Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Adults as Learners

Been reading up on adult learning.  Surely we can agree that understanding how adults learn is an important element in learning how to coach and engage our clients.  My take on all of that is from my own experience as well as from published research.  Adults bring all of our decisions, life experience, obligations, and desires into our life-long learning.  Sometimes that learning becomes formal (with classes and tuition and degrees). 

So it is with coach training.  Unless you were a child prodigy you began and completed your coach training (or any other kind of training) as an adult at some age or other (I did a lot of the 'other') over my long adult learning career.

For anyone reading this blog who is not already, or going to be, a professional coach, just substitute your desired outcome and it all applies equally.  My most important education began at age 30 and continued for a couple of decades, culminating in teaching what I had learned (ergo, it never stopped).  Always a good student, I had a different motivation: I liked learning, did my assignments, stayed interested and knew I was going somewhere.  Somehow that was different from my youthful obsession with getting the grade A for everything.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Quite often I am asked “What do you hear or experience in an ICF credential exam?”
That’s a rather involved question or should I say … the answer can be rather complex.

Have you ever used the phrase “I could hear the wheels turning” when someone with whom you are in conversation is thinking about something or other that doesn’t involve you? If you have, you’re on your way to understanding what I experience.

Newer coaches who still need lots of skillful practice (not just any ol’ practice), are still working from a script … the script they learned in a particular coach training program. That’s to be expected, absolutely.

As a practiced listener of coaches at work (exam or mentoring), I can hear the script. Most coaches rely on a particular approach that they’ve practiced somewhat or even a lot. This would define the ACC candidate most definitely and very often the PCC candidate. Unfortunately, it also defines some MCC candidates which just might account for the high failure rate.

The missing piece with coaches who rely on a “formula” type approach to their coaching is trust. Remember, there is a competency called Trust and Intimacy.

To get to the heart of the matter we first must look at trust in all of its facets. A coach who is on the road to mastery …

Trusts the coaching process;Trusts and respects each client as whole and complete;
Trusts their own ability to serve their client with competence and integrity;
Trusts each client to choose what is best for client during the conversation.

What would you like to add to this list?

From my perspective, trust comes first, then intimacy (or closeness). It’s just the way of things.