Coach in Training: Coaching

By: Kim Green

Off and running. I loved the second class. We learned what being a coach is and isn’t. Every word that Lynn spoke was exciting. I wanted to burst inside, feeling so hopeful for the world and all of the individuals who are courageous enough to seek out a coach. I was also moved at the notion that I am one of those committed individuals who actually wants to become a coach. I felt ten feet tall, just learning that the secret to helping people is supporting them as they create their dreams.

What moved me most is when Lynn explained who our clients actually are – or at least how we must see them. She said these sacred words: “Our clients are already resourceful, competent, whole, creative and capable. They are willing to take appropriate risks…” This is where we come in. Our clients simply desire a change in their lives. That’s all. There’s nothing wrong with them. Nothing to be fixed.

The Thursday call was a different story. We started out talking about the reasons that coaching as a career has become such a sought after profession. We all had our theories about the state of the world, the lack of openness among our peers, the stigma sometimes associated with therapy, and the profound need for human partnership and connection in all of our over-complicated lives.

Then, the conversation careened and swerved. Suddenly, we were talking acronyms. Acronyms scare me. As a writer, I have to be careful of them. They are a secret language, only intended for a few. It was an innocent question about accreditation, which started it all. Suddenly Lynn was spitting out the differences between ACC (Associate Certified Coach) (60 hours of study, 100 hours of experience), PCC (Professional Certified Coach) (125 hours of study, 500 hours of experience), MCC Master Certified Coach) (200 hours of study, 2,500 hours of experience), and BCC (Board Certified Coach), from the Center for Credentialing and Education!

Then someone else brought up insurance coverage and how those 3 letters after our names will or will not improve our chances of getting work… and down the rabbit hole we fell…followed by talk of licensure and how coaching requires none at this time.

The more they talked, the more my stomach hurt. After all that superhero talk on Tuesday…My head was spinning. I was still hungry for all the soft talk about changing lives and how great our clients already are. As there were more questions about this and there was no end in sight, it dawned on me: Oh Right! This is work. A business. A possibly lucrative endeavor, at that! We are all hungry to make it - even me. This will be my ticket out of staying up all night as I age, writing other people’s life stores and forgetting about my own. This could be the way that I reach people on a deeper more personal level than just letting my written words do all the work without my heart present. I realized that this intimidating talk of acronyms and accreditation is vital information that I need.

Although I wanted to fly high on the possibilities and the greatness of my fellow man, this tedious need for money is always there. And the hardest fact that insurance doesn’t pay for it brought it all into view. My clients must get the value out of my coaching. They must want to pay for it out of their own money. Despite my need for warmth and fuzziness, I have to work harder to create value that I know I have.

As I started to come to, there were plenty of other good ideas being tossed about. For example, coaches facilitate our clients’ learning based on our awareness of them. Coaches are here to help our clients design actions. The clients are responsible for the rest. Then Lynn said, “It sure takes the pressure off, doesn’t it?”

It’s true, the results and the responsibility is that of our clients. We are simply facilitators, cheerleaders and vessels of support. We are what the world needs now.

I have a lot of work to do.

Kim Green is a writer and a student at The Institute for Life Coach Training. In this blog series, she has documented her experience as she goes through the Foundational training. To read about Kim's journey, click here.