaching. 

Here's the deal.  Recently I assessed some ACC exams (you know, 100+ client coaching hours, 60+ hours of training).  Okay.  Well, one scored well into the MCC range (you  know, 2,500 client coaching hours, 200+ hours of training). Over the years at least 3 coaches earned the highest scores from me.  Okay.  Maybe that does't prove anything ... it's certainly anecdotal.  There are some "naturals" in this profession.

Here's another observation.  I also recently assessed some candidates for either the PCC or MCC credential (you know, PCC=750+ client coaching hours, 125+ hours of training with MCC=2,500 client coaching hours, 200+ hours of training).  The details are for anyone not familiar with all of this.  At least 6 coaches tested out at the highest level (MCC) but were going for the PCC credential.  Most test out at the PCC level (overwhelmingly) and a few (I'm sad to say) barely make the ACC level.

Anecdotally speaking (don't forget that), I notice that the most achieved score is in the PCC range ... frankly where it ought to be. 

Don't be misled.  I am not advocating for just one credential but simply making an observation that PCC is where we're going to find ICF coaches.  Makes sense, actually, since the training programs train to that level.

Recently I've spoken to groups here and there via conference calls.  I've been reporting another, possibly related, observation.  I can honestly say that, with rare exception, the only interest the public has in the ICF credential is the "CC" part.  No one asks about the "M" in front of mine.  I treat it as a post-grad designation, quite frankly and work hard to earn my spot in that world.

As an executive coach who is actively putting together a power team of top executive coaches, I'm interested in pure coaching skill coupled with organization experience and a willingness to learn a new 360. 

Now it's time to open up the credentialing  process ... at least, have open minds.  Surprise I would say that?  Hmmm. I tried hard to speak to this several years ago but ... well, who needs to relive the past?  There such a thing as global collaboration. 

I'll let that percolate.                                                                                     (Saturn with 4 moons.)