To reach coaching excellence, the future coach does best to choose an accredited coach training program or educator. For example, we are aligned with the International Coach Federation (ICF), an association that accredits coaching programs and is one that serves coaches in over 110 countries. Choosing a school is much easier when considered through the lens of accreditation with an international organization that spans the globe. It is an important consideration in choosing where to get trained as a coach.
There are additional elements and criteria to consider when selecting a good school:
- The program accreditation as noted above: ICF fully accredited programs (ACSTH OR ACTP)
- The professionalism and experience of the trainers – who should be professionally credentialed master facilitators and coaches (PCC or MCC)
- The selection process of the students
- The quality of the class documentation
- The follow-up process
- The objectivity of the exam process, and
- The active networking inside the alumni association of the school.
ICF accreditation of the program: the International Coach Federation offers three levels of recognition for coaching educators. The first one is the CCEU (Continuing Coach Education Unit) which is the recognition of a program that offers value to coaches that are looking for ongoing learning once they are credentialed. The second level is the ACSTH (Accredited Coach Specific Training Hours) which is the recognition of a program that offers only part of the training requirements needed for credentialing. And the highest level, and the one best considered by those looking for a professional credential, is the ACTP (Accredited Coaching Training Program) This designation indicates that a program offers all the training hours required to become a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and presently, gives a program the ability to offer coaching certification exams that articulate to the ICF level of PCC competency as a coach.. In summary, a future coach will be best served in their journey to excellence as a coach by selecting a school that offers at minimum, a level of ACSTH, and even better a full ACTP program.
Experience of the trainers: In some schools, trainers are young coaches with little experience. For the highest standards in coaching education, an experienced coach trainer must be experienced and masterful in their craft. They must be able to make coaching demos ‘live’ in front of a group, share personal experience in business, corporations and the various contexts where coaching is used. It is best that they hold a high credential (at least PCC or MCC), and have the proper attitude in her/his life: humility and serenity, credibility and legitimacy. The trainer should inspire and encourage growth and be as well, a person who is in constant personal evolution and apprenticeship.
Selection process: A cohort of learners with related levels of education, and passion for the learning is important when setting up classes. A class should include between 12 and 20 students maximum to allow enough accompanied practice during the classes. Theory is about 25 to 30% of the education time and the remainder is dedicated to practice. A learner that participates in a program should clearly be able to have a practical understanding and practice of a coaching relationship and conversation at the end of a 30-day program. Putting together a group that understands this and one that has the right motivation to embrace the coaching profession is important.
Class documentation: A future coach student should check the quality of the class material and make sure that it is supported by solid research. Masterful coach trainers should be individuals who clearly engage in continuous research on the coaching profession, practice and tools. The best coaching educators encourage their faculty to publish books and provide programs in academic spheres. They also provide electronic documentation on top of the course material e.g. Yammer community or Facebook community with possibility to upload/download of information and relevant documents.
Follow-up process: the time between the coach training sessions is allocated to practice – in peer groups, through e-learning, through follow-up by assistants, etc. The school must organise a supportive follow-up process to make sure that attendants are well driven towards their future certification.
Objectivity of the exam process: To uphold the standards of the coaching excellence, exams have two steps minimum; a written and an oral exam. Some schools ask for further assignment: drafting a case, ready a list of recommended books, outside supervision, etc. The oral exam is a coaching conversation limited to 25-30 minutes and assessed by minimum one PCC or MCC coach. It is important to have at least one of the assessors in an exam, be someone who does not know the applicant. This will ensure further objectivity in the exam process.
Active networking inside the alumni association of the school: Always favour a school that encourages the former students to network together. The best is to have a school that refers to its own alumni when it is contacted by potential clients, and that is very active inside major professional associations.
Sylviane Cannio, MCC and Pamela Richarde, MCC