5 Becoming a coach
Even if you are not currently interested in training to be a coach, this section will give you a useful insight into the thinking that your coach should have done before choosing their role.
As with mentoring, there is no single career path to becoming a career coach. Some people find themselves informally coaching colleagues, realise they enjoy it and decide to investigate further. Others may choose to transfer their own experience from a related area, e.g. careers advice, training or human resources. Many will undertake a coaching qualification, combining both theoretical learning and practical experience.
Although coaching is not currently a regulated industry, most successful coaches will either have a relevant qualification or extensive expertise in their field.
Even without a professional qualification, a good coach will use a relevant framework to clarify/measure their competencies, behaviours, etc. The European Mentoring and Coaching Council (Abrahamsson et al., 2015, p. 5) has identified a framework of core competencies against which to benchmark individuals and coaching programmes:
- Understanding self
Demonstrates awareness of own values, beliefs and behaviours; recognises how these affect their practice and uses this self-awareness to manage their effectiveness in meeting the client’s objectives
- Commitment to self-development
Explore and improve the standard of their practice and maintain the reputation of the profession
- Managing the contract
Establishes and maintains the expectations and boundaries of the mentoring/coaching contract with the client
- Building the relationship
Skilfully builds and maintains an effective relationship with the client
- Enabling insight and learning
Works with the client to bring about insight and learning
- Outcome and action orientation
Demonstrates approach and uses the skills in supporting the client to make desired changes
- Use of models and techniques
Applies models and tools, techniques and ideas beyond the core communication skills in order to bring about insight and learning
Gathers information on the effectiveness of own practice and contributes to establishing a culture of evaluation of outcomes
You’ll find out more about coaching training in Week 8.
In Week 3, you considered what makes a good coach. You looked at key skills, such as the ability to listen and question, and to establish rapport. In Activity 5, you’ll start to consider whether you have the right skills and attributes to be a coach yourself. Even if you don’t want to become a coach at this point in your career, these are all skills that can be useful in the workplace, for example, when working in teams and with a wide variety of different people. Evaluating your proficiency might give you some goals for self-development that you weren’t previously aware of.
Activity 5 Auditing my coaching skills
In the table below, you will find a list of the skills that a coach needs, taken from the materials summarised in Week 3. Under ‘Proficiency’ score your level of expertise against each skill/ability as follows:
0 = no experience yet
1 = basic
2 = competent
3 = proficient
Under ‘Evidence’, add at least one example of when you’ve demonstrated that skill.
When you’ve completed the task, ask someone who knows you well whether they agree with your assessment.
|Inspiring and motivating|
|Having discretion and integrity|
|Wanting to help others achieve their potential|
Are there any key skills or aptitudes you need to develop further? For example, how do you feel about being non-judgemental about your coaching clients?
For the final part of the activity, talking to someone who knows you well can help you to understand whether your perceptions of yourself are accurate. They may also have ideas to add. Many people underestimate their own abilities!