Coaching certification as a path to personal growth

February 27, 2020

The idea for this post came from a client who was keen to join our ICF coaching certification program but needed to explain to his stakeholder how becoming a coach would help him become a more effective leader.

Typically people are drawn to coaching from their own experience of being coached. You’ve benefited from having a safe space to explore your inner space and now you’re motivated to give back to others. I’m going to lay out why I believe there’s a more powerful, selfish motivation to be a coach…and that’s the tremendous personal growth you will experience in the journey of coach training.

Here are some of the ways in which I have grown and seen others grow over the last 8 years that we have been running coaching certification workshops.

You develop the capacity to be completely present: We’ve experienced this phenomenon several times. In a coaching lab (done the Navgati way), there’s one person coaching another and five others watching. It starts with some awkwardness about being observed but then it’s almost like there is a little bubble surrounding the two of them and nothing else exists except for that conversation. The client often remarks at the end about how she forgot about people watching because she was so absorbed in the conversation.

Coaches learn to create this kind of accepting, non-judgmental presence that makes it safe for the client to explore their deepest thoughts and feelings. It is in this psychological safe space that deep change and growth happens; imagine if leaders in your organization were able to create such safe spaces.

You become much more aware of your own internal processes: As you advance in your training, you develop the capacity to listen to two conversations at the same time – the external one with the client and the internal one in your head, which is triggered, by the external one. You become very aware of the self-limiting voices in your head that prevent you from being as potent as you could be. How strong is your need to do a perfect job as a coach? Are you threatened by the client’s ambition? Are you feeling the same sense of anxiety? Learning to be aware of your internal churn and processing it can provide valuable insight that otherwise could have taken you years and many experiences to arrive at.

I often feel a profound sense of gratitude to my clients for I learn so much about myself in the process of accompanying them on their journeys.

You build your ability to manage conflict: Coaching definitely isn’t a high stress conversation but when you learn to be a coach, you build your capacity to stay in inquiry mode and to listen in all conversations, however difficult that may be. Coaches develop in themselves the ability to stay curious and interested in understanding another’s perspective. You also develop the capacity to identify the outcome that the other person wants and their real needs underneath that; which allows you a certain degree of compassionate perspective – you’re learning not to react but to respond. All of which are super useful skills when you’re in the midst of a heated project discussion.

You develop your capacity to accept people as they are: You become aware of how strong your need to control things and you learn, at a cellular level, how surrendering control can lead to a more potent presence as a leader. When you learn to trust the other person’s capacity to learn and grow, you can see them bask in that trust and make more confident decisions for themselves.

You learn how to suspend judgment and be in the moment:When you practice unconditional positive regard for your clients, you can’t but help have some of that leak out into your interactions with the cabby who doesn’t want to go your way, people who cut you off in traffic and the assorted other minor ailments of modern life. It’s not mindfulness meditation but it’s close.

You also experience what an invaluable gift your attention can be. I once had a client pop back into the meeting room after what I thought was a reasonably unremarkable coaching session to say “you know, in 38 years of my life, I’ve never known what it felt like to be truly listened to. Thank you”

You build your own capacity to be vulnerable: Supervision is a key part of the way the Navgati ICF coaching certification program is run. In this process, coaches become comfortable with expressing their vulnerability and not-knowing; they also build their ability to receive feedback in front of a group and reflect on it.

As you can see, we’re passionate about coach training as a path to leadership development. To know more about our ICF coach certification programs, please go here

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