Wait! I Can Do That?

A Blog Post by David Cooke

 

A friend of mine who is starting his professional coaching journey told me recently he thinks he is a worse coach now than before he started getting trained. Another coach I am working with has had the challenge of finding her niche and integrating the skillset of coaching with her experience and passion as she begins her coaching journey.

Here’s a truth every new coach has to deal with: Coach training will mess you up and mess with you!

It might seem counter-intuitive to say but it is true. Partly because it is something new. And anything new challenges the way that we think and what we do. Because CAM is committed to raising up excellent coaches, we work from a set of competencies developed by the International Coach Federation that define how great coaches think and what great coaches do. In a time where anyone can put the title “Professional Coach” after their name, people can have pretty bad experiences with coaches because someone is simply doing what they have always done but now call it coaching.

If you’re going to be a great coach, you have to be constantly developing your skills and your thinking about coaching. CAM is committed to being your partner as you do this.

But here’s another dirty little secret about coaching: The most important thing you bring to your client is not a set of skills or a way of thinking, it is ultimately you.

Coaching is a relationship and who you are, you’re experiences and perspectives (and yes, your training) are all critical components of that relationship.

One coach I was coaching around getting started in her passion said to me, “Wait! I can do that?!” She was caught in the trap of focusing on the skillset and mindset of coaching (the fundamentals) such that she lost voice and the unique contribution she brought to the relationships she was seeking to develop in her coaching.

It is very important you understand I am NOT saying the fundamentals don’t matter! They make ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD. Your grasp of and proficiency with the fundamental skills and thinking of coaching will be the thing that sets you up for success as a coach. (And conversely, if you ignore them, your failure.) But how you will thrive as a coach is your unique expression of those skills.

My friend that said he was a worse coach now than when he started was really saying he was in the stage of his growth where he was focused on getting the fundamentals down and that was hindering his full expression of who he is in the relationship. Although the struggle was real, I believe he was still a better coach in that struggle than he was without the awareness of the fundamentals.

If you’re starting out in your coaching journey, you need to give yourself permission to fumble around a bit in the process. I taught four of my kids how to play basketball, starting when they were four. Every one had to learn how to dribble the ball. And they all spent most of the time watching it hit the ground and bounce back up to their hand. Because they didn’t believe it would really happen over and over again. But over time, they got comfortable with the truth that a rubber sphere filled with adequate air will always bounce back up if thrown down! And they stopped looking at the ball!

Coaching skills and thinking work with an engaged client. Every time. But every coach has to get comfortable with the fundamentals before they can be a good coach who becomes a great coach. And great coaches are all unique because they fully express themselves in the coaching relationship. Their divine uniqueness expressed with insight, skill and knowledge is what makes them great.

Do you want to be a great coach? Practice. A lot. Practice the skills and practice being you. CAM is with you, for you and committed to helping you achieve your greatness.